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Laguna Seca: Event preview

Hayden on a quest to set new AMA Superbike records. PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Nicky Hayden comes into round 12 of the 16-race AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship this Saturday, July 13, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.,...

Hayden on a quest to set new AMA Superbike records.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Nicky Hayden comes into round 12 of the 16-race AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship this Saturday, July 13, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., having one of the best seasons any AMA Superbike rider could ever experience. The 20-year-old factory Honda rider from Owensboro, Ky., has not only won seven of the 11 races leading up to this weekend's event, but he also holds a 42-point lead in the championship over Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom. If Hayden continues on this pace he could become the youngest AMA Superbike champion in the history of the championship. There's also a strong possibility that Hayden could better a long-standing AMA Superbike record that many thought could never be beaten. With five rounds of the series remaining Hayden has a real shot of matching or even breaking Fred Merkel's 1984 record of 10 AMA Superbike wins in a single season.

This weekend's AMA Superbike event is part of the annual Honda International Superbike Classic, which features the U.S. round of the World Superbike Championship as well as a full slate of AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship events.

Hayden's year thus far has been simply phenomenal. He opened the season in March with a victory in the prestigious Daytona 200. He then went on to win six of the following 10 races, including a five-race winning streak-- the second longest winning streak in AMA Superbike history.

To top it all off Hayden spends his vacation weekends racing in select AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship races. In his spare time Hayden has picked up two wins in that series, becoming the first two-time winner in that championship this year. He and his brothers Tommy and Roger Lee also became the first brother combination to finish one-two-three at an AMA national in May in Springfield, Ill.

"My goal all along was to win the AMA Superbike Championship," said Hayden. "Honda's been good about letting me go out and do some of these other races and it's been fun, but I'm still focused on winning the Superbike title. I'd love to win at Laguna again this year. It's such a big event and a win there would go a long way in helping me get this championship wrapped up. There's still a long way to go."

Eric Bostrom still has hopes of catching Hayden. "I'll probably need for him to make a mistake or have a mechanical problem," admitted Bostrom, who is the defending winning at Laguna Seca. "But I'm going to do everything I can to be in a position to win the championship if at all possible."

Miguel Duhamel is having one of his better seasons in AMA Superbike. The veteran rider, who is a native of Montreal and now lives in Las Vegas, has earned six podium finishes this year including two wins. Duhamel is another past winner at Laguna Seca. He won there on a Honda in 1998.

Other past winners of the AMA Superbike event at Laguna Seca who will race Saturday include Doug Chandler, Anthony Gobert and Pascal Picotte. This is Chandler's home track and he would love nothing better than to ride his HMC Ducati to victory. Chandler is seeking his third win in the event-- he previously won in 1996 and 1997. Gobert is expected to return to action at Laguna Seca after suffering a broken right leg in Superbike qualifying for Road Atlanta in May. Gobert is hoping to give Yamaha its first AMA Superbike victory at Laguna Seca. Picotte won at Laguna Seca in 1994 on a Ferracci Ducati. The Canadian is hoping to earn his first AMA Superbike win in over six years.

Tune into Speed Channel for live coverage of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship on Saturday, July 13, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. Additional broadcasts will be July 16 at 8 p.m. & 1 a.m., and July 23 at 2 p.m. Eastern on Speed Channel.

For additional ticket information contact Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at (800) 327-SECA or visit www.laguna-seca.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, and live transponder scoring from each race in the championship, log on to amaproracing.com's Superbike Mediacenter, the official home of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship. <pre> AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Presented by Parts Unlimited Honda International Superbike Classic Schedule of Events Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca July 11-14, 2002

Wednesday, July 10th Practice (in the following order): 8:30 AM - 11:50 PM 1. Buell Pro Thunder 2. Chevy Trucks Superbike 3. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme 4. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Buell Pro Thunder Qualifying 12:50 PM - 1:40 PM Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 1:50 PM - 2:50 PM Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Qualifying 3:00 PM - 3:50 PM Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Qualifying 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Friday, July 12th Practice (in the following order): 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM 1. Buell Pro Thunder 2. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 3. Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock WSBK Practice 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Final (60k - 17 laps) 12:30 PM MBNA 250 Grand Prix Practice 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM WSBK Qualifying 2:15 PM - 3:15 PM Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Qualifying 3:20 PM - 4:10 PM Buell Pro Thunder Final (60k - 17 laps) 4:30 PM

Saturday, July 13th MBNA 250 Grand Prix Practice 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 9:10 AM - 9:50 AM Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Practice 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM WSBK Qualifying 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM FINAL EVENTS (in the following order) Chevy Trucks Superbike (100k - 28 laps) 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme (60k - 17 laps) 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM WSBK Practice 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM WSBK Superpole 4:00 PM MBNA 250 Grand Prix Qualifying 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Sunday, July 14th MBNA 250 Grand Prix Practice 8:40 AM - 9:00 AM WSBK Warm-up 9:20 AM - 9:40 AM Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Practice 9:50 AM - 10:20 AM WSBK Race #1(100.856k - 28 laps) 12:00 PM Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Race (60k - 17 laps) 1:30 PM MBNA 250 Grand Prix (60k - 17 laps) 2:20 PM - 3:00 PM WSBK Race #2 (100.856k - 28 laps) 3:30 PM

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Anthony Gobert , Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Doug Chandler , Eric Bostrom , Pascal Picotte