Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Blake Baggett earned a podium position in the second race at round four of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tennessee on Saturday.
The RM-Z450 rider raced to a 5-3 scorecard to score a fourth overall in front of a national network TV audience on NBC and moved to third in the championship hunt, just three points away from second.
Baggett and his RM-Z450 showed good speed right from the start at the Tennessee National, placing fifth in the combined qualifying times. The track proved to be a challenge early on as well according to Baggett. “The track is definitely pretty rutted and already down to the hard base in some areas,” he explained. “It’s going to be about line choice and just keeping momentum going.”
In his worst start of the season Baggett was mired mid-pack among the 40-rider field in the early going of moto number one. It looked like any chance of a strong finish in the first moto was out the window. But again Baggett proved to be incredibly resilient and his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 had the agility to help him maneuver through heavy traffic. In one of his best charges ever, Baggett stormed all the way back to seventh by the half-way flags, but he wasn’t finished. In the second half of the moto Baggett passed two more riders to finish a totally unexpected fifth, considering where he started.
Things went significantly smoother in moto two: This time he was able to get the power of his Suzuki to the ground out of the gate and managed a strong start that set him up for an outstanding finish to the day. He battled with overall winner Ryan Dungey early in the moto and about mid-way through the moto he got by Cole Seely to move into third.
As a result of his solid day at Muddy Creek Baggett is third in the standings, only three points out of second.
“I had a tough first moto,” admitted Baggett. “I got a bad start and had to come through the pack and was only able to make it to fifth. I got a great start in that second moto. I’m hoping to carry that forward and learn from that.
“I’m starting to figure things out. We’re trying to make the bike a little bit easier for me to ride. I’m a small dude, so when the bike kicks around it feels worse than it really is. I’ve just got to get used to that feeling and get better-and-better each week. I’ve got to give it up to the whole Yoshimura Suzuki team for giving me such a great bike.”
Yoshimura Suzuki will be back in action in the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship next Saturday, June 13th, as the series moves to the legendary UPMC Sports Medicine High Point National from High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.
Muddy Creek 450 Motocross Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (1-2)
2. Ken Roczen – RCH Suzuki - (3-1)
3. Jason Anderson (2-4)
4. Blake Baggett – Yoshimura Suzuki - (5-3)
5. Phil Nicoletti (4-9)
6. Cole Seely (8-5)
7. Broc Tickle – RCH Suzuki - (7-7)
8. Justin Barcia (9-6)
9. Weston Peick (6-11)
10. Justin Brayton (11-8)
450 Motocross Standings:
1. Ryan Dungey, 175
2. Ken Roczen, 138
3. Blake Baggett, 135
4. Eli Tomac, 125
5. Justin Barcia, 114
6. Jason Anderson, 112
7. Weston Peick, 103
8. Broc Tickle, 103
9. Phil Nicoletti, 92
10. Cole Seely, 79