Bostrom Does Homestead

Henny Ray Abrams | December 21, 2011


The start of the 2012 AMA Pro Road Race season is a little less than three months away, which is far too long for Ben Bostrom.The Jordan Motorsports team just completed a two-day test of the improved Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which in 2012 returns to the AMA calendar for the first time since 1996. It was the first time Bostrom had ridden the number ‘23′ motorcycle since a test at Daytona following the season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park and he was ecstatic with the improvement.

“I’m so, so happy on the bike,” he said in a phone call late Tuesday night from Miami. “It’s fun to ride. Even when you’re feeling fatigued from like, I don’t know, a whole day of testing you go out there and they say to do a long run on the tire and you don’t mind doing it because you get energized just from sliding the bike around because you’re enjoying every aspect of it. So it’s a lot easier to go fast like that.”

The team’s done a super job getting the bike to where it is. Honestly, it’s so fun to ride. I love it. “The 37-year-old from Malibu returns to the Jordan team for a second year, giving him continuity of team and machine for the first time in year. Not since he rode an American Honda Superbike in 2003-2004  has he been on the same motorcycle with the same team.”It felt weird to go to the test and jump on the bike that I got off of a couple months ago.”

Bostrom and teammate Roger Lee Hayden finished the season strongly after a rough start to the year when they struggled with the electronics and also had electrical issues. Hayden’s first two Superbike podiums came late in the year and Bostrom’s stretch run was also strong.”The bike kept getting better. It was incredible,” Bostrom said. “The bike was good at Laguna. I just wore myself out riding the [LCR Honda MotoGP] GP bike with no brakes. Honestly, the bike was good there. I should’ve won Laguna.”And then at New Jersey, I was like, ‘well, I have a great bike, this bike should win.’ “Bostrom was running in the top three when a chain-reaction incident sent him off the track. He finished fourth.

“And you just have the confidence. It’s getting better.”Bostrom wasn’t well when the team tested at Daytona International Speedway following the season, “but I still had an awesome bike. And I’ve been getting a little more confidence, a little more confidence in the bike and learning and dialing it in for myself, as well.”The bike was awesome when we got off the thing. All they’ve done is suddenly find, as anybody would trying to get the electronics slightly better, try to find a little bit of horsepower, and with a couple days of testing you got to keep throwing shocks at it. Just subtle changes to make it more comfortable. But honestly, it didn’t need it. The bike was so nice in New Jersey.

“Every little change, we rarely went the wrong way at the test, because it was awesome. And the Dunlop boys are doing a great job trying to make an American tire. You’ve got to throw a lot of heart into it because the tires are pretty good.”Bostrom tested slicks made in Buffalo, which he said were nearly as good as the UK product, but lacked a bit of durability.The biggest improvement of the Suzuki is in stability, Bostrom said.”You’ve got it to where you can enter the corner more like a smooth dirt track. It seems like a lot of times if the Superbike’s off a little bit, if that link doesn’t match the shock, whatever it can be, you enter, there’s a slight wiggle, the clutch doesn’t quite come in at the right time, so it’s a little soft, all those little things [matter].”It’s so hard to get the package perfect and we’re getting there. It’s crazy. The bike, it’s like a nine out of 10. And I remember where we came from. It was so far off. It’s taken a lot of work on the guys’ part of it and you can tell. They had a lot more things to try. I can’t wait until we go test again. You can tell they’re just moving forward. They have the same goal I do, winning the championship next year and both Roger [Hayden] and I are motivated, as well as the team. I’m betting the Jordan Motorsports team kicks it next year. They’re just doing a good job. It’s comfortable to ride. It’s a very stable platform. It does everything very well. It gives the riders a lot of confidence.”Bostrom won’t be idle during the run-up to the March season-opener. This weekend marks the first Christmas he and his wife Nikki will celebrate with their infant daughter, Ella.”First Christmas for the little girl, so that’s made Christmas exciting,” he said. “Normally Christmas is just another day for me. This time you got to kind of shop and it’s definitely changed Christmas. It’s pretty cool.”Also cool is that Bostrom will compete in the UCI Cyclocross Masters World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky in mid-January. Then comes another test.”We’re supposed to be testing at the end of January, I hope,” he said. “The boys…keep working on the horses and put the jockeys back on them and see how they come along.”

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.