Motorcycle Racing News AMA Daytona 200, Superbike: Yamaha Report

AMA Daytona 200, Superbike: Yamaha Report

Team Graves Yamaha

In the first race weekend for the new Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha team, defending American SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes and defending Daytona 200 Winner Josh Herrin left Daytona International Speedway with solid championship points that will serve the riders and team well as the season progresses.

The team’s new relationship with Monster Energy proved to be very appropriate at Daytona, as the "two Josh’s" and their Yamahas expended "monster energy" during qualifying and the races themselves. Monster Energy’s signature "M-Claw" was seemingly always moving fast, on the bikes as well as the riders and the team, while everyone worked at a feverish pace throughout the weekend.

In American SuperBike, defending champion Josh Hayes won the pole position–and a valuable championship point–on a breathtakingly hot final qualifying lap aboard his crossplane crankshaft Monster/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R1.

Hayes then led most of the laps in each of two races, before finishing a hard-fought third in Friday’s contest and second on Saturday. In each race, Josh fell victim to the always-unpredictable draft on the high banks of the World Center of Racing.

In Daytona SportBike, Josh Herrin raced an inspiring Daytona 200 aboard his Monster/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6 and toughed it out despite having to contend with a sore wrist that has not quite returned to 100% strength after off-season surgery.

The race was shortened to a total of 42 laps instead of the traditional 57, which meant that the event only went 147 miles instead of the namesake 200. In addition, the race was stopped, then re-started, which resulted in a 15-lap, all-out sprint to the finish. Despite the adversity, Josh persevered and finished a strong fifth, netting him a solid collection of points with which to build on throughout the season

Tom Halverson (Yamaha Road Racing Team Manager) says: "We came away from Daytona with a lot of valuable points. I have no doubt that both of our riders are going to get even stronger and tougher to beat as the season rolls on. We’re very excited and looking forward to the next race."

The results from Daytona put both Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha riders in solid position to move up as the 10-round AMA season continues with the next event, which will be held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California on May 13-15.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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