Mar 2, 2001
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By David Swarts<BR><BR>The Aprilia Mille R received mixed reviews from the Aprilia-sponsored BFR/ Pro Italia and Blackmans Cycles riders in its first days at Daytona International Speedway. Chris Carr, a former AMA Grand National Champion and the first man to ever finish the Daytona 200 on a Harley-Davidson VR1000, said he liked the Mille R's handling. "The thing handles good," said Carr. "Usually, on a streetbike, you have to shit-can the suspension first thing, but this bike has some really good stuff on it and handles great." <BR><BR>Carr's teammate for the Daytona F-USA weekend, 1996 F-USA Champion Tray Batey, echoed Carr's thoughts on the suspension, saying "The suspension is still stock, stock springs, stock fluid, but it's pretty close. It really handles well." When asked to compare the Italian V-twin to the 128-horsepower Suzuki TL1000R that he used to win the 2000 Suzuki Cup Finals and set an overall track record at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Batey said, "This thing is a stone compared to the TL. This thing's been breathed on, and we're still not breaking 120 (horsepower)."<BR><BR>BFR/Pro Italia's Aprilias were hitting "over 130 horsepower" at Daytona, according to team owner Gary Stiles, but the R/D aftermarket titanium valve keepers in both Aaron Clark and Mark Ledesma's bikes broke on Wednesday, February 28, while the pair were testing during a Team Hammer track ride at Daytona. The BFR/Pro Italia Aprilia team spent the majority of Thursday rebuilding the engines with stock pieces.<BR>