Jamie Hacking gave the Kawasaki World Superbike team their best finish of the season by a wide margin, but he felt he could have done more.Hacking finished the red flag-interrupted first leg at Miller Motorsports Park seventh on aggregate time, the team’s best finish by three places. Broc Parkes, who retired from the race, had a pair of tenths coming into Miller. And Makoto Tamada, the injured Japanese rider Hacking replaced, had a best finish of 14th in Valencia. In one race Hacking is already in front of Tamada in the championship standings.Hacking took a cautious approach to the start of the first race. Wanting to get a feel for how the WSB regulars raced, Hacking watched for a few laps before taking off. Once he got going he was unstoppable. And on the seventh of 21 laps he was up to fourth place.”I had never raced with these guys, so I was kind of feeling my way around and seeing how they raced like,” Hacking said between races. “So once I figured that out, I knew it was time to start making my moves and the bike was working fairly well. And I got all the way up to fourth and saw the red flag and was kind of disappointed a little bit.”Scoring reverted to the end of lap five, the last one completed by the entire field. That put Hacking seventh on the grid for the re-start of the 16-lap race. Almost immediately he ran into problems.”On the second start we got down in turn one and for some reason the pace just come to a stop,” he said. “I don’t know if somebody got in there a little hot and then just kind of stacked up. When they all stacked up I was already planning on rolling through there and so I had to kind of brush around the outside of everybody. I was in there pretty hard. Ran all the way to the edge of the race track and I was just going backwards fast. And I can’t remember where I come around the first lap. (He was ninth.)The start would be a minor setback. More troubling was his rear tire.”Two or three laps into the re-start I really didn’t have that much rear grip like I did the first start,” he said. “The first start there, man, I had a good tire. The bike was working good. I was moving up fast.”Hacking battled for the first half of the race before the pack spread out. On the ninth of 16 laps he began to fall into a position where it would be difficult to improve. Behind him Sterilgarda Ducati’s Shane Byrne was making a run and passed Hacking on the final lap. It didn’t affect his finishing position.”I wish we could have stayed with the group right in front of us, because I kind of lost touch with them and then it was just a boring race for me, just kind of ride around. I’m here to race, not just to ride around,” he said.He finished eight on track, and seventh overall. The gap in front was seven seconds, the gap behind 2.5.
“Overall it was fun,” he said. “The guys were really happy and I feel we can do better in the second race if we can get everything just right. We’re not going to change anything on the bike. We’re going to go out and race it and have fun.”