Suzuki GSX-R750 Successfully Debuts in Supersport Class
BREA, Calif., April 25, 2022 – Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer added three podium finishes for Saturday and Sunday to conclude an all-around strong performance at Road Atlanta, round two of the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship season.
Team Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike rider Jake Lewis emerged from a chaotic opening handful of laps in third position on Saturday then spent the bulk of the contest defending the position aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000R Superbike. The gap behind him closed perilously with around five laps to run, but Lewis responded brilliantly to the pressure. Rather than fold, he re-upped his pace to ultimately secure third at the checkered flag.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike pilot Jake Lewis (85) arguably served as the headliner, scoring his first premier-class podium finish in four seasons.
He said, “It’s always nice to be up here. It’s been since 2018 that I was last on a Superbike podium. We’re getting back up to speed with the pace of these guys. I’m getting more comfortable on the bike – this bike is a lot different than the stock bike I rode last year. I had a decent pace and I just kept pushing and pushing and managing the board. It’s obviously nice to be up here for all the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki guys. They’ve been working so hard for me, and we’ll keep working away and build up speed as the year goes on.”
Lewis wasn’t so lucky in his follow-up to Saturday’s welcome return to the Superbike podium. The Kentuckian got away from the original start in fifth but was forced to line up for the restart from the back of the field after leaving pit lane just over a second late. Still, he managed to fight his way from last to seventh position before his race ended prematurely due to a mechanical issue.
Richie Escalante (54) pilots his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike into two top five finishes.
Lewis’ teammate, Richie Escalante, had an even more eventful Saturday; The class newcomer made a fast start from the second row, but ran off track early and dropped outside of the top 20 positions as a result.
The former Supersport champ charged his way forward for the remainder of the race, at last landing in fifth to give the team a double top-five result to celebrate on top of Lewis’ return to the box.
On Sunday, Escalante battled for the podium throughout the once-stopped-and-restarted affair aboard his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R, coming home a close fifth after making a late push for the box.
“So far, so good,” Escalante said. “For sure, I’m learning every lap and that’s the most important thing. Two top fives are good for the championship. I need to learn more to understand the big bike better, but I’m super happy with the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team and my crew. I want to continue to fight for the podium, so we’ll keep working as we get ready for some of my favorite tracks.”
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki pilot Sam Lochoff (44) finishes with a pair of podiums for Race 1 and 2 in the Supersport class.
MotoAmerica Supersport title contender Sam Lochoff guided the squad’s new GSX-R750 racebike to its first class podium result with a runner-up result in Saturday’s Race 1.
Lochoff took maximum advantage of the second opportunity to get a strong start, jumping out second off the line and never looking back from there.
The South African said, “My Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team spent the last two days working on the bike. We came here with a bunch of unknowns, and they did everything possible to put us in this position. The 750 is awesome. We’re going to keep working and we’re going to get there. I’m excited.”
On Sunday, Lochoff again demonstrated the speed to battle for wins aboard the new Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750. The South African battled his way up from the second row to quickly seize control of second and then made serious inroads on the race leader.
Lochoff’s charge was halted when a mishap through the esses cost him a couple seconds, but he kept his head, regrouped, and powered his way to a second runner-up finish this weekend.
After getting his race weekend on the GSX-R750 under his belt, Lochoff came away impressed and excited about its potential. He said, “I’m taking nothing but positives from the weekend. I’m extremely happy with the bike. We struggled with it a little bit in the first session, but we’ve been making constant progress.
“I want to thank Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki powered by Team Hammer. They’ve been working day and night to get this bike sorted. Last year, we finished third in the championship and so far, we haven’t finished worse than second, so I can’t wait to see how this season continues.”
After a tough Race 1, Tyler Scott (70) finished in the top five in Race 2 on his Vision Wheel M4 Suzuki debut.
Lochoff’s 16-year-old rookie Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Tyler Scott, after qualifying in fourth position, got away even better, but a chain reaction when another rider caused Scott to crash on the race’s second lap, bringing out a red flag.
Scott explained, “A rider in front of me had a bike issue, and l had to adjust my line and just got pinched off. Bad place at a bad time. On the bright side, the bike felt great.”
For Race 2, Tyler Scott demonstrated his mammoth potential, and this time earned the checkered flag. The Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rookie charged his way up to fourth and had third in his sights prior to a short off-track excursion. Like Lochoff, Scott managed the drama well and ultimately snared a top-five result in his Team Hammer debut.
Liam Grant (90), collected points on his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki debut, coming home in 14th and 12th position.
Liam Grant collected points on his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki debut with a 14th in Race 1 and picking up 12th in the rematch of Race 2.
Team Hammer will return to action in just under a month, as the ‘22 MotoAmerica slate resumes at Virginia International Raceway, in Alton, Virginia, on May 20-22.
ABOUT TEAM HAMMER
The 2022 season marks Team Hammer's 42nd consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 128 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 335 times and have won 11 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships (in Superbike and Supersport.) The team has also won 137 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running "Methanol Monster" GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won four F-USA Championships.
ABOUT VISION WHEEL
Founded in 1976, Vision Wheel is one of the nation’s leading providers of custom wheels for cars and trucks, and one of the first manufacturers of custom wheels and tires for ATVs, UTVs, and golf carts. Vision Wheel looks beyond the current trends and to the future in developing, manufacturing, and distributing its wheels. Vision’s lines of street, race, off-road, American Muscle, and Milanni wheels are distributed nationally and internationally through a trusted network of distributors. Vision Wheel also produces the Vision It AR app to allow users to see how their wheel of choice will look on their vehicle before purchase and installation. For more information on Vision Wheel, visit www.visionwheel.com.
Suzuki Motor USA, LLC. (SMO) distributes Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automotive Parts, Accessories, and ECSTAR Oils & Chemicals 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.