New South Wales rider Andrew Pitt was just two places out of the World Championship points in his second GP finish, claiming 17th place in yesterday's Australian GP and setting a best lap time just 2.6secs behind race winner Valentino Rossi.

However, while Team manager Harald Eckl - the man Pitt needs to impress if he's to get a full time ride with Team Green next year - was pleased with the Aussie's race showing, he expressed concern that Pitt's slower on new tyres than old...

"Andrew's problem is that he still doesn't ride the bike at its limit," declared Eckl. "He is actually slower on new tyres with a lot of grip, where slides are more difficult to provoke and to control, than later in the race. That was clearly visible towards the end, when he battled nicely with John Hopkins."

Pitt admitted that he's still getting to grips with MotoGP power and how to ride his ZX-RR to full effect.

"I still didn't ride the bike like a big bike should be ridden, I was carrying too much corner speed on the very edge of the tyre," he said. "Only towards the end of the race, I started to square the corners off and open the throttle earlier, and doing that, I chopped a second off my lap time immediately!"

Eckl has confidence in his rider that he'll soon come to terms with the technique required at the highest level of Motorcycle racing.

"In Malaysia, Andrew was five seconds behind the leaders, here in Phillip Island he cut it down to 2.6 seconds on his fastest lap in comparison to Rossi's one, and I'm sure we will be able to cut another half a second when we go to Valencia," Eckl stated.

"We are definitely on track, with Andrew's riding as much as with the technical development of our bike. We were ninth in top speed today, less than 10 kph down on Valentino Rossi," he added.

Pitt will have one final chance to impress his boss further at the season ending Valencia Grand Prix, in two weeks time.



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