The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team traveled to the mecca of motocross in Southern California for the second stop of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Glen Helen played host to the sport’s biggest stars, and the efforts of Suzuki RM-Z450 riders Weston Peick and Phil Nicoletti didn’t disappoint. Peick scored his second consecutive sixth place overall finish, moving him up to fifth place in the standings. Teammate Nicoletti scored a season-best seventh place moto finish in securing eighth overall. Suzuki RM-Z250 rider Justin Hill made progress in landing just outside the top ten. Rookie Enzo Lopes endured challenges, while scoring points and gaining valuable experience in the professional ranks.
Weston Peick is no stranger to the Glen Helen circuit, as it’s practically in the SoCal native’s backyard. The RM-Z450 rider clawed his way up to seventh in the opening moto. In the final moto, Peick started in fourth place and quickly worked up to a podium position. Unfortunately, a lingering hand ailment stalled his progress. He rode a smart race to finish fifth and earn points. The sixth place overall finish moved “The Viking” up to fifth in the standings.
Cochecton, NY native Phil Nicoletti is getting along well with the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450 in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. The 29-year-old executed great starts for the second consecutive weekend. Nicoletti’s seventh place finish in the second moto moved him up to eighth in the standings.
Suzuki RM-Z250 rider Justin Hill has put all of his effort into motocross, and the results are starting to show. A new nutrition plan and training regimen have taxed the Yoncalla, Ore. native during the week, but he’s turning the corner. Hill cut through the pack in the first moto to place 17th. He had a much better start in the second moto and finished a season-high 11th place. Hill sits 13th in the standings.
Brazilian sensation Enzo Lopes worked his way up the racing ranks in his home country, moved to the United States in search of a bigger challenge, and now finds himself racing at the pinnacle of the sport. The 18-year-old has made huge strides in his first Pro races, battling the established veterans while gaining speed. Unfortunately, a series of bobbles left Lopes battling from the back in both motos around the challenging Glen Helen circuit. Lopes finished with 19-21 scores for 22nd overall, but the results aren’t indicative of how hard he tried.
Weston Peick [450 Class, 7-5 for 6th Place] – “Glen Helen is my hometown track, and I would have liked to do better. The conditions were pretty tough on my hand, with all of the uphills and downhills. The track put a lot of stress on my hand, which took me out of my groove. The first moto went fairly well. It took me some time to find a good pace, and I ended up in seventh. We made some suspension changes between motos and found some new things that will help for this upcoming weekend at Lakewood. The second moto at Glen Helen went quite a bit better. I moved into third for a few laps and settled into a pace. I’m happy with the result, given the circumstances of my hand.”
Phil Nicoletti [450 Class, 10-7 for 8th Place] – “My starts were pretty good in both motos. Realistically, I should have been 8-7, but I swapped out going into the sand in the first moto. I hit a kicker, got slammed to the ground, and had a bit of whiplash. I ended up tenth, which was a bummer. I struggled with a little bit of speed. I’ve never been that comfortable at Glen Helen. The goal was to not fight the track, but I found myself doing that more than I should have. We made a few changes to the RM-Z450 in order to find a better level of comfort, and we’re going in the right direction. All in all, I’m having fun and doing my best to remain consistent while trying to build. I have more in the tank, and I’m looking forward to showing what I’m capable of.”
Justin Hill [250 Class, 17-11 for 15th Place] – “Glen Helen is always rough and challenging, and this year was no different. I struggled to find a flow in the first moto, but we made some positive changes to the bike in between motos. Those changes resulted in good improvements, which is all I can ask for. I’m hungry and willing to do more, and I’m looking forward to the next race.”
Enzo Lopes [250 Class, 19-21 for 22nd Place] – “The day started off well, as I rode hard in practice. I was running in 14th position in the first moto, but I started making mistakes everywhere. While trying to gain ground I fell and stalled the bike, which put me in a hole. I had a decent start in the second moto and was running 12th for half of the moto. Unfortunately, the track got me once again when I crashed and fell back. The track was super rough and rutted, with bumps everywhere. Luckily, I didn’t get hurt. The takeaway is that I got more experience and track time with the guys. The class is stacked, but it’s nice to run a high-level pace.”
Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager] – “Weston Peick is doing awesome for having a sore hand that he’s working through. He keeps improving. Nicoletti rode well, too. His results would have been even better if he hadn’t crashed in the first moto. Hill did better the second moto. The first moto was a struggle, but he got yelled at by [Assistant Team Manager] Buddy Antunez, so that stoked the fire. Lopes also did well the second moto, but he crashed a few times. The 250 guys keep improving. We expect better than that, though. We should be improving each weekend. The Glen Helen track was cool and flowed better than usual. There were a lot of big jumps. The guys didn’t complain as much as normal.”
“The team flew out early to attend the annual ‘Suzuki Employee Appreciation Event.’ It was so much fun! There were 840 people there, which was a huge turnout. Wienerschnitzel served food, there was a slow bike race that Peick won, as well as a lot of other fun activities. Everyone had a smile on their face, which was great to see. We love being able to work with Suzuki in so many different capacities, and the appreciation event reinforced that.”