This year also marked the debut of the MotoAmerica series at the iconic venue and their stewardship of the legendary Daytona 200, but there was more action with a variety of classes added to the schedule, including the Twins Cup. The middleweight twin-cylinder class was added to the roster of MotoAmerica classes in 2018, and it continues to grow and flourish as a support class that develops talent.
With the arrival of the Yamaha R7, there was a lot of excitement for the platform, especially in the Twins Cup championship. “We feel there is no better place to showcase the performance potential of the R7 which comes at a price point that makes the bike accessible to most anyone wanting a great race, track day, or street machine,” said Tom Halverson, Yamaha Racing Assistant Department Manager for YMUS.
Seeing that potential, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, looked to Chuck Giacchetto, Giaccmoto owner and the team manager at Westby Racing, to head the way for the race development in the U.S. that is available to any MotoAmerica team or racer.
“It’s one of the most exciting invitations I’ve had in years,” Giacchetto said. “I think it’s a great motorcycle for the general consumer and gives them an opportunity to have a track day or race bike prepared at a great price point. Since the engine platform is used broadly within Yamaha, we can gain and pull information from different disciplines, whether it be dirt track or road racing, and all that information will correlate at some point. So as I’ve said, it’s very exciting because there’s so much potential, and I’m over the moon to be involved in this project with Yamaha Racing.”
Schultz, who won the second race of the weekend, also was pretty excited about the R7’s ability as a race machine.
“It was great to get that first win at Daytona! I’ve raced some other bikes in the Twins Cup, but I think the R7 is a better overall package,” Schultz said. “Considering we’re just at the beginning of the development of it, I’m pretty excited to see what this race bike will turn into. I think it’s awesome that if you want to go club racing with it if you want to race MotoAmerica with it; you can kind of build it to whatever spec you want and get an awesome race bike. It’s pretty versatile.”
The young Davis, who previously was racing a Yamaha R3 in the MotoAmerica Junior Cup was also impressed with the R7 and very excited to get his first career win in MotoAmerica.
“Daytona has so much history, so it’s awesome that was where I won my first race and it was nice to show what I can really do,” said Davis. “The race package that Chuck G. (Giacchetto) has put together is super fast and the R7 handles really great too. We were able to see how fast it was with Hayden and I both winning at Daytona.”
Although it’s early days in the championship, and the development of the R7, a successful outing at Daytona International Speedway, also adds to the excitement.
“Daytona for Yamaha went very well,” Giacchetto said. “We won both Twins Cup races with Blake Davis winning the first one and Hayden Shultz the second race. We couldn’t have started the season off with a new platform in a better fashion. Feather in the cap to the people who designed the R7 and who are the brainchild of it. We’re definitely looking forward to more victories this season and hopefully a championship.”
Winning at Daytona International Speedway is no easy task, so Halverson was also happy to see a successful first round at the event with two of the sport’s up-and-coming riders taking their debut wins.
“Congrats to both Blake and Hayden for taking their first professional career win at Daytona! We are proud to be supporting these two, and other racers on Yamaha R7’s, with the goal of winning the MotoAmerica Twins Cup Championship,” Halverson said. “We know it will be a long, tough season but to come out of Daytona with two wins was very special. Special thanks to Chuck Giacchetto, owner of Giaccmoto, for all his efforts on this project and for his support to all teams and racers that request assistance.”