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By April 23, 20232023 News
Tyler Scott (70) battled for the Supersport win, finishing second at Road Atlanta Saturday.

BREA, CA – April 23, 2023 – The MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing championship arrived at Road Atlanta for the first points-paying round of the 2023 season in both Superbike and Supersport following March’s Daytona 200 opener. Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer kicked off their twin title campaigns with a trophy-winning Saturday.

Race Highlights:

  •  Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki
    • Supersport
      • Tyler Scott fought back aboard his next-generation GSX-R750 following a poor start to finish a close second, best among the six Suzuki-mounted riders who finished inside the top ten.
      • Teagg Hobbs registered a steady ride to sixth after qualifying in the same position.
    • Superbike
      • Richie Escalante picked up a couple positions early and held his ground to finish sixth.
      • Former MotoAmerica and Moto2 champion Toni Elias made his return to competition with a seventh-place performance.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott earned the pole for the MotoAmerica Supersport race. However, he was still forced to fight his way forward on his GSX-R750 after a less-than-ideal start saw him running an early fifth with a sizable gap to the leaders. Undaunted, Scott was calculating in his comeback, arriving on the lead group at mid-distance before making a double pass from third to first with two laps to go. Scott made another pass for the lead on the final lap before losing the position with just a couple corners remaining. He attempted one final pass for the lead at the flag, but his attempt for the win came up 0.041 seconds short.

“I got a horrible start to begin with,” Scott said. “The launch was good, but I just didn’t let the clutch out soon enough. So I had a long way to work from the back, just chipping away. I tried to follow them for a few laps and put together a strategy. I thought if I could pass them at the right spot on the back straight I might be able to have enough of a gap for it to work out. Big thanks to the whole Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. We’ve made so much progress since the beginning of last year. The bike’s settings are better and the whole program is better. I’m super excited for tomorrow.”

Teagg Hobbs qualified in sixth on his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600 and stayed in that position from green light to checkered flag. He made a push to pick up a position late, but ultimately finished 0.350 seconds off a top-five result.

“It was a great first points-paying race of the year for me in MotoAmerica Supersport,” said Hobbs. “I learned more in those first 30 or so minutes than I have in my entire career to this point. The guys in the front group are all very fast and experienced. I spent 18 laps watching them. I made a few mistakes throughout the race and lost touch, and then I just brought it home for the points.  We will make a few small changes for tomorrow, but I am looking forward to giving it another shot to see if I can improve.”

Suzuki GSX-Rs continued their dominance of the top ten finishing positions at Road Atlanta.  A mix of next-generation Suzuki GSX-R750s and GSX-R600s captured 60% of the top ten Supersport finishing positions Saturday, continuing last year’s consistent and strong race performance for the iconic Suzuki GSX-R.

Richie Escalante returned to his regular ride aboard the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R in the premier Superbike class after a highly impressive one-off return to a Supersport bike for the Daytona 200. The Mexican ace made a smooth transition back to the more powerful machine, gaining a couple of positions early for a sixth-place finish.

“I am pretty happy with my pace during the race,” said Escalante. “After the first few laps, I lost touch with the front group. I was able to pass Toni, and, after that, I worked on my rhythm. Our pace was pretty good, but the key will be to be aggressive on the start to be closer to the leading group. We are still looking for about half a second per lap and will try some changes in the warm-up. It may be in the right direction for us or maybe not, but we will know more about the direction we should take to improve.”

MotoAmerica and Grand Prix legend Toni Elias came out of retirement and showed relatively little rust with a strong return to action that hinted at even bigger things to come. The Spaniard made a late-race overtake to battle his way to seventh in his first race back with the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki squad.

“I was disappointed with how the first race turned out,” Elias admitted. “The result was not what I was expecting, and we were not able to run a pace to contend for the podium. The good thing is we have ideas on how to improve and we will have big changes for tomorrow. So let’s move forward. The goal right now is to run a stronger pace.”

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki will be back at it tomorrow to close out this weekend’s MotoAmerica round at Road Atlanta.

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