News 4 Jul 2017

Maiden 2018-spec RM-Z450WS podium for Jasikonis

Suzuki World MXGP team takes an important step forward.

Source: Supplied.

A breakthrough podium for Suzuki World MXGP newcomer Arminas Jasikonis at Agueda, Portugal, was well-timed just days following the global unveil of Suzuki’s all-new 2018 model RM-Z450.

The factory Suzuki grand prix team has been armed with the factory-specification RM-Z450WS all season, which has largely been based upon the highly-anticipated production model to be released later this year.

The 19-year-old Lithuanian Jasikonis was drafted into the Stefan Everts-run team as a replacement for Ben Townley last season and has impressed this season, going on to claim Suzuki’s first premier class podium of the season in an important year for the brand. He went 3-3 for third overall.

“It’s been a tough weekend, but to get a podium really makes it all worthwhile,” said Jasikonis. “In the first moto I started around fifth, but I quickly moved forward, even passing Jeffrey Herlings as I moved into second. I was following Antonio Cairoli, but in the middle of the race I knew that once he started to pull away, I had to let him go and concentrate on my efforts.

“Herlings passed me back at that stage and Max Nagl was staying a consistent gap behind me in fourth, so I managed to finish in third place. It certainly wasn’t easy in the middle of the race, but I made sure I could push at the end so as not to give any chances for Nagl to pass me, so I ended up third.

“The second moto was really tough. I was again around fifth at the beginning after making a little mistake on an uphill. I ran most of the moto in fifth place, with Tim Gajser and Nagl in front of me and I knew that if Nagl stayed there I wouldn’t get the podium, so I really put a big effort into this race. I had to finish in front of him and gave everything I had to make that happen.

“I made a really nice pass on Gajser and then a couple of laps later I got the pass on Nagl as well, doing what I needed to do for my first-ever podium performance. I’d like to give a big thanks to the team, they have done such a great job to help me get here – I just hope this podium pays them back for all their effort.”

It was a dream weekend of sorts for Jasikonis, winning Saturday’s qualifying race before going on to achieve his breakout podium performance on Sunday. He’s now 13th in the championship standings following 12 rounds.