Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s Grant Lopez used a 2001 Suzuki GSX-R1000 to break the motorcycle track record at Homestead Miami Speedway en route to winning the Unlimited Grand Prix race during a CCS regional event attended by the team for pre-season testing. Lopez, who had set the previous record at Homestead in December of 1999 on a Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki 840cc GSX-R750 Formula Xtreme bike, broke the record three times during the six-lap race, eventually setting it at 1:26.62. The old record was 1:27.00.
“If I had another 30 minutes on it I’m sure I could have gone another second quicker,” said Lopez after the short race, in which he started well back on the grid, which was set by entry date. Lopez had gotten just three laps on practice on the machine Sunday morning, sharing it with teammate John Hopkins during the single 15-minute practice session. Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki mechanics changed the machine’s front end and altered its set-up Saturday evening after practice, replacing the stock front forks with a set of racing forks.
“This thing is going to be fast,” Lopez continued. “Those other guys in Formula Xtreme are going to be in trouble this year.”
Lopez broke away from strong challenges by local stars and pulled away to a several-second margin of victory.
Lopez also won the Heavyweight Superbike race on a Formula USA-spec GSX-R750.
Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s 16-year-old Ben Spies took second in three races and third in another, on his Supersport-spec GSX-R750.
Riding his 2001 Supersport-spec GSX-R600, Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s 17-year-old Hopkins was unstoppable, winning the Middleweight Supersport, Middleweight Superbike and Middleweight Grand Prix races.