AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike: 2012 Season-Opening DAYTONA 200 Week Preview
NEWS March 12, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 12, 2012) - AMA Pro Road Racing's 2012 season will begin Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 10:15 a.m., when 25 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike entries will take to Daytona International Speedway's 2.91-mile short course for the first practice session of the 2012 DAYTONA® 200 Week road racing spectacular. The National Guard SuperBike division will be featured in a doubleheader format with race finals scheduled for Friday, March 16 at 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 17 at 11:00 a.m. local time.
For the 2012 season, two-time and defending National Guard SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes will once again pilot the No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha R1 and the Mississippi native is still looking to claim his first SuperBike win at Daytona International Speedway. Hayes, who earned an AMA Superstock win at Daytona in 1999, took home podiums in both of last year's thrilling finals following race-long battles with eventual-victor Blake Young (No. 79 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000). Though Hayes won the championship battle, the races at Daytona foreshadowed the intensity of the competition that would ensue between the two until the final lap of the 2011 season.
The Michael Jordan Motorsports team is always a threat at Daytona and one to watch for this weekend as they return to field the No. 23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Ben Bostrom and No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Roger Hayden. The team took home both SuperBike wins at Daytona International Speedway in 2010 and with at least one full season of development between each rider and their respective crews, this is one team that is guaranteed to be a threat.
Both Hayes and Young are joined by new teammates for the 2012 season. Chris Clark (No. 6 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) will join Young on the Yoshimura Racing squad in 2012. Clark is making an equipment change to Suzuki after racing aboard Yamahas for the past two seasons, but the 2008 AMA Sports Road Race Horizon Award recipient has shown that he can adapt quickly by posting competitive times in off-season testing aboard the marque's flagship production machine. Hayes will be joined by Josh Herrin (No. 2 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha R1), who steps up to National Guard SuperBike following three stellar seasons in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike where the 21-year-old finished in the Top 10 in 41 of 50 starts, amassing 14 wins, including victory in the 2010 DAYTONA® 200, along the way.
Herrin isn't the only GoPro Daytona SportBike standout that will be ascending the ranks in 2012, as two-time Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick joins Erik Buell Racing to contest National Guard SuperBike aboard the team's No. 69 Team Hero EBR 1190RS entry alongside veteran SuperBike rider Geoff May (No. 99 Team AMSOIL/Hero EBR 1190RS). Erik Buell and Eslick have already proven to be a winning combination; the Oklahoma native took home the inaugural Daytona SportBike Rider Championship in 2009 aboard the Buell 1125R. With support from Hero MotoCorp and AMSOIL, the Erik Buell Racing team will represent the American brand in strong fashion with a full-season, two-rider team.
Another proven rider-manufacturer combination teaming up for 2012 National Guard SuperBike competition is the full-season realignment of Chris Fillmore and KTM. In 2011, Fillmore earned a seventh-place finish aboard the KTM RC8R in his debut National Guard SuperBike weekend, and the 2011 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Champion returns to SuperBike to pilot the No. 11 KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R entry in 2012. With Fillmore's successful history of racing with HMC Racing in the AMA Pro Supermoto championship aboard KTM machinery, it's likely that this camp will enjoy quick success.
Steve Rapp is entered on the No. 15 Motorcycle-Superstore.com/Big Kahuna/LeoVince Attack Kawasaki ZX-10 in 2012 with support from several prominent partners including M1 PowerSports, promoters of the 2012 Big Kahuna Triple Crown. The Californian came out victorious aboard a Kawasaki at Daytona in the 2007 contest of the DAYTONA® 200 and the Big Kahuna-branded Attack Performance bike is likely to be a rocket right out of the gate this year.
The entries of Larry Pegram (No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR), Jake Holden (No. 59 EvanSteelPerformance.com BMW S1000RR) and Eric Pinson (No. 41 Team Go41 Pin It Son Racing BMW S1000RR), bring the tally of manufacturers represented in the SuperBike field at Daytona to six.
Robertino Pietri returns to AMA Pro Road Racing after two seasons of Moto2 competition, racing in National Guard SuperBike aboard the No. 3 Team Venezuela Suzuki GSX-R1000. The second-generation road racer earned a season-best finish of fifth place in GoPro Daytona SportBike at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during his last season with AMA Pro, and the Venezuelan-native will be doing double-duty upon his return this weekend, racing in both the DAYTONA® 200 and the SuperBike doubleheader.
Following a year interrupted by a mid-season injury, a healthy Chris Ulrich is back to pilot the No. 18 M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki GSX-R1000. Ulrich is always strong at Daytona, earning season-best finishes of ninth place and sixth place at Daytona International Speedway in the 2011 and 2010 SuperBike seasons, respectively.
Taylor Knapp is back in National Guard SuperBike, entered on the No. 44 Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki Team Suzuki GSX-R1000. Knapp's last full season of National Guard SuperBike competition was 2010, and his late-season surge resulted in three top-five finishes.
Aussie Dave Racing returns with a new sponsor to field a three-rider team in 2012, including David Anthony (No. 25 Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000), Jordan Burgess (No. 33 Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Johnny Rock Page (No. 269 Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000).
Qualifying for National Guard SuperBike grid positions will take place in two sessions, Thursday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. and Friday morning at 10:35 a.m. The first 15-lap round of the weekend's National Guard SuperBike doubleheader will close out Friday's on-track activity at 4:00 p.m. local time, followed by National Guard SuperBike Race 2 on Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. local time.
The two National Guard SuperBike race finals will be televised on SPEED in a set of same-weekend broadcasts that will bookend the airing of the 71st running of the DAYTONA® 200. National Guard SuperBike Race 1 is scheduled to air Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. ET (10:30 a.m. PT) and the National Guard SuperBike Race 2 broadcast will begin at 5:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. PT).
AMA Pro Fan Walk sessions will take place on two occasions over the race weekend, during which fans will be able to circulate on pit lane to visit with their favorite riders and teams from AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series. There will be a host of additional fan-specific activities and events during the DAYTONA® 200 Week at Daytona International Speedway, including demo rides, vendor offerings at the Daytona Motorcycle Marketplace and live entertainment, games and bikini contests at Thunder Alley. Another experience not to miss is the seventh-annual "Spring Dash Around Daytona" - the chance to take two laps around Daytona International Speedway's 3.56-mile road course on Saturday, March 17 immediately after the DAYTONA® 200.
Live Timing & Scoring of all on-track sessions will be available at http://live.amaproracing.com/rr/. Between the races, stay connected with AMA Pro Road Racing at www.twitter.com/AMAProSBK and www.facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing; keep up with Daytona International Speedway via Twitter (www.twitter.com/DISupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).
For tickets and additional event information, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP. For information related to AMA Pro Road Racing, please visit www.amaproracing.com.
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