Higbee Takes Pole In Formula USA Qualifying At Daytona

Higbee Takes Pole In Formula USA Qualifying At Daytona

© 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.


KWS Motorsports’ Shawn Higbee mounted a rear Dunlop DOT-labeled qualifying tire and grabbed the pole position for the opening round of the Lockhart-Phillips USA Unlimited Superbike final at Daytona International Speedway. Higbee pitted with less than 5 minutes remaining the session, went back out onto the track as the brisk winds began to die down, caught a tow from Brian Parriott, and recorded a 1:52.94 for a new lap record for the class.

Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s 17-year-old John Hopkins used a new, race-compound rear Michelin to earn the second spot on the grid with a 1:53. 36. Hopkins did his time without the aid of another rider’s draft and into a stiffer headwind through Daytona’s tri-oval.

Hooters Suzuki’s Mike Ciccotto will line up third for Sunday’s feature race, recording a 1:53.91 on a GSX-R750 with Pirelli’s Blue or Super Soft compound.

The outside of row one will see Synergy Racing Technologies’ Matt Wait on his Dunlop-equipped Honda CBR929RR. Wait used a single set of race-compound Dunlop D208s to record a 1:53.93.

Eighth-fastest Michael Barnes lost his grid spot when his Zlock Racing Kawasaki ZX-9R hit 145.2 horsepower in the 145-horsepower class. Barnes was stripped of a F-USA Unlimited Superbike win last March for the same reason. Barnes will start Sunday’s race from the back of the 81-rider grid.

In Sportbike qualifying, Hopkins went one better by capturing the pole with a new lap record for the class of 1:57.14. Hopkins again worked alone against the wind with one set of race-compound Michelin Pilots to record his time.

Again using only one set of Dunlops, Wait put in another good session on his SRT Honda CBR600F4, lapping at 1:57.519 for the second grid spot.

Defending F-USA Sportbike Champion Lee Acree and his Metzeler-sponsored Arclight Suzuki GSX-R600 ran third fastest with a 1:57.61.

Starting fourth in Sunday’s 112-horsepower class will be Joseph Gill on the Starnet/ 4&6 Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 with a time of 1:57.81 on Dunlop tires.

The second, even-numbered Sportbike qualifying session saw more severe winds, and that session’s fastest rider, Arclight’s Brian Parriott, was sixth fastest overall.

Fifth-fastest qualifier, Shogun Motorsports’ 18-year-old Ryan Landers lost his grid spot when his Chuck Giachetto-tuned Yamaha YZF-R6 recorded 112.4 horsepower, 0.4 horsepower over the class limit. Landers will start Sunday’s race from the back of a very large grid.

Formula 2/ Mototek Imports’ Derek M. King took the pole position for Sunday’s Aprilia Cup Challenge race with a 2:12.04 lap time despite being comfortablly within the class’ 63-horsepower limit.

The Libasci Racing Aprilia ridden by second-fastest qualifier Andre Castanos broke a piston, destroying the cylinder and cases, during the qualifying session. Castanos didn’t have to wonder long what would happen to his time of 2:12.81 if he could not complete the mandated dyno run: Dan Fischer protested Castanos for using a non-standard windscreen made by former Aprilia Cup Challenge sponsor Zero Gravity, and Castanos’ time was disallowed.

Second on the Aprilia Challenge grid went to Shannon Silva with a time of 2:13.91 and Fischer’s 2:14.12 on his Copier1.com/ Pro Italia Aprilia earned him the third spot on the front row. Castanos’ disqualification and her 2:14.17 put Cruise America Grand Prix Racing’s Vicky Jackson-Bell on the front row.

In Buell Lightning qualifying, Michael Barnes turned a 2:06.29 on his second lap out of the pits, and the time held up for the pole position. With his Innovative Motorcycle Research Buell well within the 95-horsepower limit, Barnes was over 1.5 seconds faster than the next qualifier.

Tripp Nobles rode his Tilley Harley-Davidson Buell to record a 2:07.74, good for the second spot on the grid.

Hoban Brothers Racing’s Jeff Johnson’s was the third-fastest Buell racer, at 2:08.07..

Hal’s Performance Advantage/ Daytona H-D/ Buell’s Richie Morris recorded the fourth fastest time at 2:08.29, but lost his front row spot when his Buell’s motor broke during the session and couldn’t be re-fired for the dyno testing.

Smith Brothers Harley-Davidson/ Buell’s Jason Smith cured a problem with his bike mid-session then circulated the 3.56-mile track in 2:10.98 to sit on the front row.

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