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Jan 15, 2002

Nicky Hayden Continues To Lead The Way At Fontana Test

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>On a cold, overcast morning at Fontana, American Honda's Nicky Hayden continued to be the fastest rider during AMA Superbike tests at California Speedway in Fontana, California, while brother Tommy Hayden leads the 600cc Supersport riders.<BR><BR>With temperatures hovering near 50 degrees Fahrenheit, Nicky Hayden recorded the fastest time of Tuesday morning with a 1:29.9 on a 2001 Honda RC51. Hayden went quicker on the 2002-model RC51 at Fontana on Monday, January 14 with a 1:29.1, but his fast time from Tuesday came while testing a new set of leathers that contained a drinking water container in the aerodynamic hump of the suit with a drinking tube leading up to his helmet. The system is being tested for the Daytona 200.<BR><BR>Kurtis Roberts is spending the final day of the two-day Fontana test riding the 2002-model RC51 Superbike. The bike is actually a hybrid with a 2002 chassis and a 2001 engine equipped with a new, single-canister exhaust pipe. The bike was fitted with a prototype 2002-spec motor at Daytona.<BR><BR>Honda team members are still tight-lipped about the differences between the new chassis other than to say it has new forks, but it is believed that the 2002 Honda RC51 has a revised engine position resulting in better handling and traction over the old bike.<BR><BR>According to data acquisition systems, the Superbike riders are reaching speeds of over 170 mph on Fontana's long front straight and are using all six gears around the track. In fact, most of the 600cc Supersport competitors are also reporting that they are using all six gears at California Speedway.<BR><BR>Tommy Hayden's fastest 600cc Supersport time came just after 11:30 a.m. as lap times among 600cc riders began to quickly fall. Hayden attributed this to getting more comfortable with the track and dialing-in his gearing and set-up. Also, the infield's racing surface has progressively become cleaner as more laps are turned.<BR><BR>Erion Honda's Mike Hale and Roger Lee Hayden were also fast among the six 600cc riders present at the test. Hale was the first rider on the track this morning and paid for it. Hale stirred up a flock of birds that were feeding on grass seed in the infield. One of the birds flew in front of Hale at speed and hit the Texan's right hand. Hale was uninjured and did not lose control of his motorcycle.<BR><BR>Dunlop is expected to know today whether California Speedway will require a special Superbike/Formula Xtreme tire to be constructed for the AMA race in April. On Monday evening Dunlop National Road Race Manager Jim Allen said that he didn't think Fontana would require a special tire, but that he would know for sure today.<BR><BR>Unofficial Lap Times:<BR><BR><BR>Superbike:<BR>Nicky Hayden, 2001 Honda RC51, 1:29.5<BR>Kurtis Roberts, 2002 Honda RC51, 1:29.9<BR>Miguel Duhamel, 2001 Honda RC51, 1:30.2<BR>Pascal Picotte, 2002 Ducati 998RS, 1:30.8<BR>Eric Bostrom, 2002 Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:31.8<BR><BR><BR>600cc Supersport:<BR>Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:31.8<BR>Mike Hale, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:32.0<BR>Roger Lee Hayden, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:32.4<BR>Jake Zemke, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:33.1<BR>Alex Gobert, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:34.3<BR>Tony Meiring, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:34.4<BR><BR>No riders had taken Formula Xtreme bikes out as of post time.