DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 12, 2002) -- The annual Dunlop tire test in preparation for March's Daytona 200 Week wrapped up on Thursday as motorcycle teams got about 90 minutes of track time in the morning before rain once again moved over the ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 12, 2002) -- The annual Dunlop tire test in preparation for March's Daytona 200 Week wrapped up on Thursday as motorcycle teams got about 90 minutes of track time in the morning before rain once again moved over the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.
The Dunlop tire test was originally scheduled for three days, but the sessions on Monday and Tuesday were washed out. The teams were able to log some significant hours on Wednesday and the test was extended for a half a day on Thursday because of the rain.
Ben Bostrom will leave the Dunlop tire test as the fastest rider. He posted the fastest lap of the test on Thursday morning when he toured the "World Center of Racing" with a lap of 117.965 mph (1 minute, 48.651 seconds) aboard his Honda RC51.
Bostrom, 1998 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike champion, is returning to the United States after competing for three seasons in World Superbike. He replaces 2002 Daytona 200 By Arai winner Nicky Hayden in the American Honda family of riders as Hayden has moved to Europe to compete in MotoGP.
Rounding out the top three on the speed chart on Thursday was two-time Daytona 200 By Arai champion Mat Mladin (117.806) and Anthony Gobert (117.287).
Gobert is preparing for the March 9 Daytona 200 By Arai with his new team Ducati Austin. After riding the last two years for Yamaha, the Aussie is returning to Ducati, which he rode in 1998 and 1999 with Vance & Hines.
Ducati has never won the Daytona 200 while Gobert is also lacking the victory. He managed to score a podium finish last year despite being banged up from a crash in the Pro Honda Oils Supersport race earlier in the week.
"We've struggled a lot with setup," Gobert said. "We've been running the same setup as what I did in 1999. I kind of wasn't happy with the setup that year. I felt like we needed to do some work on it. We kind of struggled a bit with that. We're trying to improve that.
"Unfortunately with the track time, we really couldn't do a lot. We're trying to test the tires for Dunlop and do a lot of things. It's difficult to fit everything in. We're doing the best we can. We do have a direction that we want to go in, but we just need time to test everything."
Next up on the testing agenda at Daytona International Speedway is a three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series test session beginning Dec. 20. A section of the Oldfield Grandstands will be open and free to the public with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.
Tickets for Daytona 200 Week are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.