HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 21, 2012) – AMA Pro Road Racing conducted an official test at Homestead-Miami Speedway this week which gave more than 50 riders an important opportunity to prepare their motorcycles in advance of the Big Kahuna Miami, scheduled for September 21-23, 2012. With many of AMA Pro’s top teams in attendance, riders and crews went to work perfecting their racecraft on a track that hasn’t been on AMA Pro Road Racing’s calendar since 1996. Setting the bar high, the Michael Jordan Motorsports team left nothing on the table in the final day of on-track activity. The team’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike riders Ben Bostrom and Roger Hayden posted impressive lap times in the final session that locked them in at the top of the charts.
Bostrom, who pilots the team’s No. 23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, posted successively faster lap times over the course of the two-day test before ripping off a final session flyer with a time of 1:21.445 around the Speedway’s 2.21-mile motorcycle road course. The former National Guard SuperBike champ is one of the few riders in the Series with experience at the South Florida venue, having won the AMA SuperTwins race 16 years ago in AMA Pro’s inaugural race at the venue.
“I’ve been here before, I like it,” said Bostrom. “In 1996 I won the Harley race here, so the track was semi-good to me then too. My first lap around here this year, I said ‘I don’t even remember this track.’ It’s crazy, I didn’t remember it. But the bike is fantastic, nice comeback after Daytona; we had a really tough time there. Actually it sucked, let’s admit it. I know for the rest of the tracks, especially these twisty tracks, we have an awesome handling machine. My engineer Darren has found something again, so it’s been one of the most successful tests we’ve ever had actually, as far as speed goes.”
Teammate Hayden turned in the second overall fastest lap of 1:21.526 in the same session aboard the team’s No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000. The Big Kahuna Miami brings motorcycle road racing back to one of the country’s biggest entertainment markets and Hayden took this testing opportunity to combine work with pleasure during his brief time in South Florida.
“I came here right as the 200 was ending; probably before it was even done I was on my way here,” said Hayden. “Me and my girlfriend came here for a few days and hung out by the beach. It’s been a long couple of months getting ready for the season so it’s kind of nice to take a few days off. I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve always wanted to see LeBron James play. I went to the Miami Heat game on Sunday night when they played the Orlando Magic, so I got to see Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade and LeBron play. It was one of those things I get to check off the list.”
Defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes turned the test’s third fastest lap time of 1:21.647 on his No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1, followed by yesterday’s fast man, Blake Young. Young’s No. 79 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 was often the fastest rider in each National Guard SuperBike session, the Wisconsin posting a time of 1:21.844, good for fourth overall.
Larry Pegram rounded out the top five with a lap time of 1:22.266 on the No. 72 Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR. With one of the paddock’s busiest racing schedules, Pegram left the Miami area bound for Florida’s West coast to participate in this weekend’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with the Star Mazda Championship.
“We had a lot of stuff to run through when we were here,” said Pegram. “Right here at the end of the day we threw some tires at it to see what we could do and we did a 1:22.2. I’m not ecstatic with that but that’s a lot better, we made some good improvements here this weekend. We found some things out, we’re still learning. We’re getting the bike better all the time. I feel a lot better leaving here than I did leaving Daytona, as far as our competitiveness.”
Beaubier Blasts Past AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Competition
Cameron Beaubier is making waves early in his second AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike season. The Californian finished third after leading five laps of the season-opening DAYTONA® 200 last weekend and was immediately competitive at this week’s test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Beaubier’s fast time of 1:24.431 on the No. 6 Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 was nearly a half-second ahead of his closest competitor.
“It was really good; the track got a little more grip today,” said Beaubier. “We tried some things with suspension, getting a little more brake feel. The bike worked really well today, I really like the track and I’m excited to race here.”
The only other GoPro Daytona SportBike rider to crack the 1:24 mark was GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas, who found speed in the second day of the test and posted a fast lap of 1:24.807. Tommy Hayden, freshly added to the Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha team at Daytona, posted the third fastest lap for the class with a time of 1:25.266.
