Team Suzuki Press Office – April 10.
Jake Lewis: GSX-R1000R – 6th
Richie Escalante: GSX-R1000R – 7th
Suzuki Motor USA and Team Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki opened the 2022 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship season in promising fashion at the Circuit of the Americas with its new-look premier-class lineup improving on their qualifying positions to claim a pair of top-seven finishes.
Reigning Stock 1000 Champion Jake Lewis led the way in Austin, Texas, in his return ride for the squad, piloting the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R to sixth place. The Kentuckian made an early move into fifth and then spent most of the race in a three-rider scrap for fourth position.
Said Lewis: “It’s great to get a race under our belt,” Lewis said. “Obviously, I wanted to start the season a little bit better. It would have been nice to end up in that fourth position, but we struggled after mid-distance with a few little issues that I tried to ride around.
“Still, it’s nice to get a full race in to learn and build as a team with the bike. We’ll try to make some changes for the second race and do better tomorrow.”
Superbike rookie Richie Escalante finished one spot further back in his class debut. The Mexican stepped up to the litre-bike class weeks after the former MotoAmerica Supersport champ signed off from his former class with a top-five outing in the prestigious Daytona 200.
The Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki newcomer acquitted himself quite nicely on the powerful GSX-R1000R Superbike, charging his way up from an early tenth to take the checkered flag in seventh position.
“I’m super happy,” Escalante said. “I came into this weekend with no expectations except to learn. It’s a new category for me and I’m excited to ride in Superbike and with Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. I finished the race and scored my first points in Superbike and that’s the first goal.
“There’s so much to learn. Everything is so different compared to Supersport. The bike is heavier and faster and a little more difficult to ride with variable engine braking. I’m still riding the bike like a 600 with a lot of corner speed. I’m learning how to pick the bike up faster. There’s so many little things that I need to improve on, but I’m happy with this first race; I’ll just keep working and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
Proven race winners and national champions, Lewis and Escalante aim to make huge strides as the season develops and as they grow more comfortable with their new equipment and team.
They each have a chance to do so Sunday, as the AMA/ FIM North American Road Racing Championship will again share the spotlight with the MotoGP World Championship in an action-packed Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas.