Nicky Hayden is 2002 AMA Superbike champion
Honda’s Nicky Hayden took the 2002 AMA championship on Saturday (August 10). Victory in the first race of the weekend came after championship rival Eric Bostrom crashed out of the lead on lap seven. Hayden topped the podium, ahead of Doug Chandler and Miguel DuHamel, with his victory guaranteeing the 2002 title. He became the youngest ever AMA Superbike champion, 11 days after turning 21.
His celebrations had to wait, as the final race of the season was on Sunday. Both Hayden and Bostrom were assured of their championship positions, so it was a chance for both to go all out for victory. The win eventually fell to Eric Bostrom, making it his fourth win of the season, after the race was stopped three times for red-flags. Hayden, meanwhile, was able to start celebrating early, after his Honda RC51 crashed out on lap seven and burst into flames, bringing out the second red-flag of the day.
The final championship positions were 1. N Hayden. 2. E Bostrom. 3. Miguel DuHamel. 4. A. Yates. 5. P Piscotte. The 2001 champion Matt Mladin finished in seventh, having failed to win a race all season, for the first time since 1996.