The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team was eager to compete at round nine of the 2018 AMA Supercross series. Justin Hill looked inspired on the Suzuki RM-Z450, qualifying second for the unique “Triple Crown” format. Suzuki RM-Z250 mounted Kyle Peters used good starts and consistency to finish seventh overall for the night.
Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Hill jumped rhythm sections that others wouldn’t dare. The Yoncalla, Ore. native used his technical skills to dissect the track and make up time on a course that was very demanding. Hill held the fastest qualifying time until late in the final session. Unfortunately, circumstances out of his control sent him to the ground in the first main. Hill looked exceptional in the second main event, but he cross-rutted while attempting a tricky triple-triple jump and crashed. The impact resulted in a broken toe, which sidelined him for the final main event of the evening.
Feeling confident after practice, Suzuki RM-Z250 rider Peters strung together a solid night in Atlanta. The North Carolina native finished with 11-7-7 scores for seventh overall. Peters has moved into a three-way tie for ninth overall in the standings.
Malcolm Stewart is making the most of his opportunity with the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team. Stewart put his head down and charged in every main event to score a ninth-place overall finish.
After scoring a third-place finish two weeks ago, Jimmy Decotis was looking to improve on a career-best result. Decotis made gains as the night wore on. He battled the treacherous track in finishing inside the top ten in two of the three mains, and finished 10th overall. Decotis sits sixth in the 250 East championship standings.
Weston Peick will not be kept from his goal of finishing on the podium. Peick had a mishap in the first 450 qualifying session when he ejected over the 70-foot triple jump. The SoCal native grimaced in pain, but fought his way into the night show. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the cheering fans. Peick would have finished well inside the top-ten had it not been for a stroke of bad luck in the first moto. As it is, he stands sixth in the point standings.
Kyle Peters [250 Class, 7th Place] – “After riding press day I felt really comfortable coming into the race. I knew after practice that I was flowing much better than the two previous weekends. In the first main, I rode defensively and wasn’t pushing forward. I had a better start in the second main and worked up to seventh. That was a step in the right direction. I nailed an awesome start in the third main event, but cramped up in the end. I salvaged a seventh for seventh overall, which is a positive. It was nice to have the hometown crowd, and our friends from Autotrader there supporting us.”
Malcolm Stewart [450 Class, Ninth Place] – “The day went reasonably well. I finished inside the top-10 in the first two main events, but I struggled off the start in the last main. I had a few big mistakes. I regrouped and came away with ninth overall. I’m happy with that, and going in the right direction. I have a few things to work on. Truth be told, I’m definitely not a fan of the Triple Crown at this race, and the stadium was tough. The track was tight, and there was a lot of carnage.”
Jimmy Decotis [250 Class, 10th Place] – “I liked the Triple Crown format. I charged forward in the final main event and moved up at the end of the race, which is a big positive. I’ll take that and move ahead to this next weekend. I need to get up there and be where I belong, but things change quickly in racing. I’m looking forward to Daytona and I like how demanding it is. The Suzuki RM-Z250 is tailor made for an event like that. I’m a sand guy, too.”
Weston Peick [450 Class, 12th Place] – “Atlanta was not a good race for me. I literally ejected off the face of the triple in practice. I don’t know if I caught a Tuff Block with my foot or with my handlebars. My front end was ripped out of my hands. It was so fast that I don’t know what happened. I landed on both feet and jacked up my left heel and right shoulder pretty badly. I pulled off early in the final practice session and forgot that it was the Triple Crown format, so I had to go to the LCQ. I won and got a bit of a flow. In the first main event, I had a good start, but another rider crashed into me. I had two good starts in the final mains and finished inside the top ten. It was not the night we wanted, but after the crash I had in practice I was happy to get out of the building in 12th overall.”
Justin Hill [450 Class, 22nd Place] – “The day went well, all of the way up to the first main event. I lost focus on the start and was caught up in a lot of garbage in the second rhythm section. A rider crashed in front of me, and I got caught in the carnage. Then I went over the bars and my bike was tweaked up. I feel like I could have held the lead pace off, because it wasn’t that intense. In the second main, I had an outside gate choice, but I started working through the field. I was making a lot of time on the triple-triple section, because I don’t think anyone else was doing it. Unfortunately, I cross-rutted off the face and it pulled the handlebars right out of my hands. I made the split-second decision to bail. It would have been really bad if I had tried to ride it out. I landed feet-first, and because there was another jump right after that I couldn’t land and fold up. I’m lucky in that I had great boots on that saved my ankles from serious damage. I’m happy, overall, because I rode well up to that point and showed good speed. I am excited for the future and to take the next step.”
Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager] – “It was an up and down day. Hill qualified second and was looking good. Peick had a big get-off in practice and had to qualify for the night show through the Last Chance Qualifier. He rode well, considering how banged up he was. The guys rode well in the main events. Hill was up there, but he crashed and hurt his feet and shoulder. Overall, no one is hurt too badly. Considering how difficult the track was, and how big of crashes the guys had, I’m happy that we could walk away from this one. The plan for Hill is to return to the Suzuki RM-Z250 in preparation for the remaining 250 West Supercross rounds.”
“Peters had a great race going in the 250 class. Decotis was up and down, but he didn’t quit. We’ll be better next week at Daytona.”
“On Thursday, we visited our title sponsor, Autotrader, and it was awesome. We had the entire team in attendance. There was a lot of exposure for the team this week, which was great. I wish we could have put in better results for our sponsors, but racing is up and down.”
The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team will travel to the famed Daytona International Speedway for round 10 of the 2018 Supercross series on Saturday, March 10th.
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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 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.