Four Former Winners to Battle in Daytona Superstock Opener
The 2006 Repsol Lubricants Superstock Series opener at Daytona International Speedway will feature a clash of four former winners. Aaron Gobert, Jason Pridmore, Josh Hayes and Aaron Yates are all past winners of the Daytona Superstock race and are all slated to line up for the final on Thursday, March 9, in one of the strongest field of riders featured during Daytona’s Motorcycle Speed Week.
Defending Repsol Lubricants Superstock Series champ Aaron Yates suffered a broken shoulder only a month ago while testing at California Speedway making him questionable for Daytona, but Yates thinks now that he’ll be ready to race.
“I just got on a dirt bike yesterday and did a little riding,” Yates said on March 3rd. “I’ve been riding a street bike to keep the feel of things and building up my strength. I think I’ll give it a good test this weekend and then have a rest on Monday and Tuesday and hopefully be ready to go when we take to the track on Wednesday.”
In spite of his injuries Yates says he won’t just be riding for points at Daytona.
“I’m making really good progress every day,” he said. “If it keeps getting better at the rate it has been then I think I’ll be in the hunt for the win. My goal is to be in the lead pack on the last lap and have a chance to win it.”
Yates last won the Daytona Superstock race in 1996, when the class was still 750cc Supersport bikes.
Yates is just one of a multitude of Suzuki riders expected to race. The Jordan Suzuki team will field three riders in the Daytona Superstock race including two-time race winner Jason Pridmore. Pridmore is trying to become the first three-time winner of the race. He will team with Steve Rapp and Jake Holden making up one of the most talent-rich teams in the series.
Australian Marty Craggill was the top privateer in AMA Superbike last year. This year the Hotbodies Racing Mladin Motorsports Suzuki rider will now focus on Superstock.
"Talking to Suzuki they were keen to giving us more support in Superstock,” said team owner Mat Mladin. “Now at least Marty will have a bike that’s competitive. The rest is up to him.”
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki has won this race three times, including last year with Vincent Haskovec. This year Geoff May will try to uphold the honor of the team. Under the same tent comes the Roadracingworld.com Suzuki team with Chris Ulrich and Robertino Pietri. Pietri is the 20-year-old son of former AMA Superbike and Formula One factory rider Roberto Pietri of Venezuela.
Millennium/KWS Suzuki will field John Haner and Matt Lynn aboard Suzuki GSX-R1000s in the Superstock class.
While Suzuki has numbers on its side, the other factory or factory-support teams make up for lower numbers with top-notch riders. Take Yamaha for example. Graves Yamaha has a potent trio of Jamie Hacking, Eric Bostrom and Jason DiSalvo on R1s. With those three riders there’s a very good chance that Yamaha will have more than one rider on the Daytona Superstock podium.
Attack Kawasaki brings Aussies Ben Attard and Damon Buckmaster to Daytona. Attard is considered an up-and-coming rider in the series, while Buckmaster is a proven veteran.
Erion Honda dominated Formula Xtreme in the early years when it was a big-bore class. Erion hopes to reestablish that dominance in Superstock with riders Josh Hayes and Aaron Gobert. This is the only team to feature two past winners of the Daytona Superstock race. Gobert won the event in 2004 and went on to win the championship, while Hayes took top honors at Daytona in 1999.
Qualifying for the Daytona Superstock race starts Wednesday (March 8) afternoon and the 13-lap final will take the green light on Thursday, March 9 at 3:50 pm EST. It will be televised live on SPEED.