Although not back as an official factory team, Kawasaki is lending support to the Attack Performance squad headed by longtime lead wrench Richard Stamboli. As part of the deal to run E-Boz in the Superbike class, the 34-year-old also will be teaming with youngster JD Beach to win honors in this weekend’s Daytona 200 aboard ZX-6Rs.
Bostrom returned from his self-imposed hiatus midway through the 2010 season, riding a Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the Stanboli-led Attack Performance squad. The privateer Gixxer took a few races to get up to top-level speed, as did Eric. “I was kind of a hazard,” he said about initially returning to racing.
E-Boz had his best qualifying effort in the final race of the 2010 season at Barber Motorsports Park where he gridded up in fifth position. Unfortunately, Bostrom was torpedoed by Jordan Szoke who went into a corner too hot. Szoke’s low-siding bike beveled its footpeg as it skittled Bostrom, and in the ensuing bike tumbling, the footpeg dug into Bostrom’s leg terrifyingly close to his crotch. The gash, which required more than 100 stitches to close, came just 2mm short of severing his femoral artery.
The return to Kawasaki is a bit of a homecoming for Bostrom, as he had his most successful AMA Superbike seasons riding the green machines. He carded runner-up finishes in the 2001 and 2002 seasons while riding the 750cc ZX-7RR.
With the 2010 AMA Superbike season about to begin, Bostrom is optimistic about the capabilities of Kawi’s all-new ZX-10R. In pre-season testing on Florida’s high banks, Bostrom’s Ninja was the second-fastest bike through the speed trap, just 1 mph down on Larry Pegram’s powerful new BMW S1000RR that went 187 mph. Even though the 10R was in a very early stage of development, E-Boz posted the fourth-quickest lap at the famed Florida track. “I’ve never been so excited to return to Daytona,” he told us.
E-Boz added that the new ZX-10R has some of the same characteristics has the old ZX-7R superbike he last rode in 2003.
“The Kawasaki keeps getting better and better the more testing we do,” said Bostrom in a press release. “We’re finding a way to get the most out of the new ZX-10R, and I’m really happy where we ended up. Now, it’s time to put the faceshield down, look for the green light and go for it.”
Although Eric is hoping for a strong season on the Kawi, he predicts the top 3 this season will be 2010 champ Josh Hayes, Tommy Hayden and brother Ben Bostrom.
AMA Pro Road Racing's 2011 season opener will be held at Daytona International Speedway March 10-12.
|Rising Star JD Beach|
The dirt-tracker and Red Bull Rookie’s Cup champ chasing Daytona SportBike title in 2011
Eric Bostrom will be doing a one-off ride in the Daytona SportBike class only for the prestigious Daytona 200 endurance race this Saturday, but the Attack Kawasaki team will have 19-year-old JD Beach running the class full time.
Beach is upholding the tried-and-true American ladder of success in motorcycle competition, moving up through dirt-track ranks on his way to road racing. He began dirt-tracking at the tender age of 4 when he started out on a Suzuki JR50, the same bike Eric Bostrom cut his teeth on nearly three decades ago.
Beach made the jump from dirt to asphalt in 2006 when he participated in his first track day. The Washington state native got up to speed remarkably quick, earning a spot in 2007 on the coveted Red Bull MotoGP Rookie’s Cup. His first road race was at the Spanish GP in 2007 on KTM’s RC125 GP bike, and he made big strides throughout the season. A quick study, Beach made a habit of consistent finishes – he scored six top-2 positions (one win) out of 10 races, earning the prestigious Rookie’s Cup world title in its second year.
During the ’08 season, the Beach enjoyed the luxury – literally and figuratively – of rooming with 2007 MotoGP world champion, Casey Stoner, at his apartment in Monaco. The two young riders share dirt-track roots and an Alpinestars connection. Beach downplays the star power of MotoGP riders like Stoner, stating simply, “They’re all normal guys.”
Beach came back to America for the 2009 AMA Pro SuperSport Young Gun East Divisional Championship, finishing runner-up in the series. And, like in Rookie’s Cup, he won the title in his second year while riding a YZF-R6 for Rockwall Yamaha. He also scored several victories last year during AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship events.
Now 19, the 5-foot-7, 133-lb rider lives in Owensboro, Kentucky, with Hayden Gillim, cousin to the championship-winning Hayden brothers, Tommy, Nicky and Roger Hayden.
Beach will be riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R for the Attack Performance racing team this year, and he’s expecting to be running near the front of the pack. “I’ll be disappointed if I’m not in the top 5 in 2011,” he told us. “I want to get back to Europe.”
“Testing was really good for me," he said about his pre-season opportunities to dial in his ZX-6R at Chuckwalla and Daytona. He was sixth-quickest at Daytona on a nearly stock ZX-6R – it came out of Kawi’s press fleet and still had its horn installed. “We made a lot of improvements to the bike. When we get out there for the first practice at Daytona, we’ll be ready to go.”
Eric Bostrom to Ride Kawasaki at Daytona
AMA Pro Racing Previews 2011 Daytona 200
AMA Superbike: 2011 Daytona Test Results
2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Review
Eric Bostrom signs with Ducati for 2004 AMA Superbike season
Eric Bostrom signs with Kawasaki for 2002 AMA Superbike season
Nicky Hayden Interview (2010)
Nicky Hayden Interview (2009)