Autotrader / Yoshimura / Suzuki Factory Racing Team Report: Las Vegas Supercross

Photos Courtesy of Brown Dog Wilson

The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team stormed into Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. for the final round of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. Suzuki RM-Z450 mounted Weston Peick scored another top-ten finish to end the series in sixth overall. In the 250 class, teammates Justin Hill and Kyle Peters also battled hard to finish sixth overall in their respective regional series’.

In front of 39,509 fans, and on television screens around the world, Weston Peick rode with determination in moving through the field to finish seventh. The SoCal native finished inside the top ten in 13 of the 17 rounds, including four top-five results, in scoring sixth overall for the series.

Malcolm Stewart was aiming for another top-ten finish in his last fill-in ride with the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team. Showing flashes of brilliance like he has so many times before, Stewart was riding a solid third place in his heat race. Unfortunately, he crashed on the last lap and ended up fifth. The impact from the crash held him back in the main event, where he finished 13 th . Stewart finished 11 th in the overall standings, despite missing the opening round of the series.

Defending 250 West Supercross Champion Justin Hill had high expectations to end the series with another win. The Oregon native was hampered by an ankle sprain sustained during last week’s race in Salt Lake City. Hill soldiered on to a 15 th place finish, and ended up sixth overall in the 250 West series.

Against all odds, Suzuki RM-Z250 rider Kyle Peters scored a podium finish in Foxborough two weekends ago while racing with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. Peters gave it his all in Las Vegas, but the injury held him back from another podium. He finished 18 th in the main event and sixth overall in the 250 East Supercross Championship. Peters will undergo knee surgery this week to repair his ligaments.

Phil Nicoletti was eager to finish his 250 West campaign on a high note, especially after scoring a sixth place in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, Nicoletti was plagued by misfortune at nearly every turn and failed to qualify for the main event. The New Yorker ended the series in 11 th overall. He will now turn his attention to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in a fill-in role for the injured Justin Bogle on the Suzuki RM-Z450.

Weston Peick [450 Class, 7 th Place] – “The result wasn’t what I was looking for. After finishing inside the top five several times this year, I wanted to end the series on a high note. I was slightly off timing during the start and had to work my way forward. It wasn’t easy to pass on the track, but I made it happen. I’m excited to finish the series in sixth, walk away healthy, and move on to the outdoors.”

Malcolm Stewart [450 Class, 13 th Place] – “The goal was to end the Supercross series with another top ten finish. I was feeling good on the track, which had some really high-speed sections. I crashed while running third in my heat race. It took the wind out of my sails. Anyway, I’m thankful for the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team for giving me the opportunity in Supercross. It has been fun.”

Justin Hill [250 Class, 15 th Place] – “I’m not going to lie, Las Vegas was a rough one. I wanted to end my 250 Supercross career with a bang, but it just didn’t happen. That’s racing. I’m looking forward to hopping on the Suzuki RM-Z450 next season and seeing what I can do.”

Kyle Peters [250 Class, 18 th Place] – “Racing with a bum knee wasn’t the best situation, but after Foxborough I knew that anything is possible. My goal was to secure sixth place in the 250 East standings, and I accomplished that. This week I’ll have surgery to repair my knee in preparation for the 2019 season. Thanks to the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Teams for their hard work and dedication!”

Phil Nicoletti [250 Class, DNQ] – “It was a disappointing day, to say the least. I’m not happy with how things worked out, because I put in the effort during the week to finish inside the top five. We’ll just have to regroup and get ready for the start of the outdoors.”


Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager] – “This was the most difficult Supercross race of the whole series. Thankfully, Peick rode well and served as the bright spot in an otherwise forgettable night. Weston tried as hard as he could to come back and make up spots, which he was able to take advantage with really good whoop speed. Stewart had a good heat race going, but crashed on the last lap and got banged up. He rode hard in the main event, and his result isn’t indicative of his effort. I am thankful to have worked with Malcolm during the Supercross series. He won’t be racing the Nationals for the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team, but we’re providing him with a Suzuki RM-Z450 for the summer.”

“As for our 250 program, Kyle Peters fought extremely hard. Despite a torn-up knee, he was able to run a fast pace. He dabbed his foot one time and hurt his knee, but he battled through the pain to finish sixth overall in the series. Justin Hill seemed off all day long and couldn’t get going. Poor Phil Nicoletti was a victim of poor circumstances and came out on the losing end. That’s how racing goes sometimes.”

Nicoletti had a tough night. He went down in the LCQ. Peters was riding well, but he dabbed his foot and hurt his knee. Peick rode well. It was tough to make moves. His strength was in the whoops. He rode as hard as he could. I thought he did well. Stewart had a good heat race and crashed on the last lap. He was a bit sore for the main, and rode hard. It was great to have him on the team. He won’t be racing the outdoors. He will continue riding a JGRMX Suzuki RM-Z450.

This concludes the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team will have a weekend break before traveling to Rancho Cordova, Calif. for the opening round of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, May 19 th .

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.

About Autotrader: Autotrader is the most visited third-party car shopping site, with the most engaged audience of in-market shoppers. As the foremost authority on automotive consumer insights and expert in online and mobile marketing, Autotrader makes the car shopping experience easy and fun for today's empowered consumer looking to find or sell the perfect new, used or Certified Pre-Owned car. Using technology, shopper insights and local market guidance, Autotrader's comprehensive marketing solutions guide dealers to personalized digital marketing strategies that grow brand, drive traffic and connect the online and in-store shopping experience. Autotrader is a Cox Automotive™ brand. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. For more information, please visit http://press.autotrader.com.

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.