Feb 11, 2011
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by David Swarts
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Roger Hayden (54) in action on his National Guard Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Jennings GP.
Former AMA Superbike Champion Ben Bostrom unofficially lowered the track record at north Florida's Jennings GP track Wednesday, February 9, the middle day of a three-day (Feb. 8-10) test he shared with his teammate Roger Hayden and Vesrah Suzuki's Taylor Knapp and Corey Alexander.
Riding his GSX-R1000, Bostrom recorded a lap of 1:13.4 around the flowing 2.0-mile road course, eclipsing the unofficial lap record (1:13.72) he set during a test in December.
"I think it was all the Suzuki," Bostrom told Roadracingworld.com Friday, "because I don't think the rider got any better. I was planning on putting a fast lap in on Thursday and getting down into the 1:12s, but it rained in the morning and got real cold. But that's OK. We beat our time with the same amount of effort, so that's good."
Bostrom said cold temperatures forced the Jordan team to wait until mid-day to start testing on the first two days, and rain and even colder conditions limited them to only two hours of track time on the final day. But in spite of the short days, he was satisfied with what he and his team accomplished during the test.
"You always want to do more, but I think we got a lot of stuff done," said Bostrom. "I'm so happy with what we've come up with. The bike is becoming so friendly and so balanced. I can just ride it forever and keep going faster and faster. I left with a big smile on my face. I wanted to get more accomplished, but I can't complain. The team is great, and the machine is stellar. I think we have a really competitive bike and team, so we should have the best shot we've had at the title in a long time."
Hayden was not immediately available for comment, but according to Technical Manager Richie Alexander his best lap time on his National Guard Suzuki GSX-R1000 was a 1:14.1, which was quicker than the 1:14.72 he did at the track in December.
Vesrah Suzuki planned on Knapp and Cory West sharing the team's one and only 2011-model GSX-R600 at the Dunlop/AMA Pro Racing tire test at Daytona International Speedway in January, but when rain cut that test down to just one session for Daytona SportBike riders, Knapp did not get a chance to ride the new bike.
As a result, the test at Jennings GP was scheduled to rectify that situation, and Knapp happily reported that the new GSX-R600 was a step up from the 2009-model he rode last month at Daytona.
"The new bike does everything a little bit better," said Knapp. "I really like the bike a lot, and the team is great."
AMA SuperSport competitor Alexander tested on a GSX-R600K9 but will start the season on a 2011 GSX-R600, according to Vesrah Suzuki team owner Mark Junge. Junge also said his 2011 GSX-R600 already makes five more peak horsepower than the well-developed GSX-R600K9 his riders raced last season.