SAN DIEGO, CA – February 10, 2015 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Suzuki put forth its own show of force on a special Military Appreciation Night in San Diego in front of a sellout crowd of 42,017 at Petco Park – the first time the series has visited the picturesque downtown venue. Riders racing Suzuki RM-Z450s earned three spots in the top 10 of the AMA/FIM Supercross event. It was RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/ Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen leading the way for Suzuki, capping off the night with a close second-place finish. Roczen’s excellent performance was just one of the Suzuki highlights.
In addition to Roczen’s standout performance, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Blake Baggett continued his streak of solid performances in his rookie season, coming from the last gate pick to finish seventh, while RCH Suzuki’s Broc Tickle turned in an admirable ride to ninth in his return from injury.
Once again in San Diego, Suzuki was the most popular choice of the professional riders of the AMA/FIM Supercross Series. A total of 12 Suzuki riders earned coveted transfers from day qualifying to the evening program. That was the most of any manufacturer.
Suzuki Riders Put Forth Show of Force at New San Diego Venue
Roczen was totally focused in San Diego. He controlled the race for three laps, before falling to second. Never throwing in the towel, Roczen mounted a spirited charge on his Suzuki RM-Z450 late in the race, but came up just 1.001 seconds short to winner Trey Canard at the finish line. This second place finish not only marked a return to the podium for Roczen, but it also allowed him to close within nine points of the series lead.
Roczen found many positives to take away from San Diego.
“Overall that was a super-fun race,” said Roczen, who scored his fourth podium in six rounds. “We battled strong on a tricky track, but my Suzuki got me to the front at the beginning and I stayed right there battling all night. I wish we would have had one more lap. I’m just going to keep charging and do my best to get back up on top.”
For Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Baggett, San Diego was a night of overcoming numerous challenges. He still finished with another top-10 result in spite of his crew having to rebuild his bike after a rider landed on him. In the Main, Baggett got pinched out at the start and was basically last going through the first turn. He then mounted what was the best comeback of the night, charging through the field on his Suzuki RM-Z450 and making it all the way up to fifth, before losing the front end in a turn and taking a small tumble. Baggett remounted and finished strong with a seventh.
“I basically came around the first turn in dead last,” Baggett said of his start. “I was able to make some quick moves right away when everyone was bunched up and eventually got up to fifth. Then I made an error, landed sitting down and gave it a little too much front brake and lost the front wheel. I picked it up from there and worked my way back to seventh. It was a good night all and all after starting out so rough.”
RCH Suzuki’s Broc Tickle was back in action in San Diego, after sitting out Anaheim III with a back injury sustained in Oakland. Tickle made a solid comeback to score ninth, his third top-10 finish of the season, in spite of not being back to 100 percent fitness.
“I struggled all day with flow on the track,” Tickle admitted. “But just before the Main we made a couple of changes to the bike setup and I took it from there and was pumped. From the first lap in the Main I could tell it was the right change and I got comfortable right away. I’m stoked with the ninth after missing Oakland and Anaheim 3. We’ll move to Dallas next weekend and keep the momentum going.”
Team Dirt Candy Graphics Suzuki Riders Make Best Results of the Season
Veteran Brett Metcalfe went out on a high note on his Team Dirt Candy Graphics Suzuki, finished his 2015 Supercross campaign with his best result of the season, an 11th. “Metty” now looks forward to a new baby coming into his family and getting prepared to try to win back the Canadian Motocross National Championship this summer.
“I was happy with my performance in the Main,” Metcalfe said. “I got a decent start and came through. I really, really wanted a top ten, but I just didn’t have enough to hold and dropped to 11th. I’m happy with the result and just being able to put it in the Main and progressing every week. It was a huge credit to the team. I was happy with the way we closed it out.”
It was also a memorable evening for Ronnie Stewart. He put his DirtCandy Graphics Suzuki RM-Z450 into the Main for the first time this season. The highlight of the night for Stewart was leading the first half of his Semi. He admitted leading a Supercross event, even a qualifying race, was an unforgettable, albeit nerve-wracking moment.
“I was quite nervous,” Stewart smiled when talking about leading his Semi. “I got a great start and led three of the six laps. I might have let my nerves get the best of me, but I was able to finish well enough to get to the Main event.”
Alessi Back on the Track in San Diego
Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Suzuki’s Mike Alessi was back on the bike, just ten days removed from knee surgery, and finished 13th.
In addition to the six Suzuki riders to make the Main, a big congratulation goes out to AJ Catanzaro, Nicholas Schmidt, Tevin Tapia, Dustin Pipes, Alexander Nagy and Filip Thuresson for making the evening program in San Diego and helping Suzuki to have the most riders in the program of any of the six manufacturers.
Brandon Scharer Puts the RM-Z250 in the Main Event
Another big Suzuki shout out goes to Brandon Scharer who put his ANSR/ProTaper/RaceTech/Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z250 into the Main in the 250 West Supercross class. It marked Scharer’s second Main of the season.
Look for Team Suzuki back in action again this coming Saturday (Feb. 14, 2015) at round seven of the 2015 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship, as the series moves to the Dallas Supercross at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas. The race will be televised live on Fox Sport 2 starting at 8:00 pm Eastern.
If you’re in the Dallas area you can have a chance to meet and get an autograph from the Factory Suzuki riders. They’ll be appearing at Arlington Motorsports, 2501 Centennial Drive in Arlington, Texas, on Friday, Feb. 13th from 6-7:00pm.