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Jul 14, 2002

Team Press Releases From Saturday's Action At Laguna Seca

From a press release issued by HMC Ducati:<BR><BR>Two in a row for Chandler<BR><BR>HMC Ducati rider Doug Chandler came through the chaos of Laguna Seca's AMA Superbike race to claim his second podium in a row. After a difficult qualifying session the Californian triumphed; starting from eighth on the grid to finish third in a fast, furious race. Five laps in, the race was red flagged when Kurtis Roberts high sided taking out Jamie Hacking. The restart took Chandler up to fifth on the grid and an instant fourth place in Hacking's absence. Another crash, another restart. Chandler kept his fourth place until a smooth overtaking move on Aaron Yates, with six laps to go, elevated him to the podium.<BR><BR>The Salinas local has been fast in all AMA sessions bar qualifying, where a choice of new tires caused set-up problems and Chandler could do no better than eighth place. The problem was quickly resolved and Doug was back in the top three in morning practice. <BR><BR>"It was crazy with the two red flags," said a relieved Chandler, finally out of his leathers after four straight hours. "The first tire I liked but I wasn't going to risk going out a third time on it so I opted to put something else on. That one definitely got the job done but I wouldn't use it again. A lesson for tomorrow's race. <BR><BR>"Nicky and Eric seemed to have things just a little more sorted and they quickly dropped us. At one stage I was wondering if I‘d be good to the end but I regrouped and changed my riding style a little and my lap times started getting better. It got really crazy towards the end; I was doing everything I could just to keep the thing on two wheels. It was more of a survival race in this heat, you couldn't really charge at all."<BR><BR>World Superbike Qualifying<BR><BR>Doug Chandler qualified ninth in today's World Superbike qualifying session, the second fastest of the wildcard riders, but found Superpole a struggle, clocking a 1:26.406 to put him 13th on the grid.<BR><BR>"I couldn't get into it," he said simply. "I knew I was going to have a hard time going out there with a brand new qualifier without anytime on it. But it's a long race and we know we can do better times with the race tire."<BR><BR><BR>From a press release issued by Mat Mladin's publicist:<BR><BR>INJURY FORCES MLADIN TO RETIRE FROM AMA SUPERBIKE RACE AT LAGUNA SECA<BR><BR>Mat Mladin's inspired form at this weekend's combined American Superbike and World Superbike Championship round at Laguna Seca Raceway came to a momentary halt after a crash in the final World Superbike qualifying session forced him to retire from the AMA Superbike Championship race after just five laps.<BR><BR>His crash came just 45 minutes before the start of the AMA Superbike race and Mladin had to quickly make his way from the circuit Medical Centre and onto the grid for the start of the race.<BR><BR>The three-time American Superbike Champion suffered bruising to the back of both hands and abrasions to his right shoulder in the fall at the fast downhill right hand Turn Ten.<BR><BR>He took his position on the front row of the grid, but once the 28-lap race started, he slipped down the order and was lying in eighth place as the field crossed the line on lap five when officials brought out the red flag as a result of a multiple bike crash. He did not return to the track for the resumption of the race.<BR><BR>"I tried for a few laps out there, but my hands and head were aching," said Mladin. "I was dropping back through the field after a couple of laps and it wasn't really worth it for me out there in this condition."<BR><BR>As for the crash, Mladin was surprised as to how it happened. "I was surprised as I didn't think I was doing anything different. I was on my out lap with a qualifying tyre on and I guess that I didn't get the right side of the tyre hot enough. I slapped my hands down hard and landed hard on my shoulders as well. I've got practice and Superpole in a short while for the World Superbike event, so I'll rest up and see how it goes out there."<BR><BR>Today's AMA Superbike race was won by Eric Bostrom (Team Kawasaki) who held out championship points leader Nicky Hayden (American Honda) and Doug Chandler (HMC Ducati). The race was stopped on two separate occasions in the early laps, before Bostrom broke away to win by 9.798 seconds from Hayden.<BR><BR><BR>More, from World Superbike team HM Plant Ducati:<BR><BR>Hard work pays off for HM Plant Ducati <BR><BR>Neil Hodgson only narrowly missed out on his second pole position of the year at Laguna Seca Raceway in California. The HM Plant Ducati rider's time of 1:25.189 was just 0.3secs of that of home rider and pole sitter Colin Edwards. A rear wheel slide may have been the only thing that prevented the 28-year-old Englishman from heading up the grid. Hodgson's young team-mate James Toseland put in another determined Superpole performance aboard his spare bike to earn himself a ninth place start for Sunday's two Superbike races.