HAYDEN LOOKING TO FOLLOW UP CHAMPIONSHIP WITH DAYTONA WIN PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 4, 2005) -- Last year Tommy Hayden attained one of the goals he set out to accomplish when he began his professional career, and that was to win a national title.
HAYDEN LOOKING TO FOLLOW UP CHAMPIONSHIP WITH DAYTONA WIN
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 4, 2005) -- Last year Tommy Hayden attained one of the goals he set out to accomplish when he began his professional career, and that was to win a national title. On Thursday, March 10, Hayden will try to cross off another long-time goal by adding a Daytona Supersport trophy to his collection. Hayden kicks off his title defense at Daytona International Speedway in round one of the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei.
Ever since AMA Supersport began at Daytona in 1987, it has usually been the most competitive race of Bike Week. The list of past winners reads like a who's who of racing and includes two world champions. Hayden knows a good result at Daytona can give the kind of start to a season that's needed to win the championship.
"I never really had much luck in the Daytona Supersport race," said Tommy, the oldest of the three racing Hayden brothers from Owensboro, Ky. "Last year I finally got a podium there and I went on to win the championship, so it's important to get the season started strong with a good result at Daytona."
The race will run for the first time on the new 2.95-mile road course. Hayden likes the new configuration.
"The new track is a lot more technical than the old course," he said. "I think it's going to reward the better riders. With the old track you could lose quite a bit in the infield section and still make it up with all the drafting on the banking. Now you're going to have to be fit and ready to work really hard in the infield section to do good there."
Hayden hopes to become the third Kawasaki rider to win the Daytona Supersport final. Miguel Duhamel won the race on a Kawasaki in 1993 and Doug Chandler accomplished the feat for the team in 1998.
"It would mean a lot to me to win the Supersport race at Daytona," Hayden continued. "It's one of those races that's really important to the manufacturers and if you win it shows that you've done the work you needed to do in the off season. But the biggest thing is it puts you in a great position in the championship."
Hayden sees his biggest competition coming from his brother and Kawasaki teammate Roger Lee Hayden. The youngest Hayden brother finished 2004 with three wins in the final four rounds and was runner up to Tommy in the final standings. Roger Lee was injured in a bicycle training crash last month, but is expected to be fit and ready to race by Daytona.
Yamaha returns with the same four riders, Damon Buckmaster, Jason DiSalvo, Aaron Gobert and Jamie Hacking, who raced for the team in Supersport last year. DiSalvo, 21, of Stafford, N.Y., is the defending Daytona Supersport winner. He gave Yamaha its first Daytona Supersport victory in 14 years and was the fastest of the Yamaha riders in pre-season testing at the Speedway.
Yoshimura Suzuki fields Texan Ben Spies. Spies was the only Suzuki rider to score a victory in Supersport last year.
A strong field of privateer teams hopes to challenge the factory riders at Daytona. Chief among them is Florida's own Michael Barnes on a Prieto Racing entry. The racing veteran is a former Daytona Supersport winner and was extremely quick in pre-season testing at Daytona.
Former AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year Geoff May will make his debut on the Team M4 EMGO Suzuki GSX-R600 at Daytona. Aussie Ben Attard is expected to be a front-runner on the Attack Kawasaki. Team Hotbodies Racing's Taylor Knapp turned a lot of heads at the Daytona tire tests and the young Michigan rider could be ready for a breakthrough season.
The Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei is set for national live television coverage on SPEED Channel at 4:45 EST, Thursday, March 10.
For ticket information contact Daytona International Speedway at (386) 253-7223 or order online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.