Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Blake Baggett raced to a career-best fourth place in Saturday night’s AMA/ FIM World Championship Supercross at Arlington in Texas and moved to seventh in the series standings.
The Dallas Supercross was Baggett’s fifth consecutive top-10 finish, his first time ever inside the top five, and also confirmed him the top-finishing rookie among the talented freshman class of 2015.
A solid performance in Timed Qualifying, where Baggett was seventh fastest, gave a bit of an indication of the performance to come. Seven races in and Baggett and the Yoshimura Suzuki crew are still finding small, but important adjustments to the RM-Z450 to help the powerful machine suit Baggett’s riding style.
“Like me, the team is just plugging away making improvements on the bike every week,” Baggett explained after qualifying. “The bike is coming around. The track was getting pretty rutted already after the third practice session. The base of some of the ruts was so deep we were hitting the stadium floor, so it was pretty slippery in a few spots.”
Baggett missed qualifying directly into the Main from his Heat race, but he rallied for a strong result in his Semi to put it safely in the final. Unfortunately he didn’t have the best of gate picks and was forced to start far to the inside.
“I got a good jump and came out of the first turn pretty good,” Baggett explained. He broke out into a very solid third-place on the first lap, and then dropped a couple of positions on the next lap. “I made a little error in the first lane (of a whoop section) and got passed by (Ken) Roczen and (Trey) Canard.”
As the race settled in, it was Baggett running a steady fifth, which turned into fourth after Davi Millsaps crashed. He was running right on Canard’s rear wheel most of the way, until another miscue cost him time.
“I jumped in tow with Canard and tried to stay behind him,” Baggett said. “I was with him until lap 15 when I made another mistake and lost the train a little bit, but I had a steady ride to fourth and we’re making progress. We’re just a few seconds from being on the box and I’m just going to keep plugging away and try to keep my momentum going in Atlanta.”
In the end Baggett finished just 4.5 seconds off the podium. It marked his best result of 2015 and moved him up two positions in the series standings, making him the only rider in the top 10 to improve in their ranking. Baggett’s performance also earned accolades from Fox Sports TV commentators Ricky Carmichael and Jeff Emig during Saturday night’s broadcast.
Yoshimura Suzuki races back into action again this coming Saturday, February 21st, at round eight of the 2015 AMA/ FIM World Supercross Championship, as the series moves to Atlanta for the first of back-to-back weekend at the Georgia Dome.
Arlington 450 Supercross Results: 1. Ryan Dungey (KTM), 2. Ken Roczen (RCH Suzuki), 3. Trey Canard (Honda), 4. Blake Baggett (Yoshimura Suzuki), 5. Andrew Short (KTM), 6. Jason Anderson (Husqvarna), 7. Eli Tomac (Honda), 8. Josh Grant (Kawasaki), 9. Broc Tickle (RCH Suzuki), 10. Cole Seely (Honda).