Apr 19, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Yamaha's Anthony Gobert is irate over what he believes are false claims to the fastest laps turned during the April 16-18 AMA team test at Road Atlanta by his competitors, especially claims made in a press release issued by Steve Reeves, publicist for Team Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin. Mladin's post-test press release stated that the three-time AMA Superbike Champion was the quickest, on race tires, with a best lap of 1:23.5.<BR><BR>"Mat's just always talking shit," said Gobert via cell phone, as he watched girlfriend Suni's young son race mini-bikes in Las Vegas Friday. "Mat's always saying he's the quickest and talking crap in the press. He said at Fontana (test, February 12-14) that I cut the chicane and made up all this crap that's just not true. I'm just sick of him talking shit, you know?<BR><BR>"If you're the quickest, you claim it. If you're not, you don't. He was nowhere near quickest in Atlanta. He never even come near the quickest time. So he's just full of shit.<BR><BR>"I was the quickest at Atlanta. I did 1:23.4. Nicky (Hayden) was second quickest at a 1:23.5."<BR><BR>Collecting lap time information at an AMA team test session is tricky business. The information collected always needs to be taken with a grain of salt unless obtained from an independent third-party source, such as the AMA timing and scoring system that was in place during the December test at Daytona and the January test at Laguna Seca. The standard method of gathering lap times by reporters is to ask the riders or mechanics how fast they went and what kind of tire, qualifier or race tire, they used to do the lap. Obviously, the team can say anything they want to most reporters.<BR><BR>When asked if he did his fastest time on a qualifying tire, Gobert answered, "Everyone did their quickest times on a Q. It's a crock of shit that (Mat) reckons he didn't run a qualifier and he was the quickest on a race tire and that's all lies. It's just a load of shit. I was there when he put the qualifier on and went out.<BR><BR>"He's not cutting it right now, and he's just trying to make up stories to make himself sound like the best when he's not. It just annoys the hell out of me. I'm not saying it for me, I'm saying it for Yamaha. <BR><BR>"I represent Yamaha, and when Yamaha's the quickest, Yamaha should be acknowledged as the quickest. Mladin's trying to say that Suzuki's the quickest, and Suzuki's not. Suzuki's nowhere near the quickest. It's been Nicky and I at every single test, and that's how it was at Atlanta."<BR><BR>A report on another website quoted Gobert as saying that Nicky Hayden used four qualifiers trying to beat Gobert's fastest time. When asked if he made such a statement, considering that qualifiers are not routinely used at tests, Gobert said, "Yeah. Dunlop gave each rider two qualifiers. So he (Nicky Hayden) used his two and he used Miguel's two. And he used one of Kurtis' that was on the truck on the first day to set the 1:23.9. <BR><BR>"I was quickest on race tires the whole time. I was the quickest on the first day with a 1:24.4, second quickest was Nicky at 1:24.8. Then Nicky right at the end of the day banged in a qualifier and did a 1:23.9. He only did one lap and that was Kurtis' qualifier from Fontana.<BR><BR>"Obviously, their bike (Honda's) is way superior to the Yamaha. Obviously, they want to do everything they can to try and beat us because it makes them look bad when we're quickest on the poor old Yammie."<BR><BR>"On (another website) it had Gobert saying that I used four qualifiers," said Nicky Hayden, when reached on his cell phone Friday. "Now he's saying that I used five? He's crazy, and you can print I said that. I mean, come on! Why would I waste five qualifiers for a test? I used two qualifiers, but I didn't even go fast on them. I did 1:23.6 on a race tire and only went 1:23.7-1:23.8 on the qualifier. The only reason we ran ‘em (qualifiers) was because the guys weren't happy with them at Daytona and Fontana, and Dunlop wanted us to test them."<BR><BR>Best Superbike Lap Times And Tires Used During Atlanta Team Tests(as claimed by team personnel and reported on Roadracingworld.com April 18):<BR><BR>Mat Mladin, 1:23.4 race tire<BR>Anthony Gobert, 1:23.48 Q tire, 1:24.20 race tire<BR>Nicky Hayden, 1:23.6 race tire<BR>Aaron Yates, 1:23.7 Q tire, 1:24.0 race tire<BR>Jamie Hacking, 1:24.4 race tire<BR>Miguel Duhamel, 1:24.6 race tire<BR>