AMA SBK: Rockstar Suzuki Set for Daytona
Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden and Blake Young are all set to pilot their Yoshimura-prepared Suzuki GSX-R1000s to the top of the podium at the upcoming first round of the 2011 AMA American Superbike Championship at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla, next weekend.
The returning Rockstar Makita Suzuki riders have had a successful pre-season and are ready to race. Hayden finished a close second in last year’s championship and teammate Blake Young managed to finish sixth despite a mid-season injury.
For the last 50 years, no one has seen anything like Suzuki’s domination of racing. More recently, the Yoshimura-prepared Suzuki GSX-R has won the last ten out of twelve AMA Superbike Championships, and has set an unprecedented number of records – from the sheer volume of superbike titles to the races won, to pole positions acquired.
No other machine has so completely and utterly dominated this sport like the Yoshimura-prepared GSX-R. From all appearances, 2011 looks to be another winning season for the Rockstar Makita Suzuki crew.
Tommy Hayden returns to the Suzuki fold after celebrating his best AMA Superbike season ever. Hayden won his first superbike race, and followed that up with five more victories. And even when he didn’t take the top spot, he was on the podium at nearly every single race. Focusing on improving an already notable performance, Hayden is poised to make a strong bid for the title this year.
Tommy Hayden (Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSXR1000) says: "We finished a close second last year, so it’s time to move it up a step. I think that I could improve my riding in certain areas of the track. I feel like there were times where I left a lot of bonus points out there and that can make the difference in a championship.
"With qualifying and with points for number of laps led – things like that – I want to do a better job. And there are some other things that I’m working on as well. In one way, I feel like I gave it everything I had last year, but at the same time there’s room for improvements to be made with my riding. I just feel like we’re ready to make another step up this year."
Likewise, his younger teammate Blake Young also celebrated his best AMA Superbike season last year. He made a big splash by earning his first superbike win early on and simultaneously sweeping the weekend in the process. Unfortunately sidelined due to injury, Young missed a few rounds midway through the season but still rallied to finish sixth overall.
Blake Young (Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R 1000) says: "The positive side of the injury was that by being forced to sit out, I was able to reflect on what I wanted to accomplish. When I watched the other racers, I knew that I should be right there with them, but I couldn’t be. That was really good for me to reflect on those things and see what the main objective was – what my goal was – and figure out how to achieve that.
"I had to just sit around and let my back heal, even though I was still doing as much as possible with my training. But I just wanted to work hard and get back to the top before the season was over. I felt like I owed it to my team and to myself. Now that’s over and I need to go into the 2011 season with a different mindset. Now we know we can win; we need to put it all together and get the number one plate."
Since both Hayden and Young will be looking to improve on consistency and their overall performance this year, what better motorcycle to be racing than Suzuki’s GSX-R1000? The combination of the GSX-R1000, Yoshimura’s and Suzuki’s racing prowess, and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki lineup will surely be a formidable force to be reckoned with.
The 2011 Rockstar Makita Suzuki team’s first event of the 2011 AMA American Superbike Championship series is at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., March 10-12, 2011.