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Daytona: Nicky Hayden takes the pole

Nicky Hayden Wins Daytona 200 By Arai Pole With Record Lap DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 7, 2002) -- Nicky Hayden, 20, of Owensboro, Ky., shattered Daytona International Speedway's motorcycle track record in Thursday's qualifying for the 61st ...

Nicky Hayden Wins Daytona 200 By Arai Pole With Record Lap

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 7, 2002) -- Nicky Hayden, 20, of Owensboro, Ky., shattered Daytona International Speedway's motorcycle track record in Thursday's qualifying for the 61st anniversary of the Daytona 200 by Arai.

Hayden clicked off a lap at one minute, 47.174 seconds (119.581 mph) on his Honda RC51. It marked the first Daytona 200 pole for Hayden and the first pole for Honda in the prestigious race since 1987.

After setting the record Hayden crashed in the closing minutes of the qualifying session, but no other riders were able to better his time. He was treated and released from the track's infield care center.

"All things considered I feel really good," said Hayden after coming out of the care center. "I don't know if you saw that on TV, but it was so big (the crash), I can't believe I'm OK. I went into the chicane and as soon as I tipped it back right the thing came around and threw me over. The guy (EMT) asked me what day it was and I told him. Up to now it was the best day of my life.' To be on pole is really cool, but now I'm just hoping I can ride and am looking forward to the race."

Only the top four starting positions are locked in. Hayden will be joined on the front row by Honda teammates Miguel Duhamel and Kurtis Roberts as well as Yamaha's Anthony Gobert. Duhamel, a three-time winner of the 200 from Montreal, clocked a 1:47.259 at 119.486 mph to qualify second.

Roberts, son of former Daytona winner Kenny Roberts, will start third with a time of 1:47.527 (119.189 mph). Australian Gobert will start on the out side of Row 1 with a time of 1:48.083 (118.576 mph). The top six qualifiers for Sunday's race ran under last year's track record of 1:48.424 (118.203 mph) turned by Mat Mladin.

Mladin, the three-time and defending AMA Superbike champion, qualified a disappointing sixth. The Aussie is trying to become the first rider to win the Daytona 200 three-times in a row.

Tickets for all motorcycle events at the Speedway, including the Daytona 200 By Arai and the Daytona Supercross By Honda, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223. -dis-

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Series AMA
Drivers Anthony Gobert , Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Kenny Roberts