BREA, CA – July 30, 2023 – Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer were back on the box as the 2023 MotoAmerica title fights resumed at Brainerd International Raceway on Saturday.
- Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki
- Tyler Scott notched up his fifth podium of the season.
- Teagg Hobbs battled his way forward and pushed teammate Scott to the checkered flag in fourth.
- Richie Escalante scored another top-five finish in the premier-class.
- Brandon Paasch qualified fifth fastest before collecting an eighth-place result.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott shot to the front from his second-row starting slot and ran in the podium positions throughout Saturday’s MotoAmerica Supersport race. Scott settled into second on the opening lap and held that position deep into the contest before finally being displaced to third. Scott protected the podium ride aboard his next-generation Suzuki GSX-R750 from there, throwing down his fastest time on the race’s final lap to capture third.
“My Suzuki felt great during the whole race, and right there at the end, I felt even more comfortable,” Scott said. “I was able to keep chipping away and found some pace at the end. I think we can make some improvements overnight and be in the running for the race win tomorrow. Big thanks to the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team for all the hard work they’ve put in. We’ve come a long way so far this weekend, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race.” Suzuki GSX-Rs remained the bike of choice at Brainerd making up half of the Supersport top ten Saturday results.
Scott’s place on the podium was challenged by his on-form teammate, Teagg Hobbs. Starting from Row 1, Hobbs was shuffled back to sixth in the race’s early stages. Undeterred, the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki ace demonstrated remarkable pace and style as he overhauled the riders who lined up for the race ranked 1st and 2nd in the championship. Once through, he then closed down on the championship’s 3rd-ranked rider – teammate Scott. Like Scott, Hobbs threw down his fastest time of the race in his last-lap pursuit before finally collecting an impressive fourth-place finish just 0.422 back of third.
“I made a few mistakes at the start and lost some ground,” Hobbs said. “I am still working on my aggressiveness at the start of races. My teammate and I rode well and were both going for the podium. In the end, we were running at the same pace as the riders at the front. I used up a lot of my tire getting there and Tyler was riding great at the end. I knew what I wanted to do to make a move, but the stars didn’t align. Tomorrow, we’ll look for a little different result.”
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante was a factor near the front yet again, collecting his sixth-consecutive top five. Escalante pushed hard for third over the race’s opening half before finally finding his level in fifth aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000R Superbike. The result was his ninth finish of fifth or better this season. With each successive race, Escalante continues to establish himself as one of the finest Superbike racers in the nation while knocking on the door of a maiden premier-class podium finish.
Escalante said, “I was happy with our gap to the front, and I thought I rode the bike well. We had a decent pace in qualifying and I was expecting to stay with the leaders, but I lost time after there was a crash in front of me. I felt strong in the race and was pleased with my pace and the final gap to the front. We need a little more for Sunday, so we have been working hard as a team to improve the bike even more. We are looking for more grip from the rear for Race 2 and we will do our best to keep improving.”
Brandon Paasch raised eyebrows during qualifying by posting the fifth fastest lap aboard his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R in just his second outing with the team while still working his way back to full fitness after breaking his back earlier this year. Paasch took advantage of his prime startling slot to fight inside the top five early before gradually fading back to an eighth-place finishing position.
“The race was good for my second weekend on the bike,” said Paasch. “We had a good qualifying result but, in the race, I didn’t have the same connection with the bike. I struggled out there as the race went on and, as the tire went off, I went backwards on the leaderboard. Still, we were in the top 10. We hadn’t changed anything with the bike, so it isn’t easy to say why it didn’t click, but we are working hard to prepare for the second race.”
Team Hammer will be ready for their rematches tomorrow as the weekend at Brainerd International Raceway concludes on Sunday.