Yoshimura-Backed Teams Dominate in SuperBike and Supercross
NEWS May 10, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Team Release Courtesy of Yoshimura Racing Suzuki:
CHINO, Calif. (MAY 9, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams were celebrating on the top of the box at the third round of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA and at the 17th and final round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship season at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, NV, this weekend. The Yoshimura Suzuki Road Race and Supercross teams, Honda Racing Supercross and Rockstar Energy Suzuki Supercross teams backed-up the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products with their domination in Sonoma and Las Vegas.
It was the Yoshimura Suzuki road race team’s time to shine in the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship at Infineon Raceway on Saturday and Sunday. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young not only raced his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to his first Infineon Superbike race win on Sunday, he also took over the lead in the championship points. This result marks Young’s third victory out of six races so far in the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing season.
In Sunday’s 22-lap race, Young started strong by getting a good launch on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. Then, he simply put his head down, turned consistent laps, created a healthy gap and took the win at the checkers. The day before, Young also got an impressive launch and was with the front-runners immediately. From the runner-up position, he made constant bids for the win before finishing second on Saturday.
“The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 has been great all weekend,” said Young. “We struggled a bit on Saturday and got second. Then on Sunday, I just tried to concentrate and focus. At this track, it’s pretty easy to get excited and find yourself going backwards. So I knew I needed to just mellow out and ride my own race. I just want to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki crew and the GSX-R1000 for my first win at Infineon. I’ve struggled here in the past and I did better than I expected.”
Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Chris Clark came to Infineon with a minor injury, but still made the best of the weekend. As he continues to gel with his new team, Clark made significant progress with his race performance between Saturday and Sunday. In the weekend’s first AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race, Clark finished 14th; but by Sunday, he’d bettered that result to 11th.
The Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda team put a stamp on the 2012 AMA Supercross Lites season Saturday night by closing out with wins in both the Lites East and West final rounds as well as taking first and second in the 10-lap East-West Shootout.
In the 15-lap East and West main events, Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda teammates Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia dominated the night. The pressure was off for the two, who had already wrapped up both titles; however, they came out strong reminding everyone of how they won those titles in the first place. Both riders grabbed the holeshot in their mains and quickly checked out from the rest of the pack. In the shootout, Barcia ran up front for a majority of the race followed closely by Tomac. Tomac charged hard and was able to catch Barcia, but never got close enough to make the pass.
“What a crazy night,” stated Tomac. “Being able to come into Vegas this year and not have to worry about the championship was really nice. I felt really good today and am glad to take the win in the West main and second behind Justin in the shootout. It was great to race with my teammate and be able to put the Yoshimura-equipped GEICO Hondas on top.”
“This is such an amazing feeling, it’s almost unreal,” said Barcia. “Even though the championship title is already wrapped up, I still wanted to come to Vegas and win, which is exactly what I did. The shootout was a lot of fun and everyone was riding really strong. The Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda team did a great job setting up my bike, and I can’t thank everyone enough for all the support. I am looking forward to moving up next season and riding with a new group of guys on the 450.”
Teammate Wil Hahn rode a respectable race, finishing third-place overall in the Supercross Lites West main event and sixth in the East/West shootout.
Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton put in an impressive performance aboard his CRF450R, finishing third overall in the Supercross class in Vegas. Brayton also scored Bret Michaels’ Rock Hard-Ride Hard Award for the season after overcoming incredible odds and finishing strong despite fracturing his leg in San Diego.
Posting the quickest qualifying time in practice, Brayton seemed to have found his groove on the challenging Las Vegas track. After grabbing a good start in his heat, Brayton put together a solid ride to win, giving him a good gate pick heading into the main. In the main event, he got away to a mid-pack start but quickly started working his way through the field. Brayton put together a great ride to make his way to the podium in third.
“Getting a good start is key in Supercross,” said Brayton. “I got a great start in my heat race, and was able to come out with the win, but unfortunately, in the main I wasn’t so lucky. I didn’t get the greatest start and was forced to work my way through the pack. I made my way up to third, which is pretty good, but I have been really itching to get on that top podium position and grab my first win. The entire Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk crew worked really hard all season with me, and although I’m a little bummed to be taking fourth in the championship, this is my best season finish yet, and I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.”
The Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki team closed out the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship season with style. Martin Davalos led the charge by finishing third in the Supercross Lites East-West Shootout and picking up his second-consecutive podium of the year.
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davalos blazed onto the scene in the 15-lap SX Lites West main, getting off the gate in second. Davalos continued to run in a podium position for more than half the race before finishing fourth. In the Shootout, Davalos again got off the gate in second and led for several laps before finishing third. This result marks the second podium finish of the season for Davalos, who wrapped up the year in eighth overall.
“Vegas was good,” said Davalos. “We carried the momentum from Salt Lake City into our main event. We got fourth in the heat and that was really positive. From the beginning of the season, we’ve struggled and to come out and get on the podium in the Shootout was so important, we got a good a good start and fought hard and we were able to get third. I’m pretty pumped, the Rockstar Energy Racing team has done such a great job and they believe in me and that means a lot. I’m just looking forward to carrying this momentum into the Outdoors.”
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing SX Lites West teammate Jason Anderson came into the final weekend feeling ill. Despite this, he got a great jump off the gate and ran up front for the entire West main before finishing fifth. In the Shootout, Anderson suffered some fatigue, had a few problems and wound up 19th. Overall, however, he enjoyed a good season, picking up a podium finish and coming in fifth overall in points.
“Las Vegas was all right,” said Anderson. “I got fifth in my main, even though I was sick all day. Now, I’m just pumped to get out of here healthy and in the top five in points, and with a good end to the Supercross season. Now, it’s time to get ready for Motocross in a few weeks.”
Blake Wharton and Hunter Hewitt represented Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing’s SX Lites East contingent. In their main event, Wharton finished an impressive fifth and was followed home by Hewitt in seventh. In the Shootout, Wharton picked up a ninth-place result, while Hewitt suffered some bad luck and finished 18th. Overall, Wharton celebrated a rock-solid season, finishing third in points with a win and two additional podiums.
In the Supercross class, Yoshimura Suzuki Racing’s Brett Metcalfe came into Las Vegas still on the mend from a crash last weekend. Adding insult to injury, Metcalfe suffered a practice crash in Las Vegas that resulted in medical evaluation. Although he was released to race, Metcalfe wasn’t 100 percent. Despite this, he carded a solid fourth-place finish in his heat race. In the main event, Metcalfe continued to push hard and ran in a podium position for several laps before some problems resulted in an 18th-place finish. Overall, Metcalfe was eighth in points for the season and had four top-five finishes.
“The last few rounds have been a challenge,” said Metcalfe. “We’ve had some old-fashioned bad luck, but that happens to everyone. I’m just glad to finish the season relatively healthy and in the top 10 in points. Now I’m already focusing on getting ready for the Outdoors in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to that.”
The Yoshimura Suzuki road race team’s next event of the 2012 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship is at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT, the weekend of May 26 - 28, 2012. The next event on the dirt side is the season-opening round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, May 19th, at the Hangtown National in Sacramento, CA.
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