Hacking Takes Superpole

Henny Ray Abrams | March 20, 2009

Monster Attack Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking took his first Superpole in the Daytona SportBike class, but like American Superbike Superpole winner Mat Mladin, Hacking has no intention of racing on a wet Auto Club Speedway.”I’ll be absent. I won’t be here,” Hacking said after lapping the 2.3-mile course in 1:28.201 minutes to take Superpole by .17 secs. “I’ll make one lap to make my boss happy and at least say that I attempted to race. But, as we all know, this is not one place that we need to be riding in the rain and I’m going to stand my ground and I will not ride in the rain. My life is better than winning a championship, it’s worth more.”Third fastest qualifier Jake Zemke (Erion Honda) echoed Hacking’s comments.”I’m with Jamie,” Zemke said. “We formed a safety committee a few years ago for these reasons and me and Jamie (Hacking) were both on that safety committee. We came up with tracks we could and could not race in the rain. There’s many reasons for that. It’s not that they’re bad race tracks, it’s just there’s elements that in the rain causes problems. It comes down to safety. I don’t even know if there is a safety committee any more and I’m not really sure what’s going on with that.”AMA spokesman Adam Saal confirmed that there is a rider safety committed. During the February Fontana test, Yamaha’s Josh Hayes said he was on the committee, along with Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden and three privateers, one of whom, Cory West, is no longer racing in the AMA Pro Road Racing Championship.Even second fastest Danny Eslick, of the Geico Racing/Bruce Rossmeyer/Richie Morris Racing Buell team said he might not race.”We’ll find out if it starts raining,” he said. “You never know. We might be out there, we might not.”AMA Director of Competition Colin Fraser said the issue of racing in the rain wasn’t black and white. Fraser said he understood “the riders concern; their safety is paramount. But we have not told them that they are riding in the rain. It’s going to depend on the track conditions and that depends on how the other races went.” Fraser continued that the decision would be made on a number of factors, “and obviously, if it’s possible to wait it out, that would be the best solution.” That solution is partially possible because there is no live television for the remainder of the year.”And is it possible that we might not ride? Absolutely that’s possible too, but we can’t foresee the conditions until the conditions appear,” Fraser added. “But, obviously, everyone’s concerned that around noon on Sunday the expectation is that it’s going to rain and the riders are right to be concerned about that.”They’re also concerned with the speed on the front stretch and the lack of run-off, something that hasn’t changed from previous years.”I think you can expect that this would not be a great place in severe weather,” Fraser said. “I think everybody’s comfortable saying that. I think the venue would be comfortable with that. But we can’t anticipate the circumstances. If it’s a shower and we have to wait a couple of hours, that’s the best solution, rather than even discussing going out in the rain. If we think we can stage the events on a dry track, well there’s your solution.”Hacking wasn’t sure when his last pole in a 600cc class was, other than in 2006, when he won the Supersport championship for Yamaha. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a pole. I raced real race bikes before this class, so…”Hacking’s only concern was the setting sun on the back straightaway, which he researched on his out lap before his flyer. The Superpole lap went smoothly until he got into a tank-slapper coming onto the front straight, “but we managed to gather it back together and come out and put a good lap in.”Hacking said that the “ZX-6 is definitely coming around a lot better from Daytona. We’re working on it and making things better. That’s all I can ask from Kawasaki is to provide me with a competitive bike and they’re making things better and hopefully we’ll be able to put a good race in for Saturday when it is dry.”He also said that he missed Roger Lee Hayden’s help in testing-“We’re testing right now”-but made the point that he “tested all last year without Rog,” who was injured for almost the entire 2008 season. Hayden has been absent from the first two races of the 2009 campaign for “personal reasons,” according to Kawasaki.”Unfortunately he’s not here,” Hacking said. “And we’ll wait for Rog to come back as soon as possible.”

Daytona SportBike Superpole:1. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki) 1:28.2012. Danny Eslick (Buell) 1:28.3723. Jake Zemke (Honda) 1:28.6484. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:28.7695. Jason DiSalvo (Suzuki) 1:28.8446. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:29.0547. Chris Peris (Honda) 1:29.0558. Steve Rapp (Yamaha) 1:29.9989. Barrett Long (Yamaha) 1:32.15710. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 3:23.112

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.