The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team rolled into AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for round seven of the 2018 AMA Supercross series. Arlington also served as the opening race of the 250 East Supercross series. Suzuki RM-Z250 rider Jimmy Decotis scored a career-best third place finish in front of 57,421 spectators. Weston Peick rode with vigor on his Suzuki RM-Z450 in securing the second heat race win of his career and backing that up with a strong seventh place finish in the main event. In doing so, Peick moved up to fifth in the championship point standings.
With Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing 250 West Supercross riders Justin Hill and Phil Nicoletti getting a respite, all eyes were on Decotis and teammate Kyle Peters. Peabody, Mass. native Decotis wasted no time in making his presence known, logging the fourth fastest qualifying time and finishing third in his heat race. In the main Decotis crossed the start line in eighth on the first lap and sliced his way through the field to score third, a career-best.
Teammate Peters was involved in a disastrous first-turn crash, but that didn’t dissuade the Greensboro, NC native. Peters worked his way up to 15th place.
After qualifying sixth fastest in 450 combined times, Peick rode a wave of confidence into his heat race. The RM-Z450 rider went from fourth to the lead with three laps remaining and took the checkers for his second career 450 heat race win. Peick was as high as fourth in the main, but tightness relegated the SoCal native to seventh. He sits fifth in the overall championship points.
Malcolm Stewart was on his way to a season-best finish, running as high as eighth for most of the race. Unfortunately, “Mookie” had an off-track excursion that moved him back to 11th on the night.
Jimmy Decotis [250 Class, Third Place]:
“The day started off super good. I was very comfortable all day long on my Suzuki RM-Z250. My expectations were to get through the first round, have fun, and do my best. When I saw my times up on the board in practice I knew that I had the speed. I haven’t felt that comfortable on a race track in a long time. With the work I had done through the offseason, and after struggling with Lyme disease, it made me stoked.”
“The main was insane! I’ve never been that happy to get a bad start. I hope everyone involved is okay. I struggled to get off the gate and missed my shift. Then I saw everyone flying, and I started working through the pack. All of a sudden, I was in fifth place. I kept my lap times down and scored my first career podium. I went back to the rig and got a round of applause. It was unreal! That feeling makes me want to work hard every day so I can do it again.”
Weston Peick [450 Class, Seventh Place]:
“Practice went really well. I qualified sixth, which I was happy with. I didn’t get the start I was hoping for in the heat race, because I got tangled up through the first turn. There were a few times where I had to get aggressive in order to get around riders, but it worked in my favor. It was nice winning the heat race and having that momentum heading into the main. I didn’t realize how rough and choppy the track was going to get. We went a bit too stiff with the rear shock setting, which wasn’t the right choice when the track developed into what it was. Regardless, I showed good speed. I need to capitalize on those situations, and am looking forward to next weekend.”
Malcolm Stewart [450 Class, 11th Place]:
“There was some good racing in Arlington. I ran eighth the entire main, until I decided to jump off the track and into some Tuff Blocks. That dropped me to 11th. Overall, I can’t be too mad about it. I’m going to keep moving forward.”
Kyle Peters [250 Class, 15th Place]:
“I never felt like I got going all day long. For some reason I was hesitant, which was probably due to the first race jitters. Practice went okay, but things fell apart. In the heat race I rode cautiously and wasn’t aggressive enough. After the first turn crash in the main event I was pushing to get through the pack. I had a big crash while trying to pass [Cameron] Mcadoo. I got going again, but crashed again all by myself. After that it was survival mode. There’s no quit in me, and I’m fired up to get out there and do better.”
Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager]:
“Peick had an awesome heat race and looked great. In the main he was pushing really hard, which caused him to make mistakes. Still, he’s gaining ground. Stewart had a good ride going, but then he went off the track. He will be testing in North Carolina this week, because he’s planning on being on the RM-Z450 for the rest of the Supercross series. Since he’s going to be on the bike for the long term he wanted to do some testing.”
“In the 250 class, Decotis did a great job. He was where he needed to be as far as times all day long. We’ll work on his starts this week, because he had the pace to battle with the leaders. I think Decotis will get even better with each passing week. As for Peters, he suffered from bad luck. That’s how it goes sometimes.”
“It was cool to get a podium and heat race win with the Toyota employees in attendance. We went to Toyota’s facility on Friday to check it out, and we were blown away. They have a state-of-the-art facility that’s like a whole city inside of a work place.”