Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki claimed a pair of top ten finishes today in the opening races of the 2004 AMA season at the famed Daytona International Speedway.
Vincent Haskovec piloted his Michelin-shod GSX-R600 to sixth in the first race of the new era of Formula Xtreme racing. It could have easily been much more.
After winning a race at the Speedway last weekend, Haskovec came out on the wrong end of a four-man battle for third and finished less than a half-second off a podium placing.
“My bike was on rails out there, but we missed out by just a little bit,” said a disappointed Haskovec at the end of the day. “I could see the other guys spinning up out there but I was holding my lines well with the Michelin tires. I had the double draft perfectly set-up at the end, but we hit the rev limiter as I tried to pass. It unfortunately happened at the worst possible time.”
Teammate Steve Rapp took eighth in the hotly contested Superstock final, despite starting from the 18th spot on the grid after losing his best lap in Wednesday’s qualifying session. Rapp worked his way up from 17th after the first lap into a top-ten spot in the twelve-lap final.
He said of his race: “I passed nine riders in twelve laps, so there was quite a bit happening on the track for us. I was happy about the pace we ran in today’s race. My times were in the 1:50 range, which would have kept me close to the race leaders. Eventually, I was out on my own on the last lap and ran a 1:51 without any one to draft. Despite the tough luck this weekend, the race was very promising for the rest of the season.”
Steve’s teammate Haskovec was 23rd in the Superstock race.
In Supersport qualifying, Rapp was tenth and Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s young gun Chris Peris was 13th. The Supersport race will be held Saturday.