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Mercado to Start from Pole in Sunday's SuperSport Race

NEWS May 16, 2009


Mercado to Start from Pole in Sunday's SuperSport Race

SONOMA, Calif. (May 16, 2009) Final Qualifying for AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei followed the script set by the three previous practice sessions as Leandro Mercado (No. 92 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) grabbed the pole with a lap time of 1:41.374 (82.388 mph).  The 17-year old Argentinean was followed by Ricky Parker (No. 96 Graves Motorsports/Hattiesburg Cycles Yamaha YZF-R6) at 1:42.364 (81.591 mph) and Russ Wikle (No. 5 RoadracingWorld.com Suzuki GSX-R600) at 1:42.605 (81.399 mph).
 
"I'm happy," said Mercado.  "This is my first pole of the season. The last couple of laps I, could do good laps and work a bit on the bike.  The bike worked awesome and I like the track.  I like the elevation changes.  We're happy and I want to say thanks to my team for all the work, and (teammate) Jamie Hacking for the help."
 
Mercado was the quickest in the field all weekend as Parker and Wikle swapped the next two spots over the course of the weekend's three practice sessions.
 
"We started off yesterday trying to learn the track," said Parker.  "We got a few sessions of practice in.  We've had a few issues with the bike to figure out the setup.  We've gotten it closer today.  Yesterday we got down to a 1:43.5 and today we got down to a 1:42.3.  We still have one rider ahead of us, Leandro Mercado, and he's a real fast kid.  I'm sure I've got a lot to learn from him also.  I'm going to try to stay clear of him and hopefully in the race I'll get a lot better."
 
"It was pretty hot today, and if it's going to get hotter, it's definitely going to affect us," said Wikle.  "The wind will also take five to seven miles per hour off us if it's a headwind, but if it's a tailwind, we can go a bit faster." 
 
Tyler Odom (No.46 Erion Honda/Honda Pro Oils & Chemicals CBR600RR) steadily improved throughout practice and was rewarded with a front row start and fourth place on the grid after posting a time of 1:43.148 (80.971 mph).  Odom had an off track slide in Turn 11, but picked the bike up and rolled off without the need for assistance.
 
"I was here for the AMA test (in April), which was my first time on the track and I absolutely love it," said Odom.  "This is probably one of the finest tracks in the United States with all the elevation changes.  The session was going great until the end when I had a little too much trail braking going into the last corner and took the front.  The bike is fine, maybe some engine problems from the tip over, but we'll find out."
 
Tomorrow's 18-lap AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei final will begin Sunday at 3:00 p.m. local time.
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