It was a night of milestones for Blake Baggett Saturday at Anaheim III, round five of the 2015 AMA/FIM Supercross Series, in front of 43,441fans at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Baggett not only earned his career-best finish of seventh, he also earned his first career Supercross holeshot aboard his powerful Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 from a challenging elevated starting gate. He also led the first lap of the Main, putting him in the record books for the first time as a lap leader. Baggett also qualified for the first time directly out of his Heat race, continuing his strong and steady, week-by-week improvement in the series.
Baggett’s hard work, along the backing of the proven Yoshimura Suzuki crew and coaching help from the legendary Hall of Famer Rick Johnson, is paying off with Baggett moving inside the top-10 in the series standings for the first time this season. Not bad for a series rookie.
After finishing 10th in timed qualifying an indication of the kind of night Baggett was about to have, came in the first heat race. There he scored a third-place finish and qualified directly to the Main, marking the first time this season Baggett didn’t have to ride in a Semi qualifying race.
Baggett is starting to be recognized as a thinking man’s racer. He closely studied the elevated starting gate that drove most of his competitor’s nuts. Instead Baggett carefully devised a plan to maximize the power of his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450.
“The start was definitely tricky tonight,” Baggett admitted. “It dropped down right away, so I had to hit my first shift really quick and drive through the bottom at the start and then go late on the brakes into the first turn.”
His plan worked to perfection. At the start of the 20-lap Main event Baggett motored his bright yellow Yoshimura Suzuki into the first turn ahead of the 20-rider pack. It marked his first holeshot and brought the Angel Stadium crowd to their feet and had TV commentators reaching for superlatives.
Baggett eventually settled back to earth after such a meteoric start to the race. He led the first lap, but gradually slipped back to seventh. It was the only downside of the night, the first time he was being passed in a Main instead of the other way around. Nevertheless Baggett got by far his most TV time of the season and came away pumped about his continued progress six rounds into his rookie campaign.
“I had a good week here at Anaheim III,” Baggett said with a look of satisfaction on his face. “I went into the Main event and got an awesome start and scored the holeshot. From there I just tried to be consistent over most of the track and pushed in some areas. I also wanted to keep it on two wheels. I ended up dropping back to seventh, but I learned a lot. I’m just going to try to keep building from there.
“I’ve definitely got to give it up to the whole Yoshimura Suzuki team for having my back and helping me move forward as the season moves on. We want to be sure we’re there for all 17 rounds putting up a fight.”
Yoshimura Suzuki will hit the track again this coming Saturday (Feb. 7, 2015) at round six of the 2015 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship at PETCO Park in San Diego, California. It marks the series’ first visit to PETCO Park and is a special Military Appreciation event. The race will be televised live on Fox Sport 1 starting at 10:00 pm Eastern.
Anaheim III 450 Supercross Results:
- Ryan Dungey
- Cole Seely
- Eli Tomac
- Ken Roczen
- Trey Canard
- Chad Reed
- Blake Baggett
- Justin Barcia
- Jason Anderson
- Josh Hill
2015 450 Supercross Standings:
- Ryan Dungey, 107
- Ken Roczen, 96
- Eli Tomac, 84
- Trey Canard, 84
- Jason Anderson, 74
- Justin Barcia, 71
- Cole Seely, 67
- Chad Reed, 57
- Blake Baggett, 54
- Davi Millsaps, 54
Team Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing sponsors are: Yoshimura R&D, Suzuki Motor of America, Dunlop, Motorex, Showa, Renthal, Vortex, Renegade Rentals, Shorai, Elf Racing Fuels, Seven, Hinson Clutch Components, RG3, Matrix, Works Connection, GET, Excel, NGK, D.I.D., Twin Air, Moto Tassinari, Roy’s Cyclery, Guts Racing Products, Mechanix Wear, Kokusan Denki, N-Style and Ogio.