March 2, 2006 at 4:06 pm #11579GixParticipant
Track length: 4448 m, Opened: 1956
Fastest Lap Ever: 1′ 32.193 (Troy Corser, 2001) WSB lap record: 1′ 33.019 (Troy Corser, 2001) Last year WSB winner: Troy Corser, Troy Corser Circuit tel: +61 3 59522710; Circuit web site: https://www.phillipislandcircuit.com.au
After a sensational weekend of racing in Qatar, round two of the Superbike World Championship takes place coming weekend at the Phillip Island circuit, located a little more than an hour’s drive south of Melbourne.
The track is a favourite with most of the riders and one that holds good memories for both Yamaha Motor Italia’s riders, Noriyuki Haga and Andrew Pitt. They go to the Island on a high after playing a starring role in the Middle Eastern thriller. Each rider ran at the front of the pack and scored a podium finish at the Losail circuit, leaving them in a positive mood ahead of this weekend.Fresh from his first ever podium in the class, Pitt in particular is looking forward to racing at his home circuit.
“As with many riders, Phillip Island is my favourite circuit,” says Pitt. “It’s a fast and flowing circuit and it’s always good to go back home and race. I enjoy the home support and generally I go quite well there. Winning the world supersport race there in 2002 is probably still my best moment in racing and as a rule I go better on fast circuits rather than your slower Valencia type circuits. It can be a bit tricky with the high winds so I hope the weather will be good. Most riders will say it is the best circuit in the world and certainly you can expect great racing there. I was stoked to get on the podium in Qatar at the weekend and that will certainly let me go to Australia feeling much more relaxed.”
Pitt’s podium at Losail came thanks to the hard work of the Yamaha Motor Italia squad, who have transformed the YZF-R1 over the winter break. “The bike is so much easier to ride,” confirms Pitt. “We understand the bike a lot better now and there’s still a lot of potential that can be unlocked. In Qatar Nori (Haga) and I were able to run at the front, only to fall back when the tyres went off. That’s something we need to work on, transferring the power to the track while being more sympathetic to the tyres is our next big goal”.
Haga also has good memories of the circuit having won there in 1998 – his first race win outside of Japan. “I am looking forward to going back to Phillip Island. It is a very challenging circuit and a beautiful country with many excellent golf courses! I am spending a few days back in Japan this week, but I still hope to arrive soon enough to play a round or two!”
The Japanese lies seventh in the championship after scoring a podium in race two, but failing to score in the opening race in Qatar. Challenging for the win, Nori-chan crashed while attempting to pass his friend Yukio Kagayama – taking them both out in the process. Despite this, Haga was still happy with his day in the Middle East. “We were very competitive,” he says. “Our bike has improved a lot over the winter and it was good to see that we are much closer to our rivals compared to last year.”
Also looking forward to the trip Down Under is the Yamaha Motor Germany world supersport squad. Their Aussie riders had contrasting fortunes in Qatar. Kevin Curtain took a fine second place, while Broc Parkes did not finish. The two riders spent three days testing at the circuit last month and having achieved a good base set-up they are looking forward to returning for what is their home race.
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