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Jul 31, 2007

Roger Hayden Leads AMA Supersport Championship Heading Into Mid-Ohio

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 31, 2007) Roger Hayden comes into the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, Aug. 5, back atop the series standings for the first time since March.

Hayden won the opening round of the series at Daytona International Speedway, but lost the lead to Erion Honda's Josh Hayes at round two. During the last three rounds Hayden started chipping away at Hayes' lead, then at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca two weeks ago, Hayes and Hayden touched going through a turn leaving Hayes crashed on the side of the track. It was a dramatic turn of events not only for the Laguna Seca race, but for the championship.

Hayden went on to victory, his second of the season, with a last turn pass on Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin. The win put Hayden back in the series lead, while Hayes dropped from first to third, 29 points behind Hayden with four rounds remaining. Hayden's Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Jamie Hacking moved to second, 13 points back.

"I told my team if we were going to win this championship it was time to start winning races," Hayden said after his victory at Laguna Seca. "I'm really excited. This has been our goal all season, to be in a position to fight for this title. There's still a lot of work to do this season, a lot of races yet to go."

Hayden comes to the race this weekend with the confidence of knowing that he's won three of the last four Mid-Ohio Supersport races. He's looking to earn his first AMA road racing championship this season after being a perennial frontrunner in Supersport.

Hacking comes into Mid-Ohio following a disappointing race at Laguna Seca where he finished fourth, but remains optimistic coming into this weekends race.

"I didn't have the greatest race at Laguna," Hacking admitted. "We had some issue with the front tire there, but I can't get down too much. Everyone knows we were 30 points down in the championship at one point and now we're just 13 points out of the lead. It's definitely going to be between me and Rog and it's going down to the end. We just need to go to Mid-Ohio and regroup and hopefully get back to the front."

Hacking is the defending and two-time Pro Honda Oils Supersport Champion.

Hayes was incredibly diplomatic after contact with rival Hayden caused him to go down and lose the series lead at Laguna.

"I think he was probably just in there a little deep and he just hacked the throttle a little bit one time and when he did, I don't know if it was his footpeg or toe or whatever, just kind of grabbed my elbow and pushed the bars out from under me," Hayes explained.

While Hayes' title hopes took a major hit (falling behind Kawasaki teammates Hayden and Hacking 185 to their 214 and 201, respectively), he was fine physically after the crash.

"Not a scratch, not a bruise, fortunately. The bike actually looked pretty bad. Both handlebars were broke off of it so I couldn't even pick it up. It's just such a bummer. You do a lot of work and we've got four races to go and this happens."

Hayes said of his late-season approach in consideration of the sudden points deficit he's faced with, "Right now I'm just mad; I want to go racing again. I want to go back there and get another shot at it. Same thing as we always do, I'm going to go out there and try to win every single race, ride the best that I can, and this might be the motivation that I needed to get my head back in the game better than I have been mid-season."

Hayes is seeking his first Mid-Ohio Supersport victory.

Both Josh Herrin and Steve Rapp proved that they could be factors at Mid-Ohio by turning in great performances at Laguna Seca. Herrin led the entire race until he was passed by Hayden on the final turn. Rapp, of Attack Kawasaki, scored his second podium of the season in Monterey and is building back his confidence coming into Mid-Ohio.

Round eight of the 11-race Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets is part of Mid-Ohio's Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire, and will receive same-day coverage on SPEED beginning at 5:00 pm Eastern.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 1-800-MID-OHIO or go online at www.midohio.com.

About AMA Racing

AMA Racing is the competition arm of the American Motorcyclist Association and is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its professional properties include the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship, the AMA Supermoto Championship and the AMA Pro ATV Championship. In amateur and pro-am competition, AMA Racing sanctions over 4000 events in 24 different disciplines and supports over 110 thousand active members. For more information about professional racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.
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