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Aug 13, 2001

Three-day Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha Test Starts Monday At VIR

A three-day factory Superbike team test session involving the Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha teams starts Monday at Viriginia International Raceway.<BR><BR>Last week, Honda tested for two days at VIR with Kawasaki and HMC Ducati.<BR><BR>Factory Superbike teams operate a co-operative testing program, sharing costs for track rental, track set-up, cornerworkers and stand-by ambulance crews.<BR><BR>The many independent tests scheduled by the factory teams both during the racing season and during the off-season mean the factory teams don't need Thursday practice prior to AMA Nationals. As a result, and because they want to use Thursday to park their semi-trucks instead of having to send a truck driver to park on Wednesday, factory teams oppose Thursday practice.<BR><BR>This despite the negative impact eliminating Thursday practice will have on private teams and riders that cannot afford to spend between $70,000 and $100,000 per year on independent tests.<BR><BR>Factory team representatives on the AMA Road Racing Advisory Board (which is entirely made up of factory men with the exception of 250cc privateer Ed Sorbo) have remained determined to eliminate Thursday practice despite opposition to that move from non-factory teams and riders. <BR><BR>During an Advisory Board meeting at Brainerd last month, the factory men discounted petitions in favor of unrestricted Thursday practice signed by 76 AMA Pro-licensed riders and another 57 team owners, crew chiefs and mechanics.<BR><BR>About 12 riders in AMA Pro Racing have contracts with factory Superbike teams. The remainder of the paddock consists of indendent riders and private teams.