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2023 Daytona Racing Recap

A recap of victories from the Daytona 200, American Flat Track Singles, MotoAmerica Twins Cup and MotoAmerica King of the Baggers races.

Josh Herrin Wins The 2023 Daytona 200 For Ducati

Josh Herrin (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC) pulled off a legendary victory in the 2023 Daytona 200, the 81st running of the iconic event. Herrin started from pole position and led for much of the encounter, but a red flag while holding a lead of over 20 seconds with only a handful of laps remaining meant everything was back to square one and a 10-lap dash.

Herrin kept his cool during the melee, positioning himself perfectly for the slingshot to finish line on the last lap. He played that card to perfection, drafting past Yamaha’s Josh Hayes to record a historic Daytona 200 win for Ducati by just 0.070 seconds and the first for the Panigale V2. 

Herrin’s teammate Xavi Forés’ American debut didn’t go as planned, with a mechanical problem signaling the end of his race before the first round of pitstops.

Josh Herrin, Ducati
Josh Herrin

2023 Daytona 200 Results

  • P1: Josh Herrin (Ducati)
  • P2: Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 
  • P3: Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
  • P4: Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
  • P5: PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha)
  • DNF: Xavi Forés (Ducati)

“The race went amazing,” said Herrin from Victory Lane. “It seemed like everything was against us, but we worked as a team and got settled down, and even Xavi’s guys from Germany came over at the end to help us. It was a very eventful race, and I can’t believe we were able to pull it off. After how the race went in 2022, in my mind I needed to get the win for the team and for Ducati. It’s such a special moment, and that I was able to do it on the V2 before we step up to the V4 R in Superbike this year. We’ve got a lot of confidence heading into the race season now, and I’m thankful to be part of the Ducati family. Also, a huge thank you to Paolo and Gigi for believing in me and the team!”

Forés said, “Well, it was a very disappointing weekend for me. Today we had to deal with some issues that ended my race very early, so I cannot hide my frustration. Hopefully, I can have another chance to ride properly here in Daytona in the future. A big thanks to the team who tried hard to build the best bike possible.”

Red Bull KTM’s Kody Kopp Sweeps Daytona AFT Singles Doubleheader

Kody Kopp
Kody Kopp

Reigning American Flat Track (AFT) Singles Champion Kody Kopp made a perfect start to his AFT title defense in Daytona this week, winning both rounds of the 2023 Daytona Short Track doubleheader, as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Max Whale delivered 8-5 finishes to open his campaign.

Thursday saw the season open in style with Daytona Short Track 1 at the famed Daytona International Speedway Short Track course, where 18-year-old Kopp was near unstoppable in qualifying quickest, before going on to take victory in his heat race; the Dash-for-Cash; and season-opening, 22-lap main event by an eventual margin of 3.370 seconds.

A rain delay saw Friday’s proceedings rescheduled for Saturday evening, and Kopp picked up exactly where he left off two days prior onboard his 2023 KTM 450 SX-F. The Daytona Short Track 2 was again dominated by Kopp, qualifying in P1 and repeating with controlled wins in the heat, Dash-for-Cash and main event of Round 2. This time around, he took the checkers by a commanding 5.439 seconds.

Kopp said, “Round 1 was near perfect for us, and that’s one way to start the season for sure! We swept both rounds, Daytona Short Track 1 and 2, for a perfect 50 points. A huge thanks to my Red Bull KTM team — they’ve been working hard this off-season and so have I; it shows that hard work pays off. This is just the start of what will be a great season, so we’re really excited with the results this weekend!”

Australian standout Whale displayed a front-running pace throughout the Daytona Short Track rounds despite enduring his share of challenges across both nights of competition, going on to earn a strong haul of points with eighth position on night one and fifth on Saturday.

Thursday saw 21-year-old Whale affected by unfortunate crashes in both his heat race and the last-chance qualifier (LCQ), although he was still able to qualify in the final transfer position, and that placed him toward the rear of the field at the beginning of the Main Event. From there he put on a spirited charge forward, climbing inside the top 10 for a hard-fought eighth place at the opening round of the 2023 season.

The rescheduled second round went smoother for Whale, going on to record third position in his heat race and, after constantly pushing forward in the 22-lap main event, he claimed a top-five result of P5 on Saturday evening to conclude the week. He’s now sixth in the point-standings following Daytona.

Whale said, “Thursday was a roller coaster! Top-five during qualifying and then I went down in both the heat and LCQ, but thankfully managed to take the final transfer into the main, and we pushed to eighth from there. Round 2 still wasn’t what I wanted, but I fought really hard and had a lot better pace today. We had podium speed and ended up fifth in the main, so it was better and I want to give it up to my Red Bull KTM team because they put in a huge effort, and I want to reward them a little more for that, but onwards and upwards from here. We’ll come back better at the next one.”