“I enjoyed myself here at the track,” said Hayden. “It seemed like everything went pretty smooth, cool to have a new race and a new track to come and ride. I felt more comfortable with the bike and the team as well, chipped away at things little by little. I made my times a little faster and I’m feeling good. I’m going to be doing the next two races, for sure. It’s a big change for me, you know, with a new team, running a 600, but I’m really looking forward to it so I want to come to the next race and put in a little better fight than we did in Daytona. No major changes, the bike has proven itself for years. A couple of small things to get myself more comfortable personally to it, for my riding style, but for the most part I’m just adapting myself back to the 600 riding style and trying to break some superbike bad habits. I feel pretty confident at Road Atlanta. We are going to be able to compete there with some good results.”
Rounding out the top five were AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike rookies Benny Solis (No. 35 Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600), who turned in the fourth fastest lap of 1:25.341, and Jake Gagne (No. 132 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6). Both rising stars are eligible for the Saddlemen Rookie of the Year award, created to bring attention to AMA Pro’s rising talent in the GoPro Daytona SportBike division.
Lewis Locked and Loaded in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
In the first AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race of 2012, Jake Lewis took home a second-place result to defending series champion James Rispoli by just 0.032 seconds. This week during the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Lewis reversed the running order by throwing down the best Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport time of 1:26.336 in Wednesday’s opening session on his No. 85 Vesrah Riders Discount Suzuki GSX-R600. Though Rispoli topped him in the day’s remaining sessions, Lewis was able to hold on to the top spot.
“It went really well, we ended up setting the fastest time of the test so we’re happy,” said Lewis. “I’ve gotten really comfortable with the bike and the team and I’m looking forward to going to Road Atlanta. I know that track, so I won’t have to deal with the learning curve like I did at Daytona. Mark Junge gave me a road bicycle so I’m going to be training hard to get ready for the next race.”
Rispoli turned his fastest time of 1:26.441 in the first afternoon session following a series of consistent outings on the No. 1 Celtic Racing/ Orient Express Racing Suzuki GSX-R600.
“I think we’re pretty close,” said Rispoli. “That last session there we did a 1:26.4, we made a couple of mistakes on that lap so I know that lap could have been quicker. Once we get down to those times, we’ll be able to click them off whenever we want to. We were very consistent when we did our race simulation and I feel that we can run consistent lap times. We’re hoping to get lower for the race weekend coming up and to just run consistent lap times. It seems like everybody is just throwing the one-off laps in there, which is fine, but from what we saw, we’ve able to be really consistent which is good.”
Third fastest in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport division was RoadRace Factory rider Hayden Gillim, pilot of the team’s No. 69 Yamaha YZF-R6.
Wyman Working Hard in AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
Kyle Wyman has contested all but one round of the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series since its inception in 2010. The 22-year-old can also boast the he is the only rider to win an AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race held in the state of Florida, having successfully defended his 2011 victory at Daytona International Speedway with an equally impressive 2012 win. The top three Vance & Hines XR1200 Series riders from the season-opening round at Daytona found themselves in the same positions during the Homestead-Miami Speedway test, and Wyman’s fast lap of 1:33.055 will serve as a benchmark for the competition when the Series returns in September for the Big Kahuna Miami.
“I think this is a really fun track,” said Wyman. “It was my first time riding here so I didn’t know what to expect. Even just in the first few laps, I knew it was going to be something that fit my style. I like the hard braking and tight corners and all that, the flat stuff. Then coming on and off the NASCAR track is always cool, it’s worked out pretty good for me in the past. I can’t wait to get back here in September, it seems like a long ways away but we’ve got a really good track. The XR racing is going to be really good, it always is.”
Not far behind, standout Tyler O’Hara set the second fastest lap for the class at 1:34.060, followed by Bartels’ Harley-Davidson teammate Michael Barnes with a time of 1:34.570.