Below is a Press Release issued by Team Hammer:
XAVIER ZAYAT JOINS M4 SPORTBIKETRACKGEAR.COM SUZUKI
Xavier Zayat has signed a two-year contract with Team Hammer to contest the AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship. In 2016, Zayat will compete in the Superstock 600 class aboard an M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki GSX-R600.
Zayat, 17, is one of the fastest-rising stars on the American racing scene, having been named the 2015 AMA Horizon Award winner last September. That distinction sees him join former Team Hammer standouts Ben Spies, Jason DiSalvo, and Blake Young in earning the prestigious honor given out annually to the nation’s most promising up and coming racer.
The New Windsor, New York resident backed that up in October with an impressive conclusion to his championship-winning 2015 ASRA Sportbike season; Zayat outgunned a number of established MotoAmerica front-runners to win the featured Sportbike race at Daytona International Speedway. Later that month, Zayat collected four wins during the 43rd WERA Grand National Finals at Barber Motorsports Park, racing one of Team Hammer’s MotoAmerica Superstock-spec Suzuki GSX-R600s in what was a successful evaluation outing.
Zayat also showcased his skills at the MotoAmerica level late last season, competing in the final two rounds of the KTM RC 390 Cup. The New Yorker claimed the pole position in his class debut at Laguna Seca, was punted off the track on the first lap and then raced from last place to finish third-and-gaining. At the season finale in New Jersey Motorsports Park, Zayat took the provisional pole and picked up a fourth-place finish.
Earlier in his young career, the teenager earned the 2011 USGPRU MD250H national title and took a top-10 finish in the BSB Motostar series.
“This is a big opportunity for me,” Zayat said. “It’ll be my first year in professional racing, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than with such a decorated team. I got my first taste of working with the team at Barber last fall, and it was a great experience. I really enjoyed working with such an experienced crew and I loved the bike.
“I can’t thank Team Hammer enough for giving me this opportunity; Suzuki, M4 and SportbikeTrackGear.com for having me onboard; and everyone else who supports the effort. These last few years have been a lot of work, and it’s all starting to pay off. But it’s all about staying humble now because the work is only getting started.”
Team Hammer Crew Chief Keith Perry said, “Our experience with Xavier is very encouraging. We got some really good feedback from him when he rode with us at Barber. His comments were very accurate and he is well connected with the bike. Xavier is one of the top up-and-coming riders, for sure. We’re excited about working with him and looking forward to his growth and advancement up through the different classes.”
The 2016 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Series will kick off April 15-17 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.
This year will mark Team Hammer’s 36th consecutive season of operating as a professional road racing team. During that time, racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 59 AMA Pro National races, have finished on AMA Pro National podiums 138 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships, (the most recent in 2012), as well as two FIM South American championships. The team has also won 133 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and won 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running “Methanol Monster” GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won the F-USA Championship four times.
Photo credit: Brian J. Nelson