GEICO Honda’s Dane Westby is confident going into Bike Week at Daytona International Speedway after a test at JenningsGP in North Florida today showed that the new Honda CBR600 may be more than just competitive.
Westby, who finished second in the AMA GoPro Daytona SportBike Championship in 2012 on a Suzuki, was pleased after the test.
"My questions were answered after about three laps," Westby said in a team release. "I love the motorcycle. I was out there riding and just settled in right away. It was like, 'alright cool. It's going to be good.' I mean, it's a Honda. It's what we all expect.
"This crew worked so hard and everyone gets along so well that it has made this transition very easy. There was a lot to do, but they handled it like pros. I know that everyone is questioning why we made the switch, but I believe they'll get an idea of how we're going to run this year in Daytona. We are ready for this fight."
The track day at Jennings yielded lap times that were quicker than what Westby posted on last year’s Suzuki, according to the team.
"I was half a second quicker right out of the trailer," Westby said. "There were no SportBikes there, but the KTM Superbikes were on track and I was able to run around with them. The CBR600 was just silky smooth. It's so easy to ride. I can't wait for Thursday to get here so I can get out there with everyone else."
Team owner Chris Ulrich agreed: "We had good tests and our level of confidence is high," he said. "We're all very excited to start this new adventure with Honda. Many of the guys on this team got their starts with Honda so this was familiar territory for them. Everyone is pumped up about this season."
Aside from the new equipment, Westby has accepted the pressure of representing a company as large as GEICO, which has sponsored road racing champions for four straight seasons. GEICO also serves as title sponsor to the entire AMA Road Racing Series.
"I know how big this is for my career and how important this race team is for the entire series," Westby said. "I'm meeting the challenge head-on and I'm really excited and honored that I'll be carrying the GEICO flag this year and beyond."