73rd Daytona 200 Opens AMA Season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona 200 at Daytona Int’l Speedway remains the cornerstone of Daytona’s historic Bike Week festivities and will once again feature the stars of AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike in a grueling 200-mile battle pitting man and machine as they take on the traditional 3.51-mile, 12-turn speedway road course.
The 73rd running will provide another chance for one rider to claim victory and stamp their name in the record books alongside some of the biggest names in the history of the sport.
Combining elements of endurance racing, such as the fast-and-furious pit stops, with the all-out pace of sprint racing, the Daytona 200 is truly a unique event. This year’s 200-mile race will be an important one historically as it is set to end an era. After a decade of middleweight-class machines contesting America’s most famous motorcycle race, 2015 will see the return of AMA Pro SuperBike to the Daytona 200. The AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBikes have put on a great show on the High Banks, and the last race of the era will be a final chance for the class competitors to win the race on a middleweight machine.
With 2013 GoPro Daytona SportBike champion Cameron Beaubier graduating to SuperBike in 2014, the class seems more like a wide-open proposition this time around. The race at Daytona International Speedway is an excellent chance for class combatants to stamp their mark on the upcoming season.
One of the favorites to win this year’s Daytona 200 is Jake Gagne (No. 32 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6). Gagne was the only rider to beat Beaubier last season — at Road America in a thrilling battle — and the Californian finished second in the final standings when the season came to a close at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Gagne returns to the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team, and a win in Daytona would be a good way to begin his third season with the team.
Beaubier’s teammate last year, Garrett Gerloff (No. 8 Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6) finished strong in 2013 and showed great improvement in battling with Beaubier in the later rounds. Gerloff just missed a few wins last year in what was essentially his rookie season.
J.D. Beach (No. 6 Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6), another class contender, will join Gerloff in a formidable lineup for the factory-backed Yamaha squad. Beach also finished strong and was signed to replace the graduating Beaubier.