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1/28/03: Championship Series
SuperBikers2, LLC and Moto-Master USA have teamed up produce the 2003 Primedia Motorcycle Group US Supermotard National Championship Series. SuperBikers2,LLC is proud to announce this new 8 round
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The series will kick off in March and crown champions in 2 different classes in October.

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Supermotard USA, SuperMoto USA, Mile High Motard, and SuperBikers2,LLC will hold regional races to run as support classes in conjunction with national event for their host weekend.

The supermotard racer is one who has talents in various types of racing environments: motocross racing, dirt-track racing, and roadracing are all key ingredients to a successful supermotard racer. With
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Add in some top level racing facilities and averyone is assured guaranteed a great time, for both spectator and racer.

Major National Championship rounds will be showcased at major events including the Phoenix Bike Fest on March 28-30th and the Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show weekend July 19-20 to bring supermoto racing to the racing public. You can find more information on the rules, schedule, sponsors and more at www.superbikers2.com.
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We went behind the scenes at the Japanese GP just for you!

Valentino Rossi is on top of the time sheets for the Japanese Grand Prix season opener.

MotoGP 2003 World Championship, Suzuka Japan Round 1

The Opening Grand Prix at Suzuka Japan
Rossi leads Challenge to new MotoGP Season

April 4/5/6 2003: After months of intense testing for the Honda supported teams and riders in MotoGP the prospect of starting the 2003 season at Suzuka in Japan this weekend is an understandably welcome one, especially given the impressive performances put in during recent IRTA tests at the classic venue. Originally built in 1961, modified at the Dunlop corner last season, and now lengthened by three metres to 5.824 km following alterations to the 130R bend and final chicane, Suzuka was the venue for the final on-track preparations of the top teams, during which Honda riders were once more packed tightly into the top positions on the time sheets.

No fewer than five of the top six times at the IRTA test were set on Honda RC211V machines, with the outright fastest rider once more proving to be world champion Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V).
Rossi was on phenomenal form during the inaugural four-stroke MotoGP season in 2002, winning 11 of the 16 races and being crowned champion as early as the Rio GP. The ebullient Italian rider finds himself in an enviable position once more, and despite taking nothing for granted, he knows that he has everything in place to mount a successful title defence.

“I know we are ready for the season but this will be a very hard year for everybody,” said Rossi, equal sixth on the list of premier class race winners after scoring 24 victories in only three seasons of competition. “There are so many riders who will want to fight for the win. Every race will be a battle, so I think it will be a great season for everyone who loves racing.”

MotoGP rookie Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) earned his dream 2003 MotoGP slot alongside Rossi after winning the prestigious AMA Superbike championship on a VTR1000SP last season, securing the most coveted saddle in the MotoGP world. Twelfth on the timesheets after the IRTA sessions, Hayden acknowledges that although there is more to come when he gains valuable experience during the season, he has already learned a great deal about MotoGP and the RC211V.

“If I think back to my first experience on the five-cylinder RC211V here at Suzuka at the back end of last year then I’m happy,” said Hayden, “because I’ve knocked a load of time off the laps and I’m feeling so much more
comfortable and confident on the bike. The team’s working well and I’m feeling really positive about my first MotoGP race.”

The prowess of the five-cylinder RC211V was proved once more last week, when the second and third places on the IRTA timesheets were set by Tohru Ukawa (Camel Honda RC211V) and Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V). For Ukawa, third in the 2002 championship battle on an RC211V, his home circuit may offer a perfect opportunity to start his season off with a maximum 25-point score, even if he suffered a fall in Suzuka testing.

“I hope not to have any physical after-effects from the crash,” affirmed Ukawa, who went on to state, “my hand and leg are sore, but doctors have told me I can race and I will do everything possible to start the World
Championship with a good result. If I am fit I think we are ready to be competitive right from the start of the championship”.

Max Biaggi’s return to the Honda fold at Suzuka will bring back memories of his first ever ride in the premier Grand Prix class, when he scored a superb maiden victory on his NSR500SWS two-stroke. In a position to be a threat from the first official timed qualifying session on Friday April 4th, to the race itself on Sunday 6th, Biaggi’s perfectionism was clear from his pre-race comments

“There are six or seven riders who are very close and we must continue to work to be competitive,” said the four-times 250 World Champion. “I hope to make a good start in the Championship, although so far I have given my all and we have got the maximum performance out of the material we have.”

Spanish hopeful Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) ran out fifth fastest in the recent Suzuka tests, having been quickest at one point, underlining his return to form since his assimilation back into the ranks of Honda riders. One of the top Spanish riders in the championship, 2003 will arguably be the biggest of Gibernau’s career to date.

Said the Catalan, “I think I have shown already that I can do my job as a rider, and now we are going through the steps which will allow us to challenge at the front. We are working at a very good pace, although I am
still getting used to the five-cylinder Honda. What is especially positive for us is the consistency we are showing, as this will be important for the overall championship.”

