Mar 1, 2003
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From press releases issued by AMA Pro Racing:<BR><BR>MOORE SHOOTING TO TIE GENUINE SUZUKI ACCESSORIES SUPERSTOCK RECORD<BR><BR>PICKERINGTON, Ohio - Jimmy Moore returns to the 2003 AMA Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Series with a chance to tie Scott Russell's record of three-straight championships in the class. Moore begins his title defense on his Corona Suzuki GSX-R750 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, March 7. The opening round of AMA Superstock will be broadcast live at 2 p.m. Eastern on Speed Channel. <BR> <BR>It was 11 years ago when Scott Russell rode to his third-straight championship in the series that was then called AMA 750 Supersport. Since that time, Tom Kipp and Moore have managed to win back-to-back titles in the class, but no one has been able to match Russell's three. Moore could also become the first to win two straight at Daytona International Speedway since Britt Turkington in 1994. He is looking forward to the challenge and sees the class as being more competitive than ever. <BR> <BR>"There are so many talented riders coming into the class," said Moore, a 35-year-old from Eugene, Ore., who will be starting his ninth year on the AMA professional circuit. "It's going to be tough to get that third title, but I've got a great team behind me and I'd like to think that my experience will help me in the long run." <BR> <BR>Corona Suzuki may be the strongest squad in the series. Moore's teammate Jordan Szoke should also be a frontrunner. Szoke, a two-time Canadian Superbike Champion is returning to race in the U.S. after taking his second Canadian title last year. Adding to the international flavor of the Corona Extra Suzuki Team will be Australian Adam Fergusson. <BR> <BR>Another top team is Valvoline EMGO Suzuki with Chris Ulrich and Steve Rapp. Both Ulrich and Rapp have won two AMA Superstock races and would like to add to that tally this season. Ulrich will contest the entire series, while Rapp is slated to ride Daytona and select other rounds in the class. <BR> <BR>Hooters Suzuki features both Mike Ciccotto and Vincent Haskovec. Ciccotto won two Superstock races in 2001 and Haskovec was a consistent top-five finisher in Superstock last season. <BR> <BR>Suzuki's long dominance of the class could come under fire this year from factory Kawasaki and Yamaha efforts. While the major Suzuki teams in the series are factory-supported squads, Kawasaki and Yamaha are fielding full-fledged factory teams. <BR> <BR>Kawasaki will feature Tommy Hayden and Tony Meiring on Kawasaki's new Ninja 636, designed specifically to contest the AMA Superstock Series. Kawasaki hopes that combining the nimble handling of a 600 Supersport bike with the extra juice of the 636cc engine will be the recipe that helps them win their first AMA Superstock title in 11 years. Hayden won three Superstock races and was runner-up in the series last year riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R Supersport machine, so he is considered a serious candidate for the championship. <BR> <BR>Yamaha brings in youthful Jason DiSalvo, who will ride the company's R6 Supersport bike against the bigger Superstock machines. DiSalvo, 19, won a round of the series last year at Road America. He will be at a bit of horsepower disadvantage in the Superstock class on his 600cc-based Supersport bike, but he could be tough on the shorter circuits on the schedule. Yamaha last won the series in 1995 with Tom Kipp.<BR><BR>A slew of top privateers could make an impact in Superstock including riders like AMA horizon Award winner and new USSuperbike.com columnist, Chris "Opie" Caylor, up-and-coming Texan John Haner, and New Englanders Eric Wood and Scott Greenwood. <BR> <BR>Genuine Suzuki Accessories is sponsoring the series for the third year. Genuine Suzuki Accessories is the Accessory Division of American Suzuki Motor Corporation, where they research, develop and market Genuine Suzuki Motorcycle, ATV, Marine and Automotive accessories for the U.S. Genuine Suzuki Accessories offer everything from apparel and color-matched helmets to cruiser windshields. Genuine Suzuki Accessories also provides apparel for factory Suzuki Road Race and Off Road Teams. Most team apparel is available to the consumer through Suzuki Dealers.