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Dunlop tire test at Daytona report 2002-12-10

Rain pushes teams into overtime during Dunlop tire test. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 10, 2002) -- Steady rain on Tuesday washed out the second day of the three-day Dunlop tire test at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Daytona 200...

Rain pushes teams into overtime during Dunlop tire test.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 10, 2002) -- Steady rain on Tuesday washed out the second day of the three-day Dunlop tire test at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Daytona 200 Week in March.

The Dunlop tire test is scheduled for Wednesday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and has now been extended into Thursday, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The tire test is the only opportunity for teams to prep their motorcycles at the "World Center of Racing" in advance of Daytona 200 Week, which features the Daytona 200 By Arai on March 9, the season opener to the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike season.

The test is also vital to Dunlop as they develop the tires to handle the speeds that motorcycles produce on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course.

Because of the rain, riders are spending their time in the garage area chatting with media and familiarizing themselves with their equipment and crew.

"I knew it was going to happen," said rider Jamie Hacking, who is joining Yamaha in 2003. "I don't think we've come down here yet and not been rained out of a day. This is pretty ridiculous that we're getting rained out of two days."

Hacking, who took home a podium finish in last year's Daytona 200 By Arai with Yoshimura Suzuki, is part of Yamaha's four-rider team that will compete in the highly competitive Pro Honda Oils Supersport U.S. Championship.

With the loss of track time, Hacking expects the remaining hours of testing will be very busy for both the riders and crew.

"It's kind of nice that we're focusing on one bike this year," Hacking said. "Especially with rain, it's going to be even tougher to get the Supersport bike sorted out. These guys have got a lot to do to figure out this new bike and new fuel injection. It's a totally new motorcycle and it's going to be busy for sure."

"We haven't rode the new bike very much and it's definitely frustrating to be here and wasting all this track with a brand new bike that needs some time on it," said Tommy Hayden, who is competing in Supersport and Superstock for Kawasaki. "It's the same for everyone. We'll wait it out. When we finally get on the track, we'll just have to make the most of it."

With all the factory support from Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha in the Supersport division, the Pro Honda Oils Supersport season opener at Daytona on Friday, March 7 will certainly be one of the more entertaining events of Daytona 200 Week.

Aaron Yates, aboard the No. 20 Yoshimura Suzuki GSXR600, was victorious in the 2002 Supersport event at Daytona and took that momentum and captured the season championship. In this year's race, he'll carry the No. 1 plate.

"It definitely felt good to win the Supersport race here because it's so competitive and close," Yates said. "It's so easy here to lose the race coming off Turn 4 to the finish line. You never know until you're there (at the finish line) who won. To tell you the truth, I was expecting somebody to come drafting by me. When they didn't, I was really surprised."

Testing is open and free to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Tickets for Daytona 200 Week 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 Tommy Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Aaron Yates