Local star Daijiro Kato (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) ended the Suzuka sessions sixth quickest. Four times a 250cc Suzuka GP winner, and the 2001 250cc world champion, the hugely talented Japanese has already proved to be a factor around the modified circuit.

“I love riding at Suzuka, and have been successful here in the past, but there isn't any added pressure for me to ride here, I enjoy it and will do what I always do and hope that this pleases all my fans who come this
weekend.” Veteran of many a successful Suzuka 8-Hour campaign, Katoh was initially challenged by the modified Suzuka layout. “I found the new corners hard to get used to because I know the circuit so well, but I am picking up a rhythm now, and I am very positive that I can go out there and win the first
race of 2003.”

Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda RC211V), a three-time Sugo World Superbike race winner for Honda as a wild card, has been charged with helping to develop Bridgestone’s slick tyres in a race setting, and is keen to make an impression in his first full season of GPs. Tamada stated, “I'm very pleased about all the work we've done. As far as the tyres are concerned, I tried various sizes at the front and we'll have a number of types to choose from for the race. We may have to do some more endurance tests but we've still got some time left to tweak things here and there before the green light comes on for the first 2003 MotoGP race."

The Moriwaki Racing team will also make its public race debut at the Japanese GP with their RCV powered MD211VF. Their rider, Tamaki Serizawa has no more than a few hours experience of the prototype MotoGP bike, with its unique chassis designed and built at the team's engineering headquarters in Suzuka. Serizawa was under four seconds off Rossi's best time of 2'05.105, which cannot be compared to last year's records
due to the remodelling the circuit has undergone since then.In the 250cc World Championship, Honda is represented by a strong contingent of top-level riders, including 2002 Rio GP race winner Sebastian Porto
(Telefonica Movistar Junior Team Honda RS250RW) and Italian Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW).
During recent IRTA tests at Estoril on February 27th, Rolfo set the 4th and Porto the 5th fastest times, proving the initial competitiveness of Honda’s 2003 vee-twin two-stoke. For Porto there is more to come from the new machine, but he sees himself as being in a strong position.

“To have the experience of Alberto Puig in this team is something that will be reflected on the racetrack,” assured Porto from his home in Argentina. “It won´t come straight away, because the bike is new and still under development, but we will be very competitive very soon”.

Other season long Honda entrants racing RS250R machines include Alex Debon and Eric Bataille (BQR Honda), Christian Gemmel (Kiefer Castrol Honda), Johan Stiegefelt (Motoracing Honda), Gabor Rizmayer (Team Hungary Honda), Jakub Smrz (Elit Grand Prix Honda), Henk van de Lagemaat and experienced female racer Katja Poensgen (Arie Molenaar Honda) Suzuka wild card entries usually spring surprises and 2003 could witness Yuki Takahashi (Dy Do Miu Honda) giving a repeat performance of his sensational race to
third place at last years Pacific GP at, Motegi. Takahashi will be joined on the grid by a second Honda wild card. Hiroshi Aoyama (Team HARC Pro Honda), a season wild card campaigner at Suzuka.

Incessant overnight rains left the Suzuka track surface in a damp condition for the start of final qualifying at the opening MotoGP race of the 2003 season. The frequently encountered patches of lying water made each session tricky for riders of all classes, and demanded different machine and tyre set-ups almost from minute to minute. With the rain falling lightly but persistently, increasing in strength as the final one-hour session drew to a close, none of the top riders were given a chance to improve their times, and thus the qualifying order was a carbon copy of the Friday session.

Reigning MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) will thus start Sunday’s 21-lap MotoGP race from pole position, as he did in 2002, when he rode an RC211V in anger for the first time. He will be hoping to repeat his 2002 race performance as well, as Suzuka delivered him the first of his championship-winning total of 11 race victories last year.

For Rossi, Saturday was something of a phantom session. “For me this is almost not a real pole position because the conditions were so changeable all weekend,” said a disarmingly honest Rossi. “It was not pole at 100%. The conditions have been very strange but we have found a good set-up for all conditions and we were fastest in the wet this morning. This afternoon was for nothing because we could not test settings in the wet or the dry! Tomorrow we hope for dry conditions and although we have done much testing over the
winter, tomorrow we race. You will see the real level of everybody after 21-laps on Sunday afternoon.”

In second place Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) had a happy return to the site of his first ever premier class victory, a landmark victory he took while riding a Honda NSR500 in 1998. Biaggi set most of his laps in the earlier dry sessions, and acknowledged that he would prefer the race to be dry, feeling that he will stand more chance of a win in these circumstances. Biaggi's team mate Tohru Ukawa on the other Camel Parmac Pons team Honda placed third on the front row about a quarter secoind behind max.

