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Jan 14, 2002

Nicky Hayden Fastest On Day One Of California Speedway Test

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>American Honda's Nicky Hayden was the fastest rider after the first day of factory team testing at California Speedway in Fontana, California on Monday. Hayden turned a 1:29.1 on his team's watches, and did the time with a Dunlop race tire on the same 2002 Honda RC51 that he used to set fastest time during the Dunlop tire tests at Daytona International Speedway in December.<BR><BR>"It's an easy track to learn because it's flat," said Hayden when asked about his early success at the AMA's newest venue. "There's not a bunch of blind stuff to get used to. Sometimes it takes me a little too long to learn a new track. So I was pretty happy that I got going pretty fast. I got a lot of laps in, I got 87 laps in today."<BR><BR>Reaction to the new track among the riders at the test was favorable for the most part--except for dirt on the racing surface--but riders definitely had parts that they did not like.<BR><BR>"Overall, I like it," said Hayden, when asked for his opinion of the new track. "I mean, turn one is not my favorite. It's a little shaky with the cones down there. I caught my knee on one. Other than that, the infield's not real technical. There's not a whole lot to it. It's real flat and all. I like the track. I think it's good for an infield road course inside a speedway. There's a lot to work with. There's a lot of corners. It seems safe. It's good especially because it's right here; Southern California is such a good location. The facility is tight, too."<BR><BR>Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts set the second-fastest time of the test with a 1:30.0 despite the fact that his day ended with a crash at the entrance of turn two and his 2001 Honda RC51 hit a concrete wall. "I must have hit something, a transition or a seam or something," said Roberts immediately after his fall. "I was in there on the brakes and (the front) just went away. I'm fine. I just slid for a while."<BR><BR>Roberts' new leathers looked as if they had gone through a meat grinder after his long slide on California Speedway's asphalt apron. Roberts' crew spent the rest of the afternoon building a new Superbike for Roberts to use Tuesday.<BR><BR>HMC Ducati's Pascal Picotte recorded the third-fastest time at 1:30.3 just before the day ended on his 2002 Ducati 998RS. HMC's problem with fuel mapping was quickly sorted by Ducati Corse Race Engineer Roberto Bonazzi by using AMA-legal 54mm throttle bodies instead of the World Superbike-spec 60mm throttle bodies that the 2002 Ducati 998RS come with. Despite clocking the third-fastest time, Picotte said that he was having trouble with a lack of front-end feedback.<BR><BR>Erion Honda's Roger Lee Hayden and Mike Hale posted the two fastest Formula Xtreme lap times of the day; Hayden on a 2001 Honda CBR929RR-based machine and Hale on a 2002 Honda CBR954RR-based racebike. Hale said that he couldn't really compare the old and new Formula Xtreme Hondas without riding them back-to-back. <BR><BR>The Bruce Transportation Group duo of Jake Zemke and Alex Gobert spent the day getting used to a new track and a new crew. Both Zemke and Gobert had different mechanics than they had at the Daytona tire test. In addition, Gobert flew in from Australia Monday morning, arriving at Los Angeles International Airport at 7:00 a.m. Monday Pacific Time and taking a limo to the track with a side trip through a Burger King drive-thru. Gobert said that after a couple of days of flight mix-ups, he left Australia at lunch time Monday Australia time before the 13-hour flight.<BR><BR>Unofficial Lap Times From Monday:<BR><BR>Superbike:<BR>Nicky Hayden, Honda RC51, 1:29.1<BR>Kurtis Roberts, Honda RC51, 1:30.0<BR>Pascal Picotte, Ducati 998RS, 1:30.3<BR>Miguel Duhamel, Honda RC51, 1:30.7<BR>Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:31.7<BR><BR><BR>Formula Xtreme:<BR>Roger Lee Hayden, Honda CBR929RR, 1:31.8<BR>Mike Hale, Honda CBR929RR, 1:32.2<BR>Alex Gobert, Honda CBR929RR, 1:33.6<BR>Jake Zemke, Honda CBR929RR, no time due to bike problems<BR><BR><BR>600cc Supersport:<BR>Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:33.0<BR>Mike Hale, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:34.1<BR>Roger Lee Hayden, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:34.1<BR>Jake Zemke, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:34.36<BR>Tony Meiring, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:35.1<BR>Alex Gobert, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:36.1