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Feb 21, 2002

It Will Be Tough To Win AMA Superbike Title Against One-class Specialists, Anthony Gobert Says

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Even though Anthony Gobert was the fastest Superbike rider in recent, off-season tests at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca and California Speedway, the reformed wild child realizes that it will be a tall order to win the 2002 AMA Superbike Championship because he will be one of only a few of the Superbike pilots to also be racing in the Supersport (formerly 600cc Supersport) division. <BR><BR>In 2002, there will be nine top-level Superbikes on AMA grids. Only three of those nine Superbike riders will be asked to also campaign the Supersport class--Gobert and Team Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Aaron Yates and Jamie Hacking.<BR><BR>What complicates the double-duty effort of Gobert even more is that there will be six double-header Superbike races in 2002, on some of the most physically demanding tracks on the circuit.<BR><BR>"It's going to be really, really tough," said Gobert.<BR><BR>"That's why I've kind of upped my (physical training) program for this year quite a bit. I'm hoping that will carry me through. I kind of feel more comfortable on the bikes, both the machines now. So I think I'm going to save a little energy just being more comfortable and not having to try as hard.<BR><BR>"But definitely, like Mat (Mladin), Nicky (Hayden) and Eric (Bostrom) who are only riding Superbikes, they are the three main guys that are going to be the toughest to beat this year. It kind of goes both ways, though. <BR><BR>"Sometimes it's a bit of an advantage being out on the 600. But at places like Sears Point and Mid-Ohio, places that are non-stop, then I think it's a big disadvantage to ride the 600. It's just something I have to do, and to be honest, I would really, really love to win both. I don't know if anyone has ever won both, but that would be pretty awesome for myself and Yamaha."<BR><BR>Although riders have won multiple AMA Championships in the same season before, winning both the AMA Superbike and 600cc Supersport Championships in the same season has only been done once in AMA history. Honda's Miguel Duhamel accomplished the feat in 1995. <BR>