Laguna Seca Test Notes

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Thanks to some prodigious rain, there's a lull in pre-season testing at Laguna Seca. With most of the factory AMA Superbike and Supersport teams on hand, there's now more fodder than ever for bench racers to try and pick this season's Champion.

Not surprisingly, Suzuki's Mat Mladin has consistently been one of the fastest people on the track, posting the unofficial fastest lap time despite being jet-lagged from his flight over from Australia. Right behind him was Kawasaki's Doug Chandler who turned in his fastest time on the 30th consecutive lap...

Other test notes are as follows:

Team Harley-Davidson's Mike Smith was dicing with Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom for a brief period. Reports from the track mentioned how close their respective lap times were even though Smith was on his VR1000 Superbike and Bostrom was on his 600cc Supersport machine. As a Harley-Davidson spokesperson pointed out, however, "the bikewas still set up with Scott Russell's Willow Springs suspension, which didnot work for Mike."

He continued, "also, he (Mike Smith) hasn't ridden a Superbike since the end of the1999 season. As he got more comfortable, Mike lapped within a second ofScott Russell's qualifying time at Laguna this year.Meanwhile, Picotte ran strong lap times (1:28.5), comparable to Gobert's."

Team Yamaha's newest recruit, Anthony Gobert, was in action at Laguna (where he holds the lap record) trying to adjust to a life in the US that sees him piloting bikes with far less prestige than his recent World Superbike or 500GP rides. Sources have it that he's progressing nicely, though, and expect him to be a real threat this year.

Among the walking wounded were Team Honda's Kurtis Roberts (injured in a team photo shoot earlier this month at Willow Springs), Team Suzuki's Aaron Yates (still recovering -- on crutches -- from a motocross incident in December), Team Honda's Miguel DuHamel (taking one more week off after having a rod taken out of his leg) and Team Yoshimura Suzuki's new recruit and Yamaha ex-patriot, Jamie Hacking (still mending after elbow surgery).

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