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Last season, Yamaha contined an established tradition of racing and success, winning the 2008 AMA Supersport Championship with rider Ben Bostrom and the Graves Motorsports prepared YZF-R6.
The 2009 racing season brings many challenges, including the world economy and significant changes in US road racing. Yamaha is ready to meet those challenges, continuing our commitment to racing with our sponsor partners.
With the recent changes to US Road Racing classes, Yamaha will be competing in the newly named AMA® Daytona SportBike class with the championship-winning YZF-R6 and in the AMA American Superbike class with the all-new YZF-R1. And as the most-winning manufacturer in the history of the Daytona 200, Yamaha returns to this legendary race for 2009 with all four of their riders – the most of any team.
Along with class changes, the AMA has transferred number choices from individual riders to teams. For the Yamaha team, the choice was a logical and easy decision. We have had a tremendous history and success with the numbers 2 and 4. World champions Kenny Roberts and Wayne Rainey, plus national champions Jamie James and Jamie Hacking have all won championships for Yamaha with the number 2. Likewise, number 4 goes all the way back to world champion Giacomo Agostini and continued with Eddie Lawson, plus Scott Russell winning the Daytona 200 multiple times.
For 2009, Ben Bostrom joins the Yamaha Factory Racing effort in the American Superbike class on the all-new crossplane-crankshaft YZF-R1, trading his familiar number 155 for number 2. Ben will also compete in select Daytona SportBike races this season aboard a YZF-R6 with his well-earned number 1 plate. This past AMA Superbike Champion, having enjoyed a re-energized, breakout 2008 season which saw him win six races on the way to the Supersport championship title, promises to be a formidable competitor in the AMA Superbike class. Assisting Ben on the R1 Superbike will be crew chief Jefferson Burks and race technicians Tony Romo and Seamus Taaffe.
Josh Hayes, two-time AMA Formula Xtreme Champion, is joining Ben this year in American Superbike, using number 4 on his YZF-R1. A serious challenge to Ben last year in the Supersport class, Josh brings a wealth of skill and experience to the team. Assisting Josh on the Superbike will be crew chief Jim Roach and race technicians Steve Rounds and Chris Roman.
Race Team Manager Tom Halverson will also serve as technical director for the team. Vittorio Bolognesi will handle engine management and data acquisition and Jun Suganuma will return to the road race team as suspension technician. Jeff Myers will continue in his role as engine builder.
Pat Muras and Mike Crawford will handle all aspects of hospitality, transportation of the race team bikes and equipment.
Look for Ben and Josh to make their American Superbike debut on the all new YZF-R1 at the AMA season opener in Daytona in March.
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