CHINO, CA (September 7, 2011) - Yoshimura-backed teams showed their dominance on the asphalt and in the dirt at the season-ending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike races at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ and the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Delmont, PA this past weekend. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki, Rockstar Energy Suzuki, and American Honda Racing teams put their Yoshimura products to the test in their quest for the top of the podium.
Yoshimura-backed team Rockstar Makita Suzuki gave 110 percent at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Sunday's superbike race was one of the most exciting in recent history, and Blake Young took the spectacular win on his Yoshimura-prepared Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000. Teammate Tommy Hayden represented well on Saturday, bringing home an impressive third-place finish. When all was said and done, Young finished out the season in second-place overall, while Hayden finished up in third-place overall.
In Saturday's 23-lap race, Young battled with Hayden for the final podium spot but wound up relinquishing that position to his teammate and ended up in fifth. On Sunday, however, Young pulled out all the stops. He got off the line in second place on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000, and was dicing with up to eight other riders all separated by mere tenths of a second. Young swapped out the lead multiple times before capturing the breathtaking victory.
"My Yoshimura-supported Rockstar Makita Suzuki team has worked hard all year long," said Young. "Although I'm happy to get the win, finishing second in the championship was tough. But in the race, I just wanted to show what my team was capable of. I wanted to bring home the win for them because they deserve it. They know how to win championships, and I'm still learning. They've stuck by me and I want to say my guys - thank you for everything. Overall, I'm happy that I've had the season that I've had, and I'll come back next year and try harder to put forth a better effort, because that's what my team deserves."
Meanwhile, Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Hayden came into the weekend with the attitude that he was going to "win or die trying". On Saturday, the Kentucky native overcame a lackluster start, moved quickly through the field on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 and finished on the podium. On Sunday, he got the holeshot and led the multi-bike freight train for much of the race before suffering a get-off while in second place. Fortunately, Hayden wasn't harmed but neither was he able to rejoin the race.
"Overall the weekend was pretty good," said Hayden. "Yesterday, we were on the podium and today my Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 was fast in the race and I was competing for a win. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and tipped over. It's definitely disappointing to end the season like that, but I went out trying and I feel good about that."
On the dirt side, team Rockstar Makita Suzuki captured one more impressive double-podium finish, this time at round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Delmont, PA. Saturday afternoon's Steel City National saw reigning AMA Pro Motocross Champion Ryan Dungey and his teammate Brett Metcalfe finish second- and third-place overall, respectively, on their Yoshimura-equipped Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450s.
In Saturday's first moto, Dungey got a great start on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 and took over the lead within the first few turns. Dungey pushed hard and led the entire 30-minute race before being overtaken right before the finish line. Although Dungey finished in second place, it was by a mere 0.558 of a second. In the second moto, Dungey got the holeshot and made a valiant charge, but wound up finishing in second place. The final result was second-place overall for the day.
"It was a tough, technical track but I think I rode pretty good this weekend," said Dungey. "Overall, I felt good and I had a strong pace on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. Then, I went out on a limb and we made some changes before the second moto, and it just wasn't doing it for me. I lost a bit of ground, but no excuses. We just need to keep our head up and move forward because there's plenty of racing left. We're going to Pala next, and to go 1-1 would be great, but all I can ask for is the most from myself. I like that track and I was able to win both motos there last year so it'd be great to do it again. I just want to focus on finishing the season strong for Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki."
Teammate Metcalfe also put on an impressive performance this past weekend at Steel City. In the first moto, he was with the front-runners off the gate, and was battling for third for most of the moto. His patience and consistency eventually paid off, as Metcalfe took over the final podium spot on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 before the race's end. In the second moto, he got another good start and moved up a few positions before finishing fourth. The combined results gave Metcalfe his third podium finish of the season.
"Steel City was a great day for me," said Metcalfe. "I was able to pull a third and I was happy to be on the podium. I was feeling really comfortable on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 and, coming off the win last weekend, I was carrying some momentum. I felt really comfortable on the track and the bike was working great, so I knew I was in for a good day. My starts were better in both motos and that helped, and I was also able to make some moves. Now I'm looking forward to Pala, it's kind of my hometown race. I'm just excited about that, I think it's going to be a good event and I look forward to putting the Rockstar Makita Suzuki back up on the podium and having a strong finish in the championship."
Team Rockstar Energy Suzuki continued its string of solid top-10 finishes at Steel City. Martin Davalos picked up ninth-place overall, while Rockstar Energy Suzuki teammates Jason Anderson finished 13th, Ryan Morais came in 16th and Nick Paluzzi wound up 21st.
In the first moto, Davalos struggled a bit but still charged hard and brought home an 11th-place finish on the challenging and slippery Steel City track. In the second moto, Davalos still struggled at the start but fared a bit better on his Yoshimura-equipped Rockstar Energy Suzuki RM-Z250. He worked his way into ninth place for the moto and ninth-place overall for the day.
"I had a decent weekend at Steel City," said Davalos. "I struggled a bit with my starts in both motos. And in the first moto, I rode kind of tight and I had a hard time finding the right line and finding my rhythm. In the second moto, it was basically the same. I was happy with the performance of the Rockstar Energy Suzuki RM-Z250, but I still couldn't find my rhythm and my line choices just weren't any good. I'm going to work on some things this week and try to finish up the season on a positive note. We're going back to California next week and Pala is a good track for me and I'm definitely looking forward to that."
After capturing his first-ever 450 class win last weekend, American Honda Racing's Justin Barcia got his third round of racing the Yoshimura-equipped factory Honda CRF450R away to a great start with a fourth place in moto one at Steel City. However, the heat and humidity took its toll, and he succumbed to the extreme Pennsylvania temperatures near the end of the second moto. Forced to retire from that race, Barcia finished the weekend 13th overall.
"I'm really disappointed about not finishing moto two," said Barcia. "I feel like I let the team down. The track just wasn't my sort of track, and I struggled to find my groove. I used a lot of energy up in moto one - I pushed really hard and think I overdid it. Come the second moto I was feeling fatigued, and nearing the end of the race I was overcome by the heat. I thought the safest thing for me to do was pull off rather than risk hurting myself. I really want to finish the season off on a high note so I'll be bringing my "A" game to the final round at Pala next weekend."
In the Women's class at Steel City, Ashley Fiolek is only one race away from securing her third WMX title after turning in 3-2 moto results on her Yoshimura-equipped factory Honda CRF250R and finishing second overall for the round. Fiolek has a solid 22-point lead in the championship with one round to go.
The Yoshimura-backed teams' next events are the 12th and final round of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, September 10, at the Pala National in Pala, CA. You can meet the Rockstar Energy and Rockstar Makita Suzuki riders on Friday, September 9th, from 6 to 7 PM, at Temecula Motorsports, 26860 Jefferson Ave. in Murrieta, CA.
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