Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer reigned supreme on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway as Supersport phenom Tyler Scott scored his first victory of the 2023 MotoAmerica season in dramatic fashion.
- Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki
- Tyler Scott came out on top of a last-lap thriller to earn his first MotoAmerica win of the season.
- Teagg Hobbs fought his way back to 16th from last after running off track late in the race.
- Brandon Paasch broke into the top five for the first time in his short stint with the team.
- Richie Escalante collected seventh, ending his run of six straight top fives.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott racked up his first victory of the season via a thrilling last-lap Supersport showdown. After settling into a blazing-fast pace in second, Scott rallied after a red flag set the stage for a five-lap shootout to clinch the win. Scott leapt into the lead aboard his next-generation Suzuki GSX-R750 on the restart and controlled the race’s decisive stage. The 17-year-old Scott countered his opponent’s last-lap pass attempt and took the checkered flag in first to earn a hard-fought victory.
“We made a few changes and were able to push the pace,” Scott said after winning Team Hammer’s 130th AMA Pro/MotoAmerica race. “We were P1 in this morning’s warm-up session, and going into the race I had a good feeling. It was a great race. I felt amazing on the bike for the entirety of the race. I can’t thank the whole Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team enough for all the hard work they’ve put in. Our last MotoAmerica win was Road America last year, so it’s been a while since we’ve been on the top step of the podium. I’m happy to be here, and we’re going to keep pushing to be better and better.”
The race wasn’t as kind to teammate Teagg Hobbs. Hobbs ran inside the top five during the race’s first stint, but his ultimate finishing position was largely determined by an off-track excursion caused by a collision with another rider following the red flag. The up-and-comer dropped to last place but managed to pick up a handful of positions before taking the checkered flag in 16th position.
Hobbs said, “I ran off the track and was in last and only had a few laps to climb back up the order. Luck wasn’t going our way. We had a strong weekend and were fourth in the warm-up this morning and fifth in the race before the red flag. After the restart, it just didn’t go my way this time.”
Brandon Paasch continued his remarkably rapid acclimatization to Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki and the team’s Suzuki GSX-R1000R in the premier class. Despite his lack of seat time on the bike and riding at less than full fitness after breaking his back in March, Paasch battled up front, running as high as fourth. In the end, he collected a highly promising top-five finish in fifth.
“Today was better than Saturday,” Paasch said. “We’re getting closer with the setup, and we had more grip today. I was also riding better, for sure. I was able to see how the leaders were riding in the early laps, and I could see the little things they did better, like going through the corner a little faster but still getting the bike turned. As my back continues to heal, I’ll get stronger. Things are going well.”
Richie Escalante’s Sunday result only served to underline his continued progress by representing a minor disappointment compared to his recent string of strong results. Escalante had established himself as a regular up front, notching nine top-five finishes on the season aboard his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R — including the last six in succession — before Sunday’s seventh-place result.
“It was a difficult race for us,” Escalante admitted. “The team and I tried to improve the bike even more, this morning, to improve the grip. It felt good this morning and for the first five laps of the race. After that, I did not have a good feeling from the front, so I did my best to collect as many points as I could for the championship. Overall, it was a good weekend for us, and I want to thank the team and my sponsors for everything. I will train hard, and we will concentrate on the next one since there will be three Superbike races again.”
The 2023 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship will continue Aug. 18-20 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pennsylvania.