Hacking Getting Up to Speed

Henny Ray Abrams | May 29, 2009

After nearly half a season of racing a 600, Jamie Hacking was happy to be back on a Superbike.”The bike felt like home again,” Hacking said after finishing the first World Superbike practice tenth fastest at Miller Motorsports Park. Hacking found himself racing a Kawasaki ZX6R after Kawasaki pulled out of Superbike in favor of Daytona SportBike. “Same old girl. I know how she likes to be ridden. So it’s kind of nice to get back on a Superbike again and actually feel some real power and real chassis and stuff. I’m looking forward to the next session.”Hacking was drafted onto Kawasaki’s World Superbike squad after Makoto Tamada broke his wrist in a crash at Monza, two rounds ago. It was just after the AMA round at Infineon Raceway two weeks ago that Hacking got the go-ahead to race. By then it was too late to test on the track where Hacking had his best outing on the Kawasaki Superbike; a pair of seconds to Ben Spies last year.He spent Friday’s hour-long first session “just trying to figure out a new tire and new suspension, Showa suspension. We changed the front tire – I wanted a stiffer front – so we changed the front and left the same rear in the whole session. I was fairly pleased with the situation. I know we’ll improve.”Pirelli has four rear tires on offer and Hacking said he’d test the others in qualifying later in the afternoon.Hacking could feel the tires moving a few times, but didn’t want to get too far out of his comfort zone.”I wasn’t risky in any places,” he said. “They’re definitely not a GP tire. If you’d asked me that question on a GP tire, I’d have told you I’d gotten within 40% of it. But here I think maybe I got 75-80% out of it, which, you know, still learning.”Other than the tire, he made only minor changes to get the Kawasaki to feel like his 2008 AMA Superbike.”It’s close. It’s not the same, but it’s close enough and then we don’t want to change too many things just coming in here. We got it where it feels close enough, somewhat, to ride it and I think if we can work on that, I think we’ll be better off.”The biggest problem was getting “the bike to stay down in the front,” he said. “I know how it likes to be steered and right now we’ve got a lot of chassis movement, pitching movement. So if we can get the bike to stay down in the front I think it’ll help us out.”The only rider he followed was Suzuki Alstare Brux’s Yukio Kagayama, the Japanese rider who was fastest in the session. But he found chasing Kagayama was little more than frustrating.”I got with Kagayama a little bit and it seemed like I rode worse than I did when I was by myself,” Hacking said. “He came in, I stayed out and actually went half a second faster.  When I wasn’t behind him…just following the Suzuki, it makes you mad. The thing does everything you want yours to do. I think that’s why I was getting more frustrated than anything.”His goal for qualifying was to be in the top 20, which would put him in Superpole.”As long as we’re in the top 20 that’s all that matters and we’ll keep working on the bike,” he said.

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.