The Yamaha YZF-R6 and YZF-R1 proved to be the machines to beat last weekend at Daytona Beach as the 2013 AMA season got underway on the Daytona International Speedway. The title race of the weekend, The Daytona 200 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona Sportbike, run for the 72nd time, is a 57lap ‘endurance’ race with riders allowed to pit stop.
Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier dominated from his pole position start, leading 50 of the 57 laps on his YZF-R6 to record a stunning victory over 22 seconds clear at the front. Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff was the next rider home, securing second on the podium and followed by a further three Yamaha machines, the manufacturer claiming the top five in the standings.
Three-time Champion Josh Hayes had dominated all practice sessions of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike class on his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1. In the end though race one glory went to teammate Josh Herrin, the young American taking his first ever AMA Superbike National win after Hayes suffered a technical issue. Race two saw more impressive performance from the team with Hayes leading for the majority and Herrin following close behind. Disaster would strike again for Hayes, forced to retire with a technical issue that allowed a rival to pass. Race one winner Herrin made a small error selecting neutral into turn one but recovered to put his YZF-R1 back on the podium in second place.
The AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore SuperSport series continued the podium run for Yamaha, the YZF-R6 totally dominating in race one, Stefano Mesa taking the win on his Motorsport Yamaha, the R6 taking the first seven positions in the results and making eight in total of the top ten. Race two was again a Yamaha affair, Tomas Puerta taking first on his RoadRace Yamaha. Second on the podium belonged to the YZF-R6 and again a total of eight of the Supersport machines in the top ten.
“I’m pretty tired right now but I’m trying to soak in everything. I rode as hard as I could in the first stint and then tried to be super consistent. I had one little mess up running wide in Turn one but after that I calmed down and kept clicking off lap times.”
Herrin Josh Herrin
“I felt like I was tip-toeing through the chicane because I had been getting spanked by Josh [Hayes] the whole first part of race one. Coming out of there he was gapping me by 10 bike lengths and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I guess he’s just charging way harder than any of us. I thought for sure Martin [Cardenas] was going to get me on the last lap. I was trying to get him to pass me and it didn’t work. I don’t want to beat up on myself, but it almost feels like it wasn’t a win because Josh [Hayes] was out, Roger [Hayden] was out. It kind of sucks whenever I think about it, but it’s still a win and the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha R1 was working good and they’ve been putting in hours trying to get this thing working good, or better because it’s already good. I can’t really thank them enough and I’m really grateful that the thing was fast enough to keep Martin behind me on the last lap cause I know he was right there. Good job to these guys! In race two I made a mistake going into turn one and went into neutral. After that I just tried to regroup and get some points.”
“Today, I was going to be in the lead as much as I can. On the last lap, I put my head down and I just thought about what I was doing and I didn’t care where they went in the draft. I looked back after the horseshoe on the last lap. I saw that I had a little draft and I kept pushing all the way towards the finish line.”
“The bike felt awesome, the team put together such a great bike for me. I was leading going into the last lap so I backed it down going into turn one. Somebody passed me, which was what I wanted. When we got to the banking at the end I made my move. This win feels good; I hope to have a lot more of them this year.”