<BR><BR>Ron Benfield, Accessory Sales Manager at Suzuki was instrumental in continuing Suzuki's sponsorship. "We're delighted to continue our relationship with AMA Pro Racing by sponsoring this class. Most importantly, it allows us to gain much needed exposure for our expanding line of Genuine Suzuki Accessories," stated Benfield.<BR><BR><BR><BR>YATES HOPING TO BECOME FIRST BACK-TO-BACK DAYTONA SUPERSPORT WINNER IN SEVEN YEARS <BR> <BR>PICKERINGTON, Ohio - Aaron Yates surprised a lot of people with his come-from-behind victory in the Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Series opener last year at Daytona International Speedway. But even after a convincing win in the one race that had eluded him for years, not many people are talking about Yates winning his second Daytona Supersport race, which takes place on Friday, March 7, before a live national television audience on Speed Channel. Yates will ride a factory Suzuki GSX-R600 against arguably the deepest field of any race during Bike Week. He will face the likes of Honda's Miguel Duhamel, the all-time wins leader in AMA Supersport history; Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom, the 2001 AMA Supersport champ who is making a rare Daytona-only return to the series; and former Daytona winners Kurtis Roberts, Doug Chandler and possibly Michael Barnes, who is still hoping to pick up a last-minute ride to compete in the event. <BR> <BR>One of the reasons defending Supersport champ Yates is perhaps being overlooked in pre-race predictions is that while Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki have all implemented major redesigns to their Supersport bikes, Suzuki has only made refinements to its championship-winning GSX-R600. "A lot of people are talking a lot about how improved the other bikes are this year," Yates said. "I know not many people are saying much about me repeating this year, but that could be to my advantage. Maybe I can sneak up on people like I did at Daytona last year." <BR> <BR>However unlikely it is that anyone with the No. 1 on his machine is going to sneak up on anyone, Yates will have a big chore on his hands if he is to become the first back-to-back winner of the Daytona Supersport race since Duhamel did it in 1995-96. Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki have totally retooled in an effort to dethrone Yates and Suzuki in this year's championship. <BR> <BR>Honda's Duhamel certainly knows what it takes to win on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. Honda has won the Daytona Supersport 10 times and half of those victories came with Miguel Duhamel at the controls (Duhamel won the race in 1993 race on a Kawasaki). Duhamel has nothing but rave reviews about Honda's new CBR600RR. "Before the Hondas were great street bikes with a racing edge so that we could go out there and win," Duhamel told AMASuperbike.com earlier this year. "This time they totally-totally-stepped away from that concept. Now, they're going to build a race bike and then we're going to try and make it street legal if you will, put some flashers on it and send it on the street." <BR> <BR>Honda comes to the Daytona Supersport party with three direct factory riders, Duhamel, Kurtis Roberts and Ben Bostrom, and a remarkable eight riders on factory-supported teams. The total of 11 Honda-backed riders in AMA Supersport is the most any one manufacturer has supported in the history of the class. That's how serious Big Red is about winning Daytona. <BR> <BR>Yamaha also fields a very strong team this year with riders on the redesigned R6. Jamie Hacking and Damon Buckmaster bring a wealth of experience to the team, while Aaron Gobert and Jason DiSalvo inject youthful exuberance into the squad. Yamaha follows only Honda in terms of Daytona Supersport wins. The team was won the race three times, but its last victory at Daytona came in 1990 with Jeff Farmer.<BR><BR>Kawasaki, like Honda, has adopted a race-first philosophy with its new ZX-6RR. In fact, in Kawasaki's marketing material for the new ZX it states that the machine is designed specifically with the expert and professional racer in mind. Eric Bostrom, Tony Meiring and Tommy Hayden are the factory entries for Kawasaki. The team has twice won the Daytona Supersport race. <BR> <BR>Joining Yates on the factory Suzuki AMA Supersport effort is Ben Spies. Suzuki will also field a solid group of factory-supported teams at Daytona. <BR> <BR>This year marks the 10th anniversary of Pro Honda Oils sponsorship of AMA Supersport racing. Pro Honda Oils has the distinction of being the longest continuous series sponsor in AMA Pro Racing. <BR><BR><BR>