Rockstar Makita Suzuki factory race teams to debut in 2008
American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) announced today that Rockstar Energy Drink and Makita USA will share title sponsorship of Suzuki’s championship-winning factory-supported race efforts for AMA road racing, AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross. This multi-year, multi-sponsor relationship kicks off with the season-opening round of AMA Supercross at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Suzuki,” said Mel Harris, ASMC vice president of the Motorcycle/ATV Division. “We are very excited to be working with Rockstar Energy Drink and thrilled that we can continue to move forward with Makita USA. By branding all of Suzuki’s factory race teams with two such extraordinary sponsors, we are creating a more unified image that will benefit the teams, the sponsors and Suzuki overall. We at Suzuki look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with both Rockstar and Makita.”
Added Rockstar Energy Drink Marketing Director Mike Kelso, “Rockstar Energy Drink is excited about our newly formed partnership with Makita to join forces with Suzuki for the AMA Supercross, Motocross and road racing series. We at Rockstar look forward to being a full factory effort in the 2008 race season. In AMA Supercross and Motocross, we are excited to work with the legendary Roger DeCoster, as well as returning Rockstar athletes Michael Byrne, Nico Izzi and Ryan Dungey, not to mention the newly signed Mike Alessi and David Vuillemin. In AMA road racing, we are eager to forge a relationship with Yoshimura, as well as the two best Superbike riders in the country – Ben Spies and Mat Mladin – along with the very talented Tommy Hayden.”
Summed up Makita Vice President of Marketing Ken Hefley, “Our Supercross and Motocross partnership with Suzuki resulted in five championships, and placed Makita in front of the high-energy racing audience. In 2008, we’re expanding our relationship by adding the top-ranked Suzuki road racing team, and we’re joining forces with Rockstar, a leading brand name in energy drinks. We look forward to an exciting year for the Rockstar Makita Suzuki Factory Race Team.”
In road racing, the Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Race Team will again field the championship-winning 2007 team. Ben Spies, two-time AMA Superbike Champion and 2007 AMA Superstock Champion, will only race AMA Superbike in 2008. Mat Mladin, the only six-time AMA Superbike Champion, will also focus his efforts on AMA Superbike and has recently re-signed with Suzuki for 2009. Tommy Hayden, two-time AMA Supersport Champion, rounds out the impressive team line-up. Spies, Mladin and Hayden will race Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbikes in the premier class, and Hayden will also race the Suzuki GSX-R600 in the AMA Supersport class.
In AMA Supercross/AMA Motocross, the Rockstar Makita Suzuki Factory Race Team will consist of newly signed Mike Alessi, veteran rider David Vuillemin and Michael Byrne on the Suzuki RM-Z450 in the premier classes, while amateur phenom Nico Izzi and 2007 Rookie of the Year Ryan Dungey will race the Suzuki RM-Z250 in the Lites classes. Izzi is slated to race the East Coast rounds in AMA Supercross, while Dungey will race the West Coast rounds.