Leeds, Alabama (March 25, 2008) — The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup completed its second preseason test on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama. Toriano Wilson of Bermuda logged the quickest time, followed by Joey Pascarella of Vacaville, California. Leandro Mercado of Cordoba, Argentina was third quickest.
For the 23 Red Bull Rookies, the morning began with a track walk before the day’s four sessions. The day ended with a simulated race in anticipation of next month’s inaugural race at Barber Motorsports Park. That session featured an exciting five-rider battle for the lead that saw a different leader on each pass.
Wilson was second across the line in the simulated race and was also quickest at the first test at Laguna Seca. He set quick time on his last lap of the two days and was the only rider to break the into the 1:34 mark. “I’m really happy. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do the fastest race time,” said Wilson, age 14. “It’s just practice, so I can’t get too excited about it but it was fun. I set the time at the end of the simulated race. Number 36 (Leandro Mercado) was going to the front and he pulled me along a bit. I’m happy, my dad is happy, and my cousin who came to the test from Bermuda is very happy.”
“I set my best time in the simulated race,” said Pascarella, 15-years-old. “I wasn’t really expecting that, to be honest. I dug pretty deep to set that time, and also Corey Rech helped pull me along a little bit, too. I worked on my body position on the bike this week to help lower my lap times. I think that has helped a lot. One of my goals was to end the test in the top three and I feel good about how everything has gone.”
16-year-old Leandro Mercado crossed the line first in the simulated race and was third quickest at the test. “I really like the motorcycle and I feel better each time I get on the bike,” said Mercado. “I was able to improve my times over the two days by getting better in my weaker parts of the track. Kevin (Schwantz) was able to give me some hints and then I got more confidence. It was a good experience to cross the line first in the simulated race. It was really good training for us.”
Corey Rech of Liverpool, New York was fourth fastest (1:35.063) during the two days of testing. North Hollywood, California’s Benny Solis followed with a best time of 1:35.201. Also in the top-10 were Hayden Gillim, Tomas Puerta, Huntley Nash, Bryce Prince and Jesse Stevens.
Riders coach Kevin Schwantz was pleased with the results. “It was a great end to the two days,” said the 1993 World Champion. “All the kids were out there racing each other, doing their best and what I like better is they are all around talking about it and sharing with each other and learning. The gap covering the entire field is down to five seconds and I think we can shave another second off that. I think the riders are learning from each other and that’s important. I’m pleased with how things are going so far.”
The next event for the Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup is another pre-race test at Barber Motorsports Park, April 14-15, followed by the first race of the season at Barber during the AMA Superbike weekend, April 18-20.
Test Times From Barber Motorsports Park
1. 26 Toriano Wilson, St. Davids, Bermuda 1:34.808
2. 25 Joey Pascarella, Vacaville, California 1:35.048
3. 36 Leandro Mercado, Cordoba, Argentina 1:35.060
4. 34 Corey Rech, Liverpool, New York 1:35.063
5. 35 Benny Solis, North Hollywood, California 1:35.201
6. 69 Hayden Gillim, Owensboro, Kentucky 1:35.307
7. 12 Tomas Puerta, Medellin Colombia 1:35.385
8. 75 Huntley Nash, Marietta, Georgia 1:36.293
9. 74 Bryce Prince, Bakersfield, California 1:36.302
10. 13 Jesse Stevens, Lawrenceville, Georgia 1:36.434
11. 7 Austin Medrano, Mustang, Oklahoma 1:36.575
12. 95 Frankie Lee Gillim, Owensboro, Kentucky 1:36.600
13. 56 Austin DeHaven, Los Angeles, California 1:36.696
14. 3 Travis Wyman, Macedon, New York 1:36.706
15. 66 Jake Morman, Loganville, Georgia 1:36.979
16. 94 Jacob Cunningham, Kimberly, Wisconsin 1:37.464
17. 32 Jake Gagne, Ramona, California 1:37.654
18. 31 Cameron Gish, Shingle Springs, California 1:38.076
19. 50 Emerson Conner, Burlington, Ontario, Canada 1:38.410
20. 82 Otavio Lucchini, Jundiai, SP, Brazil 1:38.829
21. 23 Corey Alexander, Ossining, New York 1:38.849
22. 11 Luciano Ribodino, San Francisco, Argentina 1:38.981
23. 22 Garet Tomlinson, Aledo, Texas 1:39.122