Preseaon with Roger Lee
Originally going for a Moto2 team that was stumbling to make the 2010 grid, Roger Lee Hayden recently signed with the Pedercini Kawasaki team to compete in the 2010 World Superbike (WSBK) season. We had a chance to speak with Roger Lee today after his first test with the team at Portugal’s Portomao circuit last weekend. Roger Lee discussed a number of challenges and opportunities he will face in the 2010 Superbike season.
Roger Lee has never been to a World Superbike race in Europe, even as a spectator. He has only raced at Miller Motorsport Park track but has never been to the other tracks on the WSBK schedule. He has never raced on Pirelli tires. The Kawasaki Factory is not directly supporting his team. And his brotherly support network will be scattered around the globe in different race series (MotoGP, AMA Superbike and WSBK) for the first time.
Roger Lee is no stranger the challenges of motorcycling racing. A father who raced dirt track racer for twenty years and a mother who raced in the powder puff class for five years raised him, along with his road racing brothers Nicky and Tommy. In 2007 Roger Lee took home the highly contested AMA Supersport Championship.
Roger Lee’s professional road racing career began in 2004 as he stepped into the AMA Supersport championship. In 2005 he was named AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year. Through his AMA career he was able to step on the top of the podium over a dozen times.
The 26-year-old Roger Lee also has tons of experience on Kawasaki motorcycles. Last season, he participated in AMA Daytona Sportbike with the Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki team. With Kawasaki abandoning other racing series, the Kawasaki xMotoGP team has already stopped by to give Pedercini Kawasaki a hand at the Portimao test. This relationship would be instrumental in Roger Lee’s 2010 progress.
Riding Supermoto and banging bars with his brother back here in California has been great off-season training for the Kentucky rider. Roger Lee claims to be in the best shape of his riding career. Regardless, Roger Lee is downplaying his first year in WSBK and is targeting top 15 finishes and a top 10 finish on the season overall.
As the only American competing in World SBK for 2010, Roger Lee will certainly have a strong fan base. Surrounded by a relatively friendly paddock and with a passionate Italian team, the expectations will certainly be higher. Worse case Roger Lee will find a few new fishing spots in Europe, while dreaming about the old days in the Blue Grass of Kentucky.