Dec 11, 2001
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>American Honda's Nicky Hayden and Yoshimura Suzuki's Jamie Hacking were the fastest on Superbikes and 600cc Supersport machines, repectively, at the Dunlop tire test at Daytona International Speedway Tuesday.<BR><BR>Hayden came out of the gate fast, recording a 1:50.754 on his first flying lap of the day on the 2002-model Honda RC51. Then, in the closing moments of track time, Hayden got a fresh rear race tire and ended the day by going even faster, turning a 1:49.946.<BR><BR>"It doesn't really count for anything until March, but anytime you're the quickest it feels good," said Hayden afterwards. "There at the end of the day track conditions were just right for us. I put on a new tire. It was definitely a race tire, but I was working it, though. The new bike is good. Not one thing in particular stands out about it, but it's obviously faster."<BR><BR>Word of Hayden doing 186 mph through the tri-oval on the new Honda quickly went through the pits.<BR><BR>Yamaha's Anthony Gobert was the quickest through most of the day with a best lap at 1:50.097 on his 2001 YZF-R7 with a race tire, turned during a stint of five laps in the 1:50 range. Neither Gobert nor his crew were concerned with Hayden's fast lap. "Let us know when he does five of them," said Gobert's lead mechanic, Tony Romo. Gobert also added that his 2002 bike would be built in the coming months.<BR><BR>HMC Ducati's Pascal Picotte continued to make progress on his 2002 Ducati 998 through the day. After sorting out a problem with fuel-injection mapping and running through Dunlop's selection of test tires, Picotte lapped at 1:50.274 on a race tire. Some other racers said they were sure that Picotte used a qualifier, to which the 1994 Daytona pole-sitter replied, "Let them think we're on a qualifier. Watch, I'll qualify at a 1:48 in March." Picotte testified that Hayden was also on a race tire, saying, "It wasn't a qualifier. Nicky was sideways everywhere!"<BR><BR>Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin spent the morning going through new parts, the afternoon testing tires and ended up fourth-fastest with a 1:50.721 on a race tire. "We're just meddling through some things right now," said Mladin mechanic Reg O'Rourke.<BR><BR>After the entire day's 600cc Supersport times were combined, Hacking left the track with the fastest lap, a 1:54.432. Of the competitors who ran both a Superbike and a 600cc Supersport bike, Hacking spent the most time on his 600, touching his Superbike for the first time at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon. <BR><BR>"Everything's going pretty good," said Hacking. "We just kind of eased into it yesterday. Tomorrow we're only gonna be running the Superbike."<BR><BR>Times on the 600cc machines were largely dependent on whether a rider ran alone or worked the draft with other racers.<BR><BR>Miguel Duhamel was the only crasher of the afternoon and was quoted by Nicky Hayden as saying "It was just a nothing, little lowside, real slow in turn one." Duhamel and his Honda RC51 suffered little if any damage, and Duhamel returned to the track on his CBR600F4i later in the day.<BR><BR>Wednesday marks the third and final day of the tire test. Superbike riders are expected to continue to test tires through the morning before putting on softer rubber and going for fastest-lap honors later. Dunlop's Jim Allen said that he would hold a meeting Tuesday night to decide how to handle distribution of the qualifing tires. Wednesday's forecast calls for more perfect weather and more fast laps at Daytona.<BR><BR>Tuesday's Unofficial Best Lap Times:<BR>1. Nicky Hayden, Honda RC51, 1:49.946<BR>2. Anthony Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R7, 1:50.097<BR>3. Pascal Picotte, Ducati 998, 1:50.274<BR>4. Mat Mladin, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:50.721<BR>5. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:51.081<BR>6. Kurtis Roberts, Honda RC51, 1:51.228<BR>7. Miguel Duhamel, Honda RC51, 1:52.489<BR>8. Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:52.633<BR>9. Jamie Hacking, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:53.237<BR>10. Shawn Higbee, Suzuki GSX-R750 (F-USA spec), 1:53.828*<BR>11. Mike Hale, Honda CBR929RR, 1:53.124<BR>12. Jamie Hacking, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:54.432<BR>13. Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:54.741<BR>14. Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:54.799<BR>15. Miguel Duhamel, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:54.824<BR>16. Anthony Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:54.892<BR>17. Jake Zemke, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:55.018<BR>18. Aaron Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:55.223<BR>19. Damon Buckmaster, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:55.392<BR>20. Mike Hale, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:55.566<BR>21. Roger Lee Hayden, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:55.655<BR>22. Alex Gobert, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:56.848<BR>23. Tripp Nobles, Buell Firebolt XB9R (Pro Thunder), 1:59.340<BR>24. Tripp Nobles, Buell Firebolt XB9R (Lightning Series), 2:06.825<BR><BR>