Pirelli Tire North America has announced that Team Hammer, Inc., which now races as Team M4 EMGO Suzuki after a number of years as Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki, has switched to Pirelli racing tires for the 2005 season. In making the announcement, Mark Wilhelm, Pirelli’s North American Country Manager, said, ” Signing Team M4 EMGO Suzuki is a major step in Pirelli’s long-term goal of competing and winning at the highest level of American road racing.”
Pirelli had been actively seeking a “serious factory-quality AMA team” after enjoying much success with top-level privateers, and Team M4 EMGO Suzuki was reportedly at the top of the company’s wish list. Geoff May, the Pirelli-mounted AMA privateer who stunned the Superbike ranks in 2004 by finishing fifth in the championship, ahead of two factory riders, has joined Team M4 this year. His teammate is Vincent Haskovec, another former Pirelli racer now in his second season with the team.
The team will be campaigning Pirelli slicks and the new DOT Supercorsa Pros, and will enjoy tech support from Pirelli’s top tech personnel. Haskovec will compete on a 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000 in AMA Superstock and a GSX-R600 in Formula Xtreme. The affable Czech finished third in the 2004 Formula Xtreme championship. May will also race a GSX-R1000 in AMA Superstock, but will compete in the Supersport class on his Team M4 EMGO Suzuki GSX-R600. The team will be overseen by longtime crew chief, Keith Perry.
“Team M4 EMGO Suzuki gives us another benefit in being able to work with them to help develop the next evolution of Pirelli race tires,” said Chris Wall, Pirelli’s North American Marketing Manager, and a former WERA roadracer. “If there’s ‘no replacement for displacement’, then there’s also no replacement for good feedback from a team that knows how to give it.” Wall concluded, “We’re now developing race tires in the American market for American racers. This is a big step that in that direction. We’re over the moon to be racing with Team M4 this year and to be working with Geoff May again.” The team, with its new name, new riders, and new tires, has been in Daytona for Tire testing at the newly-reconfigured Daytona International Speedway. When asked how the new tires were performing, a Team M4 spokesman said, “Fine. Everything’s going well. We’re happy.” And Pirelli’s support? “Great. We’re really happy.”