In the spirit of the holiday season, as well as a festive nod to the jolly old elf himself, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, has made its list of full-factory road racers for 2012, and checked it twice. The upcoming AMA Pro Racing season features one of the triple-tuning-fork company’s strongest rider lineups ever, featuring a mix of wily, proven champions and hungry, young champions-in-waiting.
Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha American SuperBike
As if winning an AMA American SuperBike Championship isn’t difficult enough, try winning two titles in a row. That’s exactly what Mississippi native Josh Hayes did this past summer in one of AMA Pro Racing’s closest and most-exciting seasons on record.
Josh is back again for 2012, and he’s looking to join fellow Yamaha rider Ben Spies who, earlier in his racing career, won three SuperBike titles in a row. A three-peat for Josh won’t be easy, especially since another Josh will undoubtedly have a say in the matter. Veteran Yamaha YZF-R6® rider Josh Herrin is moving up to American SuperBike for 2012, and that will make two Josh’s aboard two identically prepared 2012 crossplane-crankshaft YZF-R1® SuperBikes, in stunning Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha livery.
Commenting on the challenge before him, American SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes said, “Three in a row will be a formidable challenge, but I’m up for it. And, to have Josh Herrin right next to me in the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pitbox is really something I’m looking forward to. I was often outnumbered on the track during last year’s races, so having Josh out there to push me--and me being there to push him--is going to be a lot of fun!”
About his move from Daytona SportBike to American SuperBike, Josh Herrin said, “I’m stoked to get to race the new 2012 R1. Josh Hayes and I have been teammates for a few years, and he’s been a tremendous help to me. Now, we’ll be out on the track together and in the same class. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate than Josh or a better bike to be on than the R1…and, in the American SuperBike class, too. This is the fulfillment of another dream for me. I don’t mean to rush the guys to get that beautiful Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha R1 prepped and ready to go, but I can hardly wait to get to Daytona!”
Look for Josh Hayes aboard the #1 R1 and Josh Herrin piloting the #2 Yamaha SuperBike beginning at Daytona in March.
Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha Daytona SportBike
A youth movement is afoot in Yamaha’s factory Daytona SportBike effort, with 2012’s YZF-R6s being piloted by Cameron Beaubier (#6) and Garrett Gerloff (#8).
Last season, aboard a Yamaha-factory-supported R6, Cameron finished the Daytona SportBike season in sixth place, earning six top-five finishes in 13 starts, including a season-best finish of second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With full factory support from Yamaha for 2012, the team and Cameron are looking forward to the upcoming Daytona SportBike season with much anticipation.
This past September, 16-year-old Garrett Gerloff showed up at New Jersey Motorsports Park for AMA Pro Racing’s final round of the season. And, even though he’d never seen the track before, let alone raced on it, Garrett wasted no time in getting up to speed on his R6 in the extremely competitive AMA Pro SuperSport class. The young phenom, who hails from Ben Spies’ and Colin Edwards’ home state of Texas, finished the very first qualifying session of the weekend in first place, and then, he went on to win Saturday’s race. On Sunday, Garrett was once again up front and poised for another win. He ultimately finished a still-impressive 2nd to the AMA Pro SuperSport East season champion.
Starting with the Daytona 200, Cameron and Garrett will launch their full-factory-supported Yamaha careers. Look for both riders to be up-front and contesting for wins all season long, which will include 11 different racing venues and 20 individual
Keith McCarty, Motorsports Racing Division Manager for Yamaha is as excited as anyone about the 2012 racing season. “We’ve got a brand-new Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha R1 with which Josh Hayes will defend his SuperBike crown and go for the three-peat, while Yamaha veteran Josh Herrin switches from his trusty R6 to the big, crossplane-crankshaft R1. We’re looking forward to seeing both riders contending for wins and season points. And, in Daytona SportBike, our Yamaha
Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha riders Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff are gifted with nearly limitless talent…certainly talent well beyond their young years. It’s going to be a great season for Yamaha and all our fans. We can hardly wait
till Daytona in March.”
Yamaha is pleased to be continuing its relationships with Graves Motorsports, Monster Energy, and Yamaha Extended Service. McCarty said, “Our strong partnerships with three great brands like Graves Motorsports, Monster Energy, and Yamaha Extended Service have clearly been a key to our success, and we’re looking ahead to the 2012 season with much anticipation.
“Fans have said that our Yamahas are the best-looking bikes on the track, and we couldn’t agree more. And thanks to Chuck Graves and his contributions, that beauty is a lot more than skin-deep. It goes to the very core of our bikes and our racing efforts. We’ve had a close partnership with Chuck and Graves Motorsports for well over a decade, and we’re proud to see that partnership continue next season and beyond.”
Be sure to follow the Yamaha U.S. Road Racing Teams on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be posting results, late-breaking news, and other surprises all season long.