Team Yamaha rider Carlos Checa will also start his Yamaha YZR-M1 from the front row of the grid for tomorrow's season-opening Japanese Grand Prix. His time of 2'07.426, set during the brief spell of dry track time in yesterday's qualifying session, was not bettered today. The Spaniard decided to sit out today's damp qualifying hour without risking an outing on the wet and dry track. In this morning's fully wet free practice session Checa had completed a total of 11 laps to find a wet set-up in case conditions are the same for tomorrow's 21-lap race.

Weather conditions hindered the qualifying of the two Italian manufacturers' factory teams.At Aprilia, American Colin Edwards will start his bike from the third row while Haga, who was unable to exploit the chance yesterday, will try to make a good recover from the 17th position. The race on Sunday test still remains positivefor the team: during the IRTA tests Haga ended in 10th position while Edwards achieved a good 7th fastest lap time.

Ducati MotoGP Team riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi will commence the Desmosedici's MotoGP adventure from the fourth row of the Suzuka grid tomorrow, after persistent rainfall throughout Saturday prevented them from improving on their positions from Fridsay's afternoon's weather-hit qualifying session.
Although rain did affect Friday's qualifier, the track was very nearly dry at one point, allowing lap times within two seconds of the dry-weather pace, whereas heavy overnight rain and intermittent drizzle ensured that the surface was never less than damp during this afternoon's final session. Bayliss will line up for the race in 13th place, Capirossi in 15th, positions that don't accurately reflect the performance of the Desmosedici, since Capirossi topped Friday morning 'unofficial' practice - the only dry outing of the weekend - and Bayliss was a storming second quickest in this morning's rain-soaked 'unofficial' session.

"I’m glad we got two days testing here before the race weekend started", said Bayliss. "It’s an incredibly difficult circuit to get into. Everything went pretty good and we did a lot of laps, but everyone else has done plenty of GPs or 8-hour races here and just got loads of circuit experience, so if you came here cold for qualifying you’d get a pretty good kicking."

FRONT ROW (all times set on Saturday) 1. Valentino Rossi ITA Repsol HONDA 2'06.838, 2. Max Biaggi ITA Camel Pramac Pons HONDA 2'07.092 3. Tohru Ukawa JPN Camel Pramac Pons HONDA 2'07.298, 4. Carlos Checa SPA Fortuna Yamaha Team 2'07.426

Loris Capirossi on the brand new Ducati Desmodicci leads Rossi (46) and Biaggi (3) on the no longer all concuring Honda V5s in the opening laps, with Loris eventually finishing a close 3rd.

The Race: Rossi and Biaggi go 1-2 for Honda,
Capirossi 3rd and Baylis 5th in Ducati's first ever MotoGP

April 6th: Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) opened his 2003 account with a win at the first round of the season in Japan, outdistancing his closest rival Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) by 6.445 seconds after a three rider fight in the early laps. The world champion made this his 12th win on the mighty RC211V Honda, sprinting clear of early leader Loris Capirossi (Ducati). In dry and sunny conditions, a marked change from the rain that interrupted qualifying, Rossi set the new lap record for the modified 5.824km circuit at
2:04.971. His best time was achieved on the sixth lap, as he pulled away from the otherwise strong challenge of his great rival Biaggi. Capirossi held onto third place for an all-Italian rostrum with Ducati proudly taking a podium finish at it's first ever MotoGP race ahead of the othr major Japanesefactory teams.

For Rossi the impressive gap back to Biaggi gave a false impression, as he felt he had to push hard throughout. “The weather conditions of the weekend were difficult but because we tested last week the settings of the bike were not so bad,” explained the four-times World Champion, still only 24 years of age. “We did a lot of testing forrhythm and life of the tyre at that time, and it helped us a lot in this race. I had a hard win, a difficult ride. Winning at Suzuka is special and the 25 points for the championship are very important.”

Behind Rossi, Biaggi had a satisfying real-race introduction to his new Camel Pramac Honda Pons team, racing the RC211V five-cylinder machine in anger for the first time. His second place was as much as Biaggi himself could have hoped for in a field that featured such strength in depth. “This is a great welcome for my debut in this team,” said Biaggi in the post race interviews. “I am riding a Honda for the first time in five years so I am very happy to have this result first time out. The 20 points are a good to score for the championship and I hope we can improve even more because there are another 15 races in the season.”

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss scored extraordinary third- and fifth-place finishes in today's season-opening Japanese GP at Suzuka. The pair were contesting the Italian factory's first premier-class GP in over three decades, racing against rival marques with a full year's MotoGP experience and competing on the Japanese manufacturers' home tarmac. Their performance was all the more incredible considering that both men started from the fourth row after weather-hit qualifying. That didn't stop Capirossi from leading the first lap after unleashing the Desmosedici's awesome power in the rush to the first turn.