<BR><BR>Hodgson had performed consistently well all day and was third fastest after regulation qualifying. Then, in a session that saw Laguna specialist Ben Bostrom, among others, crash out, his flying Superpole lap was effective enough to place him on the front row at a circuit that he loves and has performed well at in the past. <BR><BR>"It seems like all the hard work that the team has been putting in is beginning to pay off," said Hodgson. "I'm really pleased to have got second place on the grid and it's made all the sweeter by the fact that I'm also the first Ducati rider and the first Dunlop rider. The track had cooled a lot by the time I went out for Superpole and I'm not sure that the tyre I chose was the right one for the conditions. The rear got away from me a little on the way out of turn three and I had to back off a bit, which may have just cost me pole. At the end of the day it's not a problem because I'm still right at the front and ready to really go for it when the lights change." <BR><BR>James Toseland's 1:26.129 Superpole lap was enough to put him at the head of the third row. The 21-year-old Superbike star had been forced to resort to his back-up bike after a post-crash fire destroyed his first choice machine on Friday. As a direct consequence, Toseland had to use Saturday's qualifying time to perfect the set-up of his HM Plant Ducati rather than going for fast laps, but he made up the deficit admirably during Superpole.<BR><BR>"I'm a little disappointed not to have made it onto the front two rows but my Superpole lap was as good as any I've done all weekend and I've qualified better than some really fast guys who know this place like the back of their hand. I've been a little cautious during qualifying due to the fact that I've don't have a spare bike any more, but I'm well up for the races and know that a top six finish is well within my capabilities."<BR><BR><BR><BR>More, from Aprilia:<BR><BR>HAGA AND APRILIA MAKE FRONT ROW <BR><BR>Laguna Seca (United States), Saturday 13 July 2002 - Noriyuki Haga played a lead role in the final qualifying for the US Superbike GP at Laguna Seca. The Playstation2 - FGF Aprilia Team ace made fourth quickest time in the Superpole and will thus be starting from front row on the grid. <BR><BR>Nitro-Nori was timed at 1'25"429 but had actually done better in the free practice beforehand, when he achieved 1'25"234, with an "ideal time" (the sum of the best intermediates) of 1'24"969, using the same tyres he will be mounting for the two races tomorrow. All this would suggest that the Haga-Aprilia combination should be able to put up a great fight. It was on this track that the RSV was ridden to victory in 2000, while Haga has won twice. Meanwhile, the Japanese has sliced six tenths off the best time achieved by his predecessor Troy Corser last year. <BR><BR>NORIYUKI HAGA (Playstation2 - FGF Aprilia Team rider) - I'm happy, because we started out with a few problems but we've managed to improve with each session. I could have got an even better time in the Superpole, but unfortunately I made a slip halfway through the lap and lost at least a couple of tenths. I love Laguna Seca and I'm looking forward to two great races tomorrow." <BR><BR>GIACOMO GUIDOTTI (Technical Manager of the Playstation2 - FGF Aprilia Team) commented: "We're very pleased, because Haga was using race tyres and made a fantastic simulation, doing every lap under the threshold of 1'26", which means he was constantly below the circuit record set last year by Corser. <BR><BR>We got what we were aiming for: front row on the grid and really effective tyres. We'll be trying to get a bit better handling in the warm up, and then we'll just go for it." <BR><BR><BR>More, from Castrol Honda:<BR><BR>Colin Edwards: "I knew the lap time was in there. I put it together but, better than that, we know that Michelin have a good one-lap Superpole tyre and a good race tyre for Laguna. I want to follow today with two wins tomorrow.<BR>The crash this morning was stupid. There was oil on the track at turn five and I couldn_t do a thing about it. I was taking the corner as normal but as I braked I knew it wasn't right."<BR><BR>Edwards was later fined 3000 Swiss francs by officials after he grabbed the red flag and stopped the morning's qualifying session so the oil could be cleared from the circuit. He commented: "I'm very disappointed with the fine but I was thinking about the safety of all the other riders and I've seen too many bad crashes because oil on the circuit hasn't been spotted."<BR><BR><BR>More, from Benelli Sport:<BR><BR>Peter Goddard: "We were a lot faster than yesterday and a bit quicker than last year, but just not fast enough. We also had a small problem at the end of the final qualifying session and I didn't get out to use my final qualifying tyre. It's going to be a hard day on Sunday being far back on the grid, but the race will probably be a race of attrition with all those wild cards around so I'll just keep my head and try to pick up some places. We've gone all four sessions without mechanical trouble. This has given us more time on the track and a chance to concentrate on set up, that's valuable time at this level."