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Aug 16, 2002

AMA Pro Racing: Aaron Yates Not In Trouble For Lying On Track At VIR

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

By David Swarts

Team Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates will not be fined money, assessed a points penalty, disqualified, suspended or disciplined in any official way for lying on an active racetrack at VIR during the AMA Superbike race Sunday, August 11, according to AMA Pro Racing Superbike Operations Manager Ron Barrick.

A few laps into the re-started Superbike race, Eric Bostrom, Mat Mladin, Kurtis Roberts and Yates were running practically nose-to-tail when Roberts lost the rear of his RC51 and spun out in the short transition between Virginia International Raceway's turns four and five. Yates reacted very quickly and rode off the track to his left to avoid Roberts and the spinning Honda. Once in the short run-off area, Yates tucked the front and crashed his Suzuki GSX-R750 before sliding into inflatable air barriers at a relatively low speed.

After assessing the damage to his bike, Yates returned to the track where he laid down, "spread eagle" in the middle of turn five as Roberts' bike caught fire. Yates stayed on the track for a few seconds and got up as a pack of three bikes approached.

In the background of Speed Channel's video of the incident, cornerworkers can be seen ceasing to wave their yellow flag and going for their red flag to stop the race. Immediately after the race was stopped, Yates returned to his Suzuki, picked it up and began to make plans to return to pit lane and make the re-start, which he did, restarting dead last from pit lane.

When asked about the incident shortly after the race Sunday night at VIR, Barrick said, "The cornerworkers had already called in requesting for a stoppage before he laid down anyway. So they were calling ‘red' for the bike being on the track."

Asked if any official action would be taken against Yates, Barrick responded, "No. I'd like to talk to him about it, but no. We don't have any rules on that specifically, but obviously, it's not something you want riders to think is OK to do. I don't know what his motive was. I haven't talked to him. I don't know if you have any comments from him or not. I don't know if it was just that he saw his bike was OK and wanted to go back in the race."