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Road Atlanta: Round four preview

Can Honda's Hayden stop Suzuki from another AMA Superbike sweep at Road Atlanta? PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Honda Racing's Nicky Hayden comes to Road Atlanta with a 60-point lead in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts...

Can Honda's Hayden stop Suzuki from another AMA Superbike sweep at Road Atlanta?

PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Honda Racing's Nicky Hayden comes to Road Atlanta with a 60-point lead in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, and is in the middle of a three-race win streak. Hayden will be going for a repeat of his double wins at Sears Point and take on the new title of Big Kahuna. Suzuki riders took all the superbike podium spots at Road Atlanta in 2001, so Hayden will be looking to continue his win streak to keep that from happening at this year's double-header.

Hayden's Honda teammate Miguel Duhamel is fresh off of two Sears Point Superbike podiums and will be a contender in both races at Road Atlanta. With the power of his RC51 and his proven ability to win races and championships, Duhamel is a threat to any rider on the grid to steal their podium finish.

Three-time defending AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin comes to Road Atlanta as the defending Big Kahuna, taking a second and first in 2001 at the Braselton, Ga., race track. The elbow injury he suffered at the opening round at Daytona International Speedway doesn't appear to be a problem, even though the No. 1 Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki rider is down on points. The Aussie can never be counted out as a viable contender for race wins. Having won three of four races at Road Atlanta in the last two years, Mladin knows his way around the track.

Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates, of Milledgeville, Ga., will be at his home track and hopes for a repeat of last years finishes. His second and third place in 2001 were some of his best finishes of the season and he's looking for his first-ever superbike win in front of the hometown crowd.

Yamaha's Anthony Gobert was the second fastest rider in a recent test at Road Atlanta and is looking for dual wins at this year's event -- not the DNF and 10th place finish he posted last year.

One of the superbike class's top privateer and local rider Brian Livengood of Snellville, Ga., hopes to move himself back up in the point standings with good finishes at his home track. Livengood's 16th and 9th place finishes at Sears Point dropped him from fourth to eighth in points. Solid finishes at Road Atlanta will be crucial to maintaining his recent notoriety as a top superbike privateer.

The Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Championship has seen only one rider win thus far in 2002-- Aaron Yates. The Georgian is looking for his first-ever AMA National win at Road Atlanta and having the home track advantage will definitely help. Yates has a strong command of the championship with 29 points over teammate Jamie Hacking. Hacking's season seems to be on the right track after a third place at Sears Point moved him into second in points.

Gobert is one of three factory superbike riders to be pulling double duty and racing supersport as well. You'd think that getting off his Yamaha 600 and on to his superbike would be taxing both mentally and physically, but Anthony has proven how capable he is to ride both and produce top results.

Aussie Yamaha rider Damon Buckmaster is sticking to his theory that if he were to get on a factory 600, he'd be giving Yamaha top results, and he is doing just that. Bucky is currently sitting third in points, down a spot after Sears Point when Hacking beat him across the line. Attack Suzuki's Ben Spies has been turning heads in the supersport class riding a GSX-R600 and has lead a freight train of riders around the track early on in the last two races. Spies finished fifth at the last two rounds and is looking for his first Pro Honda Oils Supersport win of the year at Road Atlanta. Mike Hale's return to racing with the Erion Honda Race team sees him sitting fifth in points and happy to be back on a Honda. Even with a few years off a bike, Hale appears at home on the Erion Racing Honda CBR600 and is getting faster with every race weekend.

For ticket information contact visit Road Atlanta's website at www.roadatlanta.com, or call toll-free at (800) 849-RACE (7223).

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> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Presented by Parts Unlimited Big Kahuna Nationals at Road Atlanta - May 17-19, 2002

Thursday, May 16

Practice (in the following order): 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 3. Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock 2. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme 4. MBNA 250 Grand Prix

Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 10:40 AM - 11:40 AM Practice (same order as morning session) 12:40 PM - 2:30 PM Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 2:40 PM - 3:30 PM Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Qualifying, Odd #s 4:20 PM - 4:40 PM Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Qualifying, Even #s 4:50 PM - 5:10 PM

Saturday, May 18

Practice (in the following order): 8:15 AM - 9:40 AM 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 3. Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock 2. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 4. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme

Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 9:50 AM - 10:50 AM Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Qualifying, Odd #s 11:00 AM - 11:20 AM Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Qualifying, Even #s 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 12:40 PM - 1:00 PM Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Qualifying 1:10 PM - 1:45 PM Chevy Trucks Superbike Race 1 (100K - 25 laps) 2:00 PM MBNA 250 Grand Prix Qualifying, 20 Minute Session Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Race (60k - 15 laps)

Sunday, May 19

Practice (in the following order): 8:15 AM - 9:55 AM 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 2. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 3. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme 4. Chevy Trucks Superbike Fan Ride 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM FINAL EVENTS (in the following order) 12:00 PM Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport (60k - 15 laps) MBNA 250 Grand Prix (60k - 15 laps) Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme (60k - 15 laps) Chevy Trucks Superbike (100k - 25 laps) 3:00 PM

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Series AMA
Drivers Anthony Gobert , Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Jamie Hacking , Aaron Yates , Damon Buckmaster , Ben Spies