Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki got up to speed quickly at Pikes Peak International Raceway in the opening day of the fifth round of the 2004 AMA roadracing series. It was necessary to do so, as this weekend’s event follows a two-day format as opposed to the typical three-day schedule for most AMA events.
The compacted schedule meant that the squad had to be fully dialed-in for an afternoon full of final qualifying sessions in preparation of Sunday’s races.
Fresh off his Formula Xtreme pole position at Barber Motorsports Park, Vincent Haskovec put in another front row qualifying effort this weekend. His time of 56.053 seconds around the tight 1.3-mile circuit aboard his GSX-R600 was good enough to take the fourth position on the grid.
Steve Rapp continued his strong Barber form aboard his Michelin-shod GSX-R600 as well. The Californian was fourth fastest in the morning Supersport free practice and qualified as the top Suzuki-mounted rider in class with a 56.172 second lap, good for sixth.
His young teammate Chris Peris claimed a second row grid position, out-qualifying a factory Suzuki entry. The Canadian posted a time of 56.521 seconds to take eighth on the grid.
In Superstock, Rapp and Haskovec qualified their GSX-R750s alongside each other on the outside of the third row. Rapp was eleventh fastest (56.222) while Haskovec was twelfth (56.305). However, their smaller displacement machines are expected to perform better under racing conditions in the 28-lap final around the tire-eating raceway.
At the end of the day Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki Crew Chief Keith Perry said, “It wasn’t a bad day, but it could have been better. After running so well last week, we don’t feel all that good about our results today. There were some bright spots but we feel we should be even higher up than we are.”
“In Formula Xtreme, clearly we need to find a little more power,” he continued. “We’ve been pushing the development along on that bike, but we’re still waiting on a few parts.”
“I’m pretty positive about Supersport. I think we can run both our riders up with the lead guys,” Perry said.
“In Superstock, we struggled a little with the 750 at a track we thought it would be better at. The 1000s did a little better here than we thought, but our tire situation is looking good, and we usually shine a little brighter in the races than in qualifying. We did all of our laps on race tires while many others relied on qualifiers to set their best times.”