Team Suzuki Press Office – September 13.
Jake Lewis (SBK): GSX-R1000R – 6th
Richie Escalante (SBK): GSX-R1000R – 13th
Tyler Scott (SSP): GSX-R750 – 6th
Liam Grant (SSP): GSX-R750 – 10th
Sam Lochoff: (SSP): GSX-R750 – 12th
Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer closed the book on the penultimate round of the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing season with gritty performances under trying circumstances.
Superbike stalwart Jake Lewis leaned upon his vast experience to climb up through the field in Sunday’s wet premier-class contest. The Kentuckian started from the back of the grid due to a last-second pre-race tyre change and found himself down in 14th position early with the rain coming down, but steadily improved his outlook with a confident, measured ride aboard the team’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R.
Already firmly entrenched inside the top 10, Lewis picked up a few more positions late when the precipitation stepped up on the race’s final lap, ultimately claiming sixth place at the flag to lead a five-strong Suzuki GSX-R train that all finished inside the top 10.
“It was a tough race in rainy, mixed conditions, but it was a good race for us,” Lewis said. “It started raining a lot harder two minutes before the start and we changed to wet tyres. I planned to go out on slicks but obviously that changed. We started from the back of the grid and passed a bunch of riders. Given the challenges, our main goal was to keep it on two wheels, and we accomplished that.”
Superbike rookie teammate Richie Escalante gained valuable wet-weather experience scoring a 13th-place result that certainly clears the way for better races in similar conditions down the road.
In the MotoAmerica Supersport competition, Tyler Scott was once again a factor up front despite his very participation being questionable, after suffering a left-hand injury in Saturday’s race. Scott ran as high as second aboard the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750 but lost a handful of positions recalibrating his aggression and form after the skies opened up.
He ultimately earned sixth place, when the race was red flagged and called complete five laps early due to the increasing rainfall.
Scott said: “I’m very thankful for the whole Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team getting the bike fixed overnight. I felt strong this morning and had some pace, but I’ve been struggling with my hand. Yesterday, when I high sided, my ring finger was injured making it difficult to hold onto the bike in the second and fourth sectors. Other than that, I felt pretty well throughout the race, but didn’t want to push too hard and risk things, so I just tried to keep a fast pace and finish with a decent result.”
Teammate and fellow class rookie Liam Grant was another of the six Suzuki-mounted riders to break into the top 10, finishing 10th after edging a rival to the strip by a mere 0.032 seconds.
The returning Sam Lochoff was sixth early but came home in 12th. The South African continues to both heal and recover his fitness after being unable to train for much of the season.
Lochoff said: “It was a good race in some ways. I felt more confident out there today than yesterday and it was progress coming back from injury. Then it started to rain. I strongly felt they should have stopped the race to let us get on wet tyres. I had nothing to gain being out there taking big risks on dry tyres since I wasn’t going to win the race or get on the podium. Still, it was great to be back on the GSX-R and I am looking forward to Barber.”
Team Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki will cap off the ‘22 campaign at the Barber Motorsports Park season finale on September 23-25th in Birmingham, Alabama.