CHINO, CA (JUNE 12, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams continued their winning ways at the fourth round the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at the High Point National, held in Mt. Morris, PA, on Saturday. The Honda Racing, Yoshimura Suzuki and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki teams used the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products to dominate in Pennsylvania.
In the 250 class at High Point, Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda riders Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia put in a commanding performance, taking the top-two overall spots on the podium. In moto one, Barcia grabbed a great start and rode his way to a solid win, followed by Tomac in second. In the final race Barcia launched to another strong start while Tomac was stuck towards the back coming off the line. Tomac really had his work cut out for him but was able to put together a hard charge, passing Barcia for second late in the moto, and then getting by Roczen for the lead on the last lap. Tomac would grab the overall with 2-1 finishes and Barcia would take second with 1-3 finishes. Teammate Wil Hahn also had an exceptional day, grabbing the holeshot in moto one and running in second the majority of the race before ultimately finishing fourth. In moto two, Hahn was forced to charge through the pack after going down in the first lap. He would finish in ninth for a sixth overall.
“The second moto was a lot of work but I dug deep and never gave up,” said Tomac. “When I saw him (Roczen) on the last lap I couldn’t believe that I actually had a chance to take the win. I found a great passing line in the third turn of the track and it worked well throughout the day, which is where I was able to take over the lead. I am really happy to be back on the podium and that much closer in points.”
“The first moto was good for me,” said Barcia. “I got a good start and felt really strong throughout the whole race. In moto two, I got another pretty good start but wasn’t as comfortable with the track; I was able to hold onto third place, giving me second overall. I am happy to be on the podium again and that much closer to the red plate, but I always want to win.”
Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton rode his way to an 11th-place finish overall after going 11-11 in both motos. In race one, Brayton nailed down a good start and was running towards the front of the pack until falling back to finish 11th. In moto two, Brayton was forced to charge his way through the pack after getting a bad jump off the line, eventually grabbing 11th.
In the Women’s Motocross Championship, It was an exciting day for Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Sayaka Kaneshiro, who grabbed her first-ever overall podium finish. After finishing fifth in moto one, Kaneshiro came back strong in moto two, seizing a good start and ultimately finishing second for third overall. Teammate Ashley Fiolek was forced to the sidelines due to a concussion sustained the weekend before at Thunder Valley.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki Racing celebrated a solid sixth-place overall result for rider Brett Metcalfe and his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450. But the High Point National, held in Mt. Morris, PA, on Saturday, also saw Metcalfe’s Yoshimura Suzuki teammate James Stewart struggle with a wrist injury that occurred at the previous weekend’s race.
Although Metcalfe himself struggled in qualifying, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider bounced back at race time to put in two impressive motos. In the first, Metcalfe got a great start on the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 and finished seventh. After making small changes to the bike between motos, Metcalfe returned to get another excellent launch in the second race. He held onto fourth for almost the entire moto before a small mistake saw him slip into fifth. Still, Metcalfe finished the day in a commendable sixth overall.
“I got great starts in both motos,” said Metcalfe. “The Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was awesome off the gate and that helped me get up there with the front-runners. In the first moto, I ended up seventh but I learned what I could do on the track and how I needed to change the setup for moto two. In the second moto, I should’ve had fourth, but on the last lap I spun out and lost a spot. But we made big improvements throughout the day and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum to Budds Creek.”
Although Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Stewart was hampered by his injured wrist, he planned to race High Point nonetheless. But in the first moto, it was apparent that he wasn’t 100 percent. The championship-winning rider got a poor start and fought to hang on to his bike throughout the moto. Despite all this, Stewart still managed to finish fifth. But afterward, he and the Yoshimura Suzuki team decided the wisest move would be to sit out the second moto.
“The weekend started off a little slow in the first practice,” said Stewart. “But then I ended up quickest overall in qualifying. My Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was working great and I was trying to do my best, but in the first moto I got a horrible start – outside the top 20. I was able to work my way up to fifth, which was pretty good, but about halfway through the race I was barely able to hang on. It just didn’t make sense to race the second moto. It was a tough decision to make between the races – especially because everybody worked so hard. We’ll go back and reevaluate the situation. I’ll probably just wait until the end of the week and see where we’re at, and go from there.”
For Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing, veteran racer Jessica Patterson flies the proverbial flag in the WMX class. And it’s no wonder; Patterson took the overall win in the class, thanks to second- and first-place moto finishes. “What a crazy day,” said Patterson. “In the first moto, I got a decent start but I crashed right away and had to come from dead last. In the second moto, I started off slow and I went down again. But I got up and my bike was still running and I pulled off the win. We got some more points and that’s what matters.”
In the 250 class, Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson continues to turn in strong performances and make improvements as the season progresses. High Point saw him pick up 13th in the first moto and then sixth in the second, for an eighth-place result overall. “It was good a day, but High Point is always tough,” said Anderson. “In my first moto, I had a couple of crashes and ended up 13th. In the second moto, I got a decent start and ran in sixth. I ended up eighth overall for the day. We’re getting closer to the front and we’ve broken into the top 10. I like Budds Creek and I’m looking forward to putting in some solid motos next weekend.”
Also in the 250 class, Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton got a great start in the first moto and was running in the top five when he went down. He recovered and made his way up to 16th. Early in the second moto, however, Wharton crashed hard, damaging his bike, and had to retire for the day. “I had some trouble in the first moto,” said Wharton. “I fell twice. I was doing all right but it’s not the way I wanted to finish the first moto. In the second moto, I felt like I was going to be riding better. But I actually crashed and tore my bike up. So it was disappointing. But we’ll go back and keep at it for Budds Creek.”
Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Hunter Hewitt suffered some bad luck at High Point. Riders crashed in front of him and he had nowhere to go. Still Hewitt went 30/16 for both motos and finished the day 18th overall. Also, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Martin Davalos did not race at High Point as he is still recovering from a recent concussion.
The next stop for the Yoshimura-backed teams is the fifth round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, June 16th, at the Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, MD.
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