Karl Muggeridge finally scored his long-awaited first World Supersport victory of the 2003 with a daring last lap pass on Ten Kate Honda team-mate and this year's Champion-elect Chris Vermeulen at Assen.

Just as factory Ducati team-mates Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus battled fairing to fairing with no quarter asked and none given during the first World Superbike race of the day at Assen, the Australian born Honda duo did likewise throughout the 16-lap Supersport race.

Giving the Dutch based Ten Kate team one of their most hair-raising afternoon's of the year, Muggeridge finally made a last lap pass stick on Vermeulen after the pair swapped the lead numerous times during the course of the race. The win finally helped salvage something from what has been a highly disappointing year for the Aussie, who has watched his teammate sail away into a comfortable points lead, taking four wins from the first eight races of the year.

Muggeridge was delighted with his win but said it did not come easy, especially after some bad luck early in the year.

"I had a terrible run at the start of the season but recently we've turned it around and found more harmony in the team," he affirmed, "All credit goes to Ten Kate they've done all the work behind the scenes, given us track time and myself and Chris get to go out there to do the fun bit. "

For Vermeulen, second was satisfying, but he hoped for more.

"There were no team orders," he confirmed, "I was hoping Karl would let me win, but he was a little bit too quick today.

"I'm really happy for the team, they've worked hard and to get a 1-2 here at Assen is what we wanted. I didn't like to see Jurgen crash, but it was a relief that he wasn't right behind me. I looked back a lap later and Katsuaki was there, so it was time to make a move. My main objective was to finish in front of Jurgen and Katsuaki and I've done that and extended the championship lead."

Suzuki's Katsuaki Fujiwara crossed the line less than four seconds behind the two yellow Hondas, having dropped away from the front two during the final five laps. The Japanese rider was in an untroubled position after Yamaha's Jurgen van de Goorbergh made a spectacular exit on lap seven while trying to pass Vermeulen.

Stephane Chambon brought the second Alstare Suzuki home in fourth place, less than five seconds behind the winner with fellow Frenchmen Sebastien Charpentier and Fabien Foret rounding out the top half dozen.

The fight for seventh place was simply amongst one of the most outstanding battles seen at the six kilometre Dutch circuit in recent years with no less than eleven riders battling nose to tail for the spot.

With only 1.7secs separating seventh place finisher Jorg Teuchert from 15th place man Robert Ulm, it was a major surprise that after more than a dozen laps of hard, hard fighting, only van de Goorbergh's Belgarda teammate Simone Sanna and veteran Iain MacPherson bit the dust during the course of the scrap.

Irishman Michael Laverty was in the thick of the scrap on his Vitrans Honda and he came away with an excellent 12th place finish, one place ahead of teammate Dean Thomas.

 

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