ALTON, Va. — It was a tale of two weekends for the Quicksilver / Lexin Moto / Hudson Motorcycle riders at MotoAmerica’s second standalone event of the 2018 season. For Supersport rider Richie Escalante, the class’ two races at VIRginia International Raceway featured tough battles, close finishes, and positive results. For Superbike rider Bobby Fong, it was a weekend of overcoming bad luck and injuries to secure valuable championship points and continue developing the team’s Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike.
Escalante showed good pace from the start of the weekend and was able to secure a top-five qualifying position. For Saturday afternoon’s Supersport race, Escalante found himself locked in a tight battle with several over riders for the last podium position. In the end, Escalante triumphed over his competitors to secure his first podium of the 2018 season. In Sunday’s Supersport race, Escalante found himself in an even tighter, more intense battle. Although he did not make the podium, Escalante rode his Yamaha to a top-five finish and was able to move himself up from 10th-place to seventh-place in the class’ championship standings.
For Fong, the weekend at VIR was one to forget. Fong qualified on the second row in Saturday’s Superpole session and got a good start in race 1. Unfortunately, a rider ahead of Fong suffered a severe crash, and Fong was forced to take evasive action. Fong then went down on the grass outside turn 4 and sustained an injury to his ribs. Fong returned to action on Sunday and was fourth-fastest in Sunday morning’s 15-minute warm-up session. In Sunday’s race 2, Fong started from fifth on the grid but faded in the race due to discomfort from Saturday’s injuries. Fong regrouped near the end of the race and was able to bring his R1 home in eighth-place.
MotoAmerica’s next event will be at the Road America circuit June 1-3. The team will be looking to continue working with Escalante to make him a regular on the Supersport class podium, while the team will take the valuable data they gleaned from Fong’s race Sunday and continue working to improve their R1 on the Wisconsin track’s long straights and iconic corners.
Bobby Fong / #50, Superbike
“We had great pace in our R1 right from the start of the weekend. We had good qualifying sessions, and I was able to finish Superpole in sixth-place. I got a great start, but one of the riders ahead of me on track had a big crash and I went down in the grass while trying to avoid it. I smacked my ribs pretty good, which hindered my performance for the rest of the weekend. I got back on the bike Sunday to salvage some points from this weekend, and we were able to do that. I want to give a big shout out to my crew for getting my bike back together and having me ready to go Sunday morning. We made big steps with the bike this weekend. Road America is not a favorite track of mine, but I think it will be valuable for developing our R1 package, and I am looking forward to being back to full fitness by then.”
Richie Escalante / #54, Supersport
“It was a challenging weekend for us. We did a lot of work on our R6 on Friday. Saturday’s race was a lot of fun. It’s always great getting to battle out on track, and I was able to win the battle and make it onto the podium Saturday. For Sunday’s race, I got into an even more intense battle, and it was not possible to make a move for the podium at the end. I was still able to get my team good points, and I was happy to reward my team for the hard work they put in this weekend. I like VIR, but Road America is my favorite track on the MotoAmerica schedule. We go there next and I am really looking forward to doing well there.”