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Jan 16, 2002

Haydens And Hale Quickest In AMA Testing At California Speedway

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>After two days of testing on the 2.36-mile infield road course at California Speedway in Fontana, California, Nicky Hayden, Tommy Hayden and Mike Hale recorded the fastest times among Superbike, 600cc Supersport and Formula Xtreme riders, respectively. Despite cold and overcast weather, lap times fell sharply throughout the day as the racing surface gained more traction through the exchange of rubber for dirt on the racing line.<BR><BR>For the second major off-season test in a row, American Honda's Nicky Hayden turned the fastest lap of the test on his 2001-spec RC51 while expressing a clear preference for the 2002-model RC51 that he has sampled at each test. On the second day of the two-day test at Fontana, Nicky Hayden spent all of his time on his 2001 bike before turning a 1:26.97 lap time late in the day on a race tire.<BR><BR>"We've got a lot of stuff sorted through," said Nicky Hayden. "We've still got more stuff we can try when we come back here for the race. I'm pretty happy, though. Both days went smooth and we learned a lot. I feel that I learned the track as good as I'm going to learn it.<BR><BR>"When you're fast, of course it feels good, but I don't want to put too much into it because it don't really count ‘til the race. Plus it's just one fast lap. You've gotta be able to do 29 of them here, I think. Honestly, it does feel good to keep that momentum rolling, though."<BR><BR>After a big save immediately preceding a small crash on Monday, Miguel Duhamel turned the second-fastest time (1:27.34) of the two days during a 20-lap tire test. HMC Ducati's Pascal Picotte backed up his performance at the Daytona tire tests by posting the third-fastest time at Fontana with a 1:27.55. Kurtis Roberts spent most of Tuesday afternoon running American Honda's sole 2002-model RC51. Roberts was the first rider to get into the mid-1:28s before settling with the fourth-fastest time of 1:27.70. Roberts also completed a successful test of the on-board, two-way Racing Radios system that American Honda debuted at Daytona.<BR><BR>Most of the riders at the Fontana test spent Tuesday afternoon testing tires while others, like Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom, continued to look for set-ups and solutions. Bostrom fought a problem with his updated ZX-7RR Superbike while trying to learn to work with his new crew and a track that he does not particularly like. Bostrom added that he had the same problem at Daytona and if he and his team could cure the problem it would allow him to go faster at both tracks. However, Bostrom was not overly concerned with his time of 1:29.3, making him the slowest of the five Superbike riders present, because Kawasaki plans to test at California Speedway again in February. <BR><BR>Dunlop National Road Race Manager Jim Allen concluded Tuesday that California Speedway would not require the construction of any special tire and would probably not even require a dual-compound tread.<BR><BR>Bostrom's teammate Tommy Hayden led all 600cc riders from the time they rolled off the truck at the test and went home with the fastest time at 1:31.2. The eldest Hayden brother said that he is getting more comfortable on the Kawasaki ZX-6R and gaining confidence in his Championship hopes everyday. Erion Honda's Mike Hale and Bruce Transportation Group's Jake Zemke were the only other 600cc riders to join Tommy Hayden in the 1:31s.<BR><BR>Hale started from scratch with a Honda CBR954RR Formula Xtreme bike on Monday and ended the two-day test as the fastest of the four FX riders in attendance with a 1:28.5. Roger Lee Hayden, riding an Erion Honda CBR929RR, chased brother Nicky Hayden, riding a Honda RC51 Superbike, around the track for several laps Tuesday afternoon resulting in a two-second-per-lap reduction of his lap time. Roger Lee Hayden's fastest time, a 1:29.3, was the second-fastest Formula Xtreme time of the test. Third-fastest FX rider Zemke spent very little time on his CBR929RR after fuel-injection problems on Monday and blown seals on his Ohlins forks on Tuesday.<BR><BR>Although he was the slowest of the 600cc Supersport riders, Kawasaki's Tony "The Tiger" Meiring did earn his paycheck in his first outing with his new team. Meiring completed 103 laps of the new track Monday and then did 107 more on Tuesday for a total of 210 laps over the two days.<BR><BR>The next AMA team test is scheduled for January 21-23 at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California with Kawasaki and Honda's three teams expected to attend. HMC Ducati had considered going to Laguna Seca but decided against going next week in exchange for testing during more predictable weather during the last week in March.<BR><BR>Unofficial Lap Times:<BR><BR><BR>Superbike:<BR>Nicky Hayden, Honda RC51, 1:26.97<BR>Miguel Duhamel, Honda RC51, 1:27.34<BR>Pascal Picotte, Ducati 998RS, 1:27.55<BR>Kurtis Roberts, Honda RC51, 1:27.70<BR>Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:29.30<BR><BR><BR>Formula Xtreme:<BR>Mike Hale, Honda CBR954RR, 1:28.59<BR>Roger Lee Hayden, Honda CBR929RR, 1:29.30<BR>Jake Zemke, Honda CBR929RR, 1:29.70<BR>Alex Gobert, Honda CBR929RR, 1:32.27<BR><BR><BR>600cc Supersport:<BR>Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:31.20<BR>Mike Hale, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:31.60<BR>Jake Zemke, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:31.90<BR>Roger Lee Hayden, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:32.20<BR>Alex Gobert, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:32.45<BR>Tony Meiring, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:33.04