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Jan 14, 2002

Testing Underway At California Speedway

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>American Honda's Nicky Hayden was the first rider to take to the track this morning at California Speedway in Fontana, California, kicking off two days of factory team testing on the new circuit. American Honda's Hayden and Miguel Duhamel; Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts, Mike Hale and Roger Lee Hayden; Bruce Transportation Group's Jake Zemke and Alex Gobert; Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom, Tommy Hayden and Tony Meiring; and HMC Ducati's Pascal Picotte are all in attendance and were making laps as of 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time.<BR><BR>The fastest lap as recorded on Roadracing World's stopwatch was Duhamel at 1:34.25.<BR><BR>Meiring is making his debut on the Kawasaki ZX-6R while Hale is scheduled to run the new Honda CBR954RR Formula Xtreme bike for the first time during the test. Ducati Corse has sent over two engineers to help HMC Ducati sort out the fuel mapping problems the team encountered with their 2002 Ducati 998RS at the Dunlop tire tests at Daytona. <BR><BR>The start of the test was delayed until 10:50 this morning while workers placed haybales in front of concrete walls and swept dirt from the track surface. Dirt on the track has been a problem mentioned by riders who have ridden at California Speedway in two previous tests. <BR><BR>According to track spokesman Dennis Bickmeier, there isn't much the track can do to prevent the high winds common to the area from blowing dirt onto the racing surface. Bickmeier added that the decision whether or not to have Thursday practice during the track's AMA weekend has not been made yet. "We still haven't heard back from the AMA on that," explained Bickmeier. "We would be ready for it, no problem. The first day that we will be open to the public will be Friday, though."<BR><BR>Plans are still being finalized by California Speedway officials on where they will place temporary grandstands and bathroom facilities for fans who wish to spectate in the infield portion of the track. Preliminary plans call for a new pedestrian crossover bridge to provide fan access to the infield. Fans will not have access to hot pit lane while the track is green on the AMA weekend, but spectators with tickets for the main grandstand on the front straight or the hospitality suites behind pit lane will have good views of pit lane activities from their seats. Fans will also be able to see teams at work in the permanent garages in the paddock, from a walkway down the center of the garages separated from the teams' work areas by a four-foot-high brick wall.<BR><BR>The garages feature 110 and 220-volt electrical hook-ups, compressed air hook-ups, individual circuit breakers for each garage bay and ceiling-mounted TV monitors that will display timing information and TV feeds.<BR><BR>In addition to evaluating their race machines, all the Honda riders will be photographed for print ads and press kits and Hayden and Duhamel will also be filmed for a TV commercial during the two days.