AMA Superbike Editorial: Big Loss
When Michael Jordan first showed up in the AMA paddock in 2004 with a team built around helping his road-racing friend Montez Stewart, most welcomed him with open arms. It almost seemed too good to be true. The man generally regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time was not only interested in AMA racing, but he wanted to field a team. Hallelujah.
Since Stewart wasn’t exactly the second coming of Valentino Rossi, many wondered if Jordan’s interest would wane when his friend failed to garner any results worth mentioning. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Jordan wanted more. He wanted to field a team capable of getting results in the premiere class of AMA racing – Superbike.
So in year two, the Jordan team stepped it up with Jason Pridmore racing a Superbike while Stewart and Steve Rapp focused mainly on the Superstock class. They also changed brands at this point, starting what would be a long association with Suzuki. Things continued to get better and better for the team. Jason Pridmore got them started, but they continued to build once he retired. There was Jake Holden, Geoff May and Aaron Yates and the results started to come. In 2009, Michael Jordan Motorsports became a player with Yates earning six podiums in the Superbike class, including two second-place finishes.
It got even better the next year when Jake Zemke rode the team’s Gemini Racing-built GSX-R1000 to victory in both AMA Superbike races at Daytona – the team’s first-ever Superbike wins. The bad note that year were the horrible injuries suffered to team leader Yates, the man generally regarded as the one to put the Jordan team on the map suffering a leg so badly broken that it would keep him out of racing until the end of last year.
Then came Ben Bostrom and Roger Lee Hayden in 2011. In 2012, Hayden won his first AMA Superbike race for the team he was now an integral part of. In 2013, he was back for more along with Danny Eslick and the pair finished fourth and fifth in the series standings, but were factors in every race they lined up for. The team also got a taste of World Superbike racing when it competed as wild cards at the Laguna Seca round. They showed well to the internationals and apparently liked what they saw.
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