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September 21, 2012

Team Hammer came out swinging on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway to open the penultimate round of the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing season in fine fashion.

The team's four riders spread across three divisions were all solidly on the pace today, notching up provisional second row grid positions across the board.

The day was particularly encouraging in the premier AMA Pro Superbike class where M4 Suzuki's Chris Ulrich led the way, posting the sixth best time of the session at 1:23.823. The Californian made the most of the available dry track time, throwing down his quick lap in the session's early stages before the skies opened up.

Ulrich's strong effort was backed up by that of Roberto Pietri, who secured the outside of Row 2 on the provisional Superbike order with a lap of 1:24.172 on the Team Venezuela GSX-R1000.

Ulrich said, "We made a big step from the morning to the afternoon. We got out early and had a little bit of luck with the weather, but it's not like the guys right ahead of us are light years ahead. It's good to be competitive.

"It's fun to be on the middle of the second row -- it's not like I just squeaked on. It's all positive. The bike settings are quite good, and I've just got to ride the thing. It's taken me all year to get to this point. I spent the entire month of August doing what I would have done in December last year if I would have been healthy. We're fit and hopefully all the hard work will pay off. Racing is a lot more fun when you're up front.”

Ulrich's M4 Suzuki teammate, Dane Westby, was equally strong on Friday, placing sixth in the day's Daytona SportBike qualifying session at 1:26.156. The Oklahoman is looking to solidify his current runner-up ranking in the SportBike points standings this weekend by adding to his tally of eight '12 podium results.

Suzuki's Elena Myers registered a similar performance in the SuperSport class by qualifying seventh best provisionally. The two-time SuperSport race winner stopped the clocks at 1:26.825 on Friday aboard her GSX-R600 racebike.

Team Hammer will look to transform Friday's promising start into season-best results come Saturday's race action at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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