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Yates Leads AMA U.S. Superbike Championship into Pikes Peak
25 points separate top-5
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 22, 2003) -- Yoshimura Suzuki’s Aaron Yates finds himself in uncharted territory coming into round eight of the 18-race AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship May 31 through June 1 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado – he’s leading the series.
This is the first time in the eight years since Yates began competing in AMA Superbike that he’s led the series standings. Four podium finishes in the seven rounds leading up to Pikes Peak, including a victory in the first leg of the Road Atlanta Superbike doubleheader, has been Yates’ path to the series lead. Luck has helped Yates as well. His teammate, three-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin, has been dominant so far this year, winning five races. But a tire failure at 170 mph at Road Atlanta sidelined Mladin and cost him the large points lead he’d built. Now the two Suzuki teammates are running nearly head-to-head in the middle of the championship season. Mladin’s woes in the first Road Atlanta race acted to tighten up the race for the title with the top five riders now within 25 points of one another.
Pikes Peak is a tight and twisty road course that favors a quick handling machine. It will be interesting to see how the big Suzuki GSX-Rs handle the small 1.3-mile circuit. “We’ve tested there and turned fast laps,” Yates said. “The GSX-R1000 accelerates so well that it should make it easier to pass on the short straights in Colorado.”
One rider who has mastered the course over the years is Kawasaki’s Eric Bostrom. Bostrom has won three AMA Superbike races at Pikes and is the only rider to earn multiple wins there. Bostrom comes into this Sunday’s race third in the standings. Another victory at PPIR would move Bostrom even closer to the goal of an AMA Superbike title he’s been trying to reach for five years.
Mladin didn’t waste anytime regrouping after his harrowing ride at Road Atlanta. The determined Australian came back the very next day and won the second leg of the doubleheader weekend and pulled back to within two points of Yates. Pikes Peak is one of the few tracks that Mladin has not been victorious. He was twice runner-up, in 1998 and again in 2000, but finished fourth in each of the other four races there since 1997. He’s hoping to break through with his first victory on Sunday.
For series leader Yates, Pikes Peak has been a mixed bag. Like Mladin, Yates has never won the Superbike race there. He finished second to Eric Bostrom last year and earned a third in 2000 after running second and letting teammate Mladin past him on the final lap to help Mladin’s bid at that year’s championship. Is Yates feeling any added pressure from leading the championship for the first time in his career?
“I’ve dealt with pressure before in the Supersport championship,” said Yates, the 2002 Pro Honda Oils Supersport champ. “There are still a lot of races left and the only pressure on me is to finish in front of Mat (Mladin).”
The Pikes Peak Superbike race will be shown live on Speed Channel at 5 p.m. EST. For ticket information for the event call (888) 306-7223 or visit www.ppir.com.
Superbike Championship Preview: Laguna Seca
Nicki Lane will be familiar to American sportbike fans who may have seen her in America last summer 2002 where she was working with FastDates.com, serving as an official SBK World Superbike Fast Dates Calendar model at Laguna Seca World Superbike shooting for the calendar in the paddock with the top factory race bikes, and a week later at the Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show. On Sunday at Laguna Seca, Nicki also served as the official Team Ducati Corse umbrella girl for SBK World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss.
Nicki talked to FastDates.com just after her win - "I'm so excited. I'm staying in London tonight as I'm doing TV interviews all day tomorrow all day tomorrow. I've already been interviewed by MTV and NBC from the states. I've got an incredible story to tell about the pageant and what it took to win. I am ecstatic and its a great plus for the FastDates.com Calendars and all the faith director Jim Gianatsis has had in me. I'm taking every every opportunity to mention to the press that I'm this coming year's cover model on the 2004 SBK World Superbike Fast Dates Calendar, and the great time I had serving as the Team Ducati Corse umbrella girl for World Champion Troy Bayliss at Laguna Seca last year. All things are looking good, and superbike racing is getting great world coverage from it all.
I am look forward to coming back to California with FastDates.com in July for the 2003 World Superbike race at Laguna Seca and The LA Calendar Motorcycle Show ands I'll look forward to meeting everyone who was so nice to me last year. See you soon. Cheers!" -Nicki Lane, Miss Great Britain 2001 and 2003.
Nicki will again be joining us this year as one of our SBK Fast Dates Calendar models at Laguna Seca World Superbike weekend July 10-12th. Paolo Ciabatti, Marketing Director at Ducati Corse, has confirmed our Fast Dates Calendar models again will be the official Ducati Corse team umbrella girls on Sunday for the race and world TV broadcast. And our Miss Great Britain Nicki Lane will serve as Ducati Corse umbrella girl for British National Champion and expected-to-be 2003 World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgsen. We couldn't be more pleased tohave FastDates.com be part of a such a world class championship winning combination - Ducati, Neil and Nicki
Sete Gibernau on
the start grid on a sunnier day.
