It’s the end of an era as Yoshimura exits road racing in America. Taking up the official Suzuki mantle is Team Hammer.
Begin press release:
MotoAmerica has announced that Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. has reached an agreement with Team Hammer to become its official team for the 2020 MotoAmerica Series. In addition to its continued participation in Supersport and Twins Cup, Team Hammer will now field Suzuki’s premier Superbikes and add the Stock 1000 class to its list. The team enters the series as Team Hammer Suzuki. Riders for each class will be announced later.
Suzuki and Team Hammer have a long history together. With more than 30 years of valued partnership, Suzuki and Team Hammer have clinched numerous victories, proving Suzuki sportbikes are among the best in the world with power-driven performance and a championship-winning reputation.
Most recently, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong became the 2019 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion aboard a GSX-R600 while Roadracing World Young Gun Alex Dumas took the Twins Cup title on an SV650 this past season. Team Hammer Suzuki is looking to build off that momentum and add more victories to the list as the team is set to field Suzuki’s premier Superbike team.
“We’re very happy that Suzuki is continuing its support of the MotoAmerica Series,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “Suzuki has been with us from the beginning and has continued to use our series to both develop and sell their motorcycles. Congratulations also to Team Hammer. That team has worked hard, has been a fixture in racing for a long, long time and has shown the ability to win lots of championships. We know that Suzuki will be in good hands at the racetrack in 2020 and beyond.”
In 2020, Team Hammer will celebrate its 40th consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. In addition to a decorated list of accomplishments in various national and international championships, Team Hammer’s success at the AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National level is exceptional. To date, riders on bikes prepared and fielded by the team have earned an accumulated seven AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National titles while racking up 83 race victories and 234 podium finishes in MotoAmerica Superbike, MotoAmerica Supersport, MotoAmerica Twins Cup, AMA Formula Xtreme, AMA 750cc Supersport, and AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike.
Along with a record of preparing, developing, and fielding championship-caliber equipment, Team Hammer is known for its ability to identify and foster talent, whether it be up-and-coming riders, overlooked international riders, or established veterans looking to reignite their careers.
Superstars Kevin Schwantz, Ben Spies, Scott Russell, Josh Hayes, Jamie James, John Hopkins, and Thomas Stevens are among many who have ridden Team Hammer-tuned Suzuki race bikes at the start of their professional careers.
After over 40 years together, Yoshimura R&D will no longer field Suzuki Superbikes. Yoshimura will remain an important partner for marketing and R&D efforts for Suzuki but with a different focus and will continue to build upon their strong business relationship moving forward, according to the release from Suzuki.
Don Sakakura, President of Yoshimura R&D commented on the unparalleled relationship between Suzuki and Yoshimura that spanned some four decades: “Yoshimura’s partnership with Suzuki has been instrumental to our core business the past 41 years,” said Sakakura. “As a team, we accomplished tremendous racing milestones, leaving behind many special celebrations, as well as setbacks. Personally, it has been a true privilege to have worked closely with management and staff at Suzuki. The friendships I’ve developed will carry over my lifetime. Notably, the engineering team at Suzuki’s Japan headquarters has been extremely significant in our successes over the years.”
Suzuki echoed Sakakura’s comments and thanked Yoshimura for its contribution to 212 race wins and 14 Championships in the AMA Superbike class, the most of any manufacturer.
Kerry Graeber, Suzuki’s vice president of sales and marketing stated that the Suzuki Yoshimura relationship remains strong.
“Though Yoshimura won’t be operating our road racing team moving forward, we look forward to continuing together in many other aspects of our business.”
Graeber noted that Yoshimura remains integral with JGR/Suzuki, the company’s supercross/motocross race team, as well as several sales and marketing programs. Graeber sees that not only continuing, but also possibly expanding.
Team Hammer Suzuki will make its debut on March 10-11, 2020 at the 2020 MotoAmerica Preseason Test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.