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Alabama hosts final Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup preseason test

Alabama hosts final Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup preseason test

The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup riders started their final preseason test at Barber Motorsports Park on Monday. The 23 rookies are set to race in their first event of the year this weekend, alongside the AMA Superbike series at the same track.

The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup riders started their final preseason test at Barber Motorsports Park on Monday. The 23 rookies are set to race in their first event of the year this weekend, alongside the AMA Superbike series at the same track.

Bermuda´s Toriano Wilson was once again the quickest rider on Monday. The 14 year-old set a time of 1´36.982 in the afternoon to top the charts on the first of a two-day test. 13 year-old Hayden Gillim of Owensboro, Ky. was second quickest in a closely packed field. Gillim´s time of 1´37.024 just nipped 15 year-old Joey Pascarella of Vacaville, Calif. Pascarella´s best time was 1´37.040, which he also set in the afternoon.

The day´s activities included a practice session and a 30-minute simulated qualifying session. The morning weather was unseasonably cool in the Birmingham area and testing commenced on schedule, even though it rained before the first practice began. The mechanics mounted rain-spec Dunlops on the KTM RC125 machines and the rookies got their first taste of 2008 wet-weather riding.

A handful of riders went down in the difficult conditions experienced during the 30-minute morning session but no-one was seriously injured in a fall. A quick lap during the first testing session was one in the 1´42 to 1´45 range, compared with best times near 1´34 at the previous Barber Motorsports Park test simulated race.

Pascarella was the quickest rider in the morning with a time of 1´42.217. 15 year-old Corey Rech of Liverpool, NY, and Wilson followed Pascarella. 13 year-old Austin DeHaven of Los Angeles, Calif., and Emerson Connor also finished in the top five in the difficult conditions.

The afternoon´s simulated 30-minute qualifying session began in clear, breezy weather, but rain began to fall with just a couple of minutes left. The chequered flag came out early as all the bikes had slick Dunlops mounted.

Wilson was the quickest rider at each of the two previous Rookies Cup preseason tests, although he has had close competition each time out. Once again, he put the Bermudan flag atop the timing sheets.

`I´m speechless!´ said Toriano at the end of the day. `I thought one of the other riders might have set a quicker time than me but I was glad to be on top once again. I had to push to set the quickest time, but then I wanted to save my bike for tomorrow, so I eased off at the very end. I can´t wait to come back and try it again.´

`The weather didn´t really affect us too much,´ said second place Gillim of the rain that fell late in the day and caused the session to be flagged a couple of laps early. `Most of the riders use a similar line, so we kept things pretty dry out there to the very end. I was riding with Joey Pascarella, and we were having a lot of fun. I feel good about being second on the day and, tomorrow, I´ll see if I can improve one more spot.´

Pascarella was pleased with his Monday, one that saw him quickest in the morning and third in the afternoon. `Everyone wants to be first fastest, but the main thing for me is I am trying to improve on worn tyres. I was up to third-fastest this time after being ninth the last time we were on the older tyres, so there´s some improvement. I just put my head down and did the best I could. I didn´t have any problems after my crash this morning, which was just the front-end washing out.´

Austin DeHaven was fourth-quickest in the afternoon, crossing the line with a best lap of 1´37.372. DeHaven and fifth-fastest Tomas Puerta of Colombia led a group of riders in the 1´37 range, including Leandro Mercado, Benny Solis, and Bryce Prince.

Hard luck rookies included Corey Rech and Frankie Lee Gillim. The riders bumped early in the afternoon session. Rech was unable to set a time while Gillim missed much of the 30 minutes while in the pits for repairs. The test will continue on Tuesday.

`I thought the guys did a good job today,´ said Rookies Cup Rider Coach Kevin Schwantz. `It was helpful for the Rookies to ride in some tough conditions because that´s the way races are sometimes - maybe even this weekend. I was happy with how tight the times were. Less than four seconds covered the entire field. All the rookies seem to be learning and everyone´s going faster and faster.´

Results – Barber Motorsports Park , Monday, April 14, 2008

1. Toriano Wilson, St. Davids, Bermuda 1´36.982
2. Hayden Gillim, Owensboro, Kentucky 1´37.024
3. Joey Pascarella, Vacaville, California 1´37.040
4. Austin DeHaven, Los Angeles, California 1´37.374
5. Tomas Puerta, Medellin, Colombia 1´37.572
6. Leandro Mercado, Cordoba, Argentina 1´37.582
7. Benny Solis, North Hollywood, California 1´37.658
8. Bryce Prince, Bakersfield, California 1´37.986
9. Travis Wyman, Macedon, New York 1´38.436
10. Jake Gagne, Ramona, California 1´38.504
11. Otavio Lucchini, Jundiai, SP, Brazil 1´38.748
12. Garet Tomlinson, Aledo, Texas 1´39.556
13. Jesse Stevens, Lawrenceville, Georgia 1´39.805
14. Emerson Conner, Burlington, Ontario 1´40.227
15. Huntley Nash, Marietta, Georgia 1´40.297
16. Austin Medrano, Mustang, Oklahoma 1´40.340
17. Jacob Cunningham, Kimberly, Wisconsin 1´40.452
18. Cameron Gish, Shingle Springs, California 1´40.518
19. Jake Morman, Loganville, Georgia 1´40.652
20. Luciano Ribodino, San Francisco, Argentina 1´40.672
21. Frankie Lee Gillim, Owensboro, Kentucky 1´40.706
22. Corey Alexander, Ossining, New York 1´40.759
23. Corey Rech, Liverpool, New York No Time

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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