MotoAmerica: Daytona 200 Will Be First-Ever Race For Rahal Ducati Moto Team

MotoAmerica: Daytona 200 Will Be First-Ever Race For Rahal Ducati Moto Team

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Rahal Ducati Moto:

RAHAL DUCATI MOTO PREPARES FOR FIRST-EVER RACE

The trio of riders and crew enter Daytona 200 race week with confidence and high expectations

ZIONSVILLE, Ind (03.04.2024) – Nearly six months after the announcement of Rahal Ducati Moto entering the Supersport class of MotoAmerica competition, the team is headed to the iconic Daytona International Speedway for its first round of competition. The 82nd running of the Daytona 200 will mark the maiden race for the new team, entering three machines into the event.

PJ Jacobsen, a veteran of American road racing, will pilot the No.15 XPEL Ducati Panigale V2 for his fourth attempt to capture the Daytona 200 title. In last year’s edition of the race, Jacobsen earned his best-ever starting and finishing positions on the 3.51-mile course, starting from the second position and claiming a fifth-place finish.

The youngest rider in the team’s stable, Kayla Yaakov, will captain the No. 19 XPEL Ducati Panigale V2 in her rookie attempt at the legendary race. Yaakov marks the youngest rider in this year’s event at 16-years-old and one of only two female riders to enter the attempt to qualify for the 57-lap race.

Rounding out the team’s line-up is Corey Alexander, riding the No. 23 Roller Die + Forming Ducati Panigale V2. While this year’s running will be his first Daytona 200, the veteran rider is no stranger to the Daytona track. In 2014, Alexander earned the pole position and claimed victory at both races of the AMA Pro Supersport event at Daytona (sprint races rather than endurance).

With the combination of talent, experience, drive, and competitive race machines produced by the Rahal Ducati Moto team, the expectations of results have been set high for the team’s first appearance. With 200 miles to showcase skill and speed, the team looks to start its rookie campaign in the MotoAmerica Supersport class with promising results.

The Daytona 200 will host a two-group practice session on Thursday morning, with the first round of qualifying on Thursday afternoon. The second round of qualifying will take place on Friday morning, followed by Time Attack and the pit stop competition. Race day will begin with a final warm up for entries to take in the track once more before the track goes green Saturday afternoon for the 82nd Running of the Daytona 200 at 1:50pm ET. The race can be watched live on MotoAmerica Live + and an encore presentation Sunday on MAVTV.

QUOTE BOARD:

COREY ALEXANDER (No. 23 Roller Die + Forming Ducati Panigale V2): “I’ve been eager to return to the high banks of Daytona for a long time now. I am even more stoked to have the 200 as the first outing for the entire Rahal Ducati Moto team. I look forward to seeing where we stack up against a crazy, competitive field and seeing if one of us will take home a Rolex!”

PJ JACOBSEN (No. 15 XPEL Ducati Panigale V2): “I’m looking forward to this year’s Daytona 200! Last year’s race didn’t go as well as I would have liked after qualifying second – almost earning the pole position. The race was disappointing for me because we had potential, but I am looking forward to running it this year with Rahal Ducati Moto. We have a great team and competitive bikes coming into the weekend, so I am looking forward to not only to Daytona, but also the season, and seeing where we end up.

“The goal for this weekend is to start from pole position and try to win the Daytona 200. It is a very, very difficult race – there is a lot going on and anything can happen, so we just want to have a clean race, stay in the fight until the end, and make sure we capitalize on all the opportunities to see what can happen and hopefully we’ll finish at the front.”

KAYLA YAAKOV (No. 19 XPEL Ducati Panigale V2): “This year will be my first time ever competing in the [Daytona] 200. I’ve been to the track before to compete in a short amateur race, but that did not provide much track time, so I’m going into the weekend with little experience on the track. It’s going to be a lot of fun learning the track and learning the dynamics of the bigger bike. I’m going to have a lot of fun this weekend, and I think it’s going to be a really, really cool learning experience. My plan is to just take it all in and be able to hopefully get in a decent result, and start some momentum for the rest of the season.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (Team Owner): “I’m really looking forward to kicking the MotoAmerica season off. Our team has been working tirelessly to be sure we show up race-ready and competitive for our first outing in motorcycle road racing. We’re carrying some momentum off a very solid test a few weeks ago, and have only continued to make improvements to the bikes, so I believe we’ll have a very solid chance to finish the weekend with promising results. We know we’re coming into the series with a target on our backs, and we’re ready to prove to everyone that Rahal Ducati Moto has what it takes to not only be competitive in this paddock, but also win races. I think we’ve built an incredible team with talented riders and mechanics, and I have full faith that come Saturday, we’ll be contending at the front of the field. I wish I could be there this weekend to support our team’s first run, and I can promise you I will be staying in the loop from afar and tuning in to all of the sessions I can.”

BEN SPIES (Team Principal): “Heading into Daytona, everybody’s really excited. We’re looking forward to seeing the XPEL and Roller Die Ducatis on track and seeing how we fare. It’s been a big job over the off-season to put everything together. We’ve got a lot of experience within the team so we hope things will go smoothly at Daytona. The Daytona 200 is a different beast for sure – there are a lot of things that can happen there. The depth of the competition in the field may be the deepest we’ve ever seen, or at least since the 90s, so we’re excited to see how we do. Again, I just hope things can go smoothly and we can use this weekend as a good learning experience. If we keep our heads in the game, and everything goes as planned, I think, as a team, we can put together a pretty good result.”

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