Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki is making its AMA Pro Racing debut this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, one round earlier than previously announced.
Rider Eric Bostrom ran as high as fourth in Qualifying 1 on his GSX-R1000, eventually completing the session 10th. His seventh lap was his best: a 1:27.383. Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden led the 16-rider field with a 1:25.637, just .002 quicker than Graves Yamaha rider Josh Hayes.
Interest in Bostrom’s return to racing is strong, though spectator attendance on Friday was sparse. As for the competition, garage space was plentiful. “In the past, you had to fight tooth and nail for a garage,” said team mechanic Todd Fenton.
Bostrom spent all of practice and most of qualifying on medium-compound Dunlop N-Tec slicks, the spec tire for the class. He tried the softest-available compound near the end of qualifying and liked the improved grip, though durability may not be sufficient for full race distance.
Throughout the day, electronics, gearing and suspension were the primary areas of focus. Bostrom seems to like his suspension firm. He also runs his brake lever very near the handlebar, consistency being paramount. One thing is certain: The Attack Performance-build Suzukis are capable and fast, the number-one machine equipped with crew chief Richard Stanboli’s favored MoTeC engine-management system in particular.
In other Mid-Ohio news, AMA Pro Racing COO David Atlas took center stage during the morning rider meeting. He called for improved stability in the current class structure and wants to correct an “imbalance” in the schedule, which is presently weighted toward venues in the Southeast U.S. Speaking of the yet-unreleased 2011 schedule, he said, “There will be some changes but not wholesale changes.”
Atlas went on to say that a recent AMA Pro Racing poll showed a “general acceptance” for the racetracks on the 2010 schedule. Atlas also noted that three out of four poll respondents wanted a greater number of race weekends. The Daytona 200 will remain a Daytona SportBike event, at least for 2011.
Other series plans call for enhanced social media presence. Speed pit reporter Greg White will soon begin posting a weekly blog, “Paddock Chatter,” on the AMA Pro Racing website. The series is also discussing new merchandising opportunities. A color-coded timing system, similar to that which is currently used by MotoGP, is being testing this weekend.
Overall, the attitude in the paddock is positive. “AMA Pro Racing is bending over backward for anyone who needs anything,” said Stanboli. “Last year, we were treated like children.”
Tune in to Speed for same-day coverage of this weekend’s races.