Hayden Bicknese Happy With Double Podium In MotoAmerica Season Opener
Hayden Bicknese kickstarted his MotoAmerica Junior Cup campaign in the best possible way – bagging a double podium in the season opener at Road Atlanta last weekend.
Fast from the off, the #69 Kawasaki rider ran at the front from the very first session, backing up his Free Practice pace with a strong showing in qualifying to secure a place on the front row of the grid for both races.
Saturday’s opening race was red flagged and restarted with Hayden losing a comfortable advantage that he had built. Nevertheless, he remained in contention when the second part of the opening encounter got underway. An on-track moment, that saw him take to the grass, created a gap between him and the leaders but he was still classified third at the flag after an incredible fight back in the latter stages.
With no major set up changes to his Bicknese Racing machine for warm up on Sunday morning, Hayden was once again in contention for glory when Race 2 got underway. But, as in most Junior Cup races the constant exchanging of positions enabled Bicknese to remain in the mix for the win throughout, his cool head and smart thinking allowed him to make his move on the final lap to secure his second podium of the weekend.
His double third place means he sits third overall in the standings as the series heads to Alabama and Barber Motorsports Park in a few weeks.
“FP1 started well, and I posted a time that was very competitive. I was surprised how fast I was at the compared to last year, almost four seconds in the first session. The bike was already set up well, but we made a small change for Q1. The change to the external pre-load helped on the brakes, but it was still not really proven with the track being a little greasy, but I was still able to improve my times. I was classified P2 and could have been P1 if I hadn’t made a mistake and hadn’t been held up by another rider on the last corner. We didn’t make any changes after first qualifying, and we skipped Q2 because of a storm the night before and we knew that the race would be dry. Race 1 started very well. I was able to set the pace at the front and as the race progressed it was just me, Alessandro (Di Mario) and Avery (Dreher). We had a huge gap but then there was a red flag. In the restart I got another good launch and was running first and was starting to open a gap, but I had a little bit of a headshake on a curb and lost drive. I got swallowed up on the straight and pushed back to fourth place. I was comfortable sitting behind. My plan was to try to just pass one-by-one to get to the front, but I got pinched-off a bit up to the esses. I got bumped off the track and lost about three seconds to the group. I was able to catch up but because there was a red flag the race was super short, so I only had a lap or two to pass three people to get to the podium. Race 2 started pretty well, and I was running third until I hit a false neutral on the first lap. I was able to remain in the fight at the front but it was so crazy so I decided to be smart and take a little less risk because I knew eventually that the riders ahead would slow each other up and I could take advantage. To take another podium is super good and a really great way to start the 2023 season. Having the data from previous years really helped us and I am confident that we can run at the front in Barber. I want to thank all of my sponsors and the team for all their hard work. See you all in Alabama!”