Yoshimura-Backed Teams Dominate the Podiums in AMA Pro Motocross and SuperBike
NEWS May 29, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Press Release Courtesy of Yoshimura-Suzuki Racing:
CHINO, Calif. (MAY 29, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams covered the podiums at the second round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Wortham, TX and the fourth round of the AMA Pro Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT, this past weekend. The Yoshimura Suzuki motocross and road race teams, Honda Racing Motocross and Rockstar Energy Suzuki motocross teams showed off the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products with their domination in Texas and Utah.
On the dirt side, Team Yoshimura Suzuki Racing captured their fourth-consecutive 450-moto win as well as the overall victory in Texas on Saturday afternoon. Sporting the points leader’s red number plate for the first-time ever, Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart was a force to be reckoned with in Texas. In the first moto, he got a good start on his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450, took the lead on the first lap and went on to gap the field and take the win. In the second moto, Stewart again got out front in short order, but this time the pressure from the competition was more intense. Despite this, Stewart kept his composure to hold off all attacks and take the second-moto win along with the overall victory.
“It was a good race,” said Stewart. “It was warm, but I was able to get two good starts and I actually led every lap. We made a few changes to the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 after the first moto and the team’s just gelling. We had an hour and 10 minutes worth of battle and I was able to get the job done. Now, we’re going to Colorado, and Lakewood is not one of my better tracks. But we’re going in there with the red plate. Also, it’s at altitude so it’ll be another tough race, but the team has a really good set-up for me with the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450, and we’ll do our best to put it on the podium.”
Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Metcalfe suffered some bad luck in both motos but rallied before the day’s end. In the first moto, Metcalfe got a good start but an error resulted in his having to work his way back to 13th. In the second moto, Metcalfe led going into the first turn but ran wide and settled into seventh. He then turned it up a notch but suffered a minor get-off. Undaunted, Metcalfe remounted and charged through the field to 10th. These combined results gave the Yoshimura Suzuki rider an eighth-place finish overall. “I felt like I rode really well in Texas,” said Metcalfe. “It was just a tough track to come from behind on. In the first moto, I got a good start on the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 and then I spun it out and had to come from behind to 13th. In the second moto, I got a real good start but went way too wide in the first corner and dropped back a little. On the first couple of laps, I picked off some guys and was sitting in a good position. But I could see the leaders were getting away so I tried to force something on a tough braking section and got sideways and went down, so it was a tough break. Now, I’m looking forward to Colorado and getting up front and staying up there.”
Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac put in a commanding performance aboard his Yoshimura-equipped GEICO Honda CRF250R, winning both 250 motos for the overall round victory in Texas. “Today was an awesome day for me,” said Tomac. “I have had a tough time with this track in the past. It ruined my 2010 season both physically and mentally, so I am happy I was finally able to get it together and come out on top.”
Despite getting less-than-desirable starts in both motos, Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia put together impressive rides in Texas, charging through the pack to finish 4-5 for fifth overall. “Today was a super tough day and I really had to work for that top-five finish,” said Barcia. “I got a bad jump in moto one and then went down in the first turn of moto two, so I had to work my way through everyone in both races. It definitely isn’t the finish I was looking for but I am happy I was able to finish in the top five and salvage valuable points.”
Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Tommy Hahn put together another solid ride in Texas aboard his Yoshimura-equipped CRF450R, placing 9-7 for seventh overall in the 450 class. “Overall I think today was another good day for me,” said Hahn. “Since I am from Texas, I am pretty used to the heat so that wasn’t a huge factor for me. I tried to just focus on getting good starts and riding solid through both motos, which I think I did. Each race I get more and more comfortable with the bike and am looking forward to the rest of the season.” Teammate Justin Brayton put in a respectable ride, going 14-14 for 13th overall.
