Fontana: Day Two and redemption for Nicky

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Yes, we spoiled it. We've just said Nicky won the race. If you haven't seen the race already, you'll soon see that after about the fifth lap Nicky was podium-bound. Only a crash could have kept him off the box. And since the kid never (seldom) crashes, well, it was sewn up.

The race wasn't without its share of excitement, however. As one press release put it, "HMC Ducati rider Doug Chandler was robbed..."

You see, the flotsam from a crash forced a red flag on lap 25 of the 28 lap race at Fontana Speedway. Chandlercame back from an early race set-back to close a 5 second gap to a 0.6second gap in three laps, finishing in fourth position. The Californian wasready to round up Mat Mladin and Eric Bostrom when the red flag appeared, but with 80% of the race complete, the AMA was justified to refuse arestart (the red flag was caused by a bike that was laying on its side just off the racing line, still in the track).

Mat Mladin was watching his prey descending through his team pit board andthe reigning Champion was quoted several times saying: ?Doug would haveprobably smoked both of us (Eric Bostrom included -- Ed.). Definitely me anyway.?

?I feel pretty confident I would have got both of them,? said Chandler. ?Ididn?t expect to catch them so quickly and with three laps left I decided tohold back and wait for the last lap. Eric and Mat began to battle betweenthemselves so I thought I?d wait until they had nothing left and make mymove. Unfortunately we were short-changed.

I had a big moment in the first lap and it took me a while to recover, butthe bike was handling so good that it was easy to keep consistent fast lapsand fortunately the traffic was light making the going easier. Chandler waslapping in the low 26s right to the last lap, less than a second off Friday?s fastest qualifying time.

Other highlights of the race were Austin Bleu Bayou rider Pascal Picotte finishing just aft of Chandler's HMC Ducati, yesterday's winner Anthony Gobert struggling with a shagged front tire that saw him go backwards after only a few laps (he was eventually lapped by Nicky Hayden) and 600 Supersport winner Aaron Yates carding a DNF after his bike left him stranded mid-track (he was running in second place at the time).

1. Nicky Hayden (Honda)2. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki)3. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)4. Doug Chandler (Ducati)5. Pascal Picotte (Ducati)6. Jamie Hacking (Suzuki)7. Miguel DuHamel (Honda)8. Anthony Gobert (Yamaha)9. Brian Parriott (Suzuki)10. Andy Deatherage (Suzuki)
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