AMA Superbike Results @ Mid-Ohio

Elliot Strong
by Elliot Strong

AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. SuperbikeChampionship: Round 13, 14
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
July 27 & 28, 2002

Weather: Sunny, 26 degrees
Crowd: 30,000

Hayden Heads for Virginia Showdown

American Honda's Nicky Hayden goes into the final Superbike double-headerwith a massive 35-point lead after swapping wins with title rival EricBostrom (Kaw) in rounds 13 and 14 of the AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. SuperbikeChampionship at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the farmlands of centralOhio.

Hayden nearly made it a double-header sweep, erasing a seven second deficitin Saturday's 26-lap race to close within inches, officially 0.034 seconds.Sunday's red-flag interrupted race was more definitive, Hayden taking thelead with three laps to go in the final 15-lap segment and speeding to a1.616 second win.

"I wanted to think about the championship, not do anything silly, but Iwanted to go for it today and really ride hard and ride aggressive with(Bostrom), and it was just nice to get a win," the Kentuckian Hayden saidon Sunday afternoon.

The win, the 16th of his career, moves him into a tie with three-time 500ccWorld Champion Wayne Rainey for third on the all-time Superbike wins list.Standing in Hayden's way are fellow Honda riders Fred Merkel, at 20, andteammate Miguel DuHamel, at 25.

With only the two races remaining at Virginia International Speedway,Hayden leads Bostrom 450 to 415. The French-Canadian DuHamel, who rode witha broken right foot to a pair of sevenths on the weekend, is third at 346.

"I'm pretty excited about being in this position with two races to go, butI'm not going to let up at all, just go in there and try to get it done,"Hayden, who turns 21 on July 30, said.

Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts had his best weekend of the year, finishingsixth on Saturday and improving to fourth on Sunday. Having sat out most ofthe year recovering from an early season leg injury, Roberts is stillfinding his footing on the RC-51.

In the Formula Xtreme class, Bruce Transportation Group's Jake Zemke rodeto fourth and will be fighting for the championship in the final race, atVirginia International Raceway, in two weeks time. "It's going to bewinner-take-all," Zemke said. The race was won by Yamaha's Damon Buckmasterfrom Jason Pridmore (Suzuki). Zemke trails Buckmaster by two points goinginto the final showdown.

The 600cc Supersport championship was won by Suzuki's Aaron Yates, who tookthe win from Erion Honda's Roger Lee Hayden and his brother, Tommy. For thefirst time in his career, Roger Lee, the youngest of the Haydens, led a600cc Supersport race. While chasing Yates on the final lap, Hayden averteda potentially disastrous fall, but fell back to sixth. Yates won the race,and the title.

Nicky Hayden, Day One, Second Place:

"Early in the race, the first lap or two, I just kind of was tiptoeingaround. I just let my skirt fly up. Eric (Bostrom) just pinned it from thegreen light, and I was just kind of building up to it. The track, I thoughtit might be a little more damp, but the track was good straight away. Eric,his first lap was so good, first two laps, he just kept pulling away andgot out to a big lead. The last lap, last lap and a half, I got close tohim, but there was just nowhere to really put a safe pass on him that Ifelt comfortable with. Eric was just riding really hard. I mean, the lastlap was probably about the hardest I ever seen Eric ride. Which is good. Imean, he was just going for it. He did a good job and just didn't make anymistakes. And I thought I might be able to get him coming to the line, kindof tried to set him up and get a good run on him, but I got pretty close,but just didn't quite get by him."

Kurtis Roberts, Day One, Sixth Place:

"I got such a bad start. I had a lot of making up to do. I just couldn't doit all. I was catching those guys, then I lost three seconds to lappers.Just didn't get lappers where I needed them. A lack of set-up time'skilling me. We don't have anything to fall back on because we haven't beenhere all year. If we can get that better, it would be good tomorrow. ButI've got to get a start and ride a little harder and hopefully the bikewill be where I need it. I almost crashed big, tucked the front in thewater. I hit the water twice and tucked the front in one."

Miguel DuHamel, Day One, Seventh Place:

"I got a bad start. The clutch wasn't engaging that well and I let go and itwas a little sensitive and we tried to be careful with that. Me and Jamie(Hacking) had a good little race, but that gave Kurtis some room. He puthis head down and left. By the time I got past Jamie (Hacking) and put myhead down and got in the 30's my tires were gone. I figured, well, I keptlooking up to see if I could see him, if he started slacking, but he keptgoing. I got into that empty void there and was just riding around stayingout of trouble. I had a big gap on Jamie and a big gap in front of me. Myleft foot, it could be better, but it could be worse. I had a bad break, aspiral break of the meta-tarsal. It's healing though. We had an x-ray doneyesterday. But there's still a big gap in the bone where it's broken."

Nicky Hayden, First Place, Day Two:

"It was getting close, and I knew if I wanted to win I had to make somethinghappen. So it feels really good to get a win. The last few races Eric's(Bostrom) been beating us pretty good lately. Just real nice to beat himhere today. I just want to thank my team. They made my bike better today. Imean, all year, the second race I've always been faster, and I think Ijust, I think one race helps me think about it, but my team just alwaysmakes it better the second day. Merlyn (Plumlee, Hayden's crew chief), Idon't know, he does his magic. I don't know what he does exactly, but wechange a few little things, and I just don't think there's nobody betterthan those guys."

Kurtis Roberts, Fourth Place, Day Two:

"It's getting better. We were behind the eight ball the whole weekend. It'shard with these doubleheaders to catch up, especially with the rain we had.I just haven't got it to the point where I can ride it 110 percent like Ineed to. We get three hours to get things sorted out and they've had threemonths. I think with a little better start, I could haverun with Mat [Mladin]. We made some changes for the second part of therace. The rear shock was too stiff and that caused a traction problem. Itgot a lot better."

Miguel DuHamel, Seventh Place, Day Two:

"The red flag did help me actually, the bike was a little off still. Wedidn't get a whole lot of quality time with the rain out there. We madejust half a turn with the front forks on one side, it was quite asubstantial change and we took some air out of the rear tire and the biketurned itself into a really good bike. In some of the right-handers I wasgetting terrible drives. I just wasn't able to weigh the peg and turn it. Iwould lose a little bit, but the bike was good enough that I could handlethose guys with Doug (Chandler) and Jamie (Hacking). The lapped riders kindof took me out of it. And I just said don't want to do anything stupid now."

Race One:1. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki)2. Nicky Hayden (Honda)3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)4. Pascal Picotte (Ducati)5. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)6. Kurtis Roberts (Honda)7. Miguel DuHamel (Honda)8. Jamie Hacking (Suzuki)9. Brian Livengood (Suzuki)10. Anthony Gobert (Yamaha)Race Two:1. Nicky Hayden (Honda)2. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki)3. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)4. Kurtis Roberts (Honda)5. Doug Chandler (Ducati)6. Jamie Hacking (Suzuki)7. Miguel DuHamel (Honda)8. Brian Livengood (Suzuki)9. Jason Disalvo (Suzuki)10. Robert Jensen (Suzuki)Superbike Point Standings (After 14 of 16 rounds):1. Nicky Hayden (450/8 wins)2. Eric Bostrom (415/3 wins)3. Miguel DuHamel (346/2 wins)4. Aaron Yates (316)5. Pascal Picotte (304)6. Brian Parriott (263)7. Mat Mladin (262)8. Jamie Hacking (256)9. Brian Livengood (246)10. Doug Chandler (235)
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