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Aug 29, 2001

Post-race Press Releases From Pikes Peak Cite Tires As Major Influence On Results

From Ducati's release, Steve Rapp liking his tires and Larry Pegram not liking his:

HMC Ducati Rider, Steve Rapp, had his best finish of the season at Pikes Peak International Raceway, getting the best of a three-bike battle to finish fifth. The Californian stormed through the field after a bad start left him in eleventh, then spent many laps battling Jamie Hacking for sixth place. On the last lap Rapp passed the Suzuki rider and Kurtis Roberts to take fifth. Larry Pegram suffered tire problems and finished 11th while Andy Meklau failed to find the right set-up and finished 13th.

Steve Rapp - 5th
HMC Ducati's Steve Rapp made some big steps in bike development during testing three weeks ago, setting him up for today's well deserved fifth place. From day one of the Pikes Peak meeting, he did nothing but improve, holding the fastest lap for a period in each qualifying session and lapping consistently for the entire race at lap times equivalent to the lead riders.

"I didn't know if I'd make it," said Rapp referring to his sensational last lap overtaking move. "I was watching the pit board carefully and I knew if I was going to get another place it would come right down to the wire. Luckily I got a good drive out of turn three and passed both Hacking and Roberts. The new race 501 tire helped a lot - it was definitely the best we've run all season. The start wasn't what I'd hoped for though. The gearing we chose for the race wasn't the best for a good start and it took a while to get going. Traffic slowed me up for the first part but once I got clear I was lapping at the same times as the front runners. This race has been a big improvement."

Larry Pegram - 11th
Tire choice is an important factor at Pikes Peak, as Competition Accessories Ducati rider, Larry Pegram, knows all too well. Limited tire stock meant Pegram missed out on the tire he would have chosen for the 48-lap race and the Ducati rider struggled to find the traction he needed.

"If we had the right tire we'd have had a much better chance," said Pegram, who won the 600 Super Sport race here in '98. "I just couldn't find the grip I needed and it slowed me down a lot. I also hit a cone, midway through the race, and I thought the impact had broken my leg at first, but it's only bruised and sore."

Andreas Meklau - 13th
HMC Ducati rider, Andy Meklau, worked through the weekend to find the right amount of grip for the tight confines of Pikes Peak Raceway. The team had found a good front end setting to suit the Austrian rider, but had difficulties getting a rear end set-up to give him the right amount of grip.

"The set-up that worked so well in Virginia just didn't work here," said Meklau. "I couldn't find grip in the rear and had the tire spinning through a lot of the corners. It must have been a sight for the spectators. The team did the best they could to get the bike right, but this track has been difficult for me. I've never ridden such a small racetrack. It's definitely not what I'm used to.

Pro Thunder

AMS Ducati rider, Jeff Nash, won the two-part Pro Thunder race this afternoon, bringing his 748RS home for his second victory of the season. Nash was running a strong third, with fellow Ducati rider, Tom Montano, in second, when the race was red flagged and restarted. Both Ducati riders suffered on the restart - Nash was blocked in by other riders and Montano suffered a broken shift spring - but Nash was quick to regain his lost places and take the lead in lap 20 and Montano battled on to take sixth place. The duo is still sitting first and second in the overall Championship points tally, Montano leading Nash by 24 points.

Jeff Nash - 1st
Definitely the fastest man all weekend, Jeff Nash was confident of a win today. A crash in round three, that left him with a broken hand, was a setback for the reigning Champion, but this weekend has shown he's back for the fight.

"It's good to be healthy again after riding with a broken hand for three races," said Nash. "I was out to win today. Nothing else was good enough. I pushed a bit too hard in the first part of the race and caused my bike to heat, and I was trying to preserve the engine when the red flag came out. The second start was not quite as good as the first, but it wasn't hard to make up the lost places. I'm really happy with the lap times we were running."

More, from a release issued by Steve Reeves, Mat Mladin's publicist:

Fountain, Colorado, USA - After leading the early stages in today's 8-lap AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship race, Australian Mat Mladin slipped back to finish fourth after developing tire problems.

Today's race was won by American Honda's Nicky Hayden, but more importantly to Mladin his Championship rival Eric Bostrom (Team Kawasaki)finished second, resulting in Mladin's overall championship points lead now being reduced to 15 with two rounds remaining.

The short and twisty 2.12km Pikes Peak International Raceway was always going to provide close racing after the top ten qualifiers posted times within a second of the time set by pole position winner Nicky Hayden. This was the first meeting this season that Mladin had not put his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750 on pole position, being relegated to second.

Hayden took today's race win by 1.055 seconds from Bostrom, with Doug Chandler (Team Kawasaki) third. Mladin finishing fourth, but not close enough to mount any challenges on the lead group.

Mladin had led the race until being passed by Hayden on lap eleven as the problems with drive began to appear. From that point he maintained a consistent pace, but was unable to mount any challenges.

"We battled with grip and drive from the rear all day today," said Mladin. "I did the best that I could to minimize the points situation. I didn't want to push it too hard and suffer a worse result as I was in a comfortable fourth and the championship is the most important thing. The tire problem is one that all three of our team riders suffered today. Aaron (Yates) and Jamie (Hacking) had the same problems as I did and we will be sitting down to do some serious talking as to how to overcome the problem."

Mladin and his Team Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Aaron Yates and Jamie Hacking will head to Willow Springs for a three-day test later this week, before they return to the same circuit on September 14 - 16 to compete in the penultimate round of this year's championship.

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