BREA, CA – June 24, 2023 – Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer celebrated the opening day of MotoAmerica race action at Ridge Motorsports Park from the podium following a breakthrough ride from rising star Teagg Hobbs.
- Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki
- Teagg Hobbs charged to the first podium of his MotoAmerica Supersport career.
- Tyler Scott fought back from an off-track excursion to secure fourth position.
- Richie Escalante earned his third top-five in his last four races.
- Taylor Knapp earned points for the team as he kicked off his one-weekend, two-race run with the squad.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Teagg Hobbs was rewarded for his continued rise in speed and confidence with a career-first Supersport podium. Hobbs qualified alongside teammate Tyler Scott on the front row aboard their identical Suzuki GSX-R750s, and the two spent the early stages of the race in a multi-rider scrap near the front. Hobbs clawed his way up from fifth to make a late run at the podium contenders. He arrived on the back wheel of the fight for second with three laps to go and was initially denied in a last-lap battle for third position. However, Hobbs’ continued application of intense pressure paid off, forcing the rider in front of him into a mistake. That handed Hobbs third place with just a half-lap remaining.
“I was having fun out there,” Hobbs said. ”I knew 15 laps was going to take a little bit of time, and I chose the right tire for the race. In the first few laps, I was held up a little bit, but towards the end I put my head down, tried to hit my marks, and chased after the riders in second and third. Once that crash happened with a half-a-lap to go, that was my sign to relax and bring it home. I wanted to race for second, but that was just a little too far ahead. I can’t thank my whole Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team enough. They’ve been working incredibly hard, and my Suzuki worked flawlessly. We’re going to go back and see if we can do even better tomorrow.”
Tyler Scott endured and enjoyed an eventful day of his own. The 17-year-old ran in second early on aboard his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750 before being displaced to fourth in the early shuffle. While looking for a way around teammate Hobbs Scott ran off track and lost two positions. Undeterred, Scott worked his way back up to fifth and then successfully defended what became fourth position, following the last-lap incident ahead to the checkered flag.
“We had an issue in the race,” Scott said. “We worked through it, and I think the race pace was good. We may make some small changes for tomorrow, but everything is heading in a positive direction. We qualified second and showed a decent pace. I had a moment related to that issue and that set us back, but overall, I think we can improve for Sunday.” In addition to Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s solid performance, Saturday’s Supersport race was filled once more with Suzuki GSX-Rs, earning almost half of the top ten finishing positions.
Richie Escalante continued his strong form on Saturday, collecting his third Superbike top five in his last four outings aboard the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R. Escalante jumped into the top five from his startling slot on the outside of Row 2 and then spent his race battling for position. Escalante continued battling when the race was concluded three laps early due to a red flag, resulting in an official fifth-place finish.
Escalante said, “Overall, not as good of a day as we have been having, but the result was positive. I’ve been working on race pace all weekend, and I liked where we were on Friday. On Saturday morning, the weather was cooler and for some reason, we did not have the pace we had before. In the first half of the race, I felt quite good. Then we developed an issue that set us back a bit. I was mainly concentrating on finishing the race. I was feeling good apart from the issue. Tomorrow, I think we will have a better result.”
Taylor Knapp picked up a handful of championship points for the team in the first race of his one-weekend substitute ride for the team. Knapp quickly came to grips with the team’s powerful GSXR-1000R racebike to reel in a solid 13th-place result in the experienced rider’s premier-class return.
“We’re learning, and I am getting more familiar with the bike. Looking at the data after the race, we see things to try,” said Knapp. “It takes time and laps, but a strong team is helping me. I am happy to get another shot at it on Sunday.”
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki will be back on track tomorrow to close out the MotoAmerica round at Ridge Motorsports Park.