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Laguna Seca: Supersport preview

AMA SUPERSPORT TITLE TO BE DECIDED AT SEASON FINALE PICKERINGTON, Ohio (September 11, 2007) -- After a season of some of the closest action in AMA professional road racing, the 2007 AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei...

AMA SUPERSPORT TITLE TO BE DECIDED AT SEASON FINALE

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (September 11, 2007) -- After a season of some of the closest action in AMA professional road racing, the 2007 AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei comes down to the final race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif., this Sunday, Sept. 16. Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates Roger Hayden and Jamie Hacking, along with Erion Honda's Josh Hayes are all within reach of the coveted championship.

Just 11-points separate the leading trio.

Hayden has been on the verge of winning the AMA Supersport Championship several times in his career, but something always happened to prevent him from earning the same title both of his older brothers have won. Going into Sunday's finale Hayden stands on the threshold of his first professional AMA road racing championship. He'll have to fight for it though since Hacking and Hayes are close enough to come in and steal the crown. If Hayden can finish second or better he will assure himself the No. 1 Supersport plate.

"It all comes down to Laguna and I'm looking forward to it," said a confident sounding Hayden. "I can't just cruise around. I'll have to ride hard to earn the championship and that's the way it should be. I was glad I was able to make the pass on Martin Cardenas in the final turn at Road Atlanta to get third place. Those two extra points might prove to be big in the end."

Hayden made a dramatic inside pass on M4 EMGO Suzuki's Martin Cardenas in the final turn at the last round at Road Atlanta to ensure third-place. That gave Hayden a nine-point lead on Hacking coming into this weekend's race.

Hayes pulled off a thrilling victory at Road Atlanta to keep his '07 title hopes alive. Hayes waged a fierce dogfight throughout the Road Atlanta contest with rival Monster Energy Kawasaki Jamie Hacking, the two championship hopefuls trading the lead several times as they jockeyed for position with Cardenas right on their heels pushing them the entire time.

"The goal for Road Atlanta was to maximize everything I could and I let Roger get one of those points (pole)," Hayes said of the most recent race. "I just want to get close enough that the pressure is on those guys. If I can show up and ride well, it's up to them. The only position I have is to put pressure on them and see if they fold or if they're going to stand up and take their championship. I feel like I've done everything I could possibly do given the circumstances. I'm just ready to go racing and do this one more time at Laguna."

For Hacking, he's happy to be in the mix in his effort to defend his Supersport title. A spectacular crash in the second round at Barber Motorsports Park looked to end his title defense early, but Hacking charged back, won two races and rose all the way from 11th to second in the standings.

"After the crash at Barber things looked pretty bleak," Hacking admitted. "I never gave up though. I've been in this game long enough to know that it's not over until that final checkered flag waves. I'm going to Laguna to win. If I do that I'll know I did everything I could to keep this championship."

While Hayden, Hacking and Hayes battle for the championship, a host of other riders hope to set the tone for 2008 with a solid finish to this year's campaign at Laguna.

Cardenas is already being touted as a title contender for next year. The Columbian rider will be shooting for his third Supersport podium finish of the year, having entered the class halfway through the year. His M4 EMGO Suzuki teammate Geoff May is also considered a rider of the future and hopes to end the season strong on Sunday. Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp and Ben Attard have shown consistent potential in the class. Yoshimura Suzuki's Tommy Hayden, a former two-time Supersport champ, is always strong at Laguna Seca. He would love nothing better than to end the year on a high note after a disappointing season.

The Laguna Supersport finale will receive special live coverage on SPEED starting at 5:00 pm Eastern.

The Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei is part of the Corona AMA Superbike Championship Finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Sept. 15-16. For additional event information visit the website www.laguna-seca.com.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Tommy Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Geoff May , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Attard , Martin Cardenas , Josh Hayes