On the heels of Phil Nicoletti leaving his fill-in role with Autotrader/Yoshimura Suzuki to fill in at Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, JGR announced today that Justin Hill will move to the 450 Class and race select rounds of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Hill will race the 450 beginning next weekend at High Point Raceway.
According to the team, Hill will use this opportunity to acclimate to the 450 class, which he will contest on a full-time basis in 2019.
“It’s really cool that the Autotrader/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing Team is giving me this chance,” stated Hill. “This is something J-Bone [Jeremy Albrecht] and I talked about before the start of the nationals. I’m stoked to see what the 450 Class is all about before I make the full-time jump up next year. I had a lot of fun racing a few 450 supercross rounds. The goal is to learn, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
“Justin has a tremendous amount of talent, and he has been working hard at increasing his intensity,” team manager Jeremy Albrecht said in a statement. “The Suzuki RM-Z450 has proven to be an outstanding bike, as Hill showed during supercross earlier in the year. The team isn’t putting any pressure on him to win the 450 Class. The established stars are going really fast right now, but I like Hill’s attitude about this opportunity. We will evaluate Justin after several rounds and make the decision whether to have him contest the remaining 450 Nationals.”
In addition, the team announced that rookie Enzo Lopes will remain with the team through the remainder of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Lopes was originally signed to fill in for the injured Jimmy Decotis.
Decotis will return for the Tennessee National at Muddy Creek on June 23.
“Jimmy Decotis is looking very focused and fast on the RM-Z250 in preparation for his return at Muddy Creek in two weekends,” said Albrecht. “I think he will catch quite a few people by surprise. Additionally, it’s great to provide Enzo Lopes with a ride for the remaining rounds of the series. The kid is learning the ropes of racing at the highest level. He’s professional, works hard, and is making progress.”
One thing to keep in mind is that this gives Decotis, who was injured during the Daytona Supercross, time to get his racing legs underneath him before the Southwick National, which takes place the weekend after Muddy Creek. The local New Englanders will burn things down if Jimmy D runs up front there.