April 19th, 2023.

Report: Suzuki Motor USA. Photos by BrownDogWilson Photography.

Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted round 13 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series with a red Georgia clay track that took over the legendary raceway's infield. Rain on the day prior led to great track conditions in the rare daytime supercross event that saw Suzuki earn another 450-class podium.

Ken Roczen and his Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki RM-Z450 had a great day on the high-speed, high-traction Georgia track. After a strong qualifying effort, including a top three in the first timed qualifying session, Roczen earned second place in his heat race. Roczen took the lead with the holeshot when the gate dropped in the Main. He and the lead three riders separated from the pack and Roczen delivered a third-place result, his third podium of 2023,

"Today in Atlanta we had a really good day. I had fun on the track all day. We were solid," said Roczen. "We had a strong heat race and great starts today. It was hot so we had to put out a big effort, and I got another podium for the team, which is awesome. We have four races to go; we're going to carry that momentum into those races and get a couple more podiums."

Twisted Tea Suzuki's Shane McElrath put his RM-Z450's torque to the grippy Georgia soil. He's riding stronger as the season progresses.

"I felt like I had some intensity from the beginning of the main today, and it really set me up later in the race," said McElrath. "I was pushing a good pace. I had a good group of riders right in front of me - that next group that I need to start beating, they're right in front of me. There's a lot to be thankful for after this weekend. We've still got some work to do and we will get back to it this week."

Twisted Tea Suzuki's Kyle Chisholm was smooth, steady, and fast aboard his Suzuki RM-Z450. He seized his best heat race finish of the season in Atlanta.

"In the main, I got pushed wide and didn't come out of the first turn in a good position," recalled Chisholm. "I made some good passes then made a mistake in the whoops, hooked a left, and went off the track. All the guys I worked my way through went back past me, so I had to pass all of them again. Overall, the riding was good, the bike was good, but I need to fight more through that first turn and put myself in a better position to get in the top ten."

The 250 East class was back on the track and Marshal Weltin (50) (pictured) used round seven to move his Suzuki RM-Z250 up in the championship.

Marshal Weltin used a direct heat race transfer to earn a good gate pick in the main. Although he didn't get the jump off the gate, Weltin, and his Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki RM-250 charged forward and captured his best finish of the season.

"It was a rough start to the day, I'm not proud of how my qualifying or my free practice went," admitted Weltin, then told, "But I turned it around in my heat and in the main, where I worked my way from 20th to 11th. The track was super tricky with the soft dirt, so I'm happy we're out of here healthy and we're going to continue to work toward improving next weekend."

"It was a good day overall for the team," said Twisted Tea/H.E.P. Motorsports/Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance Team Principal Dustin Pipes. "Ken was solid all day; we were in the mix the whole time. He had a strong heat and showed he had the pace in the main. That was genuinely nice to see. Those top three guys [including Ken] checked out [from the pack]. We made minimal changes to the bike. We had a fork change after practice but other than it was a steady day. Shane rode good, as well. We fought some issues in practice and the heat, but Shane rebounded nicely in the main event. I think it's very realistic for him to break into the top ten. Chiz had a pretty tough night. Had a fall, but he has the pace to be up a couple more spots, too. Marshal matched his career best and it was nice to see him almost get tenth. I think he was less than a second away, and that's a good thing for him going into the East/West shootout next weekend."

The supercross series heads to East Rutherford, New Jersey for next weekend's race inside MetLife Stadium. The 450 Suzuki racers are primed to continue breakthrough rides, and the 250 racers have their first of two East/West Showdown races that pit the top riders from each region against each other in a Main that pays points toward both 250 championships.

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Photos by BrownDogWilson Photography

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