Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates isn't the only rider with new racing leathers during this week's Dunlop tire testing at historic Daytona International Speedway.
In what is a sneak preview for the March 1-10 Daytona 200 Week By Honda, Jamie Hacking has given up his blue Yamaha colors for Kawasaki green leathers while Ben Bostrom has exchanged his Ducati red leathers for Yamaha colors.
"It took me a while to see me in green," said Hacking, the defending Supersport and Superstock class champion, during the lunch break. "It doesn't look odd to me but it does in a way. When I first started, I rode a Honda and it was painted Kawasaki green and I wore green leathers. I've always been a Kawasaki guy when I raced motocross. It does seem odd after riding blue for seven years coming over to green, it's a big change."
Hacking, who'll compete in Supersport sand Superbike classes for Kawasaki in 2007, finally got his elusive first victory at Daytona International Speedway after getting nipped at the start/finish line so many times over the years. Hacking outlasted Jason DiSalvo and Yates to win the 2006 Daytona Superstock event.
"Daytona, I don't know what it is about this place," Hacking said. "I think it's one of the most prestigious races and one everybody wants to win. It's a tough track. Everybody knows that and the racing is really close and tough. If you can pull off a win here, you've played your cards right.
"I outwitted everybody and outsmarted them (in 2006). After trying for so many years and getting beat some many times at the stripe, it was starting to sit in there. Getting one under my belt feels good. Hopefully when we come back in '07, maybe I can pull off a win in Supersport. I'm not going to set my goals too high on the Superbike yet. I'm still learning a lot of things."
For Bostrom, he's reunited with his brother Eric at Yamaha. The brothers were last teammates in 1998 with Honda when Eric filled in for an injured Miguel Duhamel for four races.
Ben Bostrom is excited about spending the coming season as a teammate with his brother Eric.
"You don't hide information from your brother, you do from your teammate," Ben Bostrom said. "You are going to talk (to your brother) and get the bike quite a bit better. If it was a teammate, you would be like, 'I better not let that one out of the bag. That's my information.' "
Said Eric Bostrom: "It's a perfect scenario. We're going to share the same truck together. It couldn't get any better. We live together and do everything else together so why not race on the same team and be able to share our thoughts. We're going to be riding essentially the same motorcycle. His will be in Superstock trim but we will still have a lot to compare."
Signing on with Yamaha to compete in the Superstock class and being a teammate to his brother was an easy decision for Ben Bostrom.
"The only other option was to go to Europe and I really wanted to ride here especially with my brother," Ben Bostrom said. "This was the best seat available and I feel fortunate to
be on it."
Tommy Hayden was also supposed to be in his new Yoshimura Suzuki leathers this week but is sitting out the test due to injury.
The Dunlop tire test concludes on Wednesday and is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand available through DAYTONA USA.
Tickets for Daytona 200 Week By Honda are available online at http://www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
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