Crew chief James Compton on pit lane in 2011 with his rider Cameron Beaubier. Photo courtesy of James Compton.

Among the news that’s come out about the Rahal Ducati Moto team, hidden between the lines in the rider announcements and interviews, as well as mentioned during the podcasts, is the fact that James Compton has been hired as a crew chief for the team.

“Who is James Compton?” you may ask.

Well, we’ll skip past the part where Compton was a running back during the late 1980s for what was then the Pacific Ten Conference’s Washington Huskies and focus on who James Compton is in the motorcycle-racing realm.

Compton started motorcycle road racing in 1992, and after a 12-year career that included AMA Superbike and Formula Xtreme, he continued in the AMA paddock as a mechanic, tuner, crew chief, and team manager. Known for his attention to detail and in-depth knowledge of the mechanical aspects of motorcycles, he was the crew chief for Michael Jordan Motorsports’ AMA Superbike team. During his career, he has worked with a veritable who’s-who of riders that include Ben Spies (who hired him at Rahal Ducati Moto), Steve Rapp, Jason Pridmore, Bobby Fong…

Beaubier’s time, and results, with Compton helped springboard him onto the Yamaha factory team. Photo courtesy of James Compton.

…and Cameron Beaubier. In 2011, during Beaubier’s second season back in the U.S. after racing in the GP125 World Championship (as Marc Marquez’s teammate, no less), Compton was crew chief for Beaubier when he raced for

Working with Compton, Beaubier raced the number 116 Yamaha YZF-R6 in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike where he earned six top-five finishes in 13 starts and finished the season sixth overall in the championship standings. His best race of the season was a second place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

With the help of Compton, Beaubier’s impressive results in 2011 caught the eyes of Yamaha Racing’s Tom Halverson and Keith McCarty. At the end of the season, Beaubier was recruited to join the Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha team, which of course, was the start of Beaubier’s dominance in AMA road racing, including the Daytona 200 and the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.

And, as his rider moved up to the factory Yamaha team, Compton made the decision to leave the AMA paddock and focus his efforts on his company, James Compton Customs, which designs and develops motorcycle parts and builds one-of-a-kind classic Superbikes.

Look for James Compton back in the paddock once again, and under the Rahal Ducati Moto canopy starting with the Daytona 200 this March 7 through 9 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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