MotoGP Debut for Ben Bostrom at Red Bull U.S. GP

Henny Ray Abrams | July 19, 2011

Ben Bostrom may or may not be the oldest rider to make his MotoGP debut, but one thing’s unquestionable – he’s certainly the most enthusiastic.The 37-year-old former AMA Superbike Champion and current Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki rider will make his MotoGP debut on the LCR Honda MotoGP Team RC212V as Toni Elias’s teammate in this weekend’s 10th round of the MotoGP World Championship, the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Rather than being daunted by the challenge of racing on the Honda RC212V on Bridgestone tires against the best road racers in the world, Bostrom sees it as an opportunity and a chance to shine some light on the AMA Superbike Series.Bostrom turned Pro in 1990 racing dirt track before later moving into road racing. Having spent most of his life at the race track, both on the dirt and pavement, as well as racing in World Superbike, Bostrom thought the chance to line up against the world’s best had passed. But with the collaboration of his Jordan Motorsports team, American Suzuki, and LCR Honda MotoGP Team owner Lucio Cecchinello, Bostrom is living a dream.

“We’ve had past offers and shots at riding,” Bostrom began, but added that contracts to a specific company meant “they just say no anyway, so I was very lucky. I mean, I can’t believe the effort and collaboration they put in together to make this thing happen [he said of LCR team owner Lucio Cecchinello, Jordan Motorsports, and American Suzuki]. “I’ve got to thank American Suzuki for letting me ride. It was beyond my expectation.”Asked if he ever thought he’d get the opportunity to race a GP, he said, “No, for sure not . Even in the past when the things were put out there and offered and I was like, ‘No, I’m contracted to this company and that company.’ At one point I even asked and they were like, ‘Oh no. That can’t happen, obviously.’ And I just thought, well, it’ll never happen here, unless through some tragic crash of another rider where he gets hurt and breaks himself up and can’t ride that event on the same brand; what’s the chance of that happening? And you don’t wish that upon anybody, anyway. It’s unbelievable.”He continued. “It’s crazy that it actually happened. When they first started talking about it, which was really recently, it was just kind of like a dream. ‘I doubt that’ll happen.’ It’s one of those things you just kinda entertain, but you don’t actually think it’s going to happen because you don’t want to get your hopes up. So that’s where I was at until just the other day, and I said, ‘Holy cow.’ American Suzuki let us do it and I can’t thank them enough. And, you know, Honda had to collaborate and tires and everything just had to come together and the Jordan Motorsports guys were amazing at taking care of it and working with Team LCR and making it happen.”Last year, his Jordan Suzuki teammate Roger Lee Hayden used a weekend off from riding the Pedercini Kawasaki in World Superbike for a one-off ride in place of the injured Randy de Puniet. Hayden comported himself well, finishing a creditable 11th out of 17. Bostrom is hoping he can bring more fans to AMA with his ride.”I’m only guessing and hoping that it’s really good for our sport, because you have an American AMA Superbike rider who gets to ride MotoGP,” Bostrom said. “Just from the rumor side, I got a whole bunch more Twitter followers. It keeps happening every day and I think just because we’re taking a little bit of those fans – ‘Oh, AMA Superbike’ – and they’re starting to follow us.” Once the rumor becomes a reality, “it might actually open up more eyes to our sport as well.”For Sunday’s race, which precedes the AMA Superbike race, his plan is to “go out there and do my best to kick ass and put that bike up front and help put our series on the map.”Bostrom has done well at Laguna Seca. His best weekend came in 2001 when he swept both legs of the World Superbike double-header on the L&M Ducati 996R. The wins came in the middle of his most successful stretch in WSB-the Laguna wins were the second and third of five wins in a row-and in a season in which he finished a career best third in the championship.Bostrom also won a leg of the WSB weekend as a wild card in 1999 for the Vance & Hines Ducati team. On the AMA side, he won the Superbike race last year, passing Josh Hayes on the 15th of 23 laps and holding him off by .440 sec. Bostrom also won the Superbike race at Laguna Seca in 2004, a year in which he doubled by also winning the Formula Xtreme race. And he also has a Supersport win aboard a Yamaha in 2008.Facing off against Stoner and Lorenzo and Dovizioso and Rossi and Spies on a motorcycle and tires he’s never raced doesn’t faze the hyper-fit Malibu resident. Targeting a top ten finish isn’t enough of a goal, he’s thinking closer to the top five.”I’m expecting more than people think I should expect, but that’s alright,” he said.
For more coverage of MotoGP, check out the digital version of Cycle News at

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.