BREA, CA – June 4, 2023 – Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer displayed impressive speed and consistency on Saturday, scooping up four top-six finishes as the MotoAmerica Superbike and Supersport race action kicked off on the blazing fast Road America circuit.
- Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki
- Richie Escalante matched his best-ever premier-class finish with a second consecutive ride to fourth.
- Toni Elias made big strides with his best performance of the season.
- Teagg Hobbs charged forward to earn the top result of his young Supersport career.
- Tyler Scott led early before collecting solid points in sixth.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante remains persistent in his hunt for a maiden MotoAmerica Superbike podium. Despite starting from Row 3, Escalante leaped off the line aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000R Superbike and slashed his way up to fifth at the beginning of the race. Another pass executed while climbing the start/finish line hill at the end of the opening lap saw him earn one more position. Following a quick back-and-forth, Escalante established himself a clear and solid fourth, when the race was ultimately called complete with a red flag after eight of a scheduled 12 laps. The result equaled his best-ever finish in the class – marking the fourth time he’s finished fourth in Superbike and the second time he’s done so in as many attempts.
Escalante said, “After our good weekend at Barber, we are really motivated to keep improving. We have more top speed thanks to technical improvements from the team and a couple of suspension changes to try. Because the track was resurfaced, I came into it without too many expectations. I improved my race pace in practice and qualifying, but the fast lap on a soft tire wasn’t as fast as we would have liked. We had a solid race. I had a couple of moments with the front group, and then I worked on my consistency and pace. I was catching the rider in front of me, then he had a problem. In the end, I finished fourth. The crew is happy, and I am glad to finish with a good result. We have one more practice before Race 2 and will try to make some more improvements. We’re working hard to get that first Superbike podium.”
Escalante was joined in the top six by his world championship-winning teammate, Toni Elias. The Spaniard showed major signs that he’s returning to form with a strong effort at Road America. After running eighth for much of the contest, Elias picked up two positions before the race stoppage, to end his day credited with a promising sixth.
“We made big, big changes and the team did a lot of work. I was 2.5 seconds faster today than yesterday,” said Elias. “I have more confidence and can attack more. I had fun riding the bike despite having a poor start. I was able to catch up to the group in front. I was ready to attack for podium positions but the red flag ended the race early. It was much better. Still not where we want but we will keep working to reduce the gap.”
The premier-class effort was mirrored by Team Hammer in Supersport, this time headlined by the ascending Teagg Hobbs. The class rookie was shuffled down to seventh early, but systematically clawed his way forward on the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600. During his charge, Hobbs temporarily joined teammate Tyler Scott in a three-rider battle for fourth before ultimately running away with the position. Hobbs finished as the first of five Suzuki-mounted riders who together locked down fourth-through-eighth in what was Teagg’s best Supersport result yet.
“Being the top Suzuki rider feels great,” said Hobbs. “I didn’t have a really good start to the race, but I was trying to be consistent and run a fast pace. I was tracking down fourth and was able to get it done. If I can improve in the first few laps tomorrow, we have a good chance of running at the very front.”
Tyler Scott enjoyed a spectacular launch, diving into Turn 1 with the early lead. Displaced to fourth by the end of the lap, the aggressive Scott did what he could cling to the leading trio before finishing himself in a fight for his position. Scott ultimately settled into a clear sixth, where he took the checkered flag.
“We have had some challenges this weekend,” Scott admitted. “The suspension wasn’t where we needed to be, and the bike has been more difficult to ride at the pace we need to be upfront. We know where we need to go and will make some changes for tomorrow. I think we can improve for race two.”
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki will return to action tomorrow as the 2023 MotoAmerica season resumes with a second day of racing at Road America.