Throwback Thursday: When Superbike Riders Dominated The Supersport Ranks

2002 AMA Supersport Champion and Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki team rider Aaron Yates leads Miguel Duhamel, Jamie Hacking, Tommy Hayden, Tony Meiring, Damon Buckmaster, and Anthony Gobert. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

In the 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s, before the days of the “Big Kahuna” events that introduced Superbike doubleheaders that are the way of the world in the MotoAmerica era, it was very common for riders to compete in AMA professional road racing’s two major classes: Superbike and Supersport.

Some of the riders of that era, most notably AMA Hall of Fame member Miguel Duhamel, were known as much for their Supersport prowess as they were as Superbike riders.

In 2002, Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki rider Aaron Yates notched five race victories, reached the podium eight times, and earned four pole positions aboard his #20 GSX-R600 to clinch the Supersport Championship. In Superbike, Yates raced his #20 GSX-R1000 to seven podium finishes and ended the season ranked fifth in the Championship.

Also of note, in those days where the country’s best motorcycle road racers competed in both Superbike and Supersport, Sunday was race day for both classes, so those riders did two races in one day, unlike nowadays with one Superbike race on Saturday and one on Sunday. Of course, the exception to that trend occurred at MotoAmerica’s final two rounds of this past season, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, when the Superbike riders competed in three races during each weekend, with two races on Sunday at both events.

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