Autotrader / Yoshimura / Suzuki Factory Racing Team Report: Hangtown National

Photos Courtesy of Brown Dog Wilson

The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team entered the opening round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with high expectations. The 50 th running of the Hangtown National served as a reminder that Weston Peick is always ready to do battle, regardless of the conditions. Peick rose to the occasion yet again, finishing sixth overall against a stout field. Suzuki RM-Z450 teammate Phil Nicoletti rocketed out to the second moto holeshot and finished ninth overall. In the 250 ranks, sensational rookie Enzo Lopes dazzled in his debut. The Brazilian rode well and finished both motos inside the top 15.

Menifee, Calif. native Peick gated well in both motos, starting inside the top ten and craftily working his way forward. When the first moto concluded Peick found himself in fifth place – nearly matching his best moto score from 2017. Early in the second moto the RM-Z450 rider was as high as fourth, but a lingering hand issue relegated him to seventh in the moto and sixth overall on the day.

Peick’s teammate, Phil Nicoletti, had a few short weeks to acclimate to the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450 after spending the Supercross series on the RM-Z250. Nicoletti looked very comfortable on the RM-Z450, nabbing the second moto holeshot in front of 39 other competitors and leading briefly. The Cochecton, NY native settled into a consistent pace and finished 9-9 for ninth overall. He will line up on the RM-Z450 again this next week at Glen Helen.

News broke several weeks ago that Brazilian amateur star, Enzo Lopes, was joining the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team for the start of the Nationals. The 18-year-old looked like a seasoned veteran at Hangtown, never giving any quarter and racing hard for the duration of both motos. Lopes’ 13-15 moto scores were good enough for 15 th overall.

Justin Hill has been tweaking his training regimen in an effort to build endurance. The Yoncalla, Ore. native had bursts of speed at Hangtown and showed promise at various times throughout both motos. Hill finished 16-13 for 16 th overall.

Weston Peick [450 Class, 5-7 for 6 th Place] – “Hangtown wasn’t ripped as deep as it usually is, but it still got rough. It was hard pack in some areas. I felt really good in the first moto. I got off to a slow start, but found a good flow and passed up to fifth place. I’ve been dealing with a hand issue, and it really bothered me. At one point my hand was going numb. I went into the second moto dealing with a lot of pain, but I stuck it out and did what I could. My hand started bothering me again at about the 15 minute mark, but I fought through it. We made a suspension change after the first moto to get the fork to hold up, but we went a bit too extreme, and that resulted in the forks being too stiff. That was okay, though, because we figured out what works and what doesn’t. I’m looking forward to Glen Helen.”

Phil Nicoletti [450 Class, 9-9 for 9 th Place] – “The weekend was okay, given the amount of time I had on the bike. I had stomach issues all day, which played into my performance. Overall, being able to rip a holeshot in the second moto and running up front for a while was nice. I couldn’t hold the pace, due to my stomach problems, but it was a decent start to the Nationals. We made good changes with the suspension and chassis, and it will pay off.”

Enzo Lopes [250 Class, 13-15 for 15 th Place] – “My first National was a really cool experience. The way I look at is that we still have plenty of motos to go. I rode pretty tight in the first timed practice, because of nerves. I felt better in the second timed practice and ended up 11 th fastest, which was pretty good. I had a decent start in the first moto and battled with some established riders. That moto I ended up 13 th , which was good. I had a better start in the second moto and was running in 11 th place, but I crashed and fell back to 17 th . That crash slowed me up, and I was only able to get back to 15 th place. I am happy to get my first National out of the way, and I can’t wait for Glen Helen!”

Justin Hill [250 Class, 16-13 for 16 th Place] – “Outdoors is gnarly, and every year it gets more gnarly. I don’t think I’ve ever showed up with the bike being so close to what it needs to be chassis and suspension wise. My Achilles heel was the starts, but the bike performed great. We did some testing the past few weeks, and that paid off. The results were not what I wanted at Hangtown, but I felt like I rode well once I got going. Now I know what I need to change, and that’s to get going off the start and sprint hard. That’s an internal thing that I have to fix. I think I can run with the front guys. I need to be up front and battling with them.”

Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager] – “There were some highlights for the team coming out of Hangtown. Phil Nicoletti grabbed the holeshot in the second moto and was riding well, but he got landed on, which kept him from having a better result. Still, ninth overall is a good start to the outdoors for him. Peick rode awesome in the first moto, but he began to have troubles with his hand toward the end of the moto. The track was tricky, and Weston soldiered on as best as he could.”

“On the 250 side, Lopes did well for his very first race. He would have done better in the results, but he fell over in a turn and lost valuable positions. Enzo puts in the work and we really like him. He should do better this next weekend. As for Hill, he felt good and rode hard, but starts held him back. He also didn’t move through the pack as quickly as he would have liked. Justin had a better second moto than the first moto. Overall, we’re happy to have a good showing, and we will get better throughout the season.”

