Rider Predictions From Daytona

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Andrew Booth just sent us this great news item. He cornered the likes of Mat Mladin, Miguel Duhamel, Eric Bostrom, Nicky Hayden, Kurtis Roberts, Jamie Hacking, Pascal Picotte, Anthony Gobert and Aaron Yates to see what each rider had to say going into this week's big event, the Daytona 200 by Arai.

To get us started, Three-timeAMA Superbike champion and two-time defending Daytona 200 By Arai winnerMat Mladin, rider of the No. 1 Yoshimura Suzuki said: "I've got a great team behind me. I've got the right people that do theright job. In all their different areas where they have to be good, theyare. I've got a good crew chief. I've got a good chassis guy. I've got agood engine builder. I've got a good guy doing data acquisition. I've gotthe right people for the right job. That makes all the difference.Without those guys, we wouldn't have won anything..."

Three-time Daytona 200 By Arai champion MiguelDuhamel, rider of the No. 17 Team Honda RC51
"For me, (Daytona) starts when I was six-years-old coming here with mydad when he was racing here. To me, (Daytona) has a religious or biblicaleffect on me. It's definitely the most important race I can think of.When I won (in 1991 for the first time), I felt lucky, blessed andecstatic. I really love this race track. It's tough, that's the wayDaytona is. I've had some success here and hopefully we'll have some morethis coming March. I enjoy the drafting. I enjoy the strategy. I thinkI'm a pretty good thinker on my feet when we're out there racing hard. Ithink it helps."

Eric Bostrom, rider of the No. 32 Kawasaki
"It's definitely the most unique race we run with the pit stops. It's anendurance style race, but you run it with almost a sprint style strategy,which is getting to the front and trying to capitalize on any mistakesthat the competition makes. Basically, you go as hard as you can go for200 miles."

Nicky Hayden, rider of the No. 69 Honda
"(The Daytona 200) definitely takes a lot of experience. A lot ofelements go into pit stops, pace car all sorts of things. I thinkexperience definitely comes out, especially with the drafting."

Kurtis Roberts, rider of the No. 80 Team ErionHonda
"I really want to win the 200. Daytona is probably one of the funniestweeks getting to ride that much. Every thing is so different. It's one ofa kind. There's a lot of tradition here. It's a fun track to ride Ireally like Daytona. It's fun to do and hopefully we'll come out with awin this year."

Jamie Hacking,rider of the No. 92 Yoshimura Suzuki
"Anybody can win it, it's that type of race. Like we saw last year,there's so much that can happen at this track. You can't come into thisrace say 'I'm going to win it.' I can win it, but it's just amatter of everything going the way it has to be."

Pascal Picotte, rider of the No. 21 HMCRacing Ducati
"Ducati hasn't won the Daytona 200 yet, but they were really close a fewtimes. Hopefully, I'm going to be the one to give them the opportunity tobe on top of the box."

Anthony Gobert,rider of the No. 16 Yamaha
"Daytona is one of those races that are so prestigious and so big, itmeans a lot to win. Because of that, you don't care how long the race is.If it was 157 laps, you would still be going as hard as you can at theend. Here, it doesn't matter. It's all about the whole atmosphere and howbig (the race) is. You do whatever it takes."

Aaron Yates,rider of the No. 20 Yoshimura Suzuki
(On the challenge of Daytona) "The surface is pretty worn and polished upand the tires we have to run are so hard, it makes you real timid onDaytona. You're trying not to get on the throttle too hard because thetires are designed to go around the banking, but you've got to go throughthe infield and you're sliding and spinning around a good bit. That's themain thing. The race is so long that you try to get the bike (to) ride goodfor 200 miles. It's the longest race we have. Usually our races arearound 75 miles. Here at Daytona, it's 200 miles."

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