Former World and AMA Superbike champion, Scott Russell, just ran out of excuses. Before leaving World superbikes two years ago to ride for the Harley-Davidson team in the AMA series, Russell complained incessently about his Yamaha being uncompetitive. Not surprisingly, similar comments were made by Russell throughout his stint at Harley-Davidson. About to ink a Ducati ride in the AMA series next year, Russell has no more reason to complain.
The Ducati superbike is the most competitive, and successful, superbike worldwide over the past ten years (look at Carl Fogarty’s four World championships, for example). Indeed, it should be a good fit for Russell, who has spent two years getting used to the power delivery of a v-twin. Now he gets to ride a v-twin with competitive power and competitive handling — imagine that!
Not long ago, Scott Russell was considered by many to be the most naturally gifted roadracer in the world. He took up the sport extremely late in life, and took to it like a fish does to water. In addition to his championships, Russell’s record-setting, five Daytona 200 championships are no fluke. Russell can still ride, and the only question is his heart, and willingness to train.
The new, HMC Ducati team (with Russell aboard) will contest the AMA Superbike championship with the same bikes used by Vance & Hines during the 2000 season. Ben Bostrom thought the 2000 Vance & Hines Ducati was better than his World superbike mount, so don’t worry about the quality of Russell’s machinery at HMC.