When four-time Superbike Champion Josh Hayes left Yamaha’s U.S. factory road racing team a couple of years ago, which made room for Garrett Gerloff to move up to MotoAmerica’s Superbike class, Hayes made it clear that he wasn’t retiring. And, the 44-year-old legend is continuing to stay true to his word.
After competing aboard an MP13 Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 in last year’s Daytona 200 and finishing a strong fourth in the race, then competing in MotoAmerica Supersport aboard the same MP13 Racing Yamaha during part of the 2019 season, Hayes is set to race an Addicted to Track Team Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 in round one of the Australian Superbike (ASBK) Championship, which takes place at Phillip Island Circuit on February 27 through March 1.
The event will be Hayes’s third trip to Phillip Island in the past two years. In addition to the “I’m not retired” racing that is detailed above, the Mississippi Madman has competed aboard a vintage Yamaha FJ1200 in the past two consecutive International Island Classics. It seems that Hayes likes the 2.762-mile, 12-turn track quite a bit.
“I really enjoy Phillip Island,” Hayes said. “And, after racing there twice in the Island Classic, I had an opportunity to go there and race a third time, but aboard a Yamaha R1 Australian Superbike.”
Hayes’ team and crew are all Australian, with the exception of Canadian Jon Cornwell, who is an Öhlins suspension technician and part of the Westby Racing team.
“I’m fortunate to have ‘Corndog’ going over there with me to help dial in the suspension.”
Along with support from Öhlins, Hayes’s Addicted to Track Team is getting help from the Phillip Island Circuit, Motorcycling Australia, Dunlop Tires, and Dave Crussell, who is the owner of Mojo Yamaha, the team for which Hayes has raced twice in the Island Classic.
This will be a bit of a busman’s holiday for Hayes, who will be present for his protégé Garrett Gerloff’s debut in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship – Yamaha Finance Round, which just happens to also be at Phillip Island on the same weekend. “The timing is perfect for me to be there for Garrett’s first World Superbike weekend,” Hayes commented.
And then, it’s back to the U.S. for MotoAmerica’s Official Preseason Test at Barber Motorsports Park on March 10 and 11, where Hayes will get some seat time aboard the MP13 Yamaha R6 in Supersport practice before he competes in the Daytona 200 a few days later on March 14.
Did we mention “not retired?”
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