Former Red Bull Rookie Cup road racer Leandro Mercado will replace Roger Lee Hayden for the Daytona 200, Kawasaki announced today.The 17-year-old Mercado won two AMA Rookies Cup events last year (at Road America and Laguna Seca) with four additional podium finishes. Mercado will join Jamie Hacking on the Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki ZX-6Rs.Kawasaki announced last week that Hayden would miss the race due to personal reasons.According to Kawasaki, the Attack team will eventually support Mercado in the AMA Supersport class - likely beginning at Road Atlanta."It's great to see such immense talent at a young age," said Mike Preston, Kawasaki road race manager in the Kawasaki release. "Leandro definitely shows an understanding of the sport and I think he will fit right in with our team."Because of the AMA's new team entrant rules, Mercado will run Hayden's number 95 at Daytona."I'm really looking forward to riding my first Daytona 200," said Mercado in the release. "The ZX-6R is very powerful and I know I can do well with this team behind me."

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Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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