"We are very happy," said a delighted Federico Minoli, president of Ducati. "To score third place in our first MotoGP race, especially in the Japanese manufacturers' backyard is simply incredible. This is a big, big result, my thanks to everyone in the team and at the factory."

Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) paid the price for not getting away in the leading group of three, but had a clear ride to fourth place behind Capirossi, and like Biaggi was another rider having his first
competitive outing on an RC211V.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) made a massive Improvement on his 23rd fastest time in qualifying, finishing seventh on his first MotoGP race. Hayden had to put in some sterling work in the later laps, and showed the competitive edge that made him AMA Superbike champion in 2002. Lack of familiarity made for some peculiar experiences for the American rider. “Some of the guys I’d never even seen on the track before,” he stated. “I just tried to get the rhythm I wanted to move forward. At times in the first few
laps I was a little bit soft in passing. I just wanted to come here and get a result and gain some experience. I’ve now got a race under my belt. I stayed upright and finished. I had a good battle with a lot of guys and even Colin (Edwards). I’ve come all this way to Japan to race him and I could have just
gone to Texas.”

Tohru Ukawa (Camel Honda RC211V) was challenging for fourth place when he attempted to pass Troy Bayliss around the outside at the Hairpin. Unsighted momentarily the local rider missed his normal braking point, ran onto the grass on the inside of the corner and shot across the track, falling shortly before he and his bike came to a halt in the trackside safety barriers. Ukawa dusted himself off and bravely restarted, to no avail, as he had lost so much time. He finished 20th.

Said Ukawa: "When I was alongside Bayliss we were almost touching. It made me miss the braking marker and I ran onto the grass. Once I was on there I knew I would run on but I tried to stop before the barrier. I fell and went into the barrier and I thought maybe that was the end of my race. I re-started because I thought it would be possible to score some points but I had lost too much time. I really wanted to have a good result here.”

Daijiro Kato (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) suffered serious neck and head injuries during a fall in the braking zone for the final chicane on lap three. He was taken by helicopter to the local intensive care unit at the hospital in Yokkaichi.

250cc MotoGP
A strong display of front running from Sebastian Porto (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team Honda) slotted him into a seemingly unassailable250cc MotoGP class lead after five laps, his quick fire start pulling him free from a squabbling group in second. With a gap over his pursuers of 1.481 after two laps and 3.5 after three, Porto had apparently engineered his ultimate escape in dominant fashion, but it was not to last all 19 race laps.
On lap 12 the chasing pack of riders, which included Honda wildcards Hiroshi Aoyama (Team HARC Pro Honda) and Yuki Takahashi (Dy Do Miu Honda) caught up to him, with eventual race winner Manuel Poggiali (Aprilia) finally passing at the entrance to the modified 130R corner.

A bumping and barging session at the hairpin on lap 13, with Aoyama and Takahashi taking best advantage, relegated Porto to fifth, but when Anthony West (Aprilia) crashed Porto was guaranteed his eventual fourth place finish.
Said Porto, “I am more than happy with this result, in my first race with my new team. I wasn't expecting to be so far forward, because we did not have too many references after just half a session in the dry. I got a good start and led the race. I thought they would catch me but I stayed there for half the race. Poggiali got away and I was stuck with the two Japanese wildcards. At the end of the race I tried to get in the podium positions but there was a very high risk factor because we were all on spent tyres. I want to thank Alberto Puig and all the team for the great job they are doing.”

After much drama on the last couple of laps, Aoyama earned his second place finish after a audacious ride around the outside of Takahashi on the approach to the final chicane, leaving Takahashi no space or time to mount a counter attack. Aoyama was more disappointed to not win than he was pleased to be second as his post race comments affirmed, “I am very happy to be up here on the podium but I really regret not having won this race.” His efforts to catch winner Poggiali secured him the new lap record for the revised Suzuka layout, 2:09.839, set on lap 17 of 19.

Said Takahashi after his epic ride. “I was in second and riding for second, at full throttle exiting the corner before the chicane. When Aoyama overtook around the outside I was quite surprised.”

Front row qualifier Alex Debon (Troll Honda BQR) fought his way to 11th, while Jakub Smrz (Elit Grand Prix Honda) slotted into the last place in the points table, scoring one point for his 15th place finish. Eric Bataille (Troll BQR Honda) just missed out, in 16th. Henk van de Lagemaat (Arie Molenaar Honda) and our former FastDates.com Corona Suzuki girl racer Katja Poensgen (Arie Molenaar Honda) finished their Suzuka adventures 19th and 20th respectively. Christian Gemmel (Kiefer Castrol Honda) crashed out without injury.

125cc MotoGP
Daniel Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team Honda RS125R) led from the first corners of the 125cc race, attempting to make a break from the pursuing pack but unable to forge a clean exit in the still Suzuka air. Dogged by front row qualifier Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) the leading duo soon grew to become a seven-rider quarrel for the leading places.

