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Birmingham: Supersport preview

TOMMY HAYDEN HOPING TO UPHOLD FAMILY HONOR AT BARBER Defending AMA Supersport Champion has early series lead PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 18, 2005) -- In the short history of Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., no one other than a Hayden...

TOMMY HAYDEN HOPING TO UPHOLD FAMILY HONOR AT BARBER
Defending AMA Supersport Champion has early series lead

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 18, 2005) -- In the short history of Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., no one other than a Hayden has won an AMA Supersport race. On Sunday, April 24, Hayden hopes to maintain the good name of the Haydens at round two of the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei.

Of course if Tommy can't manage to put his factory Kawasaki ZX-6RR on top of the podium at Barber as he did in 2003, there's a good chance that younger brother Roger Lee, last year's Barber Supersport winner, will keep the trophy home in Owensboro, Ky.

Tommy comes into Barber leading the series after taking a commanding win on his No. 1 Kawasaki at Daytona International Speedway on March 10. Hayden's confidence is at an all-time high after winning by the largest margin victory in the Daytona Supersport race in seven years.

"I definitely couldn't have asked for more out of my bike," Hayden said after his Daytona victory, which moved him into a tie with Aaron Yates for third on the all-time AMA Supersport wins list and put him a single victory away from tying Mike Smith for second all-time. "That thing was unbelievable. It was really easy to ride, and super fast. I got the pole. I think I led every lap. You can't ask for anything better from my bike, for sure."

After over a month layoff Hayden is anxious to see how his factory Kawasaki will perform at Barber. "I've done well at Barber since we've been going there," he said. "It's quite a bit different from Daytona, so if we can follow up and win there it would mean we have a great package regardless of what type of track we're racing."

Defending winner Roger Lee Hayden comes to Barber aiming to make up for lost ground after his bike overheated causing him to finish in 21st at Daytona.

The factory Yamahas filled three of the top five finishing positions at the season opener. Leading the way was Jamie Hacking, who came back solidly after off-season shoulder surgery. He vowed to return even stronger at Barber in hopes of winning back the Supersport title he earned in 2003. Hacking's teammate Jason DiSalvo is ranked third coming into this weekend's race and the hard charging New Yorker will come to Barber looking to improve that position, as will Yamaha's Aaron Gobert who was fifth at Daytona.

A fourth factory Yamaha rider, Damon Buckmaster, plans to return to racing at Barber after missing Daytona due to injuries suffered in race testing just before the opener. Buckmaster might be a bit sleep deprived coming into Barber however. He and his wife celebrated the birth of their second son just a week-and-a-half ago.

Suzuki's Ben Spies is keeping the Kawasaki and Yamaha factory riders honest. The ultra-fast Texan hopes to find the twisty Barber circuit perfectly suited to his nimble handling Suzuki. Spies is ranked fourth coming into Barber after just barely missing a podium finish at Daytona.

Privateer riders could play more than a bit part at Barber. Robert Jensen, Michael Barnes and Danny Eslick all turned in top-10 finishes at Daytona on machines entered by smaller non-factory teams.

Justin Filice, the teenage son of Hall of Fame racer Jimmy Filice, made his pro debut at Daytona and he will be one of the few Honda Supersport riders at Barber.

The Barber round of the Pro Honda Supersport race will be televised Sunday, April 24 beginning at 3 p.m. EST on SPEED Channel.

For additional ticket information on the Honda Superbike Classic presented by McGraw Insurance Services contact (205) 327-RACE or 1-800-240-2300.

-ama-

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Series AMA
Drivers Jamie Hacking , Aaron Yates , Damon Buckmaster , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies , Aaron Gobert , Michael Barnes , Justin Filice , Danny Eslick , Mike Smit