News 6 Feb 2018

Breakout Suzuki podium for 250SX West champion Hill

Number one plate-holder rebounds in Oakland main event.

Image: Supplied.

When Autotrader Yoshimura Suzuki signed Justin Hill as the defending 250SX West champion ahead of 2018, many tipped him to remain in title contention for the season.

After dominating last season with four wins in nine races at Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki, Hill has endured a trying start to the season on-board the factory RM-Z250, but finally landed on the podium in Oakland.

It was the most technical round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross this season to date, which played right into the favour of Hill and comes as a result that will boost him into the series’ second half.

“The day was honestly pretty average,” Hill admitted. “It wasn’t like ‘this is going to be the day to end all days’. I felt decent in practice, didn’t do anything spectacular, but everyone was close on time with the last practice. I knew that the track was going to break down and get really difficult, which would work to my advantage.

“I wasn’t rushing the track, because if you did then you were going to hit the deck pretty hard. When I came through the first turn in a decent spot it gave me a bit of oxygen to breathe and go to the front-runners. I’ve been saying the whole time that I want to battle with some guys and cause a ruckus.

“It was clean racing with Joey [Savatgy] and it put me back into a good mindset. I remember how it feels again – that’s the silver-lining. It was a third, but a third that could have been a first. I’m learning more and more about myself and also the RM-Z250. It feels good to be a guy on the box again.”

Hill’s result elevates him to seventh in the championship standings, albeit 39 points in arrears of current leader Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Yamalube Yamaha) following the opening five rounds.