Wednesday Daytona Practice Wrap-up

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Wednesday practice sessions are all over now, and they give us fodder for bench racing, though most everybody involved will tell you that these early practice sessions mean little towards the outcome of the race.

Still, the following rider quotes provide a nice bit of insight and, if nothing else, are rather entertaining...

Rich Oliver (No. 97 Team Oliver Yamaha) "It's interesting for us becausewe've never ridden our 2000 model TZ here at Daytona. Last year when Ihad the epic race with Roland Sands I was racing my 1996 model that hadbeen very well developed for this track. We brought the 2000 out and gotpretty close to the lap times I ran in the race last year and I haven'tridden since last September."

(With Jimmy Filice out of the class)
"Jimmy's an old-timer like me and I was really hoping he'd come back thisyear so I could pull that championship back away from him. But there aresome new people that have come in like Jason DiSalvo riding a Honda. I'msure he'll be there challenging us all year. Chuck Sorensen and MichaelHimmelsbach are on Aprilia. So these other manufacturers are trying tocome in and knock Yamaha off the top in this class, where they've beenfor a long time."

Final AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike practice on WednesdayMiguel Duhamel (No. 17 American Honda) (On low-siding west horseshoe inthe final practice session) "I should have come in to have them fix thefront instead of doing a couple more laps when I knew the front wasn'tdoing what I wanted it to do. I was leaned in and losing the front allthe way and I was on my knee and I was like, 'I'm going to save this' andit never came back.After a while I said 'Oh all right' and I just slid from about here tothe wall (pointing to a wall about 30 feet away) if that. It was a minorcrash so the bike is fine. I rode it back in."

Kurtis Roberts (No. 80 Erion Racing Honda) "We're still struggling a bit.I still have a lot of jet lag after coming back from Japan, but I'mstarting to feel a little better. Hopefully I'll get a good night's sleeptonight and do better tomorrow."

Eric Bostrom (No. 32 Kawasaki) "Things are OK. They're certainly notgreat, but they're not bad either. We've got a lot of room to improve andthat's what we'll set out to do tomorrow."

Nicky Hayden (No. 69 American Honda) "It's still pretty early in the weekand I've got a few quick laps, but the race isn't going to be won withone or two quick laps. So far things are right on schedule. Tire lifelooks good and that's something we're really happy about. That was a bigconcerned coming in. We're just trying to keep moving forward. One thingI worked on this winter is to get up to speed immediately. Qualifying isone area I've always been a bit week on, but I feel like I'm gettingbetter. Winning the pole last year at Pikes Peak gave me a lot ofconfidence."

Pascal Picotte (No. 21 HMC Racing Ducati) "I'm definitely happy to justbe riding a Ducati, especially with this team HMC. They've been great tome. I can say I've been treated like a king. I'm the only one on theteam, so all the focus and attention is around me. I can't ask foranything better. The new 998R -- it's really fast around the banking. Ithandles great on the infield. We had a few little problems in thissession so we didn't have as much seat time as we would've liked to.Overall, we still managed to do some good lap times on a old race tire. Ithink we're looking good."

OUTLOOK ON QUALIFYING
"If we look at what we did today and what we accomplished with just alittle amount of time on the track, I'll be right there. The HMC Ducatiwill be on the front row and if we're not, we'll be really close. I'mreally looking at the race and would like to be top three if possible."

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Brent Avis
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