Update: Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki - Racing

Eric Bostrom tests Suzuki GSX-R1000 AMA Pro American SuperBike at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch.

Photography by Jeff Allen

Update: Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki - Racing

" src=

Eric Bostrom has enjoyed a long, successful racing career. He’s ridden Ducatis, Harley-Davidsons, Hondas, Kawasakis and Yamahas but never a Suzuki. That changed the first week of June when the 33-year-old Californian took his first laps on the Team _Cycle World_Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Pro American SuperBike at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch near the desert town of Pahrump, Nevada.

“Everything feels great!” was Bostrom’s reaction to the GSX-R1000 after his taking his first few laps on the bike. His end-of-day point of view wasn’t much different. “I can’t think of many times—maybe on a few 600s—when I’ve just sat on a bike, gone out on the track and not had any major drama,” he smiled. “It does everything well.”

The day before the test, Bostrom and I drove from the _CW_editorial offices in Newport Beach to Las Vegas. I’ve spent more time with Valentino Rossi than with Eric, so I was looking forward to the drive. Turns out, the youngest of the three Bostrom brothers is a pleasant road companion. He’s well-read, particularly in the fields of biology and geology, and a good conversationalist. He also enjoys an innate sense of direction. Anyway, we rolled into Las Vegas just after dark and enjoyed a relaxing meal and a glass of wine at a Mexican restaurant near the home that Bostrom shares with his older brother, Ben.

Eric Bostrom got his first taste of the Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki

Eric Bostrom got his first taste of the Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki at Spring Mountain Motorsports Park. “One of the steps forward was a really big front-end slide,” he said. “The motorcycle didn’t do anything strange. It just corrected itself.”

When Bostrom and I arrived at Spring Mountain the next morning, the Attack Performance crew—company principal Richard Stanboli and mechanics Dan Schwartz and James “J.J.” Matter—were already unloading the team’s semi and setting up the pit. Bostrom hadn’t seen Spring Mountain in roughly a decade and was impressed by its growth. Ownership changed hands in 2004, and the facility now has a resort feel, with rows of condominiums and private garages. Amenities include a racquetball court, gun range, fitness center, pool and posh clubhouse. Business appears to be booming, even in a down economy.

Stanboli is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having reached the rank of first lieutenant, infantry. So it comes as no bolt from the blue that he runs Attack Performance with military-like efficiency. Stanboli’s gleaming truck—still bearing bright-green paint; he headed Kawasaki’s U.S. roadracing effort from 2004-09—is spotless. Inside, each tool has its place.

According to Stanboli, Spring Mountain is a good test track. The 2.2-mile layout features a little bit of everything: high speeds, hard braking zones, quick transitions, long turns and bumps. His plan was straightforward: Run the bike and document Bostrom’s reactions to the base settings provided by Yoshimura Racing’s Peter Doyle, long-serving engineer for seven-time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin and working this season with Blake Young, Kevin Schwantz’s current protégé.

Before Bostrom rolled onto the track for the first time, Schwartz leaned toward the rider and said, “New pads, new rotors, new tires.” Bostrom nodded, then accelerated toward Turn 1. Stanboli asked which bike Bostrom was riding. I looked at him quizzically, and he smiled, then explained that in past years he’d been responsible for as many as four riders and eight bikes; our little team has but one of each.

Between sessions, Bostrom had a lot of positive things to say about the Suzuki. “It’s a lot different than the last Yamaha R1 I rode. It takes the throttle really well. Good grip. It turns really well, too.” As his lap times improved, Bostrom became more specific with his descriptions of the bike and its on-track behavior. “Are you up to speed enough to make a change?” asked Stanboli.

Over the course of the afternoon, the team made a number of modifications to the final gearing and shock damping, swapped fork springs and twiddled the secondary butterflies on the throttle bodies to smooth corner entries. They also made a number of ergonomic tweaks. Bostrom said the bike felt small. “That’s one of the things that Mladin struggled with last year,” acknowledged Stanboli.Later, Stanboli and I stood at the edge of the track and watched Bostrom negotiate a series of flip-flops and the final right-hander leading onto the front straight as the GSX-R soaked up the bump at the exit of the last corner. “It’s a really precise platform,” said Stanboli. “Suzuki is like Porsche: They keep developing the same machine, as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel every year.”

By the end of the day, Bostrom’s lap times around the 2.2-mile circuit were on par with those posted at the same venue a year ago by Mladin and Tommy Hayden. Of course, neither Mladin nor Hayden was available to provide a direct comparison.

While Schwartz and Matters re-packed the truck, I climbed into the cab with Stanboli to go over the day’s findings. “The bike reacted much like I’ve had Suzukis in the past react,” he began. “You make a change, you get exactly what you thought you were going to get. The bike was reliable; we didn’t have any leaks. No issues at all.

Team Cycle World Attack Performance’s Richard Stanboli

“I knew Eric was a nice guy,” said Attack Performance’s Richard Stanboli. “He’s pretty honest with himself. Some guys blame everything but themselves. I asked him, ‘How do you go faster?’ and he said, ‘It’s just me getting up to speed.’ That’s an honest answer.”

“Eric’s feedback is really good. I’m really motivated to go to Barber and see how we compare to the other guys. I think with this class the way it is, if we give Eric the right amount of time, I’m hoping that we’re going to be very, very competitive. I don’t understand why we couldn’t be.”

For his part, Bostrom felt he still has a long way to go. “I’m really excited to say that the bike is a lot better than the rider right now,” he grinned. “This bike has a stock chassis, and yet it has tremendous accuracy. In the past, we’ve had to gusset the frame and do other things to try to achieve that precision. That was something we really lacked at a lot of racetracks. You could put in a pretty good lap, but you couldn’t put in 28 of them.

"The most intriguing thing about the bike is that I can pick up the throttle and the bike still turns and has grip. It finishes the corner. The goal is to get the bike on top of the tire, to exit the corner on the top of the tire. With this bike, it's almost a freebie—very weird. That's something I've never experienced on any motorcycle. It really feels like a gift, like it's just handing me this big chunk of time."

Turning his attention to Stanboli and his crew, Bostrom added, “I’m very impressed with Richard. He’s a very self-confident individual. That transfers very well to the rider. It makes the rider believe in himself. It’s a building block. And it also makes the team believe in itself. He’s a strong personality. It’s so important to have a guy like that. He’s well-organized, methodical.

“We got a lot accomplished at this track,” concluded Bostrom. “There’s a lot to build on.”

Team Cycle World Attack 015

Team Cycle World Attack 014

Team Cycle World Attack 013

Team Cycle World Attack 012

Team Cycle World Attack 011

Team Cycle World Attack 010

Team Cycle World Attack 009

Team Cycle World Attack 008

Team Cycle World Attack 007

Team Cycle World Attack 006

Team Cycle World Attack 005

Team Cycle World Attack 004

Team Cycle World Attack 003

Team Cycle World Attack 002

Team Cycle World Attack 001