Honda Sweeps Daytona 200: Duhamel takes his fourth Daytona
For Immediate Release
Honda Sweeps Daytona 200: Duhamel takes his fourth Daytona 200
AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship
Round 1: Daytona Beach, FL
March 10, 2003
Daytona International Speedway was flooded by showers on Sunday, and
flooded by Hondas on Monday when Miguel Duhamel, Ben Bostrom and Kurtis
Roberts took their factory Honda RC51s to a sweep of the Daytona 200
podium. The three teammates raced through the final ten laps of the 57-lap
event alone and crossed the finish line with a mere 0.155 second separating
first place Duhamel from third place Roberts. Runner-up Bostrom crossed the
stripe 0.069 behind Duhamel.
It was a record-breaking Bike Week for Honda. Duhamel's win was his fourth
200-mile win at Daytona, making him second on the all-time Daytona 200 win
list. Duhamel can tie the record set by Scott Russell if he wins next year.
Duhamel won with a new record of 113.89 mph, beating the record set by
Nicky Hayden last year. This was Honda's eleventh Superbike win at Daytona,
including eight 200-mile wins. It was also the third time in Daytona
history that Honda swept the 250 Supercross, 600 Supersport and 200-Miler.
In 1987 Wayne Rainey won the Superbike race, while, Doug Polen took the 600
race and Rick Ryan won the 250 Supercross. In 1996 Duhamel won the
Superbike and 600 races with Jeremy McGrath taking 250 Supercross honors.
And in 2003 Duhamel took the Superbike race, while Roberts won the 600 race
and Carmichael dominated the 250 Supercross. 2003 also marked only the
second time in history one manufacturer has swept the Daytona 200. The
first occurred in 1985 when Freddie Spencer, Wes Cooley and Jeff Haney
painted the podium Honda red.
After consecutive days of rain and several revisions to the Daytona 200
schedule, the race finally got underway on Monday in sunny 70-degree
weather. Starting from the front row, Roberts was the first Honda rider to
lead the long event taking the lead from Mat Mladin on the fourth lap. A
lap later a group of seven riders broke away from the rest of the 60-man
field and it was apparent the factory Hondas were going to be the bikes to
beat as the race continued.
Four different riders briefly led the event before Duhamel took the lead
from Anthony Gobert on lap 15 and set out to create cushion between himself
and the lead group. Duhamel held the lead for the next 19 consecutive
laps, building up comfortable margin between himself and second place. On
lap 20 he took his first of two pit stops without surrendering the lead. A
remarkably fast pit by the Honda crew put Duhamel back on the track in the
lead, which he continued to keep until lap 33 when Aaron Yates, Roberts and
Bostrom pushed Duhamel back to fourth.
"I had a four second lead at one point and I was trying to pull away like I
did in 1991, but I couldn't do it," said Duhamel, who suffered the affects
of a head cold all weekend. "After awhile I think I started trying too hard
and my lap times started getting slower. Then Kurtis, Ben, Yates, Santa
Claus - everyone went by me."
Roberts and Yates continued to swap the lead, while Bostrom and Miguel sat
back in third and fourth. All four front runners took their second pit stop
between laps 37 and 39 and Roberts only surrendered his lead briefly when
he pitted on lap 38. On lap 47, with Roberts leading and Bostrom and
Duhamel putting on the pressure in third and fourth place, second place
Yates ran off the track in turn one into the grassy run-off. From that
point on, it was a race of RC51s.
"I didn't know what to do and these guys let me lead on the last lap," said
Ben, who was competing in the Daytona 200 for only the third time. "I put
my head down and tried to go as fast as I could. I just got out-smarted
Coming into the final two turns Bostrom held the lead with Roberts and
Duhamel following. "I got a really good drive coming out of the chicane and
got Kurtis' draft and then I got Ben's draft," said Duhamel about his run
to the finish line. "I didn't know where Kurtis was after I got past him
but I thought he might get a double draft from both of us. It just worked
out for me. As happy as I am and as much as I'd like to control my destiny,
this is Daytona and there's always a bit of good luck. I'm just happy it
went my way."
According to Bostrom, luck had nothing to do with his teammate's win. "You
can't rule him out. I wasn't surprised. Miguel is just one of those guys."
With all three Honda RC51s filling the podium at Daytona, 2003 promises to
be yet another championship-winning season for Honda.
Daytona 200 Results
1. Miguel Duhamel - Honda
2. Ben Bostrom - Honda
3. Kurtis Roberts - Honda
4. Aaron Yates - Suzuki
5. Eric Bostrom - Kawasaki
Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Point Standings:
1. Miguel Duhamel - Honda - 37
2. Ben Bostrom - Honda - 33
3. Kurtis Roberts - Honda - 29
4. Aaron Yates - Suzuki - 27
5. Eric Bostrom - Kawasaki - 26