Next Race: Senoia Short Track, Senoia, Georgia, March 25, 2023

Round 1 & 2 Results: Daytona Short Track Doubleheader

AFT Singles Main Event (Round 1)

1. Kody Kopp, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2. Dalton Gauthier, KTM
3. Trevor Brunner, Yamaha

AFT Singles Main Event (Round 2)

1. Kody Kopp, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2. Dalton Gauthier, KTM
3. Chase Saathoff, Honda

2023 AFT Singles Point Standings

1. Kody Kopp, 50
2. Dalton Gauthier, 42
3. Trent Lowe, 32

Aprilia RS 660 Takes Top Step With Rodio in MotoAmerican Twins Cup Season Opener at Daytona

Gus Rodio
Gus Rodio

It was back to winning ways for Aprilia in MotoAmerica Twins Cup on Friday, as Rodio Racing powered by Robem Engineering rider Gus Rodio was victorious in the first series race of 2023. Rodio piloted his Aprilia RS 660 to a victory by a margin of more than eight seconds before nearly claiming a second win on Saturday at the March 9-11 round at Daytona International Speedway.

Rodio’s performance, which included returning to the Saturday race after suffering a mechanical problem, allowed him to amass a nine-point championship lead by the end of the event. Two other Aprilia riders, Rodio’s teammate Ben Gloddy and Optimum Performance Motorsports’ Jody Barry, put in strong performances at Daytona, though Gloddy’s weekend was cut short due to an unfortunate injury.

The first Twins Cup practice session ended with an Aprilia rider at the top of the time sheet. Rodio put in a best lap of 1:57.671, which was 0.064 seconds faster than the second-best lap time. Two more Aprilia riders finished in the top five, as Barry was the fourth-fastest rider and Gloddy fifth.

The first qualifying session of the event took place later on Thursday. Rodio was again the fastest of the Aprilia riders. He finished the session in fourth place. Gloddy and Barry provisionally qualified in sixth and eighth respectively.

Qualifying concluded Friday morning with three Aprilia riders having qualified in the top 10. Rodio secured fourth place on the Twins Cup starting grid, while Gloddy and Barry qualified sixth and eighth, respectively.

Friday afternoon saw the first Twins Cup race of 2023 get underway with Rodio quickly working his way up to the race lead by the end of Lap 1. Gloddy also got a good start and had advanced to third place by the end of the first lap. He was running in fourth when another rider crashed heavily in front of him and, despite his best effort, was knocked off his motorcycle and was unable to continue racing. Barry had a sluggish start to the race. He dropped down the running order as far as 12th on Lap 1 before charging forward to sixth place on Lap 3 — which is the position he finished the race in.

Rodio’s pace improved as the race went on. He was part of a three-rider battle for the race lead until the closing laps, when he steadily increased his lead each lap to take the victory by more than 8.5 seconds.

Gloddy was unable to take part in Saturday’s Race 2 due to an injury he suffered during his crash in Race 1.

The Saturday contest was a trying one for Rodio and his team. As the field began forming up for the start of the race, Rodio pulled into the pits due to a technical problem with his motorcycle and was unable to take the start. As the lone Aprilia in the top 10, Barry put in a solid effort in the race’s early laps. He was running in seventh when the race was stopped on Lap 3 due to a crash. 

The race was restarted with the original starting grid, which allowed Rodio to rejoin the race on the lead lap. The start saw Rodio get a good jump off the line, and he was back to the race lead by the end of the first lap. Rodio also led Laps 3 and 4 as he and another rider broke away from the rest of the field. While the other rider was able to draft past Rodio on the approach to the finish line, Rodio got the best drive he could onto the east banking and missed out on the win by a mere 0.162 seconds. Barry put in a strong showing in the restarted race but dropped two places on the last lap to seventh and missed out on a top five finish by 0.039 seconds.

Of the 38 riders entered for the MotoAmerica Twins Cup round at Daytona, 15 were registered to ride Aprilia RS 660s.

Rodio said, “It was an awesome first race of the season. I was able to break away from the pack and win my first Twins Cup race. It was my biggest margin of victory and I’m very happy. In Race 2, I broke away from the pack with another rider and had a race long battle for the lead. I ended up second in a close finish. I’m really happy with this result, as I didn’t think we would make it on track due to an issue we had. I’m really excited to get to Atlanta and keep working towards our goals.”

MotoAmerica’s Twins Cup has two races scheduled for the next round, April 21-23 at Road Atlanta. The championship schedule, competitor information and class rules can be found at https://motoamerica.com.

