Let’s face it, with few exceptions, the AMA Superbike series has become the Yoshimura Suzuki parade. Competitive, multi-manufacturer racing in the Superbike class has become rare. Suzuki finished first, second and fourth in the championship this year. Will things change next year? Will the racing get more interesting?
A few factors point to a more competitive, interesting 2007 AMA Superbike series. First, Suzuki will be developing a new GSX-R1000. Although Suzuki has successfully done this in the past, without much of a learning curve, Honda and Kawasaki return with essentially the same motorcycles further along on their own development curve. Kawasaki will contest the series with Jamie Hacking — a rider who now has several AMA National roadracing championships.
While we don’t know Yamaha’s “final answer” just yet, it seems logical that Yamaha will return to the AMA Superbike series next year with Eric Bostrom aboard a new R1. Eric Bostrom is a superbike-caliber rider who has given Mat Mladin fits in the past — even when he was aboard a clearly inferior motorcycle. When Bostrom signed a two-year deal with Yamaha last year, you could almost see the writing on the wall for 2007.
Aside from all this, how hard is Honda chomping at the bit to win more races and championships in AMA Superbike? The answer is very hard, and Honda did show significant progress in developing the CBR1000RR during the 2006 series. Count on the bike being even more competitive in 2007.
So, we hope the parade is over. Parades can be nice, but motorcycle races are most interesting when they involve a close fight all the way to the checkered flag, and not just between teammates.