Leads MotoGP Pack To LeMans
Honda men pack the top ten in this year’s championship standings, even after only three of 16 races. Rossi, something of a modern day racing phenomenon, carries the highest points haul so far, leading Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) 70 to 56. Neither rider has been off the podium yet, with Rossi winning at Suzuka and Jerez, while fourth place rider overall, Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V), took an emotional win at Welkom in South Africa in round two.
Le Mans hosts the French GP for the 15th time, having shared the event over the years with seven other circuits. In last year’s MotoGP race rain brought about a premature finish after 21 of a scheduled 28 laps and thus delivered the win to Rossi. Despite this success the 2002 World Champion does not rate the slow sections and tight corners of the Bugatti circuit, a very much shorter 4.18km version of the classic 24-Hour car racing loop. “It’s good to be where we are after three races, especially before Le Mans – which is not my favourite track – in fact I don't really like it that much at all,” admitted Rossi. “ I won there last year, but that was mainly because I managed to get to the front and then the rain fell and they stopped the race, which was lucky for me.”
Despite Rossi’s great start to the season, realism shines through in his thoughts about how tough this year’s competition is. “The team is working well and the bike feels good, but there are many competitive riders and machines,” acknowledged Rossi. “Things never get easier and we have to keep up the pressure on them all from the front – the championship is a long one and we have only just begun to see what might happen.”
/ Saturday Qualifying
“We have never been here before with this bike but it’s working okay, though I still feel something is missing,” said Ducati MotoGP Team technical director Corrado Cecchinelli. “I don’t know what, or we would already have made the changes! The gearing was wrong this morning, so we’ve fixed that, now we just need to work at refining our chassis settings. We’ll look at the data and work from that for tomorrow. The good thing is that we’ve made a bigger step than most of the others from morning to afternoon – we are already much closer to pole. Troy, of course, has never been here, so he still has plenty more to come.”
Gritty Italian Loris Capirossi fought off the effects of a serious stomach upset to take third spot on the provisional grid this afternoon, eight-tenths off pole. The Ducati MotoGP Team rider has been in and out of hospitals and clinics all week, but that didn’t stop him battling for a front-row slot today.
As predicted the weather for the French Grand Prix took a turn for the worse during the final qualifying session today, however cementing MotoGP rookie Marco Melandri's debut front row start for tomorrow's 28-lap race. The young Italian posted a 1'36.161 time aboard his Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1 in yesterday's dry qualifier to be the fourth fastest, from a field of 23 entries. This will only be Melandri's second MotoGP race, since the high-speed incident in Suzuka that put him out of contention for the first two races this season. The talented 20-year-old will start Sunday's main event alongside riders in the calibre of polesitter and defending MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi (Honda, 1'35.208), Alex Barros (Gauloises Yamaha Team, 1'35.985) and third place qualifier Loris Capirossi (Ducati, 1' 36.019).
The Front Row: 1). 46 Rossi Honda Repsol Honda 1'35.208; 2). 4 Barros Yamaha Gauloises Yamaha Team 1'35.985; 3). 65 Capirossi Ducati Ducati Marlboro Team 1'36.019; 4). 33 Melandri Yamaha Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'36.161 - 1'36.161
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss had a luckless time at Le Mans this afternoon, both riders exiting from the French Grand Prix in the early stages. Capirossi led from the start and enjoyed a brief tussle with Valentino Rossi (Honda) before encountering a minor technical glitch that forced his withdrawal. Bayliss tumbled out a few laps later, the Aussie uninjured in the fall.
Rain brought a stop to the racing and riders returned to the pits to change tires. Positions in the first ´Leg' ended with Rossi leading and the next four riders disputing second including Tohru Ukawa, Max Biaggi, Alex Barros and Sete Gibernau, determined the ranking on the grid for the second leg.
Barros got the best start from the depleted grid with most of the riders electing to use full wet tyres. Some fantastic but cautious racing took place between Rossi, Gibernau and Barros with the latter pair leading most of the distance until Gibernau and Rossi commenced their charge.
"I lost the rear and just couldn't keep control of the bike," said the disappointed Spaniard. "I'm really not sure if I touched a wet patch or not, but I got on the gas and then I lost control. Gibernau had just passed me and I was next to Biaggi, we were in a very close group and on the exit of the corner I kept the inside line and at that moment the bike just stood up and threw me off. I had followed that same line on the previous lap so I don't know why it happened. It's one of those falls where it's impossible to say why."
Click for a a date with Joanna.
FastDates.com model Joanna takes it to the max in June Maxim
Our featured 2004 FastDates.com Calendar model Joanna Krupa is also staring in a sexy 2-page pictorial in the Jun e'03 issue of Maxim magazine photographed by famed fashion photographer Antoni Verglas. But this beautiful Star Seach Spokesmodel winner and Man Show "Juggy" says her most fun experience was shooting with photographer Jim Gianatsis and fellow models Chandi Mason and Janelle Perzina for the next Garage Girls, Iron & Lace and Berm Busters Calendars which premier right here on FastDates.com come July.