Daytona 200 by Arai Results

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
For those of you who haven't yet seen the race and don't want the surprise spoiled, we'll just say that the first half of the race was awesome. The other half, well, to some it may have been another "classic Daytona race." For others, maybe it was another classic Daytona runaway.

Either way, if you'd like to find out what happened to who in the race and read some quotes from the top riders, keep on reading...

Nicky Hayden of Owensboro, Ky., delivered a dominating performance aboard his No. 69 American Honda to capture his first Daytona 200 By Arai victory on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.

"It feels so good," Hayden said. "That race was so long. Growing up as a kid, this is what I dreamed about. This is what I went to bed thinking about. To win it, it's just an incredible feeling. It feels really good."

Hayden dueled with Kurtis Roberts in the early going of the 57-lap event, but Roberts fell out of contention when he cut his rear tire on Lap 24. After that, Hayden put his Honda RC51 on cruise control and led the rest of the way for a 18.225-second victory in the 61st running of the event.

It's the eighth victory for Honda and their first since 1996. For Hayden, it was only his third start in North America's most prestigious motorcycle race and at the age of 20, he becomes the youngest winner of the Daytona 200 By Arai since 1976.

Rounding out the podium was Yoshimura Suzuki's Jamie Hacking and Yamaha's Anthony Gobert. Hacking nipped Gobert at the start/finish line for second.

Said Hacking: "I knew I had the motor to catch him."

The win is a sweet recovery for Hayden, who high sided his bike after winning the pole during Thursday's Daytona 200 By Arai qualifying session. He says the final laps of Sunday's race seemed to last forever, and to add to the pressure, he lost a contact lens from his left eye.

"I didn't think it was going to end," Hayden said. "That race seemed so long. One lap after another and with seven laps to go I had a contact lens come out. I was just waiting for it to be over."

Miguel Duhamel, a three-time race winner and a favorite for another victory, led two laps early in the race before dropping out with a mechanical failure.

"I was doing nothing out there," said Duhamel, who rides the No. 17 American Honda. "I wasn't even going full throttle. I was trying to save my tires. I wasn't even trying. It's amazing. The bike was perfect. I don't know what happened to it."

Rider Quotes from Victory Lane:

Nicky Hayden, winner, No. 69 Honda
"It feels so good. That race was so long I never thought it was going to end. This is amazing. Growing up as a kid this is what I dreamed about. I went to bed thiking about the Daytona 200. To win it is just an incredible feeling and I just want to thank my team. The Hondas were so fast today. We had a big advantage. The team got the bike working so good. I'm just so happy to win and be leading the points.

"Obviously with Kurtis (Roberts) going out and Miguel (Duhamel) and Mat (Mladin) not riding, I wish I could have beat those guys straight up, but still it feels so good.

"I didn't think it was going to end. That race seemed so long. One lap after another and with seven laps to go I had a contact lens come out. I was just waiting for it to be over."

Jamie Hacking, second place finisher, No. 92 Suzuki
"Don't count me out. If you count me out you've done messed up. That Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki had some hot sauce in it today, because that thing was flying. That thing ran so good. The front end on the first tire in the first stint wasn't that good. Then the second stint the rear tire wasn't that good. But then the last one, everything was just perfect. I just put my head down and ran some consistent lows. Low 52s or 54s.

"I saw him (Gobert) coming back towards me. Early on he'd been getting lappers on me. I seemed to catch him coming into the chicane a good bit. Then the last lap a lapper come down on me and almost took me out. I just gathered it back up and I just spun that thing all along the banking. He knew I was coming and I just ducked down on the inside. I was going to give it a shot.

Anthony Gobert, third place finisher, No. 16 Yamaha
"We struggled a little bit at first with a tire. The tire was coming apart. I stayed out for two laps and we lost a lot of time, about 10 seconds. At the end of the race you wish you had those 10 seconds. As it turned out we only just sort of made the finish of the race with this one (tire). If I hadn't of come in a lap earlier, I wouldn't of finished the race.

"I said to myself for my brother who got hurt pretty badly the other day that I wanted to finish on the podium and sort of make it right. The main thing I wasn't really worried about losing second, I thought if maybe there was a train they'd stream to the finish and then I'd finish fourth. I thought I'd be heartbroken then. But there was only one of them. This is the first time I've finished on the podium in Superbike, so I'm happy."

Media Center Rider Interviews:

Nicky Hayden, No. 69 Honda, Winner
"(Winning here) was always my goal. As a kid my parents used to bring us down here a lot to watch. This whole weekend everything has been going really good. The race went really smooth at the beginning. Then there was the red flag and I hate red flags. In a race like this you're all pumped up and ready to go, so to have to stop is no good. After the red flag I got out there and I got some bad starts today, both times. I didn't really practice starts this winter, so I'm going to have to practice starts.

"I kind of just got at the end of that draft and figured I would wait and let the pace settle down and let some guys settle in. Then one time going into the chicane, Miguel kind of laid on Anthony and it looked like it kind of fired Anthony up. So I thought I don't want to get in the middle of this.

