The following is from Franklin Armory/Graves Kawasaki…
The opening round of the 2019 Moto America Stock 1000 championship started out with a bang as the race went down to the final lap and the last few corners with Franklin Armory/ Graves Kawasaki rider Andrew Lee coming out on top.
At the start of the race it was a three rider Kawasaki break away that saw Stefano Mesa, Michael Gilbert and Andrew Lee separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Within a few laps the lead group shrunk to two as Gilbert and Lee made a gap on Mesa.
Lee stalked Gilbert the entire race, looking content to let Michael set the pace. The two riders sliced their way through lapped traffic on the final lap that would set up a braking zone show down in to turn 10. Lee charged down the hill late on the brakes and slid his Franklin Armory/ Graves Kawasaki ZX10 up the inside of Gilbert, taking the lead as the duo raced over the hill to the final corner. Gilbert looked to try and make a move coming down into turn 12 but couldn’t quite make it up the inside of Lee. The two Kawasaki men shot off the final corner racing to the line for the closest ever finish in Moto America Stock 1000 history (0.130 seconds) with the defending class champion, Andrew Lee, taking the victory.
Andrew Lee: Round 1 was very positive for the team and I. We came in with a similar platform to last year on a 2019 ZX10R, with some changes. This year Graves Kawasaki came in to back our program. Friday we had some issues but my crew kicked it into high gear and figured it all out. With how hard everyone has been working I’m just happy I could reward them with the win on Sunday in a very close race! Onto VIR and I’m excited to see what improvements we will be making to the Franklin Armory/ Graves Kawasaki ZX10R!
Derek Keyes (crew chief): I‘m really proud of Andrew today! He rode a very smart race and got the win for us, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. We knew we were going to have a bigger challenge this year with guys like Michael, Stefano and Thorton coming into the series and I expect there to be quite a few more of these close races as we go on. We worked really hard over the off season to refine our package with help from the guys at Graves Motorsports. They’ve really helped us to improve our program and I’m happy we could come out here and represent them with a win like this. I have to thank our crew, Osvaldo and Rick, for busting their tails all weekend. This really is a team sport and those guys have come in to our program and helped take some of the load off my shoulders. A huge thanks to Franklin Armory as well for stepping in and helping out our team this year. We wouldn’t be here without their support.
Franklin Armory/ Graves Kawasaki would like to thank all of the team sponsors and supporters
Franklin Armory, Graves Motorsports, Kawasaki USA, Spidi, Arai, Cool Breeze, Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, FTECU, JP43 Training, Hustle Hard Racing, Cabonin USA, Flex Racing, Motion Pro, Modobag, Cycle Gear, Vortex, PCP Motorsports, RG Racing, AIM, Drippinwet, Tech Spec, Ohlins, Dunlop.