Yoshimura R&D will not field factory-supported Suzuki Superbike entry for first time in more than 40 years
By Michael Marino
Team Hammer Suzuki will serve as the official Superbike team for Suzuki Motor Company of America Inc. for the 2020 MotoAmerica season.
The move by Suzuki’s American subsidiary means its 41-year partnership with Yoshimura R&D, which was founded by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Hideo “Pops” Yoshimura, has come to an end.
MotoAmerica is the home of the AMA Superbike Championship and has been operating the United States’ professional motorcycle road racing series since 2015.
Team Hammer operated under the names M4 ECSTAR Suzuki and Roadracing World Young Guns in 2019.
Former AMA Board member and Roadracing World & Motorcycle Technology magazine founder John Ulrich and Bruce Hammer started Team Hammer. The team is operated by Chris Ulrich.
The team plans to field two entries in the Superbike Class, as well as entries in the Supersport, Stock 1000 and Twins Cup classes. Team Hammer marked its 39th year of competing in American professional road racing competition this year.
The team’s rider lineup for 2020 has not been announced.
Team Hammer won the 2019 MotoAmerica Supersport Championship, with rider Bobby Fong, and the 2019 Twins Cup title, with rider Alex Dumas. The team also fielded riders Jake Lewis (Superbike), Sean Dylan Kelly (Supersport) in 2019.
Yoshimura R&D traces its roots to 1954, when Yoshimura opened a small garage in downtown Tokyo. The company first raced a Suzuki in AMA Superbike competition in 1978 and won Superbike championships in 1979 and 1980 with AMA Hall of Fame rider Wes Cooley.
Suzuki’s changing of its MotoAmerica Superbike team partner follows a similar move by Yamaha Motor Company USA, which announced a new partnership with Attack Performance for the 2020 MotoAmerica season in October.