"I finally got into the lead and going into Turn 1. I got in hot as I went across the paint stripe. I kind of lost the front just for a second and I got off the brakes. When I got back on them I was in too high. I just kind of stood it up and ran a little bit high.

"It was such a long race and I just tried to be consistent. When Kurtis went out I just really had to concentrate. It gave me a lot of time to think about some stuff. This race, those laps just seemed like they weren't even ticking away. It took a long time and a few times I got a little distracted. I just tried to be safe and not be in too big of a hurry.

"The Hondas were just really fast today. Obviously you hate to win when Kurtis dropped out and with Mat not racing, but it still feels really good. I'm just really lucky to be with such a good team."

Anthony Gobert, third place finisher, No. 16 Yamaha
"I was feeling pretty bummed out. I was feeling like I put so much into this whole season. I was a little bit bummed that I crashed with my brother. It could have been a lot worse. I'm going to think of the positive that came out of that.

"Nicky is an awesome rider. He knows how to preserve his tire. In the second start when Kurtis and I were going at it I knew that Nicky was just sort of sitting back and seeing what happened. I was kind of hoping that Kurtis was going to crash or something so I could start getting away.

"I had to come in early for a pit stop and I lost about 10 seconds or more. At the time I didn't really care, but when you finish second by a whisker I kind of wish that I had come in a lap earlier.

"It was a weird race for me but I finished on the podium in the Superbike and that's what I wanted."

Jamie Hacking, second place finisher, No. 92 Suzuki
"I knew I had the motor to catch him. That Yoshimura Suzuki, that thing was fast today. Unfortunately in the beginning of the stints I had a bad front tire and I lost the front in the west horseshoe a couple of times. So I kind of backed off and Aaron got by me and I was being really conservative. So I came in and got my other tire, but then the back tire was terrible. Then the last set of tires they worked perfect. It was good and I dropped my lap times. I hit every line perfect and didn't make one mistake. Coming out of the chicane (on the last lap) I just nailed it. He (Anthony) knew I was close to him so he started weaving back and forth dragging off a little speed and then he went back up the banking and I stayed down at the bottom and I knew I had him then for sure."

Pascal Picotte (No. 21 HMC Ducati)
"It's a shame the HMC Ducati was running strong. We were just hanging in there and saving our tires. All of a sudden we started having trouble downshifting and then I was having problems actually shifting at all. Then it got stuck in the same gear."

Results Sunday of the 61st Daytona 200 by Arai withrider, hometown or country, make of motorcycle and laps completed:1. Nick Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., Honda RC51, 57.2. Jamie Hacking, Greer, S.C., Suzuki GSXR750, 57.3. Anthony Gobert, Australia, Yamaha R7, 57.4. Aaron Yates, Milledgeville, Ga., Suzuki GSXR750, 57.5. Eric Bostrom, Las Vega, Kawasaki ZX7, 57.6. Kurtis Roberts, Turlock, Calif., Honda RC51, 57.7. Andrew Deatherage, Cleveland, Suzuki GSXR750, 55.8. Brian Livengood, Snellville, Ga., Suzuki GSXR750, 54.9. Rich Conicelli, Lawrenceville, Ga., Suzuki GSXR750, 54.10. Ricky Orlando, Lafayette, Colo., Suzuki GSXR750, 54.11. Michael Fitzpatrick, Columbia, Md., Suzuki GSXR750, 54.12. Marco Martinez, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Suzuki GSXR750, 54.13. Vincent Haskovec, Czech Republic, Suzuki GSXR750, 54.14. John Dugan, Washougal, Wash., Suzuki GSXR750, 54.15. John Jacobi, Carmel, Ind., Suzuki GSXR750, 53.16. Alan Schmidt, Canada, Suzuki GSXR750, 53.17. Jacob Holden, Puyallup, Wash., Suzuki GSXR750, 53.18. Randall Mennenga, Temecula, Calif., Suzuki GSXR750, 53.19. Giovanni Rojas, Dacula, Ga., Suzuki GSXR750, 53.20. Ken Krebs, Chicago, Suzuki GSXR750, 53.21. John Pearson, Chula Vista, Calif., Suzuki GSXR750, 53.22. Brett Ray, West Frankfort, Ill., Suzuki GSXR750, 53.23. Jeffrey Purk, Des Moines, Iowa, Suzuki GSXR750, 53.24. James Compton, Ft. Worth, Texas, Suzuki GSXR750, 53.25. Michael Barnes, Boca Raton, Fla., Suzuki GSXR750, 52.Race statistics:Time of race: Two hours, 10 minutes, 52.062 seconds.Winner's average speed: 93.034 mph.Margin of victory: 18.225 seconds.Lap leaders:Gobert 1-2,Roberts 3, 8-10, 12-13, 15-20, 23-24.Duhamel 4, 11.Hayden 5-9, 14, 22, 25-57.Pole winner: Nicky Hayden.Point standings (after one of 16 rounds):1. Nick Hayden (38).2. Jamie Hacking (32).3. Anthony Gobert (29).4. Aaron Yates (27).5. Eric Bostrom (26).
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