AMA's Hayden impressed With safety at New Sears Point Raceway
SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - Nicky Hayden, fresh off his victory in the season-opening Daytona 200, got back to work on Thursday, March 21, with a one-day stop at Sears Point Raceway.
Hayden, who rides for Honda in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Series, did an informal shakedown of the 12-turn, 2.32-mile course in preparation for the AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, May 3-5. Hayden was part of a CLASS Motorcycle Safety School that spent the day at Sears Point Raceway. Hayden was riding a 2001 RC-51.
Hayden was impressed with the safety improvements at Sears Point, which is in the final stages of a $50 million Modernization Project. Increased runoff has been added at virtually every turn on the road course. Hayden was especially pleased with the runoff at Turns 7-9.
"The track looks a lot better, and the runoff is a lot nicer," Hayden said. "There's so much more room here. I think it's going to save us a lot of injuries and make for better racing. I think once the entire track is repaved it has the potential to be one of the best road courses on the series.
"Guys used to only race at 95-percent at Sears Point because they were afraid of the walls, but now I think guys will take more chances. You'll see more guys pushing to the edge, which will make for better racing."
Hayden is in the Bay Area for next week's test session at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He figured it would be a good time to check out both of the Northern California stops on the AMA circuit. Hayden placed second a year ago in the AMA Superbike Challenge at Sears Point behind Yamaha's Anthony Gobert.
"I really appreciate all the work they've done here," Hayden said. "Any time I can get a little bit of track time, it's always good. That's especially true on a course I'm going to compete on in a few months."
The AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge at Sears Point Raceway will feature a doubleheader weekend, with Superbike main events scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday.