Dane Westby, the 23-year-old who finished fifth in the 2010 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Championship, has inked a deal that will see him on a Team M4 Suzuki in 2011 as the replacement rider for series champion Martin Cardenas. Cardenas has been promoted to the Superbike class.
“I’m really looking forward to the Daytona test and getting to ride the Team M4 Suzuki,” Westby said in a team press release. “I’m really excited for the New Year and this deal coming together is great. My goal is to make 2011 the year of The Wolverine [Westby’s nickname is Wolverine]. Team Hammer and [team owner] John Ulrich have been in the racing game for a long time and they know what is needed to put a competitive team out there. They won the championship last year and that speaks for itself. They were already there and getting the job done when I raced my first AMA Pro event, and that means a lot to me, as does their endurance racing success. Suzuki has a new model for 2011 that is lighter and stronger and that is another positive.”
Westby started his 2010 campaign by finishing second on the Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha R6 in the Daytona 200. He went on to finish on the podium four more times en route to fifth in the title chase.”The 2010 season was a big improvement for me as I was able to run up front and learn what it takes to stay up there,” the Oklahoman said. “That time at the front is precious and there’s no substitute for it. This year, our goal is to win the championship and the way to do that is to stay in the top five and win when you can. I’m gonna take it race-by-race and the first one up is Daytona. I got a nice trophy for second place in the Daytona 200 last year, but we’ll be looking to improve one position on that and to start the season off the right way.”
Chris Ulrich, meanwhile, will join Cardenas, on the two-man M4 Suzuki Superbike team.Former MotoGP star John Hopkins, who brought Monster Energy money to the M4 team last year, is currently in negotiations to join the Crescent Suzuki team in the British Superbike Championship.