Team Hammer has signed 2015 MotoAmerica Superbike Rookie of the Year Jake Lewis to return to premier-class duty on an M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2018.
Lewis is coming off a season in which he quickly came to grips with a completely redesigned GSX-R1000, piloting it to an eventual runner-up ranking in the Superstock 1000 Championship fight. He earned that distinction with three race victories, three second-place finishes, and 14 combined podiums to his credit.
At 22 years of age, the lanky Kentuckian stands as one of the most gifted and accomplished up-and-coming racers in the nation. From 2011-2015, Lewis strung together consecutive seasons of being named the 2011 AMA Horizon Award winner, 2012 SuperSport East Champion, 2013 Daytona SportBike Rookie of the Year, 2014 Daytona SportBike Championship runner-up, and 2015 MotoAmerica Superbike Rookie of Year.
After battling back from injury and into fighting form in 2016, Lewis flashed his immense capability with regularity once again in 2017. He expects to build on last season’s effort with a successful return to MotoAmerica Superbike competition in 2018.
“I’m really excited to be back with the team, and the move to Superbike is great as well,” Lewis said. “The Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the weapon to be on in the class, and the team has been working hard to make the bike even better. It’s a big year for me; I really feel I can run with all the top guys and battle for race wins and the championship.
“I am very motivated. I came out to California in January to focus on preparation and putting 100 percent into the season. I think if I execute what I need to do on and off the bike, winning races is a realistic goal for this season. I’ve worked with my riding coach, Ken Hill, again this off-season, and I think we have a good plan going forward. I had a setback with injury in 2016, but what I learned then and in 2017 will help as I transition back into Superbike. Also, I am a little older and more experienced, and I know what it is going to take in training and preparing to get good results.”
“Superbike is a big challenge, no matter how you look at it,” said Team Hammer Vice President of Operations/Talent Scout Chris Ulrich. “It is the height of competition in this country and it is tough. Jake has experience on the big bikes and we’re looking forward to the challenge. As a team, we’re working with Suzuki on developing the kit electronics this year. We’re looking to help Jake continue to fine-tune his skills, including how to use the electronics to hone his craft. As the team continues to develop the motorcycle, we look for Jake to be one of the riders up there challenging for the podium and the win. We have no doubt we can build a package to do that.
“2017 was a good year for Jake,” Ulrich continued. “He got back to full fitness and took three wins and finished second in his championship. He showed the paddock he is a talented and hungry racer and that he can fight through adversity to find success. He’s bringing big momentum into 2018.”