<BR><BR><BR>More, from Alstare Corona Extra Suzuki:<BR><BR>Gregorio Lavilla was forced to sit out Superpole qualifying after a heavy fall in the closing minutes of the afternoon untimed practice. His left ankle was injured in the crash and he also damaged two fingers of his left hand: "Today we improved the bike and it felt a bit better _ especially on race rubber. On qualifying tyres there was a slight improvement, so we were hopeful of a god Superpole. But in the final few minutes of the afternoon qualifying just before Superpole I was highside exiting the second fast right-hander and injured myself. I had done one lap on the tyre and then pulled in because of the red flag. We put the tyre warmers on the bike and then when the session restarted we went out for the end of the session. I think the tyre was up to temperature OK, but there not many left-handers, so maybe the tyre wasn't as hot as it should've been. I lost the rear and that was that. My left ankle took a bit of a battering and by the time I was drive back to the pits, there wasn't really enough time to get ready for Superpole. Because of my ankle, I'm not sure if I could've made a good lap anyway. Obviously I'm disappointed, but I hope it's not too sore in the morning. We'll have to see."<BR><BR><BR>More, from Infostrada Ducati:<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss: "I feel a little beat up but I‘m happy to be on the front row. We were thinking of sitting it out and we would have ended up eighth on row 2 but we decided to go for it anyway. I'm glad I did because it's important to be as close as possible to Colin. The good thing is that the bike is really quick around here and I set some quick times on my race tyres this afternoon, which makes me feel confident for tomorrow's races".<BR><BR>Ruben Xaus: "This morning was not so good, the set-up of the bike wasn't perfect but now it's getting a lot better. We found some things that helped me and I was really confident in Superpole. I thought my Superpole lap was not so good but maybe that's the way to go, over the edge at the Corkscrew. With the race tyre I did some really good times in the long-run, so for the moment it's OK and I hope tomorrow to do the same."<BR><BR><BR>More, from L&M Ducati:<BR><BR>Ben Bostrom: "I don't know what happened, I was just going slow down the hill to save my qualifying tyres for the lap. I went through Turn 9 and took my tear-off strip and started to tilt it in for Turn 10 and the bike just went out from under me. I thought I hit dirt or oil but it could have been a tear-off. I was pretty pleased with my long-run because I went fast, the tyre feels pretty good, the set-up is close but we've still got a few more things to do tomorrow."<BR><BR><BR>More, from the SBK Press Office:<BR><BR>Edwards Takes Pole Position<BR><BR>A Superpole lap time of 1'24"888, just outside the new absolute track record of 1'24"833, gave Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda) a much-coveted Superpole win on home ground, after what proved to be a close and dramatic Superpole competition for the top 16 regulation qualifiers. <BR>Neil Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) scored an excellent second place on the Superpole time sheets, and may have taken pole himself had he not experienced a severe rear wheel slide on the exit of turn three, losing vital forward motion.<BR>Despite the cumulative effects of earlier crashes, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) braved his back pain to score a third place on the grid. His suffering was such that he missed the Superpole front row press conference to attend the Clinica Mobile for treatment.<BR><BR>An excellent charging ride from Noriyuki Haga (Playstation2 Aprilia) put the other Italian factory on the front row. <BR>A similar feat of riding skill, this time on a four-cylinder machine, gave Eric Bostrom a fifth place start, the first man on the second row and the first four-cylinder rider in the classification. <BR><BR>His countryman, and top ‘pure' wild card rider, was Aaron Yates (Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki) in sixth, while Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) scored a good seventh, finding some pace after a difficult weekend thus far.<BR><BR>Two riders crashed out of the Superpole session itself, one being Ben Bostrom (L&M Ducati) who fell in strange circumstances. Bostrom felt that he crashed on oil or dirt but some trackside witnesses speculated that he might even have fallen on another rider's tear off visor. Due to his front row qualifying performance before Superpole he was only relegated to the last place on row two.<BR><BR>James Toseland scored ninth place on his HM Plant private Ducati, one place ahead of regular qualifying faller Mat Mladin (Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki). <BR><BR>Nicky Hayden (Honda), another wild card, had a difficult Superpole, scoring 11th place after a good regulation qualifying performance.<BR><BR>Pierfrancesco Chili went 12th after a subdued ride in Superpole, one place ahead of local Ducati runner Doug Chandler and regular private DFX Ducati man Steve Martin.<BR><BR>Lucio Pedercini was an early crasher on his self-entered Ducati, losing the front inexplicably at turn five.<BR><BR>Gregorio Lavilla (Alstare Suzuki) is almost certain to start the races, although he did not start Superpole after suffering a painful crash in the final untimed qualifying session. His failure to set a time puts him on the last place on the fourth row.<BR><BR>A total of 29 riders qualified for the brace of Superbike races on Sunday. <BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Honda:<BR><BR>AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship: Round 12<BR>Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca<BR>Monterey, California,<BR>July 13, 2002<BR><BR>Weather: Sunny, 30 degrees<BR>Crowd: 50,000<BR><BR>Hayden fights for second<BR><BR>American Honda's Nicky Hayden persevered through two red flag stoppages, a race that lasted twice as long as normal, and more track time than any other race weekend of the year to take second to championship rival Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) in the AMA Superbike race on a sweltering afternoon at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca.