Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies picked up his first-ever victory at Daytona International Speedway in Florida by winning the opening round of the AMA Superstock Championship.
"At the beginning of the race I had a little issue but it was all me and the bike came through," said Spies. "I can't say enough about the power of the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000."
In qualifying, Spies picked up the first Superstock pole position of the year after posting a 1:38.355 fast lap time on the production-class Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000.
"It was a really good qualifying session though we struggled a bit at the end," said Spies. "We went out on race tyres and went good and were consistent. I used the first 'Q' and that didn't work too well. I used another one and I had a good lap going but I came up on another rider and that cost us a little bit."
Although Spies would have preferred to have posted a quicker lap time, he was extremely pleased with the overall performance of his bike.
"The GSX-R1000 is working good, the team is doing a great job and I'm happy with my riding," said Spies. "We know what everybody else is doing on race tyres and I'd like to say we're going to go out there and win the race. Our lap times are right there with the Superbike's and this GSX-R is right off the showroom floor. It's definitely the best bike in the class. Now we just have to go out there and win the race."
In the 13-lap race itself, Spies got a great start and took the lead immediately. A few laps in, however, he was passed and settled into second for most of the race. But with just a few laps to go, the defending AMA Superbike Champion retook the lead and captured the victory.
"We've always been so close here," said Spies. "Today's race played out like I hoped it would at first and then I rode like a provisional novice and made a bunch of mistakes. Geoff May was riding good and got by me… eventually I was able to get to the front and tried to get a gap. When I realised that I had about a second on the field, I put my head down and tried to check out. I'm just glad we were able to bring home the win."
Yoshimura Suzuki will return for round two of the AMA Superstock Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on April 20 - 22.
AMA Superstock Top 10 Finishers:
- 1. Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki)
- 2. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)
- 3. Geoff May (M4 EMGO Suzuki)
- 4. Aaron Yates (Jordan Suzuki)
- 5. Danny Eslick (Suzuki)
- 6. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki)
- 7. Blake Young (Suzuki)
- 8. Scott Jensen (Suzuki)
- 9. Tristan Palmer (Suzuki)
- 10. John Haner (Suzuki)
Hayden Podiums In Supersport;
Newly signed Yoshimura Suzuki rider Tommy Hayden brought home an impressive podium finish in his first AMA Supersport race aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600 at Daytona International Speedway.
"I was really glad to get on the podium," said Hayden. "Hats off to my Yoshimura Suzuki crew for giving me such a great bike in the GSX-R600. They did a great job and welcomed me and helped make the transition to a new team as easy as possible."
Hayden, who carded a front-row starting position after posting a 1:42.610 lap time, said: "It was good to get on the front row. We definitely made a jump toward the end. Being on the front row is important at Daytona because it makes the first few laps easier. I hope I can get away with the front group."
Because Hayden was injured during testing at the end of 2006, he hadn't put that many laps on the GSX-R600, which makes his third-place grid position even more impressive.
"I felt more comfortable on the GSX-R600 towards the end," said Hayden. "I missed the Daytona test so I'm a little behind. Overall, we did pretty good, especially considering how few laps I have on it. We're making it a little better every time I ride it."
In the 22-lap race, Hayden got a great start and took the lead immediately. As the lengthy race played out, however, Hayden moved back into fifth position but took advantage of lappers to eventually get into third place, which he held onto until the chequered flag.
"It felt like I was surrounded by five or six people for almost the whole race," said Hayden. "I got a good run with a lapper and put my head down because I knew it was my best chance. I was going a lot faster on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600 than I had been all weekend."
AMA Supersport Top 10 Finishers:
- 1. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki)
- 2. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
- 3. Tommy Hayden (Team Yoshimura Suzuki)
- 4. Michael Barnes (M4 EMGO Suzuki)
- 5. Josh Hayes (Honda)
- 6. Ben Attard (Kawasaki)
- 7. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki)
- 8. Chaz Davies (Yamaha)
- 9. Geoff May (M4 EMGO Suzuki)
- 10. Cory West (Yamaha)