News 3 Jun 2010

AMA SBK: Road America marks home round for Jordan team

Zemke currently leads Tommy Hayden in the Superbike point standings.

Zemke currently leads Tommy Hayden in the Superbike point standings.

With his team leading the points and their home base of operations located just south and west of Wisconsin’s Road America, you could call this weekend’s Suzuki SuperBike Doubleheader AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike weekend a home game for owner Michael Jordan.

Jordan would like nothing better than to see his National Guard-supported team and points leader Jake Zemke take another win at this classic road course just north of Milwaukee. Zemke won the opening two races of the 2010 season with MJ looking on and he has backed that up with a series of top four finishes only to have his worst finish of the season in sixth at the most recent round.

Quietly lurking just four points behind Zemke is Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Tommy Hayden. With two second places at the season opener at Daytona, Hayden took his first AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike victory earlier this year and only a pair of sixth place finishes is holding him back in the points.

Another rider who is commanding attention is Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Hayes. Coming off of his two dominant victories at Infineon, Hayes is on everyone’s short list for the victory laurels at the ultra-fast Road America road course.

Even Ben Bostrom and his recently on-form Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha team could be considered a favorite going into this weekend’s race. Bostrom took two strong second place finishes behind Hayes at Infineon and was the only rider that looked to have anything for him at the tight, twisty California road course, except for one other particular rider.

Last year, this rider took his first AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike victory in ten years. This popular win propelled him to two more wins in 2009 and he carried the momentum into this year with strong showings at Daytona and one race win at round two of American SuperBike competition where he came close to winning both races.

He actually took the fight to Hayes and Bostrom at the last race and proclaimed himself pretty happy all things considered as he heads into the track that should favor his Foremast Insurance Ducati. Larry Pegram rides, runs and works on his family-owned team and the overall presentation and preparation of the team and Ducati motorcycles is second to none.

Another rider who had a breakthrough weekend at the last race was Jake Holden. Now on the M4 Monster Energy Suzuki, Holden raced better than his results showed and he should be a regular at the front now that he has become better acclimated with his new team and situation.

Hayes really put on a demonstration at the last round, with two wins as a result and he was appreciative of the role his Team Graves Yamaha and team played in his success. But don’t let that fool you, Hayes puts forth a massive effort in his physical conditioning and his outstanding performance at Infineon can be attributed to his own hard work as well.

After literally dominating the early season races but with very little to show for it, reigning AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL Champion Danny Eslick finally brought home the bacon with his first victory of the 2010 season at the last race at Infineon Raceway.

And with that win, Eslick now finds himself in a familiar position, at the top of the points standings heading into the Suzuki SuperBike Doubleheader.

Just because Eslick has assembled an impressive series of results, one win, three second places, one third and two fourth place finishes in the first seven races, don’t make the mistake of thinking that this class has been a runaway for him. In fact, this series has produced some of the most compelling racing with any number of at least ten riders vying for victory at every race.

The amazing Martin Cardenas has four wins on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki including one at Infineon Raceway. But in the two races he didn’t win, he didn’t score any points and with this group of riders, any dropped points are critical.

The points leader going into the last race and the winner of the prestigious Daytona 200 on his Team Graves Yamaha was Josh Herrin, who kept up the pressure by taking second to Eslick in race two at Infineon and, combined with his other series win at Auto Club Speedway earlier this year, is now right behind Eslick in the points.

Project 1 Atlanta rider Dane Westby has put together a strong season and he is currently fourth in points. Cory West is riding for the Vesrah Suzuki team and he has a series of top ten finishes that have him only ten points behind Westby.

The rider that has featured every weekend is Team Latus Motors Racing Ducati rider Steve Rapp. Rapp has been on the podium twice this year and has qualified up front at virtually every race. Rapp heads into Road America with the confidence of having won there in 2003.

Practice and qualifying for the Suzuki SuperBike Doubleheader weekend at Road America begin on Friday.