Movin’ on up

Two-time MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Champ Andrew Lee On What He’s Won And What He’s Doing Next

When MotoAmerica debuted the Stock 1000 Class in 2018, it was envisioned as a developmental class for young racers aspiring to compete in the headliner Superbike Class. It was intended to be a Superbike school of sorts and, so far, its undisputed valedictorian is Kawasaki rider Andrew Lee.

The Reno, Nev., resident won the class’ inaugural title and successfully defended his crown in 2019. Under MotoAmerica licensing rules, Lee cannot return to Stock 1000 competition and now must set his sights on succeeding in the Superbike or Supersport classes or look for opportunities to race abroad.

Lee turned pro in AMA Supermoto when he was 12 and made his MotoAmerica debut in 2015. His best finish in the points standings before he competed in Stock 1000 was a ninth place in the Superstock 600 Class in 2017.

American Motorcyclist caught up with Lee after his last race of the 2019 season at Barber Motorsports Park to learn more about his accomplishments, as well as find out what’s next for the two-time champ.

American Motorcyclist: How did you get into racing motorcycles?

Andrew Lee: I grew up in the Central Valley of California and my dad, Eddie Lee, raced street bikes with the American Federation of Motorcyclists back in the day. I got involved in Lodi Cycle Bowl, doing some flat track, then moved over to motocross. I did quite a few years of that, including AMA Ponca [City]. Then I moved over to AMA Pro Supermoto and now I’m doing the street bike stuff.

AM: How do you compare this championship to the one you won last year?

AL: Last year was more of a two-dog battle between myself and Travis Wyman. This year, I fully believe that there were six or seven of us who could win every weekend. The team behind me really made this possible. Obviously, everyone’s goal every weekend is to be on top, and I’m just glad I have the equipment and the guys pushing me to do it.

AM: We’ve heard you do a lot of club racing between MotoAmerica rounds. How much seat time do you get with your Kawasaki each year?

AL: I think last year I turned a lot more laps than this year. I’ve only done four or five club races with Graves Kawasaki testing for them. Last year, I was on a track for what felt like every weekend. I did three full racing series, including MotoAmerica. I also did the Suzuka 8 Hour in Japan and two tests in Japan. I feel like last year the track time helped me tune up. Every time I’m on a bike, I try to add some value to it and learn something every single lap.

AM: You and Wyman were neck-and-neck for the first part of last season, then you went to the round at Sonoma Raceway and your on-track performance went up a notch. What improved your performance so much?

AL: All of last season, my crew and I battled with the bike. All of our off-season testing was on a different setup. We changed suspension brands, so it was a learning curve in that first round. I think the big difference was going over to Japan and racing with guys like [FIM World Superbike riders] Johnny Rea and Leon Haslam. I learned a little more about my riding capabilities over there and honed them more this year.

AM: Stock 1000 is supposed to be a development class for riders hoping to move up to Superbike. What’s the biggest thing you learned about riding a 1,000cc machine?

(From left) Lee’s crew chief Derek Keyes, AMA Chief Operations Officer Jeff Massey, MotoAmerica Communications Manager Paul Carruthers and Andrew Lee.

AL: I think the biggest thing I learned is that they’re not too different. Everything’s got two wheels, a brake and a throttle. I mean, it’s pretty simple. There are some things that are different about riding a 1,000 than a 600, like tire management and power management. You have to ride with a little more finesse. You have to be a little more calculated, where a 600 is a little more brutal on you. You kind of just throw it in there.

AM: What’s next?

AL: I’d really like to go race Superbike with the likes of Cameron Beaubier, Toni Elias and Garrett Gerloff next year. I feel like I’m capable of running up there with them. I know it will be another learning curve I’ll be thrown into, but I think, with the proper bike, support and equipment, I can run with the guys at the top.

Andrew Lee (No. 1) won eight out of the 11 MotoAmerica Stock 1000 races in 2019

AM: Anything else you’d like to say?

AL: Something that people probably don’t realize is how much my family backs my team. My dad and I basically foot the bill for everything. It’s been a long season for my family in general, but the best part is bringing your family into something you’re so passionate about, like I am about this. Everyone else at the track becomes part of your family. Even coming out here as a fan, you’re part of the family. It’s important for everyone to come out as much as they can, and I think it’s a great family atmosphere to enjoy a weekend in.