Yoshimura-Backed Teams Prevail in AMA Pro SuperBike and Motocross
NEWS July 19, 2012
Photo by Brian J Nelson
Courtesy of Yoshimura Suzuki:
CHINO, CA (July 17, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams took control once again at the seventh round of the 2012 AMA Pro Superbike Championship in Lexington, OH and the seventh round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Millville, MN this past weekend. The Yoshimura Suzuki road race team and Honda Racing and Rockstar Energy Suzuki motocross teams showed off the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products while beating the heat in Ohio and Minnesota.
This past double-header superbike race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Ohio saw Team Yoshimura Suzuki Racing put another podium finish into the proverbial books for the 2012 AMA Pro Superbike season. Rider Blake Young raced his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to a well-earned second place in Saturday’s race, while Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Chris Clark picked up a top-10 result the following day.
In Saturday’s 21-lap race, Young started out strong by getting a good launch on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and was running in fourth when a red flag stopped the race. After the restart, Young got another good start and fought hard for his second-place finish. On Sunday, Young wasn’t as fortunate with his start but worked his way up into fourth place to battle for a podium position. Unfortunately, Young went down but managed to recover and finish 13th. The Wisconsin native sits second in the championship points standings.
“In Saturday’s race, I got two good starts and I can’t complain,” said Young. “I ended up slotting into first for the first few laps, but I was kind of hesitant to run up front. I had a tough time finding my flow, but I need to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki team because the GSX-R1000 was great. On Sunday, I had some issues and the crash is going to make the points battle pretty tough. But we have a bike capable of winning, so I just need to keep my head down and do my best at Laguna Seca.”
Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Clark pushed hard all weekend and walked away from Mid-Ohio having made some overall progress. On Saturday, Clark put his head down on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and rode a smart, consistent race to finish 11th. On Sunday, he again turned in a smart, solid performance and finished an even better ninth.
“Overall it was a really positive weekend,” said Clark. “Mid-Ohio is a track I’ve always struggled at, but the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is an incredible bike. By the end of the weekend, I’d improved my lap times by almost two seconds over my qualifying pace the year before. Obviously, I’m not too happy with where I finished, but it was a huge step in the right direction. I have to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki crew for their efforts and I’m really looking forward to Laguna Seca.”
On the dirt side, for the second-consecutive week Yoshimura-backed Honda teams had an impressive showing with Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia topping the 250 podium with 1-2 finishes and Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton nailing a fourth overall at Millville.
Once again in the 250 class it was Yoshimura-backed Muscle Milk-sponsored GEICO Honda teammates Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia out front, finishing the day 1-2 on the podium. Barcia grabbed the holeshot in moto one and lead a majority of the race until surrendering the top spot to finish second. Meanwhile, Tomac was forced to work his way through the pack and eventually finished third. In moto two, Barcia again nailed down the holeshot but was quickly passed by Tomac, who had gotten a better jump off the start. They battled it out with the rest of the front-runners but Tomac came out on top, claiming the moto win by a whopping 23 seconds and clinching his third overall victory of the season. Barcia finished behind him in second for second overall. Wil Hahn finished a respectable sixth overall, while Justin Bogle ended the day with a solid eighth overall in his first race back from knee surgery.
“It is so awesome to be back on top of the podium,” Tomac said. “The first moto felt like the most intense race of the season so far because we were all so close the whole time. I finished third, but had to come from behind after not getting the greatest start. In moto two, I was able to get out front early but was passed by Blake (Baggett). I focused on just staying consistent and applying pressure to him, which worked because he made a mistake and went down, allowing me to capitalize and take back the lead.”
“The heat and humidity made it really tough today,” stated Barcia. “We didn’t have much time between races so we had to recover quick. The track was intense today and I pushed it has hard as I could. I am happy with second because consistency is everything but I obviously want to win.”
In the 450 class, after posting his best results of the season at RedBud, Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton came to Spring Creek confident and looking for another podium. In the first 450 moto, he got a less-than-desirable start and put together an incredible come-from-behind run, working his way from mid-pack to fourth. After grabbing a better start in moto two, he ran a consistent race finishing fourth again to clinch fourth overall. “Today was a good day for me; not on the podium where I want to be but I’m happy to be running up front where I belong,” stated Brayton. “I got a bad start in moto one and had to spend most of the race making my way towards the front of the pack. In moto two, I got a better start and finished fourth for fourth overall.”
Teammate Tommy Hahn returned this weekend after missing a few rounds due to an injury sustained in Colorado. In moto one he grabbed a top-10 start and rode solid the entire 30-minute-plus-two-lap race to finish a respectable seventh. Unfortunately, Hahn would not make it to moto two after suffering a severe allergy attack between motos.
The Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki team overcame adversity and turned in solid performances all around in Millville. The man of the hour was Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton, who was the picture of consistency this weekend. Wharton put in two impressive 250 motos, finishing sixth in the first and fifth in the second, for an overall result of fifth for the day. “Today was a real good day for me,” said Wharton. “My starts weren’t where I wanted them to be, but I felt like I was able to ride good. My bike was handling good and I feel one step closer to where I need to be. I’m looking forward to next weekend. I like the track at Washougal and we’ll see if we can do some damage.”
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Jason Anderson also had a strong showing in the 250 class, and finished several spots behind Wharton. Anderson brought home eighth- and 10th-place moto finishes, for a final result of ninth overall. “It was a decent weekend,” said Anderson. “I had two pretty good motos. I ended up going eight/10 for ninth overall, and now I’m ready to head to Washougal. I had a few issues in the second moto, but all in all, it was a good day. I have a few areas to work on, but I’m looking forward to taking care of that and racing at Washougal.”
Rounding out the 250 class for Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing was Hunter Hewitt, who struggled with the humidity and fatigue. Despite that, Hewitt remains optimistic and is looking forward to the next race. “I had two good starts, but in the first moto I went down on the first lap,” said Hewitt. “It was really humid and I wasn’t feeling good. I was tired out by the third lap, and I’ve put in too much work to come out and get tired on the third lap. I didn’t expect it, so I’m going to see a doctor next week and see if we can take care of this before Washougal.”
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing’s Martin Davalos remains out due to injury but hopes to return before the end of the season. Rockstar teammate Jessica Patterson, in the WMX class, is also recovering from injury and will be back for Washougal.
The Yoshimura Suzuki road race team’s next event of the 2012 AMA Pro Superbike Championship series is at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA, the weekend of July 27 - 29, 2012. The next event on the dirt side is the eighth round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, July 21st, at the Washougal National in Washougal, WA.
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