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AMA U.S. Rookies Cup testing wraps up at Laguna

AMA U.S. Rookies Cup testing wraps up at Laguna

The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup competitors completed their first test on Wednesday at Laguna Seca.

The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup competitors completed their first test on Wednesday at Laguna Seca. The young racers built on Tuesday's sessions by riding with 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz in the morning once again in two groups. The last part of the day had all 23 competitors on the circuit at the same time.

"It went really well and the test was really fun," said Jake Morman of Loganville, Georgia. "We were learning and dropping our lap times. Kevin Schwantz helped me a lot and I made a lot of friends this week. I can't wait for the next test."

Lap times fell dramatically during the two-day test as the riders became more familiar with their Dunlop-shod KTM RC125 race bikes and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit. The riders were divided into two groups as Schwantz was able to better observe and lend advice to the racers. The format of the test had Schwantz meeting with the riders several times on each day, allowing the talented youngsters to seek suggestions and bond with the Rookies Cup's official Riding Coach.

"It seemed like getting under the 1:40 mark was a major accomplishment on Tuesday but about half the kids were able to do it by the end of Wednesday," said Schwantz. "Everyone's really working hard to get their times together. Some of the other kids may be looking to shave off a few seconds but Laguna Seca isn't an easy racetrack and it's tough to figure it out in a couple of days. It's going to take putting the whole lap together to get in the ballpark. I have faith in all the kids we have in the competition. They are very talented."

Schwantz said he was pleased with how the riders responded to coaching during the two days in California. "I think it's quite a testament to everyone involved as how reliable the bikes were," he added. "I think that helped all the guys focus on their riding. It could have been an easy situation for a kid to put himself under a lot of pressure and make some mistakes. We had a couple of bikes skinned up today but luckily no one was injured."

"This is one of the hardest tracks for the MotoGP and the AMA guys and it as great to get to ride on it," said Hayden Gillim of Owensboro. Kentucky. "It was good to be out there with the other riders and I learned a lot from getting to go out there with them. I dropped about four seconds from my best lap times today."

"The bikes were really fast and it was a lot of fun to get this opportunity," said Benny Solis from North Hollywood, California. "I can't wait to do it again."

The next Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup activity will be a test at Barber Motorsports Park in March.

MotoGP, 2008

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