Daytona 200 back to Superbikes for 2015

200-mile race will feature superbikes running on the 2.91-mile short course for 69 laps

AMA Pro Racing announced today that the Daytona 200 in 2015 will return to the AMA Pro SuperBike category instead of the middleweight-displacement Daytona SportBike class that had run the race since 2005. Concerns with tire safety around the original 3.56-mile long course that utilized both the east and west banking had prompted the move to the smaller and slower Daytona SportBike class back then, much to the chagrin of some race fans. But AMA Pro Road Racing spec tire manufacturer Dunlop is confident that their latest rubber will be up to the task, and the superbikes will be running on the newer 2.91-mile short course that shortcuts the west banking to help keep tire temperatures in check.

Although AMA Pro Racing is stating that "adjustments to the AMA Pro SuperBike rules package, planned as part of the recently-announced AMA Pro Road Racing class restructuring, are a key component" in getting the superbikes back in the Daytona 200, it was surely Dunlop's confidence that it could build tires that would work on superbikes for the race's duration that was main deciding factor in this decision. "Dunlop is excited about the prospect of having SuperBikes back in the Daytona 200," said Mike Buckley, Vice President of Dunlop. "Everyone on the Dunlop design and service team are enthusiasts first and foremost, so the entire team is looking forward to supporting this endeavor."

The current teams competing in the AMA Pro SuperBike class were obviously pleased at the decision. "The Daytona 200 is an iconic event, and it's only fitting that SuperBikes—AMA Pro Road Racing's premier class—should be the bikes that compete in the 200," said Keith McCarty, Yamaha Motor Corp USA's Motorsports Racing Division Manager. "We at Yamaha are excited that SuperBikes will be returning to their rightful place in the Daytona 200 next year."

"The Daytona 200 is our biggest race of the season, so the biggest and best bikes should be competing in it," concurred Yamaha's three-time AMA SuperBike champion Josh Hayes. "And, of course, that's the SuperBikes. I'm looking forward to the 2015 Daytona 200, when SuperBikes will make their return. I say, 'Welcome back!'"

"It's the biggest race of the year and it seems only fitting for the biggest class in AMA Pro to be competing in it," said Roger Hayden, who was recently signed by the Yoshimura Suzuki team to compete in the SuperBike class. "I grew up watching the Daytona 200 and it was always the SuperBike guys I looked up to that were winning it, so it's been my childhood dream to win the race. Hopefully this will also bring some international riders over like it has in the past."