The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team will travel to Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif. on Saturday for the second round of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

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.

Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team geared up for 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship

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The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team is excited to head outdoors for the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Celebrating its 47 th year, the series kicks off this Saturday at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Weston Peick will be joined by Phil Nicoletti, who is filling in for the injured Justin Bogle during the opening rounds on the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450. In the 250 class, veteran Justin Hill will be joined by amateur sensation Enzo Lopes. The pride of Brazil, Lopes is making his professional debut on the Suzuki RM-Z250.

The 12-round Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is contested over three months, with rounds in 11 different states. Peick finished inside the top ten during last year’s campaign while battling a wrist injury. Nicoletti has scored numerous top-five finishes throughout his career, and is looking to capitalize on his multi-race outdoor deal.

The supremely talented Hill will anchor the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team effort in the 250 class. The Yoncalla, Ore. native will be teamed up with the exuberant Lopes, who intends on making a big splash in his maiden National this weekend. Lopes is slated to race the opening rounds while Jimmy Decotis continues to recover from a back injury. Decotis is scheduled to begin riding in less than two weeks, but will need seat time before returning to action.


Team manager Jeremy Albrecht is looking forward to the start of the new series. “We have a lot of promising talent heading into the Nationals. Weston Peick is coming off a strong Supercross series. He’s a tough guy, which is a perfect fit for the long and grueling motos. Nicoletti looks poised to take advantage of the 450 opportunity. He’s a hard worker and never gives up.” As for the 250 program, Albrecht stated, “I think that Lopes will turn some heads. He has a tireless work ethic, and the speed is there. I expect flashes of brilliance out of Hill, who will use the Nationals to prepare for the jump up to the 450 class next year.”

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.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias Scores Two Hard-Fought Victories at VIR

Photos Courtesy of Brian J Nelson

Toni Elias, riding his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000, swept the doubleheader race weekend of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship at the scenic Virginia International Raceway. It marked the second clean sweep of the season for Elias, who also took the double win at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, last month.

Elias reached his milestone 20th MotoAmerica victory in Saturday’s Race One. He earned the distinction of reaching 20 wins faster than any other rider in series history. He then continued adding to his tally with Sunday’s 21st-career victory. That also marked Suzuki’s 199th win in MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike history, putting them just one away from an historic 200th win. 

Suzuki is the all-time wins leader among manufacturers in the 42-year history of the MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike Championship.

Elias found two different paths to victory at VIR. In Saturday’s race he trailed most of the way before making his move with two laps to go. In Sunday’s race Elias controlled the pace from the front, officially leading all 23 laps. Both races were epic battles with Elias defeating rival Cameron Beaubier by just 0.114 seconds on Saturday and 0.546 on Sunday.

With five wins in six races, Elias has stretched his championship points lead to 35.

Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Roger Hayden had a tough-luck weekend. He got caught up in a chain-reaction crash in Saturday’s race ending in a spectacular endo at speed. Hayden attempted to race Sunday. He ran as high as fourth in the early going, but began experiencing dizziness and decided the best action was to pull out of the race.

For Elias, the VIR sweep came as somewhat of a surprise.

“VIR has not always been the best track for me,” Elias explained. “In yesterday’s race I just tried to stay close to Cameron [Beaubier] and in the end I was able to find a way to pass. Today I was leading all the way. It was a different strategy, but it worked and we were able to win again and most importantly build on our points lead. This was again credit to my Yoshimura Suzuki crew. Everyone worked so hard to improve our performance at this track and it worked perfectly. 

“It is Mom’s Day in Spain and I want to dedicate my victories this weekend to her.”

With a three-week break until the next round at Road America, Hayden hopes to be fully recovered and ready to race by then.

“In the first race a rider in front of us crashed and a couple of us went off track to avoid him,” Hayden said. “I ended up having a pretty big crash and hit my head pretty hard. I tried to ride today, but I was still feeling the effects of yesterday’s hit to the head. I got pretty dizzy on the bike, so I just brought it in to be safe. We’ve got three weeks to Road America. I plan on coming out strong there. It’s a good track for our bike.”

The next event on the MotoAmerica schedule takes place at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 1-3, round four of the 10-event series. Suzuki is hoping to reach and perhaps even eclipse the 200-win plateau that weekend. 

For team media guide click here.

For additional information visit: www.motoamerica.com

You can keep up with the team’s progress by visiting yoshimura-racing.comand www.suzukicycles.com/Racing and via YouTube at www.youtube.com/SuzukiCycles

Team Yoshimura Suzuki is grateful for the support of their sponsors: Yoshimura R&DSuzuki Motor of AmericaMotulDunlopTucker RockyTeam SuzukiShoraiSunstarMWR Racing FiltersNGK Spark PlugsRK Racing ChainZeta High Performance Products, and Chicken Hawk Racing.

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 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.