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Jul 2, 2002

Race Team Versions Of Reality From Brainerd...

From a press release issued by Eric Bostrom's publicist:<BR><BR>Seventh Podium for EB<BR><BR>Finishing on the podium for the seventh time this season, as usual Eric Bostrom gave the 1000cc twins all they could handle at Brainerd this weekend, finishing a scant .188 behind Nicky Hayden, but over 9 seconds ahead of Doug Chandler and his factory Ducati.<BR><BR>"Obviously I was disappointed, but I knew going in that it was going to be an uphill battle, because of the nature of the track and the mile-long straightaway. I managed to get my third pole (position) in a row, and got off to a great start, but by the time we hit the end of the straightaway and threw it into turn one, I went straight to the back and was looking at sixth. And that was even in Nicky's draft! It's unfortunate that I wasn't able to get to the front fast enough, had I been able to I would have tried to break away earlier, while the tires were still fresh. When I finally made it to the front and tried to make a little bit of a break, Nick did a good job of following me. But at the end, it was just too much. The tires were too slippery and I had trouble maintaining the pace. I kept trying hard after he passed me, and we were seesawing a bit. I'd catch him in the infield, he'd make it up on the long straight. And at the end there, I got killed lapping the <BR>traffic. It cost me a second and although I was able to make up most of it back up in the infield, I wasn't able to make a pass on him in the last lap. Going into the last turn, I was either going to shut my eyes and make a bonzai pass or wait until Laguna for my revenge."<BR><BR>With only two weeks until Laguna, Eric is feeling confident about winning at his favorite track in AMA Superbike and making things interesting in the WSB race, as well. Interestingly, it looks as if Eric will face some of the same AMA racers in Sunday's WSB races, as wild cards. "I think Nicky will do well at Laguna (in WSB). But, honestly, I'd be surprised if any of the domestic guys, including myself, get top five. That's not lowering expectations, it's just reality. I'm looking forward to it, don't get me wrong, and my Kawasaki is definitely better this year, but I have to be realistic. There hasn't been one four cylinder on the podium yet this year. Not one! Laguna is a good track for me to try and become the first."<BR><BR>And with only three rounds (5 races) remaining, and with this being the final year of his Kawasaki contract, Eric realizes that people are already beginning to talk about next year. "My goal this year was to do the best I possibly could to win this AMA Championship. Although we're currently 2nd, it's been tough. As a team, we didn't really gel as quickly as we might have. Now, we're really getting on well and also working well together and that has made a big difference. But as far as next year goes, I'd like to compete in a World Championship and, of course, on a championship-winning bike. I believe I can win championships, as I'm really riding well at the moment. I'm certainly up to the challenge."<BR><BR>But which World Championship? Superbike or motoGP? "I don't really have a preference at the moment. Both are great series. Maybe one will be a stepping stone to the other. But I'd be pretty happy to be in either one."<BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Austin Bleu Bayou Ducati:<BR><BR>Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati Brainerd AMA Superbike Report<BR><BR>Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati rider Pascal Picotte finished seventh in Sunday's Chevy Trucks US Superbike event at Brainerd, Minnesota. Picotte and the Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati team fought through a difficult weekend to consolidate his fifth place in the championship for the Canadian rider. Honda's Nicky Hayden won the 21 lap event, held in hot and sunny conditions on the 3.0 mile, ten turn Brainerd circuit.<BR><BR>Pascal faced a cracked exhaust and a tire issue in the race that slowed him from the lead pack. "My team worked really hard. I can't believe how hard they worked this weekend," Picotte said. "We had some problems here at Brainerd and they worked very late all three days. They pretty much didn't even have time to even eat but they never gave up. Today, it was my job not to give up out there and do the best to get the best finish we could get. I don't think it was that great because my guys deserve better than seventh, but it was good to make it to the finish line."<BR><BR>The team was met with an unfortunate supplier problem at Brainerd, yet it is expected the situation will be rectified by the next race at Laguna Seca in two weeks.<BR><BR>Pascal believes the Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati can improve at Laguna, as the team continues to learn about Michelin tires and Ducati Superbikes after the project began this spring after Daytona. "One thing about Laguna is that the World guys go there, so Michelin has some experience there and I think we will be in better shape," Picotte said.<BR><BR><BR>More, from a Honda press release:<BR><BR>American Honda's Nicky Hayden won his seventh AMA Superbike race of the season, this one a thrilling affair on a sweltering day at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota. Teammate Miguel DuHamel was fourth, with Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts, in his first race since Daytona in March, fifth after leading early in the race.