Wikle on the Podium at Sonoma for Team Roadracingworld.com
NEWS May 18, 2009
Chris Ulrich showed major progress in his second weekend aboard the team's all-new 2009 GSX-R1000 and registered a season's best result of eighth on Saturday, backing up a strong qualifying effort (1:38.015). Sunday's race didn't quite go to plan, however, will a crash costing him a shot at a second top-ten result on the weekend.
"We made a lot of progress this weekend," said Ulrich. "The conditions were tough with the heat but it was a good weekend for Team Roadracingworld.com Suzuki.
"I had a good race on Saturday and was able to finish eighth. The gap to the front was a lot closer and we were pleased with that.
"On Sunday I was mixing it up some guys for eighth place in the early laps and I touched a paint line and I went down. I broke some stuff on the bike so I couldn't continue and that was that.
"Obviously, we're still learning with the new bike and developing our stuff. We're happy with how it's going. For Road America, we'll have some new chassis parts that will help us run even stronger."
Rising star Russ Wikle again showed great promise and maturity, putting his Suzuki GSX-R600 racer on the podium after starting from the front row (3rd, 1:42.606) during Sunday's SupeSport contest.
Making the feat all the more impressive, Wikle registered 15th and 17th-place results in the hotly-contested Daytona SportBike class and put in his third-place SuperSport ride immediately following Sunday's SportBike final, both contested in 100-degree weather on a racetrack that offers racers very little opportunity to catch their breath.
"Getting off the Daytona SportBike, I was just hoping to be able to finish the SuperSport race," Wikle admitted. "I'm really excited I was able to stick in there and finish third. That was a hot race but it was fun. It was kind of low pressure because it was a non-points paying race for me because I'm in the East division. It was more a 'bragging rights' kind of race."
Ulrich added, "Russell did great in SuperSport and got on the box again, plus he did well in Daytona SportBike on a track he'd never seen before. This was a good experience for him and we think it will pay off when we get to a track that he knows."
Santiago Villa picked up a pair of solid results in Daytona SportBike as well. The gritty Colombian once again put his courage on full display, riding to two of his best rides of the season despite being far from 100%.
Villa finished a season's best 17th on Sunday to improve on Saturday's 20th.
"Villa got two top 20 results with a broken right hand and a broken left wrist," Ulrich said. "That guy gets the Iron Man award again."
Team Roadracingworld.com Suzuki will next head to Road America on June 5-7 for the sixth round of the 2009 AMA Pro Road Racing series.
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