“Yamaha is excited to announce our 2009 Factory Race Teams across all of the thrilling motorsports that we support,” says Keith McCarty, Yamaha’s racing division manager. “From top talent to up-and-comers, these riders have proven that they have what it takes to compete at the highest levels. Yamaha is a leader in racing technology and innovation, and we're proud to support these riders and have them represent our brand.”
Josh Hayes will join 2008 AMA Supersport Champion Ben Bostrom in the new American Superbike class. Hayes joins Yamaha after several seasons with Erion Honda during which he won the 2006 and 2007 AMA Formula Xtreme titles. He also won the 2003 AMA Superstock Championship, riding for Attack Suzuki. In 2008, Hayes finished runner-up in the Formula Xtreme class and third in the Supersport class.
Bostrom, a former AMA Superbike champion, will return to literbike racing in the American Superbike class after his six-win Superstock championship campaign. Bostrom and Hayes will ride Yamaha’s new YZF-R1 featuring the cross-plane crankshaft.
While its American Superbike team features a pair of veteran championship-winning riders, Yamaha’s AMA Daytona Superbike team will feature a pair of promising young riders.
Yamaha will race 18-year-old Josh Herrin and the 2008 AMA Road Race Rookie of the Year winner, 16-year-old Tommy Aquino. Herrin finished fifth in the 2008 AMA Supersport championship with a win and four other podium finishes while Aquino earned his Rookie of the Year recognition after finishing 14th in the Supersport class despite competing in only seven races because he wasn’t old enough to participate in the first four races of the season.
Yamaha also announced its 2009 Supercross/Motocross factory team. Josh Hill and Broc Hepler will compete for Yamaha under the mentorship of Grant Langston who will act as team advisor while he continues to recover from problems with his vision.
The Yamaha-backed Team L&M/San Manuel Band of Mission Indians team lost AMA Supercross Champion Chad Reed to Suzuki during the off-season but will replace him with another championship-caliber rider in James Stewart. After winning the 2007 title, Stewart pulled out of the 2008 Supercross season to have knee surgery before returning triumphantly to win the 2008 Motocross Championship with a season sweep of all 24 motos.
Stewart will be joined by Kyle Chisholm who will jump up to the 450 class from the Lites class.
Yamaha also announced that Josh Grant and Cody Cooper will race for Joe Gibbs’ Racing/Spike Energy/Toyota in the 450 class while Star Racing will race Matt Lemoine, Broc Tickle, Darryn Durham and Michael Hall in the 250F class.