Dunlop Tire Testing Day 1: Yates Makes Debut With Jordan Suzuki
Yates, who is leaving Yoshimura Suzuki after a long tenure, joins NBA Basketball legend Michael Jordan's Jordan Suzuki motorcycle operation for the 2007 season and will compete in both the AMA Superbike and Superstock Series beginning with Daytona 200 Week By Honda on March 2-10.
The talented Georgia rider brings with him three AMA Pro National Championships (750 Supersport, 1996; 600 Supersport, 2002; and 1000 Superstock, 2005) and 25 career AMA National wins. He joins returning rider Jake Holden on the Jordan Suzuki team and replaces Jason Pridmore, who retired following the 2006 season.
"I've been anxious to get out here and get to work with the new team a little bit and ride these Jordan bikes," said Yates during the lunch break of the annual Dunlop tire test.
The Dunlop tire test is the major tune up for factory and factory-assisted teams before Daytona 200 Week By Honda on March 2-10.
Among the many riders in attendance for the test include American Honda's Miguel Duhamel (five-time Daytona 200 By Honda winner) and Jake Zemke (2006 Daytona 200 By Honda champion); Erion Honda's Josh Hayes and Aaron Gobert; Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking and Roger Lee Hayden; Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies (2006 AMA Superbike champ) and six-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin; and Yamaha's Ben Bostrom, Eric Bostrom, Jason DiSalvo and Josh Herrin.
For Yates, the three-day Dunlop tire test is the first opportunity to ride with his new team. Yates describes the opportunity to ride for Jordan, a huge motorcycle enthusiast, as an "honor."
"I've seen (his enthusiasm) for the last couple of years," Yates said. "His name being so big and it just draws in such a wider spread of people that don't know anything about motorcycle racing. I think it's a great thing for the sport and to be the main rider on the team, to be their Superbike guy, is a really neat feeling for me. I'm looking forward to going out there and doing the best I can for them."
Yates says changing teams from Yoshimura Suzuki to Jordan Suzuki will be a learning experience for him.
"It's been a great relationship with Suzuki and my team and the guys that have worked with me," Yates said. "I hate leaving some of the people but it is exciting going to work with new people. New people have new ideas and different views on things.
"It's a big learning experience is the way I look at it. I'm always game for looking at things another way and learning about something and trying something different. It's exciting coming to a whole new gig, especially with some competitive motorcycles, and hopefully we can put our bike on top of the box and on top of those factory riders."
The Dunlop tire test continues Tuesday and Wednesday and is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand available through DAYTONA USA.
Daytona 200 Week By Honda are available online at http://www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.