<BR><BR>"Definitely, it's nice to get a win," Hayden, 22, of Owensboro, Kentucky, said. "Kind of needed that. You get used to that. Starting to lose isn't fun." The win allowed him to stretch his championship points lead to 42 points, 349 to 307, over Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom, a close second today. DuHamel, who won the previous two Superbike races, moves to third in points with his fourth place finish today. Hayden led the first lap, then Roberts took over, something of a surprise. He'd been out of racing for three months, since injuring his right leg in a practice crash at California Motor Speedway in April. The leg didn't bother him in the early going and he and Hayden swapped the lead on the high-speed three-mile course for the first seven laps. Then Bostrom came by, controlling the pace until Hayden made his move on the 17th of 21 laps. Using the power of the Honda RC-51, Hayden moved past on the kilometer long straight to take a lead he would never cede. Bostrom came at him in the final corner, but Hayden was resolute, wining by 0.188 seconds. Then came Bostrom, with former GP rider Doug Chandler third on the Ducati after passing DuHamel and Roberts two laps from the end.<BR><BR>Nicky Hayden, First Place<BR>"When Eric (Bostrom) came by I knew he was going to drop the hammer and go for it. Right there, kind of midway when he was setting the pace, I was just holding on but I couldn't charge on him or nothing. Then a few more laps went by and I started getting more comfortable, maybe both our tires got greasier. As the race went on I felt better and better and more comfortable. Just one of those deals that it worked out really good at the end. I was able to get a win. It was really nice. It was an awesome weekend right from the start. Me and my bros and my parents and some friends of ours, we chartered a plane up here and we stayed right here at the track condos so in the morning I'd be watching the 600 practice brushing my teeth."<BR><BR>Miguel DuHamel, Fourth Place<BR>"On the third lap going into turn one (at over 150 mph) I lost the front end pretty bad, like I almost got off the bike. Probably for a lot of guys the same thing happened. For me, since we did a little change to the front end of the bike, it kind of spooked me pretty good. I just was not comfortable hanging it out with those guys. That pace was about as quick as I wanted to go and when Eric (Bostrom) took the lead he took it up a notch and that's when they split from me. Then after that it was just really trying to keep those guys behind me, Kurtis (Roberts) and Doug (Chandler). Like I said, with the set-up change I just couldn't get my lines. And here if you're a little bit off line you're on the tar patches. I'm pretty happy I didn't put it on the ground. I had a couple of big moments here and there."<BR><BR>Kurtis Roberts, Fifth Place<BR>"Going in, with the heat the humidity and not being on a bike for three months I was a little skeptical of the physical aspect of it. Mentally, it was tough. Right after Eric (Bostrom) got around me I started missing some shifts and backshifts and it started playing with my head and it just slowly went downhill from there. Kind of not being around, I thought it was worse than it was. You're all frustrated. Saw Miguel (DuHamel) get around me and pull away and tried to catch back up. Caught back up to him and got<BR>screwed by some lapper and Doug (Chandler) got around me when I was in third and kind of put his head down and didn't even drag my leg the last two laps. It was done. Right handers, if it hit the ground the last two laps it felt it. I kept it up the last two laps and it was sore."<BR><BR>Honda was equally successful in the ultra-competitive Pro Honda Oils 600cc Supersport class. The lead changed hands three times on the final with Bruce Transportation Group's Jake Zemke taking it for the final time and holding off a persistent Tommy Hayden to win his first Supersport race by 0.243 seconds and give Honda their second win in a row at Brainerd International Raceway. "I'm so happy," Zemke said after giving Honda their first win since Miguel DuHamel won here last year. "I've never been on a 600 podium before and for the first one to be a win that's incredible."<BR><BR>In the Formula Xtreme class, Zemke moved into second the championship point standings, just three points out of first, after a shadow second to Marty Craggill (Suzuki). Starting from the pole, Zemke led the most laps, but came up 0.202 short at the checkered flag. The stifling Midwestern heat was a contributing factor. "The pace definitely dropped, but I think it hurt me worse than anybody," Zemke said. "Off the time charts all weekend it seemed like I had maybe half a second on everybody in every session."<BR><BR><BR>From a press release issued by Valvoline EMGO Suzuki:<BR><BR>Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Marty Craggill fought off the pain from a broken left foot and came from behind to win the AMA Formula Xtreme race at Brainerd International Raceway, averaging 107.938 mph in the 13-lap, 39-mile race.<BR><BR>Craggill, who broke his foot during practice at Road America three weeks ago, rebroke bones in the foot during the race, when he saved a near-highside but in the process slammed the top of the injured foot against the footpeg.<BR><BR>Iron man Craggill took a few laps to overcome the pain, took a deep breath and went back on the charge, running down and working his way through the lead group. Craggill took the lead three laps from the finish; when he was passed twice, Craggill immediately retook the lead, and held off his pursuers to win by 0.202-second.<BR><BR>It was a great turnaround for the team, which embarked on a rush development program to find more speed after its bikes proved too slow at Road Atlanta, three races ago.<BR><BR>At Brainerd, Craggill was caught on radar at 184 mph, and after the race his competitors commented on the speed of his Valvoline EMGO Suzuki GSX-R1000.<BR><BR>Craggill's teammate Tom Kipp ran with the lead group early on but DNF with a mechanical problem. Josh Hayes, making his return to racing after three months recovering from a hand injury, finished 7th on his GSX-R1000, running a 2001-spec engine.<BR><BR>In the AMA Superstock race at Brainerd, Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Chris Ulrich crashed out, without injury.<BR><BR>In the AMA Supersport race at Brainerd, Kipp finished 9th on his Suzuki GSX-R600, and is a solid 5th in series points.