It’s been rumored for months that Yamaha, faced with even more cutbacks, plans to fold their Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha Supersport team for 2019. While informal efforts seem to be underway to try and save the team, the situation remains, in typical Yamaha double-speak, “very challenging”.
Rider and champion JD Beach is known to be looking for employment for 2019. His name, along with at least fifteen other riders, has been attached to the Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike ride which will be open for ’19 as rider Roger Hayden plans to retire after next week’s Alabama round.
Seemingly every day a new rumor emerges as to who Suzuki will choose to replace Hayden. Past rumors had it that former WSBK champion and MotoGP winner Ben Spies was considering the ride, that Tom Sykes was contacted in regards to the open spot on the Yosh squad and no less than ten other ex-MotoGP/Moto2 or WSBK riders had contacted Suzuki or Yoshimura to confirm their interest in the ride, including Marco Melandri.
Yamaha’s involvement in the 600 Supersport/Daytona Supersport/MotoAmerica Supersport class go back to, at least, the 1989 Daytona 600 Supersport race where Yamaha paid Rob Muzzy to prep a handful of hand-built FZR600s for Daytona. The race was won by then future world champion John Kocinski.