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Fontana: Supersport preview

HONDA IS BACK IN AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 25, 2007) -- The AMA Supersport Championship has long been sponsored by Pro Honda Oils, but it's been four years since Honda has seriously contested the highly competitive ...

HONDA IS BACK IN AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 25, 2007) -- The AMA Supersport Championship has long been sponsored by Pro Honda Oils, but it's been four years since Honda has seriously contested the highly competitive series. Last week at Barber Motorsports Park Josh Hayes rode to a convincing victory on his Erion Honda CBR600RR in the second round of the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei.

This Sunday, April 29 the Supersport series moves to California Speedway in Fontana with Honda's Hayes tied atop the standings with Daytona winner Roger Lee Hayden, of the Monster Energy Kawasaki team.

Hayes not only won last weekend, but he ran away and hid from the rest of the field. It was Hayes' first Supersport victory and marked the first win in the class for Honda since 2003. It was a surprising turn of events in the class that saw the Kawasaki's of Hayden and Jamie Hacking dominate the field in the Daytona season opener.

"My expectations were really high coming into the season," Hayes said. "There are so many fast guys. This class has a really deep field this year. Winning last week and to do it for Honda for the first time in a long time, and to do it on this new motorcycle was fantastic. I think it's great that we have Jamie [Hacking] and me, champions in two different classes going head to head this year."

Hayes will try to give Honda its first Fontana Supersport win.

Hacking, the defending and two-time series champ and last year's winner at Fontana, was involved in spectacular chain reaction crash at the end of the first lap at Barber. The melee was triggered when Hacking high-sided his Kawasaki coming onto the front straight. As he was sliding, M4 EMGO Suzuki's Geoff May had nowhere to go, hit Hacking's bike and launched his motorcycle high into the air. The rest of the field did an outstanding job missing the downed Hacking and May. Both riders were unable to make the restart. Hacking dropped from second to 11th in the standings. May from ninth to 18th. Both were banged up in the crash, but are expected to race in Fontana.

Hacking's teammate Roger Lee Hayden is tied for the series lead with Hayes. Hayden suffered a practice crash last week and rode injured. Hayden was still able to score a fifth-place finish. "I wasn't feeling 100 percent, but I put in as much as I could to get the most points as possible," said Hayden after the race.

Yoshimura Suzuki's Tommy Hayden is another two-time Supersport champion. He comes to Fontana third in the standings. "We were definitely competitive [at Barber] but we just had a few issues that held us back a little bit. I think we can resolve those before the race at Fontana next weekend."

Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp proved he is also a contender for the Supersport championship this year by scoring his first podium in the class last weekend. The same can be said for 16-year-old phenom Josh Herrin of Graves Yamaha. Herrin was second in Alabama and Rapp third. Rapp is fourth in the standings, one point ahead of Herrin.

Sunday's Pro Honda Supersport final is part of the AMA Suzuki Superbike Challenge at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on April 27-29. The Supersport race will be shown on SPEED Sunday, May 6 at 3 pm Eastern.

Tickets for the AMA Suzuki Superbike Challenge are available online at www.californiaspeedway.com Admission is free for ages 12 and under with a paid adult General Admission.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Steve Rapp , Tommy Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Geoff May , Roger Lee Hayden , Josh Hayes