For the second week in a row, Ashley Fiolek put together a solid performance, chalking up her first overall victory of the season in the Women’s Motocross Championship on her Yoshimura-equipped Honda CRF250R. In moto one, Fiolek grabbed the holeshot but eventually fell back to second, where she would finish. She grabbed the holeshot again in moto two and rode her way to victory with an impressive lead. “I am so happy with how today went,” stated Fiolek. “I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to race because I had food poisoning last night, which is why I missed the first practice. I didn’t feel 100 percent but I liked the track so I’m grateful everything came together pretty well.” Teammate Sayaka Kaneshiro placed 6-5 for fifth overall, despite going down in the first turn of moto one.
Although Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton missed the entire 2011 Motocross season due to injury, you wouldn’t know it from his performance in Texas. Wharton picked up sixth in his first 250 moto and led most of the second before finishing third and taking fourth overall. “I rode kind of tight and not my best,” said Wharton of the first moto. “But it was my second race back in Motocross and I’m making progress. In the second moto, I got a better start and made my way to first. So I led some laps in Texas, which is cool because it’s my home crowd. I had a problem on the last lap, so I ended up third, and fourth overall. Now, we’ll keep building for Colorado. It will be tough, with the elevation and ruts, but I like the track and I’m looking forward to it.”
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Martin Davalos suffered some bad luck in both 250 motos at the Texas race, but still put his best foot forward. Davalos rebounded from crashes to finish 14th and 13th, respectively, and 11th overall. Also representing Rockstar Energy Racing in the 250 class was Jason Anderson, who qualified a very impressive third. Although Anderson got a good jump in the first moto, he went down just off the start and had to come from behind to finish 22nd. He rallied for the second moto and ran in a podium position before fatigue set in and he finished seventh. Overall, Anderson carded 12th for the day. Rounding out the Rockstar Energy Racing 250 effort was Hunter Hewitt, who struggled on the twisty, rutted track. Hewitt carded 17th and 20th in his motos for a combined 20th overall.
Finally, riding for Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing in the WMX class, Jessica Patterson celebrated her second podium of the year. Patterson won her first moto and finished second in moto two to take second overall for the day. “I got a decent start in the first moto and passed for the lead early,” said Patterson. “It was pretty rough out there, but I rode some good lines and pulled a solid lead and won the moto. In the second moto, I passed early but I washed out the front end. I knew I had to get back to the front, so on the last lap, I made a banzai pass for second to keep the points lead. I’m glad to leave Texas with the red plate again and I’m looking forward to Colorado.”
On the street side, Team Yoshimura Suzuki Racing turned in another successful performance in the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship this past weekend. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young made his seventh visit to the podium at Miller Motorsports Park on Monday afternoon while teammate Chris Clark lifted his game and brought home a very respectable eighth-place finish.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Young made the most of his track time in Utah and qualified second on the starting grid. When the lights turned green, Young got a good launch on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and slotted into second immediately. He put his head down and held off the constant pressure from the competition before eventually finishing third. “Today was a pretty tough day,” said Wisconsin-born Young. “To start with, I went out in the morning warm-up and I made a rookie mistake and wrecked my good bike. The Yoshimura Suzuki team had a back-up GSX-R1000 for me but I only got a few laps on it before the race. Overall, it was a hard race and we ended up third, but I’m happy to get away from Miller with the points. Now, I’m ready to go home to Elkhart Lake, and spend some time with my friends and family and get back to racing at the front.”
Teammate Clark continues to increase his comfort level with the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and has found more speed at almost every round. The race at Miller was no exception. After qualifying on the second row of the grid, Clark got a good start in the SuperBike race and eventually settled into a solid eighth. From there, he clicked off consistent laps until the checkered flag flew. “Miller is my favorite track,” said Clark. “And I was pretty confident that the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 would go good there. I’m getting more and more comfortable with the bike with every opportunity that I get to ride it, and I think my results this weekend show that. I’ve said all along that my goal is to finish the season in the top five overall and this weekend I moved closer to that goal. Now I’m just looking forward to Road America next weekend and hopefully progressing more.”
The Yoshimura Suzuki road race team’s next event of the 2012 AMA Pro SuperBike Championship is at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI, the weekend of June 1 - 3, 2012. The next event on the dirt side is the season-opening round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, June 2nd, at the Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, CO.
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