AMA

Ben Bostrom captures pole at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 6, 2003) - Ben Bostrom is back. Making his return to the United States after three years in World Superbike, Bostrom, riding the No. 155 American Honda RC51, captured the pole on Thursday for Sunday's 62nd Daytona 200...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 6, 2003) - Ben Bostrom is back. Making his return to the United States after three years in World Superbike, Bostrom, riding the No. 155 American Honda RC51, captured the pole on Thursday for Sunday's 62nd Daytona 200 By Arai.

With a speed of 118.255 mph, Bostrom took home his first Daytona 200 pole and his fifth career AMA Superbike pole. Bostrom, 28, of Las Vegas, will be awarded one point toward the AMA Superbike championship and a Rolex watch.

"The Honda worked really well, a big thanks to the team for setting it up," said Bostrom, whose best finish in the Daytona 200 was a fourth in his most recent start in 1999.

Rounding out the front row will be Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts (118.061), Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin (118.060) and Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates (117.947).

Only the front row is locked into the field. The remainder of the field will be finalized on Friday in a final round of qualifying for the Daytona 200.

Mladin, while holding the pole with his fastest time in the first session featuring the even-numbered riders, took a spill on his No. 66 Yoshimura Suzuki in the chicane. Shortly after, Roberts turned his fast lap to overtake Mladin for the pole.

Mladin, the two-time Daytona 200 champion, quickly returned to his pit area and climbed aboard his backup Suzuki and returned to the track to try to eclipse Roberts' speed only to come up short.

In the second session with the odd-numbered riders, Bostrom toured the 3.56-mile road course to secure the Daytona 200 pole.

Dunlop didn't produce a special qualifying tire for the Daytona 200 By Arai so riders were unable to break last year's pole-winning record speed of 119.580 mph (1:47.174) set by Nicky Hayden.

Shaw Is In: Rick Shaw, who needs only two laps to eclipse Warren Sherwood's Daytona 200 mileage record, cleared a huge hurdle in pursuit of that record as he qualified for Sunday's race aboard his No. 79 Suzuki.

Shaw, a police officer from Miami, removes a load of pressure from his shoulders as he went fast enough to guarantee a spot in Sunday's race.

"The pressure was really, really on today," Shaw said. "Actually, the pressure has been on for months and months and months. Now, it's over and done with. The race is going to be anti-climatic. Getting in was the hard thing."

Pro Honda Oils Supersport: Miguel Duhamel, six-time winner of the Pro Honda Oils 600 Supersport At Daytona, captured the pole for Friday afternoon's 18-lap race.

Duhamel, riding the No. 17 American Honda, posted a speed of 113.632 mph during Thursday's qualifying session. Rounding out the front row were Yamaha's Jamie Hacking (113.600) and Aaron Gobert (113.471) and Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts (113.191).

Duhamel was grateful for the drafting help that he received from his teammate Ben Bostrom during the qualifying session.

"He really took one for the team as far as that is concerned," Duhamel said. "Our bikes are running really good. I think if I would've got in front and gave him the same tow he gave me maybe he would be up here talking right now."

Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 Superstock: Two-time Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 Superstock winner Jason Pridmore of Ventura, Calif., qualified for the pole for Friday's 15-lap race with a record speed of 114.873 mph.

BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup: The first of two sessions of qualifying for the inaugural BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup put the United Kingdom's Richard Cooper atop the provisional pole with a speed of 102.845 mph. There will be a final qualifying session on Friday.

The inaugural BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup is Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and it's the first time the series has made a stop in the United States.

On tap: Friday's schedule at the Speedway is a busy one that includes qualifying for the Daytona 200 By Arai, the MBNA 250 Grand Prix and the BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup and the finals for the Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 Superstock and the Pro Honda Oils 600 Supersport.

Tickets and information on any of the Speedway events 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 Kurtis Roberts , Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Jamie Hacking , Aaron Yates , Aaron Gobert , Jason Pridmore , Richard Cooper , Ben Bostrom