During the fight for supremacy a bold move by Pedrosa ended with the young Spaniard running off the track. As he explained, “After the difficult preseason we have had, I am relatively satisfied, because it is more than I
really hoped for. I got a good start and took the lead, but halfway through I let a few riders through so I could control them a little. But for some reason - I don't know why - I couldn't slow down into the hairpin and went in way to quick, running straight into the gravel trap. Luckily I was able to get back on track and finish the race. The worked really well, we had some problems with the suspension in the middle part of the circuit but that is normal because it is very new.”

After Pedrosa ran off the tarmac the final four-man leading group witnessed a collision between Lucio Cecchinello and eventual winner Stefano Perugini, with Cecchinello overrunning the final chicane and finishing ahead of all the other riders. Originally relegated to eighth, Cecchinello was eventually awarded fourth as his ‘shortcut’ was deemed to be accidental. Swiss rider Thomas Lüthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) went ninth, Mika Kallio (Ajo Motorsport Honda RS125R) finished 11th, one place ahead of Simone
Corsi (Team Scot Honda RS125R).

The MotoGP championship moves onto Welkom in South Africa on 27 April, the second of 16 rounds in total.Honda team quotes Sunday April 6. MotoGP Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda Team, 1st : “We worked very had over the winter to get a good race rhythm – we actually did five full race simulations to make
sure the life of the tyre is good. At the beginning of the race we had a good fight with Biaggi and Capirossi. I think it is possible to go a little bit faster so I go. I make the 8-hours here so 21 laps for me is easy! The win for me here is good. It is special for Honda and 25 points for me at the beginning of the championship is important. But after hearing about Kato nothing is very important.”

Max Biaggi, Camel Pramac Pons: 2nd: “ An excellent debut with my new bike and my new team. I am very happy with the result and with the work that we have done in the team. This Grand Prix has not been an easy race and in the beginning I fought hard with Rossi and Capirossi, but after so long riding with Yamaha I am satisfied with the race and the final result. To start the season with 20 points is not bad at all, but there is still a long way to go and we must try to improve in the future. The championship is long.”

MotoGP 990cc: (21 laps = 122.304 km) Pos/Rider /Nat /Team /Motorcycle /Time/KM/H
1/Valentino ROSSI /ITA /Repsol Honda /HONDA/44'13.182/165.949
2/Max BIAGGI /ITA /Camel Pramac Pons /HONDA/44'19.627/165.547
3/Loris CAPIROSSI /ITA /Ducati Marlboro Team /DUCATI/44'21.391/165.437
4/Sete GIBERNAU /SPA /Telefónica Movistar Honda /HONDA/44'26.391/165.127
5/Troy BAYLISS /AUS /Ducati Marlboro Team /DUCATI/44'36.281/164.517
6/Colin EDWARDS /USA /Alice Aprilia Racing /APRILIA/44'42.222/164.152
7/Nicky HAYDEN /USA /Repsol Honda /HONDA/44'42.308/164.147
8/Alex BARROS /BRA /Gauloises Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'43.708/164.061
9/Shinya NAKANO /JPN /d'Antín Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'46.629/163.883
10/Carlos CHECA /SPA /Fortuna Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'53.382/163.472
11/Norick ABE /JPN /Fortuna Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'57.972/163.194
12/Noriyuki HAGA /JPN /Alice Aprilia Racing /APRILIA/45'16.540/162.079
13/John HOPKINS /USA /Suzuki Grand Prix Team /SUZUKI/45'17.132/162.043
14/Kenny ROBERTS /USA /Suzuki Grand Prix Team /SUZUKI/45'17.267/162.035
15/Olivier JACQUE /FRA /Gauloises Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/45'23.172/161.684
Fastest Lap: Valentino ROSSI 2'04.970 167.771 Km/h Lap 6

990cc World Championship Positions:
1 ROSSI Valentino 25, 2 BIAGGI Max 20, 3 CAPIROSSI Loris 16, 4 GIBERNAU Sete 13 5 BAYLISS Troy 11, 6 EDWARDS Colin 10, 7 HAYDEN Nicky 9, 8 BARROS Alex 8, 9 NAKANO Shinya 7, 10 CHECA Carlos 6, 11 ABE Norick 5, 12 HAGA Noriyuki 4, 13 HOPKINS John 3, 14 ROBERTS Kenny 2, 15 JACQUE Olivier 1.

