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May 3, 2002

News And Notes From Thursday At Sears Point Raceway

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

By David Swarts

As lucky privateers enjoyed a rare promoter practice Thursday, May 2 prior to the beginning of the AMA National weekend at Sears Point Raceway, news was to be found under nearly every team's canopy in the paddock.

The Corona Extra Suzuki management was very active on Thursday trying to prepare for the absence of two of their three riders. As reported on earlier in the week, Steve Rapp was hospitalized with injuries sustained in a motocross crash April 30. According to Rapp Crew Chief Jeremy Daniel, Rapp was released from the hospital Wednesday but was looking toward having surgery to plate his broken collar bone Thursday, and having his broken rib/ribs and lung injury further evaluated by doctors, in an attempt to ride at least his Formula Xtreme bike at Sears Point. In the event that Rapp will not be able to ride, the Corona Extra Suzuki team has flown in Katja Poensgen to ride but the team hasn't stated which bike the female German racer will ride.

Corona Extra's other Formula Xtreme/Superstock rider, Jordan Szoke, was detained by U.S. immigration officials at the border between the United States and Szoke's home country of Canada Thursday. The Corona team had no details about Szoke's detention.

Corona Extra Suzuki's Tim Saunders did say that they had brought in California young gun Jason Perez, age 17, to ride Rapp's Supersport Suzuki and Szoke's Superstock GSX-R750. Reigning AMA 750cc Supersport Champion Jimmy Moore is at Sears Point, is healthy and rode during Thursday practice.

Marty Craggill, Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's replacement for injured rider Josh Hayes, spent Thursday practice knocking the rust off, after not having ridden a road racer since the final round of the 2001 World Superbike Championship at Imola, battling jet lag and reacquainting himself with Michelin tires. When asked for his first impressions, Craggill said that he was pleased with the team and the Suzuki GSX-R1000 Formula Xtreme bike, and added that he loved the Michelin slicks.

Erion Honda's Roger Lee Hayden will not race at Sears Point and will be replaced by Canadian teenager, Andrew Nelson. According to Erion Crew Chief Rick Hobbs, Hayden injured his knee in a high-speed crash in the Formula Xtreme race at Fontana, thought that the injury had healed, then damaged the knee further while training in the gym prior to coming to Sears Point. Hobbs added that Hayden was planning on getting an orthroscopic examination by Dr. Arthur Ting Thursday.

Another Dr. Ting patient, Arclight Suzuki's Craig Connell, will also sit out the Sears Point national. Less than two weeks ago, Connell had surgery to remove a metal plate from the left shoulder he injured in a Formula USA race crash at Portland in 2001. Connell plans to ride again at the AMA National at Road Atlanta in two weeks. Arclight will field Dave Stanton on a GSX-R1000 on Pirelli slicks in Formula Xtreme.

Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati Racing crew members have finished updating their 2001 Ducati 996RS racebikes to 2002 Ducati 998RS Testastretta specification, with the exception of radial-mount front brake calipers. The team stopped at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Arizona, on the trip to Sears Point, to break the new engines in and shake the bikes down. Meanwhile, HMC Ducati has added PVM forged aluminum wheels to its Ducati 998RS Testastrettas.

In other Ducati news, Munroe Motors has put together a Ducati 998S for 2001 AMA Pro Thunder Champion, and Sears Point specialist, Tom Montano to ride in the Superbike double-header this weekend. Montano will also ride the bike in the AMA Superbike race at Laguna Seca.

Crashers Thursday included Jason DiSalvo, on his Team America Grand Prix Racing Honda RS250, and Blackfoot Motorsports' Clint McBain, on his Canadian Superbike-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000. McBain put the much-talked-about runoff area in turn one to the test with a lowside crash and came away uninjured.

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