Team Suzuki Press Office – May 3.
Sean Dylan Kelly: GSX-R600 – 1-1
Bobby Fong: GSX-R1000 – 2-5
Cameron Petersen: GSX-R1000 – 4-4
Sam Lochoff: GSX-R600 – 5-7
Suzuki Motor, LLC and Team Hammer kicked-off the 2021 MotoAmerica AMA/ FIM North American Road Racing Championship with two race victories, three podiums and a pole position in the weekend’s season opener at Road Atlanta in Georgia.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly, who made good on his promise to come back even stronger in 2021 following a five-win championship runner-up MotoAmerica Supersport campaign a year ago, delivered back-to-back victories from pole in MotoAmerica Supersport competition at Road Atlanta. He twice demonstrated his dog-fighting capabilities aboard the Suzuki GSX-R600 early before ultimately breaking his pursuers’ challenge and escaping to take the chequered flag alone at the front.
As a result, Kelly now boasts four consecutive class victories dating back to the end of last season.
Said Kelly: “That was amazing. It’s awesome to see fans here again cheering us on. This is what we work for as a team. For myself, this off-season, it was really tough after a difficult 2020 season. But this is what we work for.
“I came into 2021 better than ever, and my team came into 2021 better than ever. We worked really hard this weekend and this is our reward. We’re going to keep going just like this. We’re really strong and we’re going to keep on fighting.”
Kelly’s new teammate, Sam Lochoff, impressed in his MotoAmerica Supersport class and team debut. The South African twice fought his way forward from the outside of Row 3, claiming a fifth-place result on Saturday and a seventh on Sunday despite still acclimating to the power of Suzuki’s Supersport contender.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Superbike duo of Bobby Fong and Cameron Petersen flashed serious potential and came away with a runner-up result and four top-fives despite battling against misfortune and difficult circumstances.
Fong stormed to second aboard his factory GSX-R1000 Superbike on Saturday and showed the pace to improve upon that position in Sunday’s rematch.
Unfortunately, the Californian was judged to have jumped the start and was assessed a ride-thru penalty while running at the front of the pack. The penalty eliminated Fong from contention for the win, but he rode hard after serving the penalty and salvaged a fifth-place finish in the end.
Said Fong: “It wasn’t a bad weekend. We came out in one piece with no crashes and got some points. I jumped the start in race two and I apologise to the team for that. The track is downhill there on the start and I got a bit of a roll. It’s unfortunate, but that is part of racing. When I was leading, I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard and I felt comfortable racing with those guys. The team worked really well this weekend and I feel really good about our season.”
South African Cam Petersen scored a pair of fourths, despite riding at less than 100% due to a healing injured foot.
Unrealised potential was the theme for a number of other Suzuki pilots: M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Wyatt Farris earned 10th and 13th-place finishes in Stock 1000 after a pre-season injury hampered his testing program.
Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s ultra-talented Jake Lewis twice teased race-winning potential on his Team Hammer-built GSX-R1000 in Stock 1000 before reeling in a pair of fourths.
Team Hammer and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki will look to make good on a promising opener when the 2021 season resumes at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia, on May 21-23th.