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Daytona: Superstock preview

GOBERT OPTIMISTIC GOING INTO REPSOL LUBRICANTS SUPERSTOCK OPENER Pridmore could become race's first three-time winner PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 4, 2005) -- Aaron Gobert prepares to defend his Repsol Lubricants Superstock Championship when the...

GOBERT OPTIMISTIC GOING INTO REPSOL LUBRICANTS SUPERSTOCK OPENER
Pridmore could become race's first three-time winner

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 4, 2005) -- Aaron Gobert prepares to defend his Repsol Lubricants Superstock Championship when the 2005 series opens at Daytona International Speedway's newly designed motorcycle course on Thursday, March 10. Gobert will be riding the No. 1 Graves Yamaha R1 and he hopes to become the first Superstock rider to win the race back-to-back since Britt Turkington accomplished the endeavor in 1993-94 when the class was known as AMA 750 Supersport.

"Having won the race last year gives me a lot confidence," said Aaron, the middle of the three racing Gobert brothers from Australia. "At the same time the track is completely new and the competition is very tough."

Gobert suffered what doctors at the time thought could be career-ending injuries at Daytona in 2002. But the gritty Aussie showed amazing recovery powers and actually came back and raced later that season. Many of the doctors that treated Gobert three years ago continue to follow his career.

Gobert called his win at Daytona the biggest of his racing career. He feels the new road course should make for unpredictable racing. "I don't really know exactly how it's going to affect the race," he says. "It's going to create a different nature of race with the infield being more like a sprint course. It's going to be an interesting week that's for sure."

Yamaha fields the deepest team in Superstock racing with the Graves Motorsports Yamaha riders of Gobert, Jamie Hacking, Jason DiSalvo and Damon Buckmaster. The Yamaha pilots took four of the top six spots at Daytona last year. The top six finishers in last year's race were separated by just eight-tenths of a second.

Kawasaki is another full-fledged factory team in the series. Brothers Tommy and Roger Lee Hayden spearhead Team Green's effort. Gobert and Hacking nipped Tommy Hayden at the Daytona Tri-Oval finish line last year. He crossed the stripe just a fraction of a second behind the leader in what proved to be the closest racing in all of Bike Week last year.

Yoshimura Suzuki brings heavy hitter Aaron Yates to the match. Yates is a former Superstock (750 Supersport) champ and won the Daytona race in 1996.

Backing up Yates on the factory Suzuki team is the factory-backed squad of Jordan Motorsports Suzuki. Leading the way for Michael Jordan's team at Daytona is Jason Pridmore. The Californian racing veteran could become the first three-time winner of the race.

"After the season I had last year I was ready to hang up my helmet and go golfing," said Pridmore, son of three-time AMA Superbike Champion Reg Pridmore. "When this opportunity came along with Michael's [Jordan] team it got me excited about racing again. We've assembled a great team and I'm looking forward to kicking things off at Daytona."

Pridmore's teammates are Steve Rapp, a fellow veteran, and Montez Stewart, the lone returning member from Jordan's team last season.

The former Valvoline Suzuki team will sport the colors of a new primary sponsor this season in M4 Performance Exhaust. Vincent Haskovec rides for Team M4 EMGO Suzuki. A native of the Czech Republic, Haskovec led the Superstock points race much of the 2003 season. He's hoping to find the combination to run up front again this year. He'll team with newly signed former AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year Geoff May. May was the top privateer in AMA Superbike last year and getting a seat on a championship-winning team is the opportunity he's been waiting for.

Eric Wood and Jimmy Moore make up the riders for Hooters Suzuki this year. Moore is a two-time AMA Superstock champ and could match Scott Russell and Tom Kipp's record of three AMA Superstock/750 Supersport titles. Lee Acree (KWS/Millennium Suzuki) and Chris Ulrich (Roadracingworld.com Suzuki), both past AMA Superstock race winners, will further bolster a remarkable field of riders slated to race in the Daytona opener.

Road racing fans can catch the action on SPEED Channel on Thursday, March 10, beginning at 3 p.m. EST for three straight hours of live programming. Coverage starts with the final portions of Daytona 200 qualifying before switching into race mode with the Repsol Lubricants Superstock final at 3:45 EST, Thursday, March 10.

For additional information on this year's March Classic races contact Daytona International Speedway at (386) 253-7223 or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Steve Rapp , Tommy Hayden , Eric Wood , Jamie Hacking , Geoff May , Lee Acree , Tom Kipp , Aaron Yates , Damon Buckmaster , Roger Lee Hayden , Vincent Haskovec , Aaron Gobert , Jason Pridmore , Chris Ulrich