M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki’s Valentin Debise successfully completed his mission to score a podium result at every single round of the 2016 MotoAmerica FIM North American Road Racing Championship today at the New Jersey Motorsports Park season finale.
The Frenchman concluded his remarkable maiden season in the States with two more third-place finishes in the MotoAmerica Supersport class, upping his final season tally to eleven. That consistent excellence — punctuated by a spectacular victory at Road America — also secured Debise a final championship ranking of third.
In Race 1, Debise clung onto the leading title-contending duo long enough to pull free from the pack. He earned a clear third place finish aboard his Supersport-spec Suzuki GSX-R600.
Race 2 provided him a bit more drama, as he slowed and dropped several positions mid-race after fearing of a technical issue. Once that was sorted, he wicked it back up and tracked down an intense fight for the final spot on the podium. Using lapped traffic to his advantage, Debise diced back through to finish out the season on the podium.
Afterward, he said, “In Saturday’s race, I was consistent but not quite fast enough. I tried everything I could at the beginning, but I didn’t get a great start. By the time I was in third, the top two were already far away from me. I pushed as hard as I could to catch them and that helped me open up some space behind me.
“In Sunday’s race, I was feeling really great in third and was starting to push to go with the leader, but I had a couple big moments. I thought something wrong with the bike or the tires and I lost a bunch of time as I tried to diagnose the issue. Eventually, I just decided to push as hard as I could and give it everything I got. The lappers worked out in my favor and I was able to overtake back to third. It was a tough challenge — I had some heart-stopping moments!
“I can’t thank my team enough for the entire year. M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki really supported me through the entire season and I’m very grateful for the opportunity they gave me. I also want to thank all the American fans who treated me so well. I would love to return to MotoAmerica again in 2017.”
Debise’s South African teammate, Cameron Petersen, also enjoyed a successful race to close out the year. He bounced back from a Race 1 DNF to round out the season with another top-five result, finishing a scant 0.065 seconds back of fourth after a heated battle for the position.
Petersen finished the year with three podiums, including a win during the first stop at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Superstock 1000 contender Jake Lewis picked up an 11th-place result at the season finale aboard the M4 Suzuki GSX-R1000. Despite missing the season’s first six races, Lewis locked up ninth-place in the Superstock title fight.
Meanwhile, M4 LOXY Suzuki’s Caroline Olsen finished out the season with 14th- and 11th-place results in the Superstock 600 class while M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki’s Xavier Zayat took 19th and 12th in his return to action.
Zayat stood 12th in the final class standings with Olsen one further position down in 13th.
This year marks Team Hammer’s 36th consecutive season of operating as a professional road racing team. During that time, racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 61 AMA Pro National races, have finished on AMA Pro National podiums 153 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships (the most recent in 2012), as well as two FIM South American championships. The team has also won 133 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and won 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running “Methanol Monster” GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won the F-USA Championship four times.