Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki opened their 2004 AMA race season on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway, posting solid efforts in each of their classes. The team attempted to keep up momentum from the excellent results of last weekend’s Formula USA weekend that saw Steve Rapp and Vincent Haskovec win races and Chris Peris finish on the podium.
On Wednesday, Vincent Haskovec certainly made a good first impression as a member of the squad in AMA competition with a front row qualifying performance on his Michelin slick-shod GSX-R600 Formula Xtreme racer. Haskovec, originally from the Czech Republic, will start from the third spot on the grid in tomorrow’s 15-lap race thanks to his fast lap of 1:54.213 aboard the still-developing 600 ‘mini-Superbike’. In fact, Vincent out-qualified several riders on factory machines.
“It’s going well so far, the Michelin tires were giving me grip around this track and the team gave me a good bike to ride today,” Haskovec said afterward. Vincent backed up his Formula Xtreme showing with a third row qualifying effort aboard his GSX-R1000 in the extremely competitive Superstock class. His best time was a lap of 1:50.873.
His teammate Steve Rapp will line up in tomorrow’s twelve-lap Superstock race two rows behind Haskovec. Unfortunately, Steve’s best lap time on the fire-breathing Suzuki GSX-R1000– one that would have put him inside the top ten — was disallowed after he missed turn one. “Those are the rules,” Rapp said after the session held in warm, sunny weather. “I didn’t gain an advantage by missing turn one, but all it really means now is that I’ll just have to charge even harder in the race.”
The 31-year-old Californian fared better with his GSX-R600 in Supersport practice, ranking tenth with a best time of 1:54.674.
Rapp’s other new teammate, 18-year-old Chris Peris, was just one position behind him in the Supersport free session. The Canadian posted a best mark of 1:54.928 in his AMA racing debut with the team.