Zemke, Zemke… AMA Superbike Daytona

Superbike Race 2 Recap

The Michael Jordan Suzuki team got their season off to a dream start in the second race in a set of doubleheader AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike races on the famous 2.9-mile short course at Daytona International Speedway.

In an absolute last gasp pass at the line, Jake Zemke’s No. 54 Suzuki GSX-R1000 passed No. 22 Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider Tommy Hayden and won by 0.009 of a second for the second win in as many days. Fighting back from a disappointing first race yesterday, Ben Bostrom’s No. 155 Pat Clark Racing Palms Hotel/Las Vegas Motor Speedway Yamaha YZF-R1 finished in a solid third place.

Starting under clear and sunny skies, the field was led again by Aaron Yates’s No. 23 Brand Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 from pole position but Hayden and his Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Blake Young made a mighty move on Aaron into turn one and took over at the front. Once again the field fought furiously on the Daytona banking. Larry Pegram, aboard the No. 72 Foremost Insurance Ducati 1098R and Zemke picked up a big draft in the tri-oval and shot up into second and third places on lap two as Hayden built up a one second lead over the pack behind him.

Josh Hayes on his No. 4 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 and Ben Bostrom made good starts and joined the group behind Yates and Young. Another rider making his first appearance among the front-runners this year was Brett McCormick and the No. 6 Picotte Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. McCormick, Hayes and Bostrom had their own battles just behind the leaders. Chris Ulrich on his No. 18 Monster Energy Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R1000 recovered nicely from a lap one, turn one overshoot and was back up to 11th following up from yesterday’s impressive run.

Blake Young was the next to encounter trouble as he ran wide at turn one on lap nine. Meanwhile, back up front the following group caught back up to Hayden and the race was back up for grabs. Zemke had fought his way back to the lead and many times the leader at the stripe wasn’t necessarily the leader into turn one. Zemke was fighting his handling but everyone was on the absolute limit and the bikes were all moving around in and out of the corners and especially on the banking. Meanwhile, Bostrom was making a nice move to the front, passing Hayes on lap 11.

Aaron Yates joined his teammate back at the front and when Hayden ran wide at turn one, it looked like a Michael Jordan Motorsports one-two finish mightbe in the cards. On lap 13, Hayden came back by Yates and Bostrom continued his well-measured march to the front by passing an always-strong Larry Pegram into turn one.

Tommy Hayden then made a sensational pass on Zemke in the International hairpin and began to put a nice gap on Zemke. Hayden got a great launch out of the chicane on the back straight and as he came around to the flag, it looked like Zemke had too much ground to make up before the finish line. But with Bostrom looking on with what he described as an amazing view from his Yamaha, Zemke passed Hayden at the line and won by just 0.009 of a second and later said he was trying to see the scoreboards on the cool down lap to see who won.

Yates took a fighting third, followed by Pegram, Hayes, Young and McCormick finished in a fine eighth place. Rounding out the top ten was David Anthony on his Aussie Dave Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Taylor Knapp on his RidersDiscount.com Suzuki GSX-R1000.

All in all, it was a dream start to the season for AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike and again under the watchful eyes of team owner Michael Jordan, Jake Zemke is proving to be a very wise choice for the Jordan organization. With the strong runs by Hayden and Bostrom, this year is shaping up to be one of the best in this exciting premier class of motorcycle racing.

Both rounds of AMA Pro American SuperBike can be seen in back-to-back broadcasts Saturday night on SPEED starting at 10:30 p.m. ET. Next on the schedule for AMA Pro Road Racing is Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California over the March 26 -28 weekend.