Yates crowned 2002 Champion of Pro Honda Oils Supersport. PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Aaron Yates wrapped up the 2002 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Championship at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday by taking his fifth series win of the year. It marks...
Yates crowned 2002 Champion of Pro Honda Oils Supersport.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Aaron Yates wrapped up the 2002 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Championship at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday by taking his fifth series win of the year. It marks the second individual AMA road racing championship for Yates, a 28-year-old factory Suzuki rider from Milledgeville, Ga. He won the AMA Superstock (then known as 750 Supersport) championship in 1996, and was also a member of the championship-winning Cycle Motion Racing AMA SuperTeams squad in 1995.
SuperTeams was a multi-rider endurance style competition that evolved into what is today Formula Xtreme. Yates is the first rider in six years to secure the highly competitive AMA U.S. Supersport Championship before the final race. Miguel Duhamel was the last rider to pull off that feat in 1996.
Yates began the year by winning the prestigious Daytona round for the first time in his career. It was considered a big breakthrough for Yates to win that race. With his six foot and 173-pound frame, Yates, who gave away about a 30- to 40-pound disadvantage to most other top riders, was never considered a top contender on the Supersport machines at the horsepower hungry Daytona International Speedway road course.
Yates backed up his Daytona victory with West Coast wins at California Speedway and Sears Point Raceway to open up a big lead in the series. He then went on to win at Road America and Mid-Ohio and posted podium finishes at Road Atlanta, Brainerd and Laguna Seca. His victory at Mid-Ohio was a bold move by Yates. He had a large enough lead in the series that he only needed 10th-place or better finish to wrap up the title. Instead of playing it conservatively, Yates went out and won his first Mid-Ohio Supersport race.
"Mid-Ohio has always been a real fun track for me," said Yates after winning the race. "I've always gone real well here. I've never really put it all together in a 600 race. I've been there a few times and fell off towards the end. But this weekend I was just thinking yeah, I could take it easy and ride around and clinch the championship, or I can go out and ride hard and try to win the race. And if something happens, I got a pretty good cushion, I can still go out the next weekend and try and get in the top ten."
With his 12-career victories Yates is third on the all-time AMA Supersport wins list. It marks the third AMA Supersport championship for Suzuki, with Yates following in the footsteps on Doug Polen (1988) and Steve Crevier (1998)-- the other AMA Supersport champions who rode for Suzuki.