Zemke To National Guard Suzuki!

Paul Carruthers | February 1, 2010

The Michael Jordan Motorsports team will be announced today with Jake Zemke joining Aaron Yates on the two-man AMA American Superbike team, according to team sources. Zemke will make his debut with the team during the two-day test at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.Zemke replaces Geoff May on the National Guard-sponsored side of the basketball legend’s team with Yates returning to his spot on the other side of the garage in the Jordan Suzuki team.”I’ve actually talked to the Jordan guys the last couple of years when my contracts have been up, but things never seemed to work out for us to get together and do something,” Zemke, 34, said in advance of the team release that is expected to be released today. “This year things have finally worked out where we can work together and I’m really excited about it. I think that we’re going to have a really good shot at winning the title and I’m really looking forward to it.”For Zemke, the 2008 Formula Xtreme Champion, the move to the Jordan team marks a return to the Superbike class. In 2007, Zemke finished third in the series for American Honda. In 2006, Zemke was the only rider other than Suzuki’s Mat Mladin and Ben Spies to win an AMA Superbike National when he won the second race of the doubleheader at Miller Motorsports Park. In 2004 Zemke looked to be on the fast track with his Superbike career when he won two of the last eight races of the season.”My deal will be with the National Guard/Jordan Motorsports and it’s a really unique opportunity,” Zemke said. “It’s one of the bigger name out of the industry sponsors that we have right now in American road racing and I think there will be a lot of unique opportunities that I’m going to get to do. I will get to work with those guys and I think it will be a lot of fun.”Like most everyone else in the AMA paddock, the off-season was a difficult one for Zemke.”It’s been a long off season for sure,” Zemke said. “We’ve been talking for quite some time and all the pieces of the puzzle have worked out and been put together. This off-season was probably the strangest off-season for as long as I’ve been in road racing so it’s good to know we’ll be out there racing next year. I know there are a lot of guys who still don’t know what they’re doing and I’m really wishing the best for everybody right now that everyone can find a good place to land on their feet and we can have some good racing next year.”Although he has yet to ride a Suzuki GSX-R1000, Zemke does have experience on Suzukis. In 1999, Zemke rode both a GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 for Cycle Gear.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Zemke said. “Suzuki has obviously had really good success with it over the years. I’ve been on Hondas for a long time, but I’m definitely looking forward to a change and something new. It’s definitely something to get excited about. They’ve had good success, not just here, but if you look overseas to World Superbike and [Leon] Haslam just jumped on the thing and went really good over there. I think it bodes well. They have a really good package and I think we’re going to be ready to do some damage this year.”Zemke finished sixth in the 2009 AMA Daytona SportBike Championship on an Erion Honda with two podium finishes.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.