AMA Flat Track Ducati have taken its first ever Grand National Flat Track victory in Saturday’s Yavapai Downs Mile. Saturday’s Ducati victory marks the first time that a readily available production engine has won a Grand National Twins race in 29 years.
Limited production, flat track race-only Honda RS750 and Harley-Davidson XR750s have won every Twins National since 1981.In the season opening round- and Ducati’s third ever attempt at winning a modern era Grand National- Joe Kopp proved that Ducati’s don’t always need asphalt to beat the competition. The Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati Flat Track Project began only a year ago, when Ducati Superbike rider Larry Pegram approached friend and flat track team co-owner David Lloyd about the potential of Ducati’s air-cooled 992cc engine as an ideal flat track platform.Pegram Racing and Lloyd Brothers Motorsports joined forces to build a stock-framed dirt track bike from a Ducati Sport 1000. After a quick shakedown by Pegram the bike entered the 2009 Springfield Mile, where it immediately proved a formidable opponent to the dominant Harley-Davidsons by qualifying for the 18 rider main event directly from the heat raceAfter a summer of modifications- including the addition of the 1078cc engine from borrowed from the Ducati Hypermotard and a custom racing chassis- Pegram entered the Indy Mile and missed the main event by one position in the semi qualifier.Incorporating everything learned over the 2009 season, the bike now races in its third generation of development. In Saturday’s season opener 2010 rider Joe Kopp put the Ducati engine in the position its knows best at circuits across the globe- the top of the podium. Taking the lead at the start Kopp ran a fantastic race, only facing competition from Halbert, whom he drafted past on the final lap to take the checkered flag by .025 seconds. Saturday’s race was also a significant event as the Ducati upset the might of Harley Davidson on the Mile, something no other manufacturer has been able to do for 17 years. The next race for the ENI USA R&M (formerly American Agip) / Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati entry will be the famed Springfield Mile on May 30; featuring a cameo by Larry Pegram on a second bike alongside Joe Kopp.For more information about the Ducati L-Twin engine that powered Kopp to victory, and the Hypermotard 1100EVO it comes from, please visit www.ducatiusa.com.