MotoGP 250cc 250cc: (19 laps = 110.656 km) Pos/Rider /Nat /Team /Motorcycle /Time/KM/H
1/Manuel POGGIALI /RSM /MS Aprilia Team /APRILIA/41'36.284/159.581
2/Hiroshi AOYAMA /JPN /Team Harc-Pro /HONDA/41'37.657/159.494
3/Yuki TAKAHASHI /JPN /Dy Do Miu Racing Team /HONDA/41'37.780/159.486
4/Sebastian PORTO /ARG /Telefonica Movistar jnr Team /HONDA/41'37.984/159.473
5/Franco BATTAINI /ITA /Campetella Racing /APRILIA/41'48.055/158.832
6/Fonsi NIETO /SPA /Team Repsol Telefonica Movist /APRILIA/41'49.504/158.741
7/Roberto ROLFO /ITA /Fortuna Honda /HONDA/41'49.781/158.723
8/Naoki MATSUDO /JPN /Yamaha Kurz /YAMAHA/41'50.311/158.690
9/Tekkyu KAYO /JPN /Hitman RC Koshien Yamaha /YAMAHA/42'00.830/158.027
10/Sylvain GUINTOLI /FRA /Campetella Racing /APRILIA/42'19.006/156.896
11/Alex DEBON /SPA /Troll Honda BQR /HONDA/42'19.530/156.864
12/Erwan NIGON /FRA /Equipe de France - Scrab GP /APRILIA/42'24.155/156.579
13/Joan OLIVE /SPA /Aspar Junior Team /APRILIA/42'45.689/155.264
14/Johan STIGEFELT /SWE /Team Zoppini Abruzzo /APRILIA/42'46.063/155.242
15/Jakub SMRZ /CZE /Elit Grand Prix /HONDA/42'57.332/154.563
Fastest Lap: Hiroshi AOYAMA 2'09.839 161.479 Km/h Lap 17

250cc World Championship Positions:
1 POGGIALI Manuel 25, 2 AOYAMA Hiroshi 20, 3 TAKAHASHI Yuki 16, 4 PORTO Sebastian 13, 5 BATTAINI Franco 11, 6 NIETO Fonsi 10, 7 ROLFO Roberto 9, 8 MATSUDO Naoki 8, 9 KAYO Tekkyu 7, 10 GUINTOLI Sylvain 6, 11 DEBON Alex 5, 12 NIGON Erwan 4, 13 OLIVE Joan 3, 14 STIGEFELT Johan 2, 15 SMRZ Jakub.

MotoGP125cc (18 laps = 104.832 km) Pos/Rider /Nat /Team /Motorcycle /Time/KM/H
1/Stefano PERUGINI /ITA /Abruzzo Racing Team /APRILIA/40'53.083/153.845; 2/Mirko GIANSANTI /ITA /Matteoni Racing /APRILIA/40'53.120/153.842; 3/Steve JENKNER /GER /Exalt Cycle Red Devil /APRILIA/40'54.116/153.780; 4/Lucio CECCHINELLO /ITA /Safilo Oxydo-LCR /APRILIA/40'59.784/153.426; 5/Andrea DOVIZIOSO /ITA /Team Scot /HONDA/41'01.677/153.308; 6/Youichi UI /JPN /Sterilgarda Racing /APRILIA/41'02.023/153.286; 7/Pablo NIETO /SPA /Master-MXOnda-Aspar Team /APRILIA/41'02.166/153.277; 8/Daniel PEDROSA /SPA /Telefonica Movistar jnr Team /HONDA/41'16.076/152.416; 9/Thomas LUTHI /SWI /Elit Grand Prix /HONDA/41'26.791/151.759; 10/Gino BORSOI /ITA /Racing World /APRILIA/41'27.317/151.727; 11/Mika KALLIO /FIN /Ajo Motorsports /HONDA/41'27.363/151.725; 12/Simone CORSI /ITA /Team Scot /HONDA/41'28.328/151.666; 13/Max SABBATANI /ITA /Abruzzo Racing Team /APRILIA/41'28.901/151.631; 14/Gabor TALMACSI /HUN /Exalt Cycle Red Devil /APRILIA/41'29.028/151.623; 15/Gioele PELLINO /ITA /Sterilgarda Racing /APRILIA/41'29.390/151.601
Fastest Lap : Stefano PERUGINI 2'14.282 156.137 Km/h Lap 6

125cc World Championship Positions:
1 PERUGINI Stefano 25, 2 GIANSANTI Mirko 20, 3 JENKNER Steve 16, 4 CECCHINELLO Lucio 13, 5 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 11, 6 UI Youichi 10, 7 NIETO Pablo 9, 8 PEDROSA Daniel 8, 9 LUTHI Thomas 7, 10 BORSOI Gino 6, 11 KALLIO Mika 5,
12 CORSI Simone 4, 13 SABBATANI Max 3, 14 TALMACSI Gabor 2, 15 PELLINO Gioele 1

Ashley into the Finals on All American Girl!

Wed April 3nd: 2004 Fast Dates Calendar model Ashley Esqueda, winner of our Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show Calendar Girl Model Search Pageant last July, has advanced into the top 10 finalists on the new ABC reality TV show on Wednesday nights, All American Girl. Ashely is one of 3 girls left remaining on a team of girls coached by former football star John Salley. Another team of girls is coached by The Spice Girls Geri Halloway. The purpose of the Show is to find a girl that exemplifies a well-rounded young lady, the best America has to offer as far as intelligence, talent, beauty and personality. And that's certainly why we have confirmed Ashley to be our Master of Ceremonies on stage at this year's Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show.

