© 2017, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by David Swarts
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
By David Swarts
In the best weather conditions ever at the winter Dunlop tire tests, American Honda's Nicky Hayden turned a 1:48.141 on one of Dunlop's new qualifying tires for the fastest lap time of the three-day test at Daytona International Speedway. As recent as March 2001, AMA Superbike racers had to baby Dunlop qualifying tires to survive one flying lap at the legendary 3.56-mile racetrack, but a new, more durable qualifier allowed Hayden to turn a 1:48.701 on his first lap and the 1:48.141 on his second circuit of the track.
The official track record for Daytona stands at 1:48.424 set by Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin earlier this year in qualifying for the 2001 edition of the Daytona 200 by Arai. Track records are only recognized by the AMA when they occur in official timed qualifying for an AMA race.
"I wish it was March for sure, but that's the way it goes," said Hayden at the end of the three-day test. "I know it's still early and we have a lot of time to go, but anytime you're quickest that's good. And to get down below a track record is awesome. That lap felt really good, really clean. I'm happy."
Anthony Gobert was the fastest to circulate the high banks of Daytona with a 1:48.428 on the new qualifying tire early in the afternoon before Hayden put his best lap in toward the end of the day.
None of the three Yoshimura Superbike riders (Mat Mladin, Aaron Yates, Jamie Hacking) deviated from their testing schedule to go for quick laps on sticky tires. "Qualifying is in March," said Mladin.
The track was shut down for approximately 30 minutes in the middle of the afternoon session when the 2002 Honda RC51 had a problem going down the back straightaway with Miguel Duhamel at the controls and put oil on the track. The fluid was cleaned off the surface well enough for lap times to continue to fall after the incident. Duhamel did not fall when the bike broke, and the '02 RC51 returned to the track later in the day so that Kurtis Roberts could take a few laps on the new bike.
Yates left Daytona with the quickest lap on a 600cc Supersport bike with the 1:53.970 on Dunlop's new 240-compound D208GP rear race tire Wednesday morning.
Unofficial Lap Times From Wednesday Afternoon:
1. Nicky Hayden, Honda RC51, 1:48.141
2. Anthony Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R7, 1:48.428
3. Kurtis Roberts, Honda RC51, 1:49.152
4. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:50.009
5. Pascal Picotte, Ducati 998, 1:50.235
6. Mat Mladin, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:50.629
7. Miguel Duhamel, Honda RC51, 1:50.893
8. Jamie Hacking, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:51.603
9. Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:51.731
10. Shawn Higbee, Suzuki GSX-R750 (F-USA spec), 1:53.241
11. Roger Lee Hayden, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:53.487*
12. Aaron Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:54.258
13. Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:54.335
14. Nicky Hayden, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:54.405
15. Miguel Duhamel, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:54.609
16. Mike Hale, Honda CBR929RR, 1:54.821
17. Damon Buckmaster, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:54.933
18. Kurtis Roberts, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:56.220
19. Alex Gobert, Honda CBR600F4i, 1:56.518
20. Tripp Nobles, Buell Firebolt XB9R, 2:00.261
21. Dave Estok, Buell Firebolt XB9R, 2:01.998
*Cut chicane on fastest lap.