Photos Courtesy of Brown Dog Wilson
The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team journeyed to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. for round 12 of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. While a snowstorm raged outside, Malcolm Stewart wowed the 60,873 diehard fans inside by scoring his best premier class Supercross result of his career aboard the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450. In the 250 class, Kyle Peters and Phil Nicoletti posted strong results on their Suzuki RM-Z250s in securing top-ten finishes.
A banged-up shoulder didn’t hold Stewart back on a technical track that broke down over the 27-lap 450 main event. The Haines City, Fla. native powered through the field on his Suzuki RM-Z450 in effortless fashion. At one point he was positioned in fifth place, but a bout of late-race tightness held him to sixth on the evening. It was a smart and gutsy ride by the ever-popular Stewart, moving him up to 11th in the championship standings.
Indianapolis featured the first of two 250 East/West Showdowns, which brought the best 250 class riders from each coast together. Peters was ready to face the deep field, rocketing out to the holeshot on his Suzuki RM-Z250 in the heat race. He brought that level of intensity to the main event. Logging consistent laps, the pride of Greensboro, NC scored eighth place. Peters sits sixth in the 250 East championship standings.
After a long hiatus, Nicoletti was back in action. The New Yorker looked sharp all evening long, mixing it up with the front-runners and giving no quarter. Early in the 250 East/West Showdown he gained four positions in a single lap. Nicoletti’s efforts earned him ninth – which ties his best result of the series. “Filthy” is 11th in the 250 West championship standings.
Weston Peick was well on his way to another heroic ride after finishing fifth in his heat race. Peick worked up to seventh in the main, but a crash ended his night early. He is still within striking distance of fifth place in the overall championship standings.
Defending 250 West Supercross Champion, Justin Hill, came down with an illness earlier in the week that prevented him from racing in Indianapolis. Hill will undergo further evaluation, and an update on his health status will be released when more information becomes available.
Malcolm Stewart [450 Class, 6th Place] – “I’m getting better every week. I still have to improve my fitness, but I am happy to finish the night in sixth place. It was my best career 450 result so far, so I’ll take the positives from that. I feel like I’m heading in the right direction. There are five more Supercross races to go, and I’m going to make the most of them.”
Kyle Peters [250 Class, 8th Place] – “I felt good in practice, but I didn’t have the intensity when the night show came around. I was flat. I had a good start in the heat race and my shift points were good, but I rode tight in the heat race. For whatever reason I felt fatigued going into the main event. The team worked really hard, and we made progress. The shootout deal was cool, because I never get to race the West guys. As far as the points go, it could make for a big swing either way. I’m sixth in points and want to climb the ladder.”
Phil Nicoletti [250 Class, 9th Place] – “I don’t know what happened with my start in the main event. There were a few bumps in front of my gate, and I lined up to the inside in the hopes of getting a good jump and controlling from there. I saw quite a few riders going deep into the first turn, so I hit the brakes. Some of those riders got tangled up, and I went around them. I had my work cut out for me, but I made quick passes. I came up to ninth place, which was decent. I rode better in the main event than I did in practice.”
“It was interesting racing other 250 class riders, but it doesn’t really matter. The track was really brutal, but my Suzuki RM-Z250 handled well and I got inside the top ten for the shootout.”
Weston Peick [450 Class, 22nd Place] – “The day was tough. I struggled, because the track was super tacky and rutted. I was trying to find comfort. We went into the heat race with a major change, and the track was very rutted. Then we went back to how we were in practice. I rode well in the main, but was making a lot of mistakes. I had a couple of close calls. I was hitting this quad in the center of the track, and one lap I hit it from the opposite side. The face was a bit smaller, and I came up short on the landing and went into an endo. I got pretty banged up, and that was my night. I’m sore, but I have some time off to get ready for Seattle.”
Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager] – “I was happy with Stewart, because he gave everything he had. He was moving through the pack well. He could have possibly earned a podium, but he tightened up with five laps to go. He will be able to work on that intensity throughout the week and finish off the series strong. Peick was riding better once we got into the night program. He made a mistake in a big rhythm and crashed. He is banged up, but that won’t stop him from coming back strong after the off-weekend.”
“Peters rode great all day. He wasn’t flowing in the main like he was earlier in the day. Regardless, he was steady. Nicoletti saved his best racing for the main event. It was a bummer that Hill couldn’t ride, because that track would have suited his style with being so technical and challenging. He was hoping to feel better all day, but we had to make the call that he wasn’t going to be able to race.”
“In my years of racing I have seen snow on the ground in Indianapolis before, but it never fell all day long like it did on Saturday. Every time we came out of the truck there was another half of an inch of snow on the ground. Peick was doing donuts in the snow on his RM-Z450, and his mechanic did some in the Textron Stampede. Everyone made the best of the situation since the pits were closed to fans, which was a bummer.”
The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team will have next weekend off, before traveling to Centurylink Field in Seattle, WA on Saturday, April 7th. It will mark the 13th round of the series.
About Suzuki: Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (SMAI) distributes Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Outboard Motors and Automotive Parts and Accessories via an extensive dealer network throughout 49 states. Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide manufacturer of Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automobiles, Outboard Motors and related products. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has business relations with 201 countries/regions. For more information, visit www.suzuki.com.
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About JGRMX: Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross (JGRMX), based in Huntersville, NC, was founded in 2007 by Coy Gibbs, son of NFL Hall of Fame head coach and multi-time NASCAR Championship winning team owner Joe Gibbs. JGRMX competes in both the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series as well as the Monster Energy Supercross series with support from Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. aboard Suzuki RM-Z250 and RM-Z450 race machines.
About Yoshimura R&D of America: Yoshimura is “The Leader in Performance” and has been for more than 55 years. With unmatched skills, knowledge, and passion for racing, Yoshimura is on the forefront of the aftermarket exhaust industry. Yoshimura pipes are race bred and feature the same legendary performance, fit and quality that has been their trademark for more than five decades. To learn more about Yoshimura and view their wide variety of performance products, visit www.yoshimura-rd.com.