Preview of Assen Superbike

Elliot Strong
by Elliot Strong
From Honda Racing Information:

Preview World Superbike-Supersport, Assen , The Netherlands

Assen, Holland - 2002 World Superbike championship round 12/2002 WorldSupersport championship round 11
Sunday September 8

Edwards looking for same again

Castrol Honda's Colin Edwards is aiming to repeat last Sunday's double winin Germany when the World Superbike championship moves to Assen in Hollandthis week for the 12th and penultimate round.

The colourful Texan heads for the popular Dutch venue in the knowledge thatlast Sunday's Oschersleben double has given him a chance of regaining thechampionship title he won in 2000.

"Assen is another crucial round for us," says Edwards. "We arrived inGermany last week knowing that two wins were the only thing that would keepmy title chances alive. We got the wins and closed the championship gap to,more or less, one race win."

Edwards continues: "Germany was a big turning point for me, just because itsaw the arrival of so many new contributing factors, mainly the new motorfrom HRC which was as good as anything Honda's ever given me. I'm keepingmy fingers crossed that everything will work as well at Assen."

The SP-2 pilot arrives at Assen 29 points behind series leader Troy Baylissafter breaking a host of records and reaching a number of milestones withhis double win in Germany.

Edwards won his fourth and fifth races in succession his sixth and seventhof the season, taking his career tally to 27. His first race win was the50th for the Castrol Honda team and he equalled Doug Polen's 1991 record of21 podium finishes in one season.

Castrol Honda team manager Neil Tuxworth commented: "Colin did whateveryone expected at Oschersleben but it's not easy to go out and win bothraces when you've dominated practice and qualifying. Colin proved he's atthe top of his game and we know he's got the fight in him he'll need forthe rest of this year."

Fabien Foret will be hoping the Assen round will be a good omen for hisDutch team as he bids to extend his three-point lead in the championshipover Katsuaki Fujiwara.

The Ten Kate Honda team rider will be looking for his fourth win of theyear as he looks to leave Assen with a comfortable lead going into thefinal round at Imola, Italy on September 29.

"I want to have some points to play with by the time we get to Imola but Ithink the best approach is to try and concentrate on winning at Assen,"said Foret.

Behind second-placed Fujiwara is former champion Stephane Chambon, just 10points adrift of his Suzuki team-mate while defending champion Andrew Pittis 22 points behind Foret.

Chris Vermeulen, on the Van Zon Honda, arrives at Assen in confident mood,having beaten Foret in a recent race at the fast, flowing track in thenorth of the country. And Honda UK's Karl Muggeridge has proved his abilityaround the Dutch track the Australian rider knows how important a strongfinish on Sunday is for his season.

Assen data:Superbike:2001 Qualifying: Ruben Xaus (Ducati) 2m 02.409s2001 Superpole: Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 2m 10.922s2001 Winner: Troy Bayliss (Ducati) x 2Lap record: Carl Fogarty (Ducati) 2m 03.914s ( September 1999)Supersport:2001 pole position: Katsuaki Fujiwara (Suzuki) 2m 08.497s2001 winner: Paolo Casoli (Yamaha)Lap record: James Whitham (Yamaha) 2m 08.748s (September 2001)World Superbike championship points after 11 of 13 rounds: 1 Troy Bayliss,Australia (Ducati) 481, 2 Colin Edwards, USA (Castrol Honda) 452, 3 NeilHodgson, GB (Ducati) 289, 4 Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 229, 5 Noriyuki Haga,Japan (Aprilia) 228, 6 Ruben Xaus, Spain (Ducati) 204, 7 James Toseland, GB(Ducati) 149, 8 Chris Walker, GB (Kawasaki) 134, 9 P-Francesco Chili, Italy(Ducati) 127, 10 Gregorio Lavilla, Spain (Suzuki) 104.Manufacturers points: 1 Ducati 495, 2 Honda 457, 3 Aprilia 228, 4 Kawasaki185, 5 Suzuki 121, 6 Yamaha 16, 7 Benelli 14.World Supersport championship points after round 10 of 12: 1 Fabien Foret,France (Honda) 148, 2 Katsuaki Fujiwara, Japan (Suzuki) 145, 3 StephaneChambon, France (Suzuki) 135, 4 Andrew Pitt, Australia (Kawasaki) 126, 5Paolo Casoli, Italy (Yamaha) 112, 6 Christian Kellner, Germany (Yamaha) 88,7 Chris Vermeulen, Australia (Honda) 74, 8 James Whitham, GB (Yamaha) andJorg Teuchert, Germany (Yamaha) 71, 10 Iain MacPherson, GB (Honda) andAlessio Corradi, Italy (Yamaha) 54.Manufacturers points: 1 Suzuki 193, 2 Honda 168, 3 Yamaha 165, 4 Kawasaki129, 5 Ducati 57.
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