Yoshimura-Backed Teams Dominate on the Asphalt and Dirt
NEWS April 24, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
CHINO, Calif. (April 24, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams proved their dominance on the asphalt and the dirt at the second round of the 2012 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA and round 15 of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA this past weekend. The Yoshimura Suzuki Road Race and Supercross teams, Honda Racing Supercross and Rockstar Energy Suzuki Supercross teams showed the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products with solid results in Atlanta and Seattle.
The Yoshimura Suzuki road race team tasted victory and then some at Road Atlanta. The double-header event saw Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young card a thrilling, come-from-behind win on Saturday and a well-earned second-place finish on Sunday, while teammate Chris Clark earned two impressive top-10 finishes.
Young came out of the gates swinging on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, qualifying in the second spot on the grid. In Saturday’s race, Young got an excellent start and was battling for the lead when he suffered a horrific crash that brought out a red flag. In the face of adversity, the Yoshimura Suzuki crew took immediate action and repaired Young’s badly damaged bike in time for the restart.
“When I first hit the ground, I had the wind knocked out of me,” said Young. “But I wanted to get my bike back to the pits as quick as possible so we could get back to the race. The Yoshimura Suzuki guys did a great job putting the bike back together. When I got back on the GSX-R1000, it was… perfect. This weekend definitely showed what our team is capable of under pressure.”
Coming from the back of the pack on the restart, Young was ferocious in his charge through the field, gaining approximately 15 positions on the first lap. He went on to race his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to victory on an awe-inspiring last lap. In Sunday’s race, Young was still recovering from the previous day’s crash and was a little more conservative. But he again got a great start and turned in consistent laps to bring home a solid second place.
Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Clark also enjoyed a successful weekend at Road Atlanta. After qualifying on the second row of the grid, he had solid launches on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races. In the former, Clark got off the line clean but struggled midway through the race before taking ninth. In the latter, he ran as high as sixth before finishing 10th for the day.
“I have to thank the whole Yoshimura Suzuki team,” said Clark. “This weekend, we got out with some points and we’re not too far from my goal of fifth overall. The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is running great and we’re figuring out the best package for me to beat the guys in front of me, and hopefully come out of the season in the top five. Now, we have a few things we’re going to test and a few things we have better knowledge on. So I’m looking forward to going to Infineon and having a good race.”
On the dirt side, Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton rode a strong race to place fourth overall aboard his Yoshimura-equipped Honda CRF450R at the Seattle Supercross. Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac had another solid ride aboard his Yoshimura-equipped CRF250R, finishing third overall to regain the Lites West points lead.
After placing third overall in his heat race, Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton was ready to take on the main. On the first lap, Brayton began working his way towards the front of the pack and was able to stay consistent under the pressure of multiple riders to finish fourth. “I’m happy to finish fourth and be able to get some valuable points,” said Brayton. “I’m just ready to be in that top position. The bike was running great, so I’m ready to go home, continue my training this week and head into Salt Lake City strong.”
In the Supercross Lites West competition, Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac had an exciting race, exchanging hard passes with another rider. Tomac was able to battle his way to a third-place finish, despite having a bent shifter. “That was the wildest race of my entire life,” said Tomac. “It started a little rough, obviously, with the battle between me and Wilson. We made a few contact passes, but unfortunately there weren’t many places to pass on the track. My focus is just to be smart and finish strong the rest of the rounds. I’m here for the championship.”
Also in the Supercross Lites West, Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Jason Anderson turned in aggressive-yet-controlled laps all night. Anderson started the evening by nabbing a fourth-place finish in his heat race. In the main, Anderson got a mid-pack start but put his head down and picked his way through the field to eventually card a sixth-place result.
“Seattle was pretty good, though I had some trouble with my starts,” said Anderson. “But my speed was good and sixth isn’t a bad way to end the night, considering how my start was. The Yoshimura-equipped Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki has been working great and I’ve been to Salt Lake City before and I like racing there. So, hopefully I’ll be able to rip some good starts and get up on the podium there.”
The Seattle race was a rough one for Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Martin Davalos. The evening started out well, with Davalos turning in a spirited ride in his heat race and taking second. Then, in the main event, he was running sixth when he stalled his bike and wound up finishing 14th.
It was also a tough night in Seattle in the Supercross class for Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe. The optimistic Australian picked up a fine fifth-place result in his heat race. Unfortunately, he had mid-air contact with another rider on the first lap of the main and had to retire for the evening with a damaged bike.
“It was actually a good day for me,” said Metcalfe. “Practice went pretty good and I liked the track. The heat race came round and I got fifth. I put some good laps together and I was feeling good. In the main event, I came through the first corner OK, then I got together with another rider and we collided in mid-air. My bike got smashed up. That was the end of my race and I had to DNF, which was sad because this was the first DNF we’ve had all season. We’ll just come back strong for next weekend at Salt Lake City.”
The next stop of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship for the Yoshimura-backed teams is Saturday, April 28th, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT. The Yoshimura Suzuki Road Race team’s next event of the 2012 AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship is at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, the weekend of May 4 - 6, 2012.
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