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Daytona practice day one summary 2003-03-05

Riders feel the need for speed during practice at Daytona. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 5, 2003) -- The beautiful Florida sunshine broke through at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday for daylong practice sessions in preparation for the...

Riders feel the need for speed during practice at Daytona.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 5, 2003) -- The beautiful Florida sunshine broke through at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday for daylong practice sessions in preparation for the upcoming Daytona 200 Week events.

Motorcycles competing in the Daytona 200 By Arai, Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport, Suzuki Genuine Accessories Superstock, the MBNA 250 Grand Prix and the inaugural BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup were all on track as riders prepare their two-wheel machines for qualifying sessions.

Fastest among the Superbikes in the first practice session was Kurtis Roberts, who rides the No. 80 Erion Honda RC51. Roberts posted a speed of 117.240 mph.

In last year's Daytona 200, Roberts gave Nicky Hayden a formidable challenge in the early portion of the 57-lap race but Roberts' rear tire failed and Hayden captured the victory in dominating fashion.

Roberts, the son of legendary motorcycle rider Kenny Roberts, is unsure if that experience will help him challenge for a victory in this year's Daytona 200 By Arai, which is the AMA Superbike season opener.

"It did and it didn't," Roberts said. "For one, if I had been there on Lap 57 last year, everyone would have seen what I would have done then. I think being consistent and making sure you're there for the finish is what's going to win this thing. We'll see what everyone else is doing, but it looks like we're right where we need to be right now and we just need to keep improving on that."

Rounding out the top five in the first session was Aussie Mat Mladin (116.573), Aaron Yates (115.399), Eric Bostrom (115.397) and Miguel Duhamel (115.024).

In the second session, Mladin was fastest rider with a speed of 117.134.

Mladin, who won the Daytona 200 in 2000 and 2001, never got a chance to compete for a third straight in last year's race. He suffered an arm injury during a practice incident which prevented him from defending his title.

"It's working well," Mladin said. "It's obviously the first race for the new bike. We didn't get as much as testing as what we would've liked so we're still going through some stuff. The thing in general is working pretty well."

Rounding out the top five in the second session was Roberts (116.803), Duhamel (116.351), Ben Bostrom (115.724) and Aaron Yates (115.684).

Jamie Hacking was fastest overall in the two Supersport practice sessions with a speed of 113.523 mph while his Yamaha teammate Jason DiSalvo lurked close behind with a lap of 113.326. In Superstock, Jason Pridmore led the way with a speed of 112.869.

In MBNA 250 Grand Prix, Rich Oliver posted the fastest speed at 110.915.

The BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup teams took to the track for the first time at Daytona.

Making its first and only appearance in the United States during Daytona 200 Week, the BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup features an international field aboard BMW R 1100 S Motorcycles. The BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup is slated for Sunday at 11:30 a.m. before the Daytona 200 By Arai.

The fastest during the lone practice session on Wednesday was Germany's Markus Barth with a fast lap of 100.515.

"For me everything is new," Barth said. "I've never raced on oval, so I'm very surprised that I have the fast time."

On tap for Thursday at the Speedway is qualifying for Pro Honda Oils Supersport, BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup, Suzuki Genuine Accessories Superstock and the Daytona 200 By Arai (top four qualifiers locked-in).

Tickets for 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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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Ben Bostrom