May 1, 2017

Team Hammer came into the Suzuki ECSTAR Championship at Road Atlanta riding high following an impressive MotoAmerica opener last weekend in Texas at the Circuit of the Americas. The team then proceeded to elevate its game to the next level on Saturday in Georgia, stacking up 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place finishes, with another top-five finish to go along with the podium performances.

M4 medAge Suzuki's Nick McFadden bounced back from a Saturday morning crash to claim a dominant victory in the MotoAmerica Superstock 600 season opener.

The Kentuckian twice pushed hard to keep pace with the Supersport contenders in the early going of the once red-flagged/restarted race. That strategy allowed him to break free and then manage the gap at the front aboard his GSX-R600. In the end, he took the checkered flag with over three seconds to spare.

McFadden, who was also credited with sixth place on the combined Supersport/Superstock 600 order, said, "It feels awesome. The whole M4 medAge Suzuki crew did a great job putting my bike together after a little tip-over this morning. We put that behind us and focused on the race and came away with the win.

"The first couple of laps I put my head down and tried to get away with the Supersport guys. After that I ran a consistent pace, pulled away, and managed the gap at the end of the race."

Reflecting on his strong 2017 form, McFadden said, "I've been working Dr. Laura Ellis and the medAge crew on nutrition and the mental side of things, and also Ken Hill on cleaning up and perfecting my riding techniques. I've been training hard at home and the work is really paying off."

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Valentin Debise picked up his second consecutive MotoAmerica Supersport runner-up result. The Frenchman entered the contest as the race favorite after storming to pole with a blistering 1:27.917 lap, nearly a half-second better than his nearest adversary.

However, the red flag at mid-distance reshuffled the deck and ultimately foiled Debise's escape plan. Despite a spectacular showcase of late braking and tight lines, he wasn't quite in position to execute the heroics required to steal away the win on the final lap. 

Debise finished in second, just 0.179 seconds away from victory.

"We got my GSX-R600 turning into the corners really well at Austin, so we didn't touch anything after arriving here in Atlanta, "Debise said. "I felt the bike was ready to go, and it was up to me to do the rest. 

"I believe if the red flag didn't happen, I could have gotten a gap and pulled away. But after the red flag it was a little bit different story. I had a plan for the last lap to pass after the bottom of the hill, but he was just too far away, and I didn't want to do anything stupid and risk crashing us both. Second is fine for today, but we'll have a new approach ready for tomorrow to try to get the win."

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Jake Lewis completed the day's trophy haul with a third-place showing in the Superstock 1000 race. The result is already the Kentuckian's second podium finish on the all-new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Lewis, who came home eighth in the combined Superbike/Superstock 1000 classification, said, "I lined myself up for a good race by earning a spot on Row 3 in Superpole. I got a really good start and was right up behind the Superbike guys early on which is where I needed to be. The pace was pretty fast. I was fighting in second and third and we broke away from the guys behind us. A little past halfway I started struggling a little bit and had a pretty big moment. I had to slow down after that, but I was able to salvage third. I'm pretty happy about that. 

"Obviously, I want to win, and we have the equipment to win. It's just a matter of getting everything working the way it need to. We've had a few setbacks during the weekend, but the team just keeps fighting. It was a good first race, and we're looking forward to tomorrow."

16-year-old Brandon Paasch continued to impress with his rapid adaptation to the Supersport class and his M4 The 22 Project Suzuki GSX-R600. The reigning KTM RC 390 Cup champion collected fifth place in what was just his second MotoAmerica Supersport outing.

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Brandon Cleland secured one final Saturday top-ten for Team Hammer, completing the Superstock 600 contest in 9th position.

Team Hammer expects to battle for additional victories and podiums on Sunday as the Suzuki ECSTAR Championship at Road Atlanta comes to a conclusion.

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