2004 superbikes head-to-head

Published: 09 December 2003

The all-new 2004 superbikes have gone head to head on a racetrack for the first time at the AMA Superbike test in Florida, USA. So far, Honda is winning, but Yamaha has caused the biggest shock.

The winter test at Daytona has seen the first head-to-head battles between the new Honda Fireblade, the new Yamaha R1, the new Kawasaki ZX-10R, and the updated Suzuki GSX-R1000.

None of these bikes has officially been launched to the public yet, but AMA championship race teams have had their race bikes delivered early in time to get prepared for the increasingly important series.

Former World Superbike star Ben Bostrom is so far fastest on the new Blade, joined by team-mates Miguel Duhamel and Jake Zemke on bikes that the team only received days ago from Japan. They are just ahead of the Yamaha R1s of Jamie Hacking and Damon Buckmaster, and reigning U.S. champ Mat Mladin on a GSX-R1000.

Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo managed to walk away from a 180mph crash coming out of turn four. The Supersport rider was uninjured but opted to go to the local medical center for a full check-up.

All the R1s circulating at Daytona are Supersport versions of the bike, with lower levels of engine and chassis tune than the superbikes, as per AMA Supersport race rules which, unlike the British Supersport series, is not a pure 600cc championship. But they are reported to be significantly faster than the full-on Suzuki superbike on the NASCAR-style Daytona banking!

The Kawasaki ZX-10R Supersport bike isn't quite up to speed yet, posting times around 1.8s off the R1.

Title contender Eric Bostrom tested at Daytona a few days before this session on a works Ducati 999, and set times that would have been amongst the quickest, despite it being his first time on a V-twin, and on Michelin tyres.

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