Kyle Wyman and Factory Harley-Davidson Dominate MotoAmerica King of the Baggers Race 2 at Daytona Speedway

King of the Baggers, Kyle Wyman
Kyle Wyman (center)

Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle factory rider Kyle Wyman scored a dominating win and topped an all-Harley-Davidson podium in the MotoAmerica Mission King of the Baggers race on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Wyman led the entire eight-lap race on the team’s race-prepared Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited motorcycle, crossing the finish line 8.03 seconds ahead of Vance & Hines/Mission Harley-Davidson teammates James Rispoli and Hayden Gillim. Team Saddlemen teammates Cory West and Jake Lewis finished fourth and fifth to complete a top five sweep of the race for Harley-Davidson Road Glide motorcycles.  

“I’m so excited that we got our Harley-Davidson Road Glide motorcycle working so well today,” said Wyman. “This is my first win at Daytona since 2019, and this is such a special place, so a victory here is always special. We had a tough day yesterday, but the entire team just dug in, and we had smooth sailing today. You can think of so many scenarios that could happen going into this weekend, but you could not predict either one of these days. It’s a nice way to end the weekend at Daytona. I’m ready to take this momentum to Atlanta.” 

On Thursday, Wyman topped King of the Baggers qualifying with a record-breaking best lap of 1:51.98 on the 3.510-mile Daytona road course. On Friday, Wyman looked strong in winning the King of the Baggers Challenge three-lap dash-for-cash race by 1.96 seconds. The Friday King of the Baggers race was a disappointment for the team, as both Wyman and his brother and teammate, Travis Wyman, retired with mechanical problems while leading the race respectively. Rispoli won that race on his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Road Glide, beating his teammate Gillim to the line by 0.089 seconds. Factory Indian racer Tyler O’Hara finished third. Team Saddlemen racer Cory West Finished fourth on his Harley-Davidson Road Glide. 

On Saturday, Wyman signaled that he was riding the bike to beat after demolishing his qualifying time with a new lap record 1:50.56 time in the warm-up session, going almost two seconds quicker around the course than anyone. In Saturday’s race, Wyman had a fast lap of 1:50.86 and was never challenged. Unfortunately, his teammate, Travis, was knocked out of the race early with a mechanical issue. 

After two of 14 rounds in the 2023 MotoAmerica Mission King of the Baggers series, Vance & Hines racer Rispoli leads the championship with 45 points, followed his teammate Gillim with 36 points. Team Saddlemen Harley-Davidson rider Cory West sits third with 26 points, and Harley-Davidson factory rider Kyle Wyman is in fourth place with 25 points. Team Saddlemen’s Jake Lewis is tied for fifth with Factory Indian racer Tyler O’Hara with 21 points. 

The Mission King of the Baggers series features race-prepared American V-Twin touring motorcycles. Harley-Davidson Factory Team Road Glide motorcycles are powered by modified Screamin’ Eagle Milwaukee-Eight 131 Performance Crate Engines. The team bikes also feature upgraded suspension components, including Screamin’ Eagle/Öhlins Remote Reservoir Rear Shocks, plus competition exhaust, race tires and lightweight bodywork. 

The Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle factory team returns to action April 21-23 in the MotoAmerica Superbike Series at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. 

MotoAmerica King of the Baggers Race Results: Daytona Race 1 

  1. James Rispoli (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing 
  2. Hayden Gillim (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing 
  3. Tyler O’Hara (Ind) Progressive/Mission Foods 
  4. Cory West (H-D) Team Saddlemen 
  5. Jeremy McWilliams (Ind) Progressive/Mission Foods 
  6. Jake Lewis (H-D) Team Saddlemen 
  7. Hawk Mazzotta (Ind) Lloyds Garage 
  8. Kyle Ohnsorg (Ind) Roland Sands Design 
  9. Max Flinders (Ind) M3/Revolution Performance 
  10. Frankie Garcia (H-D) Team Saddlemen 

MotoAmerica King of the Baggers Race Results: Daytona Race 2 

  1. Kyle Wyman (H-D) Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson 
  2. James Rispoli (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing 
  3. Hayden Gillim (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing 
  4. Cory West (H-D) Team Saddlemen 
  5. Jake Lewis (H-D) Team Saddlemen 
  6. Hawk Mazzotta (Ind) Lloyds Garage 
  7. Kyle Ohnsorg (Ind) Roland Sands Design 
  8. Jeremy McWilliams (Ind) Progressive/Mission Foods 
  9. Max Flinders (Ind) M3/Revolution Performance 
  10. Danny Eslick (H-D) Nowaskey Extreme Performance 

Harley-Davidson invites you to kick off the 2023 MotoAmerica King of the Baggers season with some adrenaline pumping action. Check out “Push the Limit,” a film that shares the story of defending 2021 champion Kyle Wyman, teammate Travis Wyman and the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle race team’s 2022 championship pursuit. Watch it now on Harley-Davidson’s YouTube channel.  

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