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Mar 22, 2019

MotoAmerica: Braeden Ortt To Race Graves Kawasaki In 2019 Supersport Championship

Braeden Ortt (30) at speed on his new Graves Kawasaki ZX-6R during the opening round of the AFM series March 16-17 at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Photo courtesy of Braeden Ortt Racing.

Canadian Braeden Ortt will race a Graves Kawasaki In the 2019 MotoAmerica Supersport Championship.

After riding a Graves-built Yamaha YZF-R6 to fifth in the 2017 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Championship (with one win and four more podium finishes) and to ninth in the 2018 MotoAmerica Supersport Championship (with two podium finishes), Ortt said his first choice among his options for 2019 was to continue working with Graves.

“I’ve been working on keeping a good relationship with them and making sure I could give them as much valuable information as I can in return for their services. And I’ve just been staying in touch,” 19-year-old Ortt told Roadracingworld.com during a telephone interview in between his freshman classes at the University of British Colombia - Okanagan. “Given that JD [Beach] is not with them anymore and they’re making a big move to Kawasaki things just really worked out. We’ve been making in known to Chuck [Graves] that we wanted to be on his team, for sure. At the last minute things kind of came together.”

Ortt said the real clincher to the deal was when he got to test a developmental version of a Graves-prepared 2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R earlier this year.

“The bike was still in a primitive state of development by Graves,” Ortt said. “Even in that state the bike was super, super rank, and I loved it! That’s kind of why we made the decision. We realized that given how little time Graves had to work on the Kawasaki in comparison to the Yamaha that had a solid 10 years of development and we were blown aback by the thing. It made our decision pretty easy. And they were pretty adamant about the room for expansion, all of the tricks and whatnot they can do to the bike. All in all, it made our decision pretty clear that the Kawasaki was the way to go.”

The Graves Kawasaki presence in the MotoAmerica paddock in 2019 will not be on the same level as the Graves Yamaha presence has been over the last several years, according to Ortt. There will be no Graves Kawasaki semi-truck in the MotoAmerica paddock, and instead Ortt will share space in the paddock and a transporter with 2018 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 Champion Andrew Lee and his Franklin Armory/Graves Kawasaki ZX-10RR. However, Graves is supplying Ortt’s crew chief, Marco Bonesso, and mechanic Jorge Artola.

In addition, Ortt and Lee will also race their Kawasakis in all non-conflicting rounds of the 2019 AFM series.

Asked for his goals for the 2019 MotoAmerica season, Ortt said, “I know I said this last year and I know everyone says this, but I firmly believe that with this bike and the Graves team and everything that’s going on this season I don’t want anything less than a Championship.”

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