AMA

Superbike qualifying at Sears Point

SONOMA, Calif. (May 4, 2001) - Aaron Yates set the fast lap in provisional qualifying for the American Motorcycle Association Superbike Challenge on Friday at Sears Point Raceway, turning the 12-turn, 2.32-mile road course in 1 minute, 34.024 ...

SONOMA, Calif. (May 4, 2001) - Aaron Yates set the fast lap in provisional qualifying for the American Motorcycle Association Superbike Challenge on Friday at Sears Point Raceway, turning the 12-turn, 2.32-mile road course in 1 minute, 34.024 seconds.

Yates, who rides for Yoshimura Suzuki, set the fast lap with 10 minutes remaining in the one-hour qualifying session. Final qualifying will take place on Saturday to determine the starting grid for Sunday's 26-lap AMA Superbike Challenge, featuring the U.S. Chevy Trucks Superbike Championship.

Yates is no stranger to Sears Point Raceway, having won both an AMA Superbike race, as well as a 750 SuperSport race here in 1996.

"Sears Point has always been a pretty fun course to ride for me," Yates said. "It's pretty challenging with all the hills and the turns but it's always been good to me. You just need to make the bike do what you want it to do and we've been pretty fortunate with that."

Larry Pegram, who rides for Competition Accessories Ducati, was second in first-day qualifying at 1:34. 694, while two-time defending AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin (Suzuki) was third (1:34.788). Mladin is also the defending champion at Sears Point Raceway.

"This track is physical and I guess we were able to find the right setup," Pegram said. "I just hope we might be able to find some more speed tomorrow."

Rounding out the top five in qualifying were Honda's Kurtis Roberts (1:34.835) and Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom (1:35.089).

Local rider Steve Rapp (HMC Ducati) of Lafayette in the East Bay was well off the pace in 14th place with a time of 1:36.378. Rapp actually fell from his bike rounding Turn 11 during the session but was fine and returned to the track.

"I was just leaning over too far but I'll be OK," Rapp said.

Action continues on Saturday with Superbike qualifying beginning at 2:30 p.m. The green flag will drop for the AMA Superbike Challenge on Sunday at 2 p.m. For ticket information, call 800-870-RACE.

<pre> AMA Superbike Challenge

First-day qualifying of the top 20 riders from the AMA Superbike Challenge at Sears Point Raceway:

1. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:34.024 2. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:34.694 3. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:34.788 4. Kurtis Roberts (Honda) 1:34.835 5. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) 1:35.089 6. Miguel Duhamel (Honda) 1:35.212 7. Anthony Gobert (Yamaha) 1:35.407 8. Jamie Hacking (Suzuki) 1:35.464 9. Doug Chandler (Kawasaki) 1:35.556 10. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha) 1:35.646 11. Pascal Picotte (Harley-Davidson) 1:35.666 12. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1:35.722 13. Jordan Szoke (Harley-Davidson) 1:36.240 14. Steve Rapp (Ducati) 1:36.378 15. Andreas Meklau (Ducati) 1:36.972 16. Brian Parriott (Suzuki) 1:37.878 17. Mark Foster (Yamaha) 1:38.086 18. Jimmy Moore (Suzuki) 1:38.511 19. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki) 1:38.863 20. Michael A. Smith (Harley-Davidsdon) 1:38.875

-SPR

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Series AMA
Drivers Andreas Meklau , Anthony Gobert , Larry Pegram , Kurtis Roberts , Steve Rapp , Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Jordan Szoke , Tommy Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Doug Chandler , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Pascal Picotte , Brian Parriott , Mark Foster , Chris Ulrich