AMA Superbikes


Team Suzuki Press Office – March 14.

Richie Escalante: GSX-R600 – 5th
Geoff May: GSX-R600 – 8th
Sam Lochoff: GSX-R600 – 19th

Richie Escalante raced to fifth for Suzuki and Team Hammer in Saturday’s 80th running of the legendary Daytona 200.

Aboard his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600, he opened the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/ FIM North American Road Racing Championship season in encouraging fashion.

Escalante led the race at times as fellow Team Hammer pilot Geoff May earned eighth with a strong and steady performance over the 200 miles. Sam Lochoff showed potential for a good result before a long pit stop dashed his shot at victory before ultimately finishing a disappointing 19th.

The 57-lap event is a quest for both speed and endurance and this year’s running was no different. 2020 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion Escalante demonstrated the poise to challenge for the win early in his first attempt at the Daytona 200, battling for the lead prior to, and after, an early-race red flag.

Measured, calm, and lightning-quick during his time at the front, his form provided early optimism for a trophy-winning finish. He was joined in offering that hope by Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Lochoff, as well as Tire/KWS Motorsports Suzuki’s Geoff May; the two running together near the lead pack.

Escalante lost touch with the front after the first round of pit stops and turned impressive lap times but was unable to catch the lead pack again.

Said Escalante: “I’m super happy to finish – that’s most important. It was my first time to work with the team over a full race weekend, and I was excited to work with my new crew.

“The race was not easy. I did my best. I made a couple of mistakes, and we had a couple of delays in the pit stops. After that, I was just looking for a rhythm lap by lap and to finish the race. I’m pleased to have had this experience… it’s a historic race, and I’m happy to have more time with the team. Now we’ll focus on the future, training, and racing in Superbike.”

Meanwhile, May kept his head down throughout the race and added an eighth-place result to the tally. He took on fuel only during his final pit stop as the veteran improved his position throughout the race.

The Daytona 200 is notorious for the obstacles and chaos it presents to its challengers, and those often-inevitable variables negatively impacted Sam Lochoff’s bid for a stellar result. Just before the race, a Team Hammer crew member experienced a medical emergency. His transport to the medical centre and subsequent absence contributed to confusion and a mechanical issue during Lochoff’s stop following his first stint.

“I was behind the front group quite a bit there but with four laps to go before the first pit stop, I started closing the gap,” said Lochoff. “Unfortunately, our eight-second pit stop turned into a three-minute delay. After I went back out, I rode faster than most of the riders in front of me but when you are two or three laps down in last place, it wasn’t ideal.”

Lochoff returned to the fray three laps back and last in the order, but the young South African continued charging. He was rewarded for his determination by breaking into the top 20, claiming 19th in the end.

“I came into the race anticipating a win or to get on the podium, so the result isn’t what I wanted but I was happy to finish the race, given the circumstances,” he continued. “The team worked hard, and I felt good about my pace.”

Escalante will be joined by Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Jake Lewis as they begin their MotoAmerica Superbike championship campaigns in earnest when the domestic series joins the global superstars of the MotoGP World Championship at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on April 8-10th.

For more stories about Richie Escalante, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Jake Lewis, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

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