Friday, November 19, 2010

AMA Road Racing: Roger Lee Hayden Signs With Michael Jordan Motorsports for 2011 AMA Superbike Championship

Roger Lee Hayden bends the #95 Chaparral Suzuki GSX-R750 into turn six during qualifying for the Honda SuperCycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire event at Mid Ohio in July '00 for the AMA Superbike Series Wiseco 100 Doubleheader. This was the youngest Hayden brother's second year running in the premier class, having ridden for the Cyclegear Suzuki team in '99. Roger went on to team with eventual 2010 AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes for the '01 season, riding Honda's in the AMA 600 and 750 Supersport Championships for Bruce Transportation, moving to the Erion Racing Honda team for '02-'03, and eventually signing with the Kawasaki Factory effort as a team mate to his older brother Tommy.
He finally captured that elusive first AMA Road Racing Championship during the 2007 season, winning the AMA 600 Supersport Championship while riding for Team Kawasaki, after having placed runner-up in the '04-'05 seasons to older brother Tommy. RLH campaigned the 2010 World Superbike Championship while riding for the Pedercini Kawasaki team, but due to the team's underfunded campaign ended up 19th in the overall season-end standings. His one-off rides for the 2010 year in the States saw him bring home the LCR Honda at the Laguna Seca MotoGP round in 11th, and at the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP round finish 17th in the Moto2 race, largely due to a first lap crash that added to the American Honda team's overall weekend woes.
However, throughout his 2010 season struggles, Roger never swayed in his overall attitude and did a fine job of representing the United States and the Hayden Family. Anyone that knows racing knew that when he got back on a competitive ride he would be back in the fray again, and with yesterday's announcement, that time is going to be soon in the upcoming 2011 AMA Superbike Championship Series with Michael Jordan Motorsports. This is going to be good!
I'm a little slow posting this one, as I had to go back into the Stu's Shots archives to snag this shot of Roger Lee Hayden on a Suzuki from the 2000 AMA Superbike Championship Series season. This should go hand-in-hand with yesterday's super announcement from Michael Jordan Motorsports that they had signed the youngest of the Hayden Clan to team with '98 AMA Superbike Champion/'08 AMA Supersport Champion Ben Bostrom to campaign the 2011 AMA Superbike Championship.

Now, with that being said, in the original press release as shown below and on several sites yesterday, no where was it mentioned that the team would be campaigning Suzukis again for the 2011 season. The Jordan team has campaigned the Suzuki marque exclusively since their second year of competition in 2005 in the AMA Road Racing Series, winning an AMA Superstock Championship along the way, as well as finally getting their long-overdue premier class win at Daytona back in March with Jake Zemke. Even going to the team's official site ( there is no mention either way of a move from Suzuki.

As pointed out in the press release from Dean Adams' below, no where is Suzuki mentioned. When it was announced that Bostrom was joining the team back at the first of the month, the only place 'Suzuki' was mentioned was in the sponsor list at the bottom of the release. Henny Ray Abrams at Cycle had a story yesterday as well, and mentions Suzuki throughout, so this may just be an oversight--on either end. With the recent release of the new-and-improved 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R, there is a boat load of speculation that several teams could be 'going green' for the 2011 season, including the Attack Performance and Pat Clark teams. Again, this may just be speculation, but, that's why they call it silly season!

The great news, though, is that Roger Lee is coming back to the States to compete in the premier road racing class and series against his older brother Tommy. After the year that RLH had in WSBK, and his one-off rides at Laguna and Indy, I'm sure he's ready to get back aboard a competitive ride. And no matter which way Michael Jordan Motorsports goes, you know they are going to pump out some race-ready and competitive machinery.

Congrats to Roger Lee Hayden and to the Michael Jordan Motorsports team. It's going to be great seeing the #95 back on the track in the States again!
Here's the official press release from Michael Jordan Motorsports on the signing of Roger Lee Hayden to team with also-new signee '98 AMA Superbike Champion Ben Bostrom, courtesy of

Cycle's Henny Ray Abrams filed this story on Roger Lee's signing with MJM from yesterday:

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