All American Girl is produced by Simon Cowell of American Idol and England's Pop Idol fame. You can wish Ashley the Best of Luck in the contest by stopping by her website at www.Ashleye.us


Go to Pit Lane News Next Page

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Thank our Troops!
HELP the USO send care packages to our military troops HERE

Update on Daijiro Kato
in critical condition after
Suzuki MotoGP Crash

April 11th HRC Honda Press Release—We would like to thank everyone for their concern about the
condition of Daijiro Kato following his unfortunate accident. This statement
is an update on the developments since the accident.

Immediately after the accident Mr. Kato was taken to hospital, where he
continues to undergo medical treatment. However, there has been no change in his condition, and he remains unconscious.

The cause of the accident was investigated by the Suzuka Precinct of the Mie Prefectural Police Department and related parties were interviewed, but the specific cause was not ascertained. Honda representatives have also examined
the video records generated by the Suzuka Circuit’s on-site surveillance
cameras, but the video evidence is not sufficient to determine the cause ofthe accident.

Honda Racing (HRC) has examined the motorcycle and analyzed the available data regarding its operation, but found no irregularities.
Based on the currently available information, we have not been able to determine the cause of the accident.

Abe will continue to replace Injured Melandri for African Grand Prix
Friday, 11 April 2003: The Fortuna Yamaha Team has announced today that Norick Abe will ride as a
replacement for the injured Marco Melandri in the Africa's Grand Prix in
Welkom, South Africa on Sunday 27th April. The 27-year-old Japanese Yamaha factory test rider will compete on a 2003 race-spec YZR-M1.

Melandri, the team's 20-year-old MotoGP rookie, suffered multiple leg
injuries when he fell during Friday's opening practice session of the 2003
MotoGP World Championship. He flew to Italy on Monday and has received some treatment from the Championship's Clinica Mobile medical staff in Imola. He has a cast on his ankle where he suffered a double fracture, but this is due
to be removed after next weekend so that physiotherapy can begin. The
haematoma around the crack in his femur has significantly reduced and the bone should heal without complications.

On the whole medical staff are quite
happy with Melandri's progress. However, it is still too early to say
exactly when the 2002 250cc World Champion will return to competitive

Abe, a former GP regular who finished sixth in the 2002 Championship, had been due to compete in the season-opening Japanese Grand Prix as a wildcard.
With Melandri ruled out of the race he was drafted in as the Fortuna Yamaha Team's replacement and rode to 11th place last Sunday.
Abe and Fortuna Yamaha Team regular Carlos Checa stayed at Suzuka for a pre-arranged Yamaha test where Abe had the opportunity to ride the latest 2003 race-spec YZR-M1. However, heavy rain meant that scheduled track time for the pair was significantly reduced.

Suzuka's History
Suzuka was constructed by Honda in 1962 as Japan’s first international-standard racetrack and still rates as one of the world’s best motorsport venues. The circuit staged its first World Championship rounds in ’63, ’64 and ’65 but those events only catered for the smaller-capacity classes and it wasn’t until 1987 that Suzuka hosted a premier-class GP.
Since then the fast, varied and supremely challenging track has gained a reputation for serving up some of the closest, most thrilling GP encounters. Suzuka is the longest circuit on the GP calendar and unique for its figure-of-eight layout which gives a good mix of left and right-handers, varying from fast sweepers to the dead-stop chicane and hairpin. It is also one of the few current GP tracks where MotoGP riders can give full rein to their 200-plus horsepower machines.
The track has undergone several safety improvements in recent years, including two major changes carried out for this weekend’s race. The daunting 130R corner at the end of the back straight has been modified, as has the chicane that precedes the start-finish straight.

The Russians are Coming!
Meet our newest Fast Dates Calendar model find Natalie Abramov, who joined our famed editor and photographerJim Gianatsis this weekend at California Speedway, together with favorite Calendar Angel Chandi Mason,as they begin shooting the next Fast Dates calendar.

A sexy Hollywood actress with such films as Zoolander with Ben Stiller and Heartbreakers with Sigourney Weaver to her credit, for our very shallow purposes Natalie's more important credits include her beautiful 5'8" 35C-24-35 body and the titles Miss Swimsuit International 2001, and Miss Hawaiian Tropic International Russia. The cold war never stood a chance when this hot bodied Russian princess invaded America! Now, about improving our international relationships....
You can visit Natalie at her website at

. . . Going Fast!
Here's your last chance to order a piece of sportbike history. Our 2003 Calendars are sold out in stores worldwide. Only a few copies remain left at Calendars.com.
Click to order now online!

