Yamaha officially announced its 2012 AMA Road Racing teams today with two-time defending AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes set to lead the squad again. But this year he won’t go it alone as Josh Herrin makes the jump from the Daytona SportBike class to join Hayes on the Monster Energy/Graves Motorsports R1s.Hayes will be hoping to join former Yoshimura Suzuki rider and current Yamaha MotoGP star Ben Spies in winning three successive AMA Superbike titles.
“Three in a row will be a formidable challenge, but I’m up for it. And, to have Josh Herrin right next to me in the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pitbox is really something I’m looking forward to,” Hayes said in a team release. “I was often outnumbered on the track during last year’s races, so having Josh out there to push me – and me being there to push him – is going to be a lot of fun!”
Herrin, meanwhile, is ready to make the jump in class.”I’m stoked to get to race the new 2012 R1,” Herrin said. “Josh Hayes and I have been teammates for a few years, and he’s been a tremendous help to me. Now, we’ll be out on the track together and in the same class. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate than Josh or a better bike to be on than the R1… and in the American SuperBike class, too. This is the fulfillment of another dream for me. I don’t mean to rush the guys to get that beautiful Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha R1 prepped and ready to go, but I can hardly wait to get to Daytona.”
Yamaha’s Extended Service/Graves Motorsports team in the Daytona SportBike class will feature two youngsters: Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff on the team’s R6s.In 20011, Beaubier rode a Yamaha R6 to sixth in the Daytona SportBike Championship, earning six top-five finishes in 13 starts, including a season-best finish of second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Gerloff, meanwhile, made his Pro debut as a 16-year-old in the final round of the season, winning his debut in the AMA Supersport class on Saturday and following that up with a second-place finish on Sunday.”We’ve got a brand-new Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha R1 with which Josh Hayes will defend his Superbike crown and go for the three-peat, while Yamaha veteran Josh Herrin switches from his trusty R6 to the big, crossplane-crankshaft R1,” team manager Keith McCarthy said. “We’re looking forward to seeing both riders contending for wins and season points. And, in Daytona SportBike, our Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha riders Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff are gifted with nearly limitless talent – certainly talent well beyond their young years. It’s going to be a great season for Yamaha and all our fans. We can hardly wait till Daytona in March.”