(Dec. 5, 2008) – AMA Pro Racing and Dunlop tires kicked off a three-day test session on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Daytona 200 Week By Honda on Feb. 27 – March 7.
The all-day test sessions will run Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A pair of three-hour night practice sessions are scheduled for Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. in preparation for the inaugural nighttime running of the Daytona 200 By Honda Daytona SportBike race on Friday night, March 6.
Among the riders in attendance for the test include Josh Hayes (Yamaha), Ben Bostrom (Yamaha), Jake Zemke (Erion Honda), Blake Young (M4 EMGO Suzuki), Chris Ulrich (Roadracingworld.com) and Neil Hodgson (American Honda).
Riders are using two different race courses during the test – the American Superbike on the short 2.9-mile course while Daytona SportBike is on the 3.51-mile road course.
Before the three-day tire test even started on Friday, Richie Morris Racing announced a three-year sponsorship deal with GEICO Powersports in the Infield Media Center. Morris will field a Buell 1125R with veteran Florida rider Michael Barnes.
Morris is still working on finalizing the details for his second team.
For Barnes, who resides in Boca Raton, he says riding for Morris in the Daytona SportBike class for 2009 will be one of the best opportunities that he has had in his career.
“This ranks right up there with some of the top rides that I have had,” Barnes said. “I think there’s more to come. It’s not an equation that is totally complete. We’ve still have got a lot of work to do. It’s been a long year in getting those details worked out. Now they are getting worked out, we can all get to work.
“This is tremendous for me. My biggest opportunity came unfortunately after Vincent Haskovec’s injury (in 2005) and getting on John (Ulrich’s) team. The opportunity here with Richie and Buell, it’s a little bit more personalized in a sense. I’ve been chosen for my previous performances on Buell and my work with the company. I’m think I’m getting a little bit of reward for that and the years I’ve put in on the Buell.”
Riders are preparing during the tire test for a Daytona 200 Week By Honda schedule with a new look. The
Daytona 200 By Honda will be held under the lights for the first time on Friday night, March 6. The Daytona 200 By Honda was previously held on Saturday afternoon.
The other significant change to the 2009 Daytona 200 Week By Honda schedule is the Daytona Supercross By Honda, America’s toughest and most demanding Supercross event, will now be held on Saturday night, March 7.
The Daytona Supercross, which was previously held on Friday night, will now be contested on a traditional Saturday similar to all AMA Supercross events on the schedule.
The three-day test session is open to the public. Fans can view the testing action with a $10 tram-tour only ticket available at Daytona 500 Experience.