DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In 2015, the AMA Pro SuperBike class will return to Daytona Int’l Speedway and the Daytona 200 for the first time since 2004.
The 2015 edition of AMA Pro Road Racing’s kickoff event will be a 69-lap race contested on Daytona Int’l Speedway’s 2.91-mile short course.
“Getting the SuperBikes back in the Daytona 200 has been a fan request for years and we’re thrilled to be making this announcement,” said Michael Gentry, chief operating officer of AMA Pro Racing. “The Daytona 200 is America’s premier motorcycle race, and our goal is to once again feature the biggest names in motorcycle road racing in the event.”
The Daytona 200 is America’s longest-running endurance motorcycle race, tracing its history to 1937 when the inaugural race was run on the sands of Daytona Beach. In 1961, the event became synonymous with Daytona Int’l Speedway and has since seen many great names in motorcycling history win the storied event. Run at the culmination of Daytona Bike Week on Saturday afternoon, the 200-mile race is the only endurance race on the AMA Pro Road Racing schedule, and therefore provides a number of technical challenges.
The AMA Pro SuperBike class competed in the DAYTONA 200 from 1985 until 2004. Since 2005, the smaller-displacement motorcycles of Formula Xtreme and GoPro Daytona SportBike have campaigned the prestigious event.
With the 2015 return of the AMA Pro SuperBikes for the 74th running of the Daytona 200, the top teams and riders will again headline the historic event.
“The Daytona 200 boasts a long and prestigious history since it first ran on the sands of Daytona Beach over seven decades ago, crowning some of the true legends of motorcycle racing in that time,” said Daytona Int’l Speedway President Joie Chitwood. “Our fans have been patiently waiting for the premier class to return to the weekend’s headline event. We are thankful to AMA Pro
Racing, as well as Dunlop and the OEM’s for working together to help make this move a reality for 2015.”
The adjustments to the AMA Pro SuperBike rules package planned as part of the AMA Pro Road Racing class restructuring, are a key component to getting the SuperBikes back in the Daytona 200. Another important element is the commitment of AMA Pro Road Racing’s spec tire partner Dunlop to the continual development of tires, which are specifically suited to the special demands of Daytona International Speedway.
“Dunlop is excited about the prospect of having SuperBikes back in the Daytona 200,” said Mike Buckley, vice president of Dunlop. “Everyone on the Dunlop design and service team are enthusiasts first and foremost so the entire team is looking forward to supporting this endeavor.”
Manufacturers are supportive of the move.
Keith McCarty, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., Motorsports Racing Division Manager:
“The Daytona 200 is an iconic event, and it’s only fitting that SuperBikes — AMA Pro Road Racing’s premier class — should be the bikes that compete in the 200,” said Keith McCarty, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., motorsports racing division manager. “Over the years, Yamaha riders have won the prestigious Keith McCarty, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., Motorsports Racing Division Manager 200 a total of 22 times, on everything from our two-stroke production racers and Formula 1 GP bikes, to our four-stroke middleweight machines like the YZF-R6 and SuperBikes like the FZ750, OW01, and YZF750R. As the ‘Great American Motorcycle Race’ approaches its 75th consecutive year of competition, we at Yamaha are excited that SuperBikes will be returning to their rightful place in the Daytona 200 next year.”
“American Suzuki Motor Corporation is looking forward to returning to compete in the Daytona 200 on the Suzuki GSX-R1000,” said Pat Alexander, American Suzuki Motor Corporation, sports promotion manager. “We see great potential in returning to the 1000cc racing platform for the Daytona 200 and we’re looking forward to trying to make that win happen.”
Team owner Eric Buell also supports the move.
“I was very excited to hear that the Daytona 200 will be returning to the premier class format it had for so many years,” Buell said. “Years ago, one of my great aspirations as a racer was to reach the highest status so I could race in this legendary event. To have the Daytona 200 back in the original format is both the right tribute to the past and a proper recognition of the technology of today where modern tires and sophisticated electronics can allow top riders to harness the tremendous power of the machines.”
Finally the riders are glad to have the SuperBikes back at Daytona.
Josh Hayes, Three-Time AMA Pro SuperBike Champion and Rider of the No. 4 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1:
“The Daytona 200 is our biggest race of the season, so the biggest and best bikes should be competing in it,” said three-time SuperBike champion Josh Hayes. “And, of course, that’s the SuperBikes. I’m looking forward to the 2015 Daytona 200 when SuperBikes will make their return. I say, ‘Welcome back.’”
Suzuki rider Roger Hayden also supports the move.
“I’m really excited for the SuperBikes to be back in the Daytona 200,” Hayden said. “It’s the biggest race of the year and it seems only fitting for the biggest class in AMA Pro to be competing in it. I grew up watching the Daytona 200 and it was always the SuperBike guys I looked up to that were winning it, so it’s been my childhood dream to win the race. Hopefully, this will also bring some international riders over like it has in the past. I can’t wait and I think it’s a great idea.”