FIVE PODIUMS FOR SHORAI SPONSORED TEAM HAMMER IN PITTSBURGH
Team Hammer added to its weekend trophy haul on Sunday as it completed the inaugural MotoAmerica weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex with two more podium performances.
Valentin Debise was again the headliner for the squad with another convincing second-place finish in the day's Supersport contest. The Frenchman pushed the leader during the opening stages of the contest before establishing himself a clear runner-up aboard his GSX-R600, some six seconds in front of the third-placed rider.
Debise solidified his hold on third place in the Supersport championship rankings with his tenth podium of the season -- more than half of those coming in the form of either wins or seconds.
He said, "It's a great result for us. We tried some things this morning and the bike was difficult. We made some small changes for the race, and I liked the bike way better. I was able to keep the leader's pace for some laps. I pushed to try to cut that gap, but I made a mistake in the chicane and went through the grass. After that, I just tried to make consistent laps.
"It's a big pleasure to be here on the podium again. Thanks to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team -- they made a really good job as always. I will keep improving. Each time I get closer to victory. I will try again and again and again."
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Jake Lewis also repeated his Saturday result with another third-place finish in Sunday's Superstock 1000 race. However, Sunday's third came with considerably more difficulty than Saturday's near-win. The Kentuckian found himself off the pace and off the box early in the race, but he and his crew made the most of a red flag stoppage to get back into the fight.
Lewis showed renewed speed and competitiveness aboard his GSX-R1000 following the restart, ultimately battling his way to third (sixth on the combined Superbike/STK1000 order).
"We missed the set-up huge at the first part of the race, and I was getting it handed to me," Lewis admitted. "Luckily for us, there was a long red flag. We changed the shock, the link -- everything -- back to where it was yesterday. It was a big improvement, but I was still struggling quite a bit. I'm pretty frustrated because we were strong Friday and yesterday, but today, not so good.
"We'll go back to work and look to be back up front at New Jersey. Thanks to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki crew because they worked hard all weekend trying to put me on top of the box."
Lewis continues to rank second in the Superstock 1000 title fight on the strength of 13 podiums.
M4 medAge Suzuki's Nick McFadden and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Brandon Cleland registered solid rides as well in Superstock 600 competition. Saturday runner-up McFadden came home fourth (eighth overall), while Cleland rebounded after being the innocent victim of a multi-rider incident on Saturday in seventh (12th overall) on Sunday.
McFadden's fourth elevates him up to third in the STK600 championship battle. Cleland is tenth in the points.
Team Hammer will next travel to New Jersey Motorsports Park for the penultimate round of the 2017 MotoAmerica season on September 8-10.
About Team Hammer
The 2017 season marks Team Hammer's 37th consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 68 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 183 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships. The team has also won 134 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running "Methanol Monster" GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won four F-USA Championships.