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Sep 22, 2013

TV Coverage Drove World Superbike Wild-Card Entries For AMA Pro Stars Roger Hayden And Danny Eslick At Laguna Seca Next Weekend

AMA Pro Superbike: By running as a Wild Card entrant in the World Superbike races at Laguna Seca next weekend, Roger Hayden (54) will get more TV exposure than anybody just running in the AMA Pro Superbike finale held as a support race. Martin Cardenas (36) and Josh Herrin (2) may decide the 2013 AMA Pro Superbike Championship, but won't get televised doing it. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
Michael Jordan Motorsports has entered both Danny Eslick and Roger Hayden as Wild Cards in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship races scheduled for next weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Eslick will race as #45 and Roger Hayden will race as #54.

(American Blake Young is also competing in World Superbike at Laguna Seca, riding as a substitute rider on a Fixi Crescent Suzuki for injured series regular Leon Camier. Young is not competing in AMA Pro Superbike this season.)

Eslick and Hayden are also entered in the AMA Pro Superbike support race running in conjunction with the upcoming World Superbike races at Laguna Seca, with Eslick listed as running as #23 and Hayden as #54.

The team made the decision to enter its riders in the World Superbike event after AMA Pro Racing announced that there would be no TV coverage of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Racing Series finale at Laguna Seca. A press release issued by AMA Pro Racing said that the organization didn’t have the money to cover production costs.

It’s unknown if Eslick and Hayden will also run in the AMA Pro Superbike race, and a Jordan Motorsports spokesman could not be reached prior to posting.

But a Jordan Motorsports official said last weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park that the team might run Eslick and Hayden in World Superbike because those races will be televised and the AMA Pro finale will not.

Logistically it may be possible to do both and in theory the team should have spare bikes available for the AMA Pro races, since World Superbike rules limit riders to only one assembled motorcycle at an event; assembled spare bikes are banned as a cost reduction measure. AMA Pro Superbike rules allow riders to each have two assembled racebikes.

(The theory behind the one-bike rule—-which is almost universally used in National Superbike series around the globe as well as in World Superbike, World Supersport, Moto2 and Moto3—-is that instead of building a primary bike and a spare bike plus acquiring loose spare parts, a team can build a primary racebike and a spare racebike, then take the spare bike apart for use as spare parts, or build a primary racebike and acquire loose spare parts. Both scenarios could in theory reduce equipment costs by as much as one-third.)

The Jordan official also said that in theory Eslick and Hayden could be competitive, and he may be right. The last time World Superbike came to Laguna Seca in 2004, Chris Vermeulen won on a Honda and turned the fastest race lap at 1:27.043.

For comparison purposes using a track that World Superbike ran on in 2004 and is still running on in 2013, in 2004 Garry McCoy won a World Superbike race at Phillip Island on a Ducati with a fastest race lap of 1:34.514. In 2013, Eugene Laverty won a race at Phillip Island on an Aprilia with a fastest race lap of 1:31.168, or 3.3 seconds per lap quicker. Applying that 2004-2013 time difference to Vermeulen’s fastest 2004 race lap at Laguna Seca of 1:27.043, we get a theoretical fast race lap of 1:23.743.

In the AMA Pro Superbike race held during the MotoGP race weekend at Laguna Seca in July of this year, Eslick turned a fastest race lap of 1:26.559 and Hayden turned a fastest race lap of 1:24.884. (For reference, Josh Hayes won the race at Laguna Seca and turned the fastest lap of the AMA Pro Superbike race at 1:24.503.)

Eslick and Hayden may be able to go faster this time around, having already raced at Laguna Seca once this season and having spent several more event weekends since then refining the set-up of their racebikes.

But even if they don’t go faster, it’s virtually guaranteed that Eslick and Hayden—-as two of the only three Americans entered in the only World Superbike event held this year in the U.S.—-will get more television exposure for themselves, their team and their team’s sponsors than anybody competing in just the final race of the 2013 AMA Pro Superbike season.

Including the rider who wins the 2013 AMA Pro Superbike Championship...