BREA, CA – July 10, 2023 – Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer upped their weekend tally to six top-fives, rounding out a trophy-winning MotoAmerica round with a pair of strong Superbike races on Sunday at WeatherTech Laguna Seca.
- Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki
- Richie Escalante continued to rack up the top-five finishes, with two more fourth-place runs.
- Brandon Paasch took another step forward as he acclimates with the team.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante continued to establish himself as one of the nation’s top Superbike pilots with his fifth and sixth top-four finish in his last eight attempts. Both of Sunday’s Superbike contests shared much in common with Saturday’s, minus the sighting lap drama. Once again, the Mexican could not fully capitalize on his front-row grid position, but he still managed strong races that emphasized his quick pace. He systematically worked his way forward aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000R to twin fourth-place results. Escalante came tantalizingly close to securing that elusive maiden premier-class podium finish during Race 3 in particular, ending up just 0.607 seconds short of third position at the flag and 2.725 seconds from the winner.
Escalante said, “Three fourth-place finishes and fourth in the championship – it was a good weekend for us. Thanks to the team for giving me a bike that worked great. I’m happy after yesterday, and we had two strong races today. On the first lap in the second race, I lost a couple of positions, but in the race, I made a pass and was able to improve my lap times. I feel like we are getting stronger with each race, and I look forward to training and recovering for the next round.”
Brandon Paasch was impressive in his own right. Making his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki debut in what was his first-ever weekend aboard a Superbike. Paasch was both steady and quick, all while still recovering from a broken back. He finished in eighth position in Race 2 and then went one better in Race 3, taking seventh as he continued to come to grips with the Suzuki GSX-R1000R Superbike.
“It’s been great coming out here on the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike this weekend,” said Paasch. “There’s been a lot to learn coming up from the Stock 1000 last year, and then obviously not really racing yet this year. We’re taking it steady and chipping away at those front boys. We’re not too worried about the results at the moment, we’re just focused on my riding and communication with the team. I think we’re doing a good job, and everybody seems happy with what we’re doing. There’s still a lot to learn. I need to be a bit more patient on the bike and work on my fitness after returning from a big injury. We’ve got some gym work to do, but I’m not scared of hard work, so we’ll get after it.”
Team Hammer will return to action when the 2023 MotoAmerica season resumes at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota, on July 28-30.