Photos and Interview by: Chase Yocom – Story by: Dan Lamb
These “Privateer Showcase” interviews presented by Race Tech Suspension at MotoXAddicts tell the stories of the guys in the trenches week in and week out trying to chase their dream of racing professional Supercross. While the riders at the front of the pack get the money, the T.V. time and the glory that goes with it, there’s a huge pack of guys just hoping to get a spot inside a factory semi. We talk to them.
This weeks “Privateer Showcase” presented by Race Tech Suspension, CycleTrader.com / Rock River / Yamaha’s Lorenzo Locurcio, came into the 2017 Eastern Regional 250SX Supercross Championship under the radar in his rookie season, but just like he did in the amateur motocross scene, he is starting to get that spotlight focusing his way.
In the amateurs, Lorenzo has been fighting for championships at Loretta’s since 2008, but nobody really heard his name until he hit the podium in the Schoolboy class in 2013. He followed that success up in 2014 with a second and a first in the B Class and then a third and a fourth in the A class in 2015, but he spent a good portion of 2016 injured. Even still, he did enough to get the attention of Yamaha and Christina Denny over at CycleTrader.com / Rock River / Yamaha, and they brought him into their program for his rookie season of SX in ’17.
Over the first three rounds of his rookie season, Lorenzo had gone 14, 15, DNF, but in Daytona last weekend, he showed he belongs in Monster Energy Supercross with a solid sixth place finish in the Daytona SX main event. Lorenzo did get his best start of the season in the main event, but he did not just road block his way to a great finish. The #183 was solidly in third the first ten laps of the race before coming under extreme pressure from the freight train that included factory riders Dylan Ferrandis, Jordon Smith and Zach Osborne. All three got around the rookie and pushed him back to sixth, but Lorenzo hung on for a sixth in the longest race of the year—nearly 18 minutes—on the roughest, toughest SX track on the planet.
After the checkered flag in Daytona, Chase Yocom caught up with the very satisfied Freshman at the Cycletrader.com pits.
Lorenzo, sixth place on the night in Daytona. You ran up inside the top three for a good portion of the race, so you gotta be happy with that. It’s just your rookie year. How are you feeling about your day?
It was awesome. In free practice, I didn’t get comfortable with the track. The track was gnarly out there, just crazy. The team and I came back, watched some tapes, made a bunch of changes, and then for the night, it all went well. The last qualifying session went really good for me. I went 13th, so that’s the best I’ve qualified in the whole series this year so far. I got a really good gate pick for the heat race and I made a little mistake. I was running seventh, and then I went off the track. Then, trying to pass back for seventh, I went down. I still finished eighth and made it through the heat. In the main, my rut [off the start] was a little crooked and all that, but it was short, so I took a gamble on it.
It paid off, I guess. (laughs)
Yeah, it was awesome! That’s the best start I’ve had in my life. I got off the gate good and seen a bunch of people on the inside of me, so I rode the berm. I came out third, and me and Joey [Savatgy] were up there. He passed me, and then I ran 11 laps in third. Zach [Osborne] passed me around the sixth lap or so I went back to fourth, but then he went down in the sand and I went back to third. On the 11th lap, I started tightening up a little bit. This is something new for me, but now I know I belong up there. I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully I’ll back it up soon.
The Daytona SX circuit is notorious for being pretty narrow, hard to pass on and very rough, but what did you think of the track?
Actually, the layout was pretty fun. I loved it. They did a good job keeping the track good, but it was gnarly, especially with SX suspension. Man, it’s like an outdoor—I don’t want to say like a national—but it’s pretty rough for being an SX. It’s gnarly. It’s narrow. There’s ruts, ruts all the way to the face, kickers. The sand section was brutal—the most gnarly section I’ve ridden in my life—but it was fun, though. The track came around during the day, and for the night show, it was awesome. I was really happy with the track. It is tough, probably the toughest track I ever rode. I’m happy to excel the way I did on this track and finally ride like myself. I was happy to get a start, run with those guys and get to know the front runners’ pace which is definitely different.
So you guys didn’t do much to your suspension for Daytona? I know you said you were on SX suspension, but were there a lot of clicker adjustments tonight?
Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what we did to it. We did go a pound softer on the forks, went in on the compression, and we lowered the shock a little bit. I don’t know if they did anything else, but that’s what I asked them to do after we watched the tapes. We did that and it was full-on SX suspension, so it was pretty brutal.
It seemed to work. Did you ever get a chance to run the Ricky Carmichael Amateur SX here in Daytona in the past?
I think I ran it two years, but I didn’t get to race it last year because I got hurt pretty bad. I spent the whole year hurt. It’s different, though. The track is so much more rough. It’s just gnarlier. In amateurs, the track is not as technical and they tame it up pretty good. It was good to run the dirt, but it’s definitely something completely different.
You’re on the CycleTrader / Yamaha team now. Coming up through the amateurs, you were on Yamahas, but the team is new to you. What’s it been like working with them?
I’ve actually been with them since Loretta’s [summer 2016], and they’ve been awesome to me. It’s the first ever team I’ve been on, so it’s been awesome. They’ve been pushing me, helping me and just giving me anything I need. Whether it’s practice or at the races, it’s been awesome and a huge help. Christina [Denny, manager], Scott [Rabon, manager] and all the mechanics, especially my mechanic, Cory Huberty. He’s been busting his butt. He’s my race and practice mechanic. We’ve been grinding through the whole offseason. We have this dream, so we’ve been grinding every day. The bike’s awesome. We have a great group of people, a great bike—it’s competitive, for sure, and it shows—and they help me out so much with setup. I’ve never set up a bike, so it’s been great. I’m really thankful for those guys.
We have quite a few East rounds left for you guys, do you have any specific goals you’ve set for yourself?
I just want to keep progressing every weekend like I’ve been doing. I want to be consistently inside the top ten, and anything above that is a blessing. This is the first year for me, so I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and not make too many mistakes. I made a really big mistake last weekend in Toronto and DNF’ed, but I’m glad to come back and get a sixth place. I want to keep building and, hopefully by the end of the season, get a top five—and why not better?
Thanks for the time tonight Lorenzo, and congrats on your career-best finish.
Thank you very much.