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May 4, 2001

Friday Morning Inside Info From Sears Point

All of the Honda CBR929RR Formula Xtreme bikes fielded by Erion Honda and Bruce Transportation Group are wearing CBR600F4i bodywork at Sears Point. Bruce Transportation Group's Josh Hayes said that the ram air inlets on the F4i bodywork are more effective and that the belly pan fits tighter against the bike, giving more ground clearance.<BR><BR>The first of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 Formula Xtreme bikes made their debut at Sears on Thursday. While the Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki GSX-R1000s appeared to have fairly stock chassis with the addition of Ohlins forks, a Penske shock and Performance Machine wheels, Attack Suzuki's big GSX-Rs featured custom fabricated swingarms and rear suspension links, in addition to Ohlins forks. Attack's Richard Stanboli said that he had left many other trick parts at his shop, including aluminum gas tanks, kit radiators, radial-mounted brake calipers, different shocks, and lighter fairing brackets because he did not receive related parts in time to mount everything for this weekend's race.<BR><BR>Attack's Jason Pridmore and Richie Alexander were unable to ride Thursday due to their points standings and the AMA's rule banning riders who are top-10 in Superbike or 600cc Supersport points. So Attack enlisted the services of James Lickwar, a Sears Point regular and an AMA racer, to give the Attack Formula Xtreme bikes shake-down runs. Unfortunately, Lickwar crashed one of the virgin machines in Sears Point's tight Turn 11. The crash was a lowside with minimal damage to the machine, but Lickwar suffered a broken collarbone.<BR><BR>Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's John Hopkins crashed Thursday morning on his GSX-R1000 when he tangled bars with Frank Aragaki's Kawasaki Superbike going into turn three. Both riders were unhurt with little damage to their bikes.<BR><BR>Andreas Meklau was riding Scott Russell's HMC Ducati Superbikes Thursday at Sears Point. When asked his thoughts on the track's layout and safety, Meklau laughed and said, "I've never seen anything like it before in the world." Meklau has nearly 10 years of experience racing in World Superbike, World Grand Prix, and various European domestic series.<BR><BR>According to an inside source, Nicky Hayden's RC51 suffered the same mechanical failure at Daytona that has plagued other factory Honda RC51 riders around the world, including Colin Edwards and Tadayuki Okada. According to the source, the problem was half in the engineering and half in the manufacturing of an internal engine part that he was not allowed to specify. The source said that problem had been fixed as evidenced by the RC51s' performance at Sugo, Japan, and also pointed out that all three factory RC51s at Sears Point have new radial-mounted front brake calipers. No one at Honda had to point out Miguel Duhamel's new leathers and paint job as part of the Universal Studios promotion of the new feature movie "The Mummy Returns."<BR><BR>When riders showed up at Sears Point, they found temporary concrete barriers in turns one and two, positioned close to the racetrack with nothing behind them. The wall in turn one, which was extremely dangerous, looked like it could be moved back as much as 30-40 feet. The wall in turn two, which had already been moved back from the edge of the track following the previous weekend's Vintage Motorcycle Days, looked like it still could be pushed back as much as 20 feet. But the walls remained in place during Thursday practice at Sear Point, which was run as a promoter practice with no official involvement by the AMA.<BR><BR>But the first thing AMA officials did Friday morning was to get track workers to move back the wall in turn one, adding a relatively large amount of run off room. The wall in turn two was not moved back any additional distance.<BR>