After a couple of late season forays into competition last year (including a wildcard CRT ride in the Indy MotoGP race in August), it looks like Aaron Yates will be making a welcome permanent return to the AMA Pro Superbike paddock in 2013, signing with the Team Hero/Amsoil Erik Buell Racing squad to be alongside current rider Geoff May. Yates has been battling back to fitness after badly fracturing his right leg in multiple places way back at the Fontana AMA race in March 2010. Numerous setbacks during his recovery forced him to sit out nearly three years before he felt good enough to make a serious return to racing (see our inside story here).
But now that the Georgia native feels fully up to speed after a good privateer run in the final two superbike events last year at Homestead/Miami and NOLA (where he finished fourth in Sunday’s race), Yates impressed the Erik Buell Racing staff enough at a private test alongside May and former Yoshimura Suzuki rider Blake Young at the JenningsGP track in Florida in December to be offered the seat vacated by Danny Eslick (who signed with the Jordan Suzuki team) for 2013. While May will have former Öhlins technician Mike Fitzgerald as crew chief along with last year’s crew of Ryan Kelly and Grant Singley, Yates is bringing the ESP (Evan Steel Performance) crew of Evan Steel as his crew chief, plus Phil Allison and Willie Vass.
Steel was the person behind the privateer BMW effort last year that put Yates back in the AMA Superbike limelight. The Arizonan was looking to put another effort together with BMW this year, but the Erik Buell Racing/Yates 2013 team prospect was too good to pass up. "Joining EBR to help put American motorcycle in the front of AMA Superbike is a dream job for Phil, Willie and myself" said Steel in the EBR press release. "We have been passionate about sportbikes and racing for a long time, but what EBR has done is really special, and something we truly respect. Aaron is such a talented rider and a friend as well, so this is going to be a great year."