Andrew Pitt: ‘We don’t have a tyre to do the race”

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World Champion Andrew Pitt set the fastest time in qualifying today but declared that he doesn’t have a rear tyre that will last full race distance.

The Ten Kate Honda rider who won last years thrilling Supersport race completely destroyed his rear Pirelli after just 12 laps, whilst attempting to complete a race run.

Sunday’s WSS race will be run over 21 laps.

He said: “We don’t have a tyre that will last the race. Our bike is normally the best on tyres but the two options we have aren’t lasting.

“Other teams have done a few laps and then stopped and gone out again and their tyres are lasting, but if you stay out on track at race pace they are tearing apart.”

The reason for the problems is due to the high 44 degree track temperatures and the fact that the Phillip Island circuit has a number of continuous, high speed left hand corners.

Pitt’s team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu claimed second, but also struggled with acute tyre wear.

Yamaha rider Fabien Foret made an impressive return to form in third with BE1 Triumph rider Garry McCoy in fourth.

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow took fifth place despite losing time at the beginning of the session with a slipping clutch and like his rivals believes tyre wear will be a major factor in determining Sundays races.

He said: “It’s going to be a case of making the tyres last. I did a long run in testing but with seven laps to go the bike was sliding everywhere so it’s going to be interesting.

“There are a lot of fast guys here. I want to win the race on Sunday but I definitely want a finish. If I can leave Australia with a top five finish and a bag full of points I’ll be happy.”

Eugene Laverty ended the day in tenth place despite crashing out at Honda Hairpin 25 minutes into the session. The Parkalgar Honda rider was unhurt in the crash but had to switch to his number two bike and was unable to improve his lap time.

He said: “The bike feels good and the breakthrough we made in testing in Portugal has transferred to Phillip Island so now we have a good base setting to work with.

“Tyres are definitely going to be an issue here . I was following Anthony West at the end of the session and he literally had smoke pouring off his rear tyre everywhere – it’s going to be interesting.”