Yoshimura News Release
CHINO, CA (March 20, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams were strong throughout the past week of racing, which included the opening round of the 2012 AMA Pro Superbike Championship at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL and the 11th round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. The Yoshimura Suzuki Road Race and Supercross teams, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Supercross and Honda Racing Supercross teams showed the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products with solid results in a week of extremely competitive racing.
The Yoshimura Suzuki Road Race team was a force to be reckoned with at the season-opening round of AMA Pro Superbike this past double-header weekend in Daytona. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young captured the win in one Superbike race and a second-place result in the other, while new teammate Chris Clark made his Yoshimura Suzuki debut with two top-10 finishes.
The weekend’s first race saw Young get a good start on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, slot into second place and hold on until the checkers. As impressive as Friday’s podium finish was, it was Saturday’s race where Young really strutted his stuff. The Wisconsin native got another great start on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and again settled quickly into second position. But this time, he stayed with the leader until the last few laps, at which point, he made his move and brought home the win.
“Today’s race was a lot better than yesterday’s race,” said Young. “My Yoshimura Suzuki team worked hard for me on Friday, and after the race, we looked at the data and I knew the problem was me. I just didn’t have a very good race, for whatever reason, and I needed to work hard to let my crew know not to give up on me yet. We need to go strong all year long. We just needed to come in here, get some points and race hard the rest of the year. Today’s race was good, and now I’m just looking forward to Atlanta and the rest of the season.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s newest addition, Chris Clark, admittedly struggled in Friday’s race. He got a decent start on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and held his own to bring home a ninth-place finish. On Saturday, Clark lifted his game, getting another decent start but turning faster, more consistent laps to finish a respectable seventh.
“This was my first race with the Yoshimura Suzuki team, so I definitely was over-riding the bike a little *** said Clark. “I was nervous and wanting to do well and putting a little too much pressure on myself. So I came out today and worked on what we were having problems with. I was able to turn it around in the second race. We’re not too far off from where I want to be, fifth in the championship, so I’m just looking forward to Atlanta. The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is working great; it’s a really fantastic bike. So we’ll head to Atlanta with our heads up and hopefully do well there.”
Yoshimura Suzuki Racing celebrated their best night of Supercross so far this year at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday night. Brett Metcalfe raced his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 to his first-ever Supercross-class heat race victory, and then went on to bring home an impressive fourth-place result in the Supercross main event.
As the evening’s racing commenced, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Metcalfe was feeling strong and looking good. Going into his eight-lap heat race, the Australian rider did not disappoint. He came off the gate swinging and got the holeshot, then he held onto the lead to take his first heat race win.
“We came in with a different approach with bike setup this weekend,” said Metcalfe. “It was evident in my first lap of practice. I just felt so much more comfortable and could really attack the track and ride the bike. I was really stoked; the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was running great. We got great starts and qualified the best we have all year. In the heat race, we ripped the holeshot and it felt awesome to get out there in front. I was able to hold on and get my first heat win of my 450 career, and that was a big achievement for me. This weekend in Indy was a good start for us with the new setup for the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450. I’m looking forward to carrying this on to Toronto next weekend, and I’m really stoked about that.”
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Blake Wharton gave the Rockstar Energy Racing teams their first Supercross Lites main event win of the season at Indy. Not only did Wharton capture his and the team’s first Supercross Lites victory of the season, the charismatic rider also put a halt to another racer’s winning streak in the process. En route to victory, Wharton grabbed the holeshot in his six-lap heat race and finished second before going onto the 15-lap main event and bringing home the win.
“It feels good to get the win,” said Wharton. “It’s been a while since I’ve won, but I never stopped thinking I could. I know it’s not easy to win, but at the same time, what we’re doing during the week, we’re doing to win. I happened to win tonight, but it’s so tough with the competition because everyone’s so fast. But this weekend, I won it, and I just want to go into next weekend and carry this over. Toronto should be good, I like going to Canada.”
Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton had his best night of the season, finishing second in the Supercross main event in Indy while Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia placed third to maintain his championship lead in the East Lites class.
Brayton was quick to find his groove on the track aboard his Yoshimura-equipped CRF450R, qualifying third fastest in practice and winning his heat race. In the main, he put together a solid ride from start to finish. Second off the line, Brayton made the pass for first a few laps in, which is where he would stay the majority of the race. He eventually was passed, but maintained his second place spot to the checkers – his career-best finish.
“It was a really great night for me, with a heat win, some awesome starts and now a second place finish in the main,” said Brayton. “This was my first time ever leading laps in the 450 class and now I want it more than ever. It has been a long time coming and now I feel like the trophy is right there. This is a good building block and I am ready to work this week and come out swinging in Toronto.”
In the Supercross Lites East competition, Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia rode a noteworthy race on his Yoshimura-equipped CRF250R. Despite getting a less-than-desirable start, Barcia was given a second chance to close the gap on the leaders when a red flag forced all riders into a staggered restart. Barcia worked his way from eighth place to a respectable third.
“With such a slick track, I had a feeling it was going to be a tough night,” said Barcia. “It is definitely a bummer not to kee my winning streak going but I am still happy to be on the podium. Consistency is the most important thing in the long run so I am glad to have the Yoshimura-equipped GEICO Honda on the podium regardless.”
The next stop of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship for the Yoshimura-backed teams is Saturday, March 24th, at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Yoshimura Suzuki Road Race team’s next event of the 2012 AMA Pro Superbike Championship series is at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA, the weekend of April 20 – 22, 2012.
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