TEAM HAMMER MCFADDEN WINS IN ATLANTA
May 1, 2017
Team Hammer enjoyed its finest day yet in what's been a spectacular opening to the 2017 MotoAmerica season on Sunday at the Suzuki ECSTAR Championship at Road Atlanta. Coming off a three-podium performance on Saturday, Team Hammer riders Valentin Debise, Jake Lewis, and Nick McFadden all reigned triumphant with victories in their respective classes on Sunday.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Valentin Debise put on another clinic of precision and daring in the MotoAmerica Supersport final. The Frenchman led the majority of a three-rider fight for the win before finding himself forced to mount a last-lap assault from second to get to the checkered flag first aboard his sweet-handling GSX-R600.
The victory vaulted Debise into the early-season championship lead on the strength of a win and two runner-ups in the three races run so far.
Debise said, "This feeling is incredible. I worked all the winter for that and now it's happened. It was really hard; I had to put my head down and be very, very consistent, even when the tire went a little bit off. I changed my strategy a little bit at the end because I didn't want to get beat again. I was worried because the final overtake was so tough and my front tire was sliding everywhere.
"I really want to thank my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. I really appreciate all the work they did for me, and it's nice to pay them back with a win."
Teammate Jake Lewis also collected his third podium of the 2017 campaign with his first Superstock 1000 victory on the team's developing M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000. Lewis was embroiled in a tight scrap for position early before his primary rivals dropped out of contention.
From that point on, the Kentuckian kept his cool and managed the gap out front -- even as he ran perilously low on fuel over the final two laps. Lewis' win was also good for 6th in the combined Superbike/Superstock 1000 order.
Lewis is now tied for the lead in the Superstock 1000 title fight.
"I got off to a good start," Lewis said. "I was dicing with the guys and the bike was working amazing. Unfortunately, one of them crashed and the other had a problem with his bike, I think. After that, it was honestly hard to maintain the pace because I was all by myself. I just focused on being consistent and smooth.
"Hats off to the whole M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team because they've been working their butts off for me. They gave me a great bike to run up front on. This is a nice feeling -- it's been a while since I'd won a race. It's good to be back up on top and we'll keep working hard and keep the momentum going from here."
Meanwhile, M4 medAge Suzuki's Nick McFadden completed the double to open his MotoAmerica Superstock 600 campaign in perfect fashion.
McFadden piled up another walk-away win, taking the checkered flag by over four seconds. That pace was strong enough to collect sixth-place in the combined Supersport/Superstock 600 classification.
"The M4 medAge Suzuki was working great today," McFadden said. "I came into today with the same game plan that worked so well yesterday. I put my head down early and got away with the Supersport guys. After that, I just put in a consistent race with no mistakes and it paid off with a win again."
M4 The 22 Project Suzuki's Brandon Paasch also enjoyed an uptick in form on Sunday. Following his impressive top-five result on Saturday, the 16-year-old executed a bold maneuver in the final corner of Sunday's race to steal away fourth place at the line.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Brandon Cleland rounded things out for Team Hammer by picking up a second top-10 result on the weekend, finishing in 10th in the Superstock 600 race.
Team Hammer will roll into Virginia International Raceway full of confidence for Round 3 of the 2017 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Championship on May 12-14.
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