Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer celebrated a landmark victory in spectacular fashion as the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing season resumed on Saturday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
That celebration came courtesy of rising star Tyler Scott, who demonstrated both wisdom beyond his years and a flair for the dramatic in a perfectly executed MotoAmerica Supersport contest.
Even before the race, the 16-year-old made his intentions clear by hustling the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750 to his, and the bike’s, first-ever Supersport pole position in just their third attempt.
Scott made the most of that prime starting position by rocketing out in the lead at the start. However, once he saw it would be impossible to escape at the front, he made the cagey decision to slot into second position, go to school on a vastly more experienced rider and then strike at the last possible moment.
He played his cards perfectly, pulling out of the draft in the final sprint to the checkered flag at the last possible moment, slingshotting to a 0.039-second margin of victory.
Scott said, “I tried to break away in the first couple of laps, but I saw there wasn’t a possibility of that, so I decided to follow and learn what I could before attempting to draft him to the finish line.”
“I definitely wanted it, but I didn’t expect a Supersport win to come quite this early. I knew I would have to get used to the team and the bike, but I wanted the first one to come as soon as possible. The Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750 was amazing for the entire race. All thanks to my entire Suzuki team.”
While Scott’s breakthrough win obviously made him the headliner, it was a banner day for Suzuki in the class all around. Scott’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Sam Lochoff, engaged in a heated battle throughout the race and came in seventh; Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Liam Grant finished in 10th. And Suzuki riders from multiple teams accounted for six of the top 10 positions, a dominating performance for the new generation Supersport Suzuki GSX-R750.
Lochoff said, “I got a strong start; I came up to second from fifth, but I outbraked myself in Turn 12 and lost some positions. After that, I settled down and rode what I thought was a pretty good race. I knew I could catch the guys in front of me, but I was weak on the brakes and couldn’t get a good drive out of the chicane. We’ll work on the setup and look forward to tomorrow.”
Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race saw Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammates Jake Lewis and Richie Escalante both improve upon their starting positions aboard their twin GSX-R1000Rs. Both riders suffered crashes earlier in the weekend that hindered their qualifying performances.
After qualifying ninth, Lewis fought forward and only surrendered a top-five finish late, ultimately coming home in sixth. Premier-class rookie Escalante, meanwhile, made an identical improvement, transforming a fourth-row grid position into a seventh-place result.
Lewis said, “We definitely wanted to be a little bit better, but we put ourselves on the back foot yesterday with a crash early in qualifying. We missed out on some time to get the bike set up, and it knocked my confidence down a little bit in qualifying. Still, we got a good start in the race and pretty much held our position. We’ll try to make some changes for tomorrow and see if we finish better.”
Team Hammer and the rest of the Suzuki-mounted contingent will be back hunting more trophies on Sunday at Road America.