IndyCar Pro Supports Game-Changing Bike Racer

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Why an IndyCar stalwart is supporting a bike racing gamechanger

As the IndyCar Series gears up for another season filled with its own set of challenges, Graham Rahal finds himself embarking on an unprecedented journey. This weekend’s season opener in St. Petersburg coincides with the debut of his newly-established MotoAmerica team, which will be competing at Daytona.

Nearly six months ago, the 35-year-old announced the formation of Rahal Ducati Moto, with a primary focus on entering the Supersport class. Racing icon Ben Spies, a five-time AMA champion and former World Superbike titleholder, has played a crucial role as the team principal, contributing to the program’s foundation.

For Rahal, the inspiration to venture into MotoAmerica traces back to his youth, watching AMA races in Columbus, Ohio. Now, he officially steps into the role of a team owner, all while gearing up for his 276th career IndyCar start.

However, with both series commencing their seasons on the same weekend, and roughly three hours apart, Rahal finds himself unable to attend the official debut of his team at the Daytona 200 on Saturday.

IndyCar Pro Supports Game-Changing Bike Racer
IndyCar Pro Supports Game-Changing Bike Racer (Credits: Motorsport)

Reflecting on the unique situation, Rahal expresses a blend of excitement and apprehension, acknowledging the pressures associated with Daytona’s significance.

He admits to feeling out of his element, considering his limited knowledge of motorcycle racing, aside from being a fan. This is where the expertise of Ben Spies becomes invaluable.

Initially surprised by Spies’ interest in joining the effort, Rahal views his involvement as pivotal in elevating and legitimizing the program.

With Spies at the helm, a three-rider roster featuring Corey Alexander, PJ Jacobsen, and Kayla Yaakov was swiftly assembled. Since then, the team, led by manager James Compton, has been tirelessly preparing for the challenges ahead.

While seasoned veterans Alexander and Jacobsen bring experience to the team, Yaakov emerges as a promising prospect, drawing attention with her impressive track record and podium finishes. Rahal emphasizes the significance of signing Yaakov, echoing the influence his father had in bringing Danica Patrick to IndyCar in 2005.

Equipped with the Ducati Panigale V2, Yaakov gears up for her debut at Daytona, poised to make waves in the highly competitive field. Despite her youth, Yaakov exudes a level of maturity and determination, focusing on gradual progress and continuous improvement.

As the season unfolds, Rahal envisions expanding the program into the Superbike category, while maintaining a strong presence in Supersport, aligning with the brand’s strategic goals and customer base. Meanwhile, Yaakov remains committed to her journey, aiming to break barriers and inspire aspiring female racers.

Despite the scheduling conflicts preventing Rahal from attending every MotoAmerica event, he remains optimistic about the team’s prospects. Spies echoes this optimism, likening Rahal’s program to a factory effort and anticipating great achievements in the upcoming season.

As the motorsport world awaits Rahal Ducati Moto’s debut, anticipation builds for what promises to be an exciting and transformative journey for both Rahal and his team.


By Park-Shin Jung

I am Park-Shin Jung. I am a professional content writer for cars.

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