<BR><BR>"I was right there with him earlier on, but I couldn't really do much with him," Hayden, 20, said. "I was just hanging on, pretty much. I felt all right, and I just thought maybe I'd keep going and see if I could make up some time once the tires went off a little bit. And I got in traffic, and obviously, you know, they didn't go my way today."<BR><BR>Bruce Transportation Group's Jake Zemke gave the Honda CBR-954RR its first ever win with a runaway victory in the Formula Xtreme race. Starting from the front row, Zemke led every lap, winning by 8.641 seconds, the largest margin of victory of the season.<BR><BR>"It seemed like I was just on a Sunday cruise out there," Zemke said. "When the bike's working that good it makes it easy to come out on top."<BR><BR>The win vaulted the Californian into the Formula Xtreme championship points lead. With two rounds remaining, he holds an eight point lead.<BR><BR>Despite finishing second, by 9.798 seconds, Hayden carries a 36 point lead into the final two meetings, both Superbike double-headers, on the AMA calendar. Behind Bostrom is American Honda's Miguel DuHamel. The veteran was injured in the Pro Honda Oils 600cc Supersport crash on Friday and rode hurt to fifth place in the Superbike race, besting fellow French-Canadian Pascal Picotte (Ducati).<BR><BR>Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts crashed out unhurt on the fifth of 28 laps. Roberts was exiting the high-speed downhill right-hand turn 10 when the rear wheel stepped out, throwing him off and taking Suzuki rider Jamie Hacking with him.<BR><BR>The AMA race is run on Saturday, slotted in among the various practice and qualifying sessions of the World Superbike race, run the same weekend at the Monterey, California circuit. Hayden had no sooner finished qualifying fifth-tops among the seven American wild cards-for the World Superbike race, when he had to jump into the thick of the AMA Superbike race.<BR><BR>The first attempt at running the race was red-flagged by a crash on the sixth lap. The second attempt lasted little more than a lap. The final segment lasted 21 laps. Hayden stayed with Bostrom for much of the race, finally settling for his position late in the race and taking the certain points into the final rounds.<BR><BR>Nicky's younger brother, Roger Lee Hayden, carded top Honda honors in the Pro Honda Oils 600cc Supersport race, finishing fourth. The race was won by Suzuki's Jamie Hacking from teammate Aaron Yates, and the oldest of the Haydens, Tommy, on a Kawasaki. DuHamel, making his first 600cc Supersport appearance since the opening round at Daytona, crashed out of a contending position on the seventh lap.<BR><BR>Nicky Hayden, Second Place<BR>Eric (Bostrom) just rode really good, and was just really smooth and consistent, never really made any mistakes, so he made it hard on me. But he did a great job. I just want to thank the Honda team for giving me a great bike. We got some work to do still. A lot of racing yet to go this weekend, so hopefully we can make some changes and get it going a little better. But for the most part my bike was pretty good early, and then kind of, got to do something to make it a little better at the end. But the Dunlops were really good, and the pace was fast early. So I'm just looking forward to trying to get things better. There's a few spots that I need to work. I know one corner where I just want to get better. So hopefully it'll be better. I just wish I could have got up there and raced Eric and put on a better show.<BR><BR>Miguel DuHamel, Fifth Place<BR>I got blocked pretty bad by traffic and they (Aaron Yates and Doug Chandler) got a big gap on me and then I tried and got back into the 1:27s and I thought I felt a little vibration in the rear tire, but the tire was alright. It did get greasy. And when I saw Doug (Chandler) did get (Aaron) Yates and pulled away from him, I said, 'Well I'm only losing one point to Yates in the championship.' Then I got a couple of big slides and set on this pace. For a while I was thinking I was going to get Yates. I was making tow-tenths a lap. Al (Ludington), my crew chief was telling me the intervals on the radio and everything was going well and then we hit traffic. Then you know I wasn't 100%. My body, everything's tired. Right foot, right ankle, muscles in my right thigh got a real big bang, skin off my hip, my right shoulder's gone, so I'm overworking my left side. I've got three or four ribs that are suspect.<BR><BR>Kurtis Roberts, DNF<BR>I went into that corner and the thing kicked back to the inside and threw me off the inside, which was strange. It was spinning a little bit, but was pretty far out of the corner. I didn't even slide off the track. I stood up in the middle of the race track. I was pretty well out of the danger zone. Just kind of sprung back to the inside and threw me off. I knew one of the Suzukis was close. I didn't know which one it was. Unfortunately that happened, too. It was really an easy crash. The whole thing was kind of surreal. Didn't really happen. But unfortunately, this year's not over yet.<BR><BR><BR> <BR>