AMA Supersport Battle at Barber This Weekend. Staff
by Staff
From AMA Pro Racing:

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 18, 2006) -- Kawasaki has it and wants to keepit, while Yamaha and Suzuki both want it back. The prize thesemanufacturers all covet is the AMA Pro Honda Oils SupersportChampionship presented by Shoei. One of the most hotly contested seriesin the history of AMA road racing, the Supersport series is once againshaping up to be another barnburner in 2006. Kawasaki’s Roger Lee Haydenbrings a four-point lead over Yamaha’s Jamie Hacking coming into roundtwo of the 11-race series at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday, April23.

Hayden feels like it is his time to win the Supersport title. Theyoungest of the three racing Hayden brothers from Owensboro, Ky., hasbeen runner-up in the series to his oldest brother Tommy for the lasttwo years. This season Tommy is going to concentrate solely on theSuperbike class leaving baby brother alone to fight off the horde ofYamaha and Suzuki riders trying to win back the championship. If Rogermanages to win the series it would mean that all three Haydens brothershave won the title. Middle brother Nicky is racing for the factory Hondateam in the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship.

After winning at Daytona last month Roger Lee said he feels like he’s upto the task of finally earning his first AMA road racing title. He sees2003 champ Jamie Hacking as his primary competition.

“I'm pretty happy that I came through Daytona with a good result,” saidHayden, who is beginning his eighth year as a pro. “It's going to be along year. This class is competitive. I know there's always some otherguy that's going to be strong all year. I know Jamie [Hacking] is fast.He has been the last few years. He just got hurt a few times. I knowhe's capable of being up front every race.”

Hacking’s primary goal for 2006 is to stay healthy so he’ll have thechance to win back the championship he won three years ago.

“It's going to be a tough battle all year,” Hacking said of theSupersport championship. “We've been in this situation before, andhopefully we can have a trouble-free season. The last couple years forus have been pretty bad. So hopefully we can have a clean season andwork on our bike some more in testing this next month, and get the thingdialed in just a little bit better. I'm looking forward to it. It'sgoing to be a good season.”Hacking and Hayden are both former Barber Supersport winners.

While the focus is primarily on the battle between Hayden and Hacking,Suzuki has a secret weapon in the class in the form of Ben Spies. Mosthave considered the young Texan to be a Supersport overachiever on theSuzuki, which has been just a slight click off the Kawasaki and YamahaSupersport bikes in the last couple of seasons. This year however thenew GSX-R600 seems to be closer if not equal to the other factory rigsand Spies hopes to do some damage in the class this season.

Suzuki also has depth in the class. In addition to factory rider Spiesthere are a host of support riders who could contend for podiumsthroughout the season. Chief among them is former flat tracker DannyEslick, who is coming on strong on the Matsushima Performance Suzuki,and M4 EMGO Suzuki’s Geoff May. Eslick is fifth in the standings cominginto Barber, May seventh, by virtue of their Daytona finishes.

Suzuki is looking for its first victory in the Barber Supersport event.

Another team to watch for at Barber is Attack Performance Kawasaki withthe Aussie pair of Damon Buckmaster and Ben Attard. Both are capable ofwinning on any given weekend.

Honda has no factory entry in Supersport this year, but is representedin the class by California speedster Jeffrey Tigert on his Pro HondaOils backed team. Tigert is 12th in the standings coming into Barber.

The Pro Honda Oils Supersport race is part of Barber Motorsports Park’sHonda Superbike Classic that runs from April 21-23. The BarberSupersport final will be televised nationally on SPEED at 3 p.m. ESTTuesday, April 25.

To obtain tickets for the Honda Superbike Classic call 800-240-2300 orvisit the website .

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