If sold out online at Calendars.com some copies may still be available from our Collerctors Corner

SBK Fast Dates 2003

Ripped Pavement 2003

USA order Online Now: Calendars.com

Garage Girls 2003

At the LA Calendar Motorcycle Show and SuperMoto Nationals July 19-20th!
2 Days of exciting Live Music featuring America's hottest new girl group, plus the beautiful FastDates.com
Calendar Angels!

Click to visit their website and see their music video!

Both Days!
The Beu Sisters

Our Featured Show Band
The hottest sounding, most beautiful new girl group in the World in their first West Coast appearance, premiering their new album "DECISIONS."

Meet the Beu Sisters HERE

The Beu Sisters on MTV
website & video interview HERE

The Beu Sisters CD Ablum
Click below to buy

Loris Capirossi rode a brilliant Japanese GP this afternoon: second into the first turn after starting from the fourth row, leading the first four laps and finishing a strong third behind Honda riders Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi. It was all the hard-riding Ducati Marlboro Team man could have expected, and more.

"For sure I didn't expect such a result in my first race with Ducati, especially with my fourth-row start," beamed the Italian who headed the Suzuka top-speed chart at 316.5kmh. "The Ducati people have worked very hard, the bike improves day by day and for sure there are better days to come. My start was unbelievable! After that I pushed so hard and to get third place is very good. I have to say thanks again to Ducati - we are still in the early stages with this bike but already we have shown that our potential is very high."

Sadly, Capirossi derived little pleasure from the result after hearing the news that Daijiro Kato was seriously injured when he crashed during the race. "With Kato getting hurt, this doesn't feel like a great day to me," he added.

Ducati Marlboro Team rider Troy Bayliss astounded the MotoGP regulars with a fighting ride to fifth in his first MotoGP race. The former World Superbike champion was the only rider in today's GP who had never raced at this ultra-complex track, but he used the speed of his Desmosedici to devastating effect, coming through from the fourth row to end the first lap in sixth place.
Typically humble in his assessment of the race, Bayliss said: "It wasn't a win but we got a race under our belt and we're happy. We've shown that the Ducati is competitive and that's what it's all about. I couldn't do any more, I was pretty consistent the whole race but we're still missing a couple of things, I still don't feel myself on the bike. When we find what we're looking for, the bike will be really nice. I'm looking forward to all the other races, I'll be doing my best everywhere we go."
Bayliss, who has raced World Superbikes for the past few years, and is thus more used to a two-race format, joked to Domenicali after today's race: "Hey Claudio, what time's the second race? I think we can make some changes to the bike!" Like the rest of the Ducati Marlboro Team, Bayliss is totally serious about racing but that doesn't stop him having fun.

Give our Miss SBK Fast Dates World Superbike Nicki Lane your support as she attempts to retake her crown!
Nicki writes from the British Isles- "Hello Guys! How`s things in the colonies? All's fine here in London where I'm getting ready for the 2003 Miss Great Britain Pageant on May 16th. It spans a weekend. Taking place in a very swanky private members club called the Elyseum.

All us girls will be staying at the Royal Horseguards Hotel. Hope I'm not sharing with another model as I will never get in the bathroom. Friday consists of press calls, photo sets, hair and makeup practice and rehersels. Saturday much the same, but the real pageant is on the night with filming for TV. Unfortunately in this country we don`t do talent sections ( it's a shame as I am sure I`d have the male judges votes with a couple of naked backflips!!!)

Speaking of being naked, I look forward to coming back to California in July for World Superbike and The LA Calendar Motorcycle Show, so I can take up my favourite hobby of naked sunbathing once again to avoid unsightly tan lines ha ha!! (No wonder photographer Jim Gianatsis can never get any work done when Nicki's our guest at the palacial FastDates.com Calendar Mansion).

Pictures of all the Miss Great Britain contestant girls are on the website age ranging 18-27 I think. I'm not sure about the competition as nobody is ever like the picture and I don`t recognise anyone. If I am in the shape like I was at was at monterey last year, then there isn`t much more I can do except cross my fingers and hope (and protect handicapped kids and feed the homeless!!!!! Like all the girls!) a requirement I believe for such events. I'll will keep you all informed.

As for me and other things, Ihave finished my aerobics instructors course and am awaiting my final assessment. After visiting America last summer I rekindled my love for kickboxing and am an active squad member in a local club. Due to the club successes in the last year we have been asked to perform a display at the opening of the world soccer games in London.I have been asked to choreograph the whole routine which will be shown on sky sports and the main UK channels another one for the CV, and to take up the offers I have to model for Muscle & Fitness, Shape magazines, and test for Playboy when I return to America). I'll see you all soon! Cheers -Nicki Lane, Miss Graet Britain 2001.

Vist Nicki and the other Contestants on the Miss Great Britain website www.miss-great-britain.com