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VIR: Supersport preview

KAWASAKI TEAMMATES SET FOR MAJOR CONTEST IN VIR SUPERSPORT RACE PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 14, 2007) -- Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates Roger Hayden and Jamie Hacking are primary candidates to win the 2007 Pro Honda Oils Supersport...

KAWASAKI TEAMMATES SET FOR MAJOR CONTEST IN VIR SUPERSPORT RACE

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 14, 2007) -- Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates Roger Hayden and Jamie Hacking are primary candidates to win the 2007 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei. At Virginia International Raceway this Sunday, Aug. 19, Hayden and Hacking will suit up and go about the business of trying to win the coveted title.

VIR is perhaps the perfect neutral ground for both Hayden and Hacking. Both riders have scored Supersport victories at the picturesque, flowing circuit in Alton, Va. Hacking is the defending VIR winner and Hayden won the race in 2005. Hayden is trying to score his first AMA national road racing championship, while Hacking is shooting for a third AMA Supersport title.

"It should be a great race at VIR," Hayden said. "I know me and Jamie have a lot at stake at the race and now Josh [Hayes] feels like he has nothing to lose and will be looking to go out winning races. And that's just the top three guys. On any given weekend there's three or four other guys who could step up and challenge for the win. So many things could happen, but I'm just focused on doing what it takes to win this championship. It's important to me and the team."

Hacking sees this race as one of the most important of the year.

"I'm 13 points down to Rog so the equation is simple for me," Hacking said. "I need to win the race, it's that simple. I had a great race at VIR last year, but there really wasn't much pressure on since I nearly had the championship wrapped up. Now it's a different story. It's all on the line there, as far as getting close enough to have a shot at the championship, but as a racer you've got to like those kinds of challenges."

Hacking took the win last year after a race long battle with M4 EMGO Suzuki teammates Geoff May and Michael Barnes.

A crash at Laguna Seca last month took Erion Honda's Josh Hayes from the Supersport series lead to a distant third. While he joked in a press conference that the Laguna crash may have cost him the price of a new home in California, he said it frees him to think about nothing but winning races.

"I know that mathematically, for sure, you always have a shot in a championship, but if I do my job and Roger and Jamie do their job, I really don't have a shot at that championship, so I'm not going to think about that," Hayes said. "I'm going to try to win races. If I can put enough pressure on them to force a mistake on their part, and get myself back in the championship, that's great. If not, I want to win races for Honda and show the world they have a great motorcycle. I think that's the best thing I can do for myself right now."

Hayes could earn the distinction this Sunday of giving Honda its first VIR Supersport win. Other riders such as M4 EMGO Suzuki's May and Martin Cardenas, Celtic Racing's Chaz Davies, Erion Honda's Aaron Gobert, Yoshimura Suzuki's Tommy Hayden and Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp and Ben Attard all have real shots at winning this weekend's race.

This Sunday's Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei is part of the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals. The race will be televised nationally on SPEED with special same-day coverage starting at 4:00 pm Eastern this Sunday, Aug. 19.

Tickets are available by visiting www.m1event.com or call 770-965-4565 or 770-965-4566.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Steve Rapp , Tommy Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Geoff May , Roger Lee Hayden , Aaron Gobert , Chaz Davies , Michael Barnes , Ben Attard , Martin Cardenas , Josh Hayes