The AutoTrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team has announced the signing of Enzo Lopes in a deal that will see the racer make his professional motocross debut at the 2018 Hangtown National, the opening round of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The news comes after Jimmy Decotis, the team’s original rider for the summer, suffered fractured vertebra in his back at the 2018 Daytona Supercross and initial replacement Kyle Peters tore the MCL & ACL ligaments in his knee at the 2018 Minneapolis Supercross. Lopes will race in the 250 class aboard a factory RM-Z250 while Decotis is out of action, a length of time that is uncertain but the team feels should be three or four races.
Lopes, an eighteen-year-old racer from Brazil that now lives in Southern California, has competed at high levels of amateur racing and has lined up in the 250 class at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm event in the past, but Hangtown will be his first true professional event.
The press release from the team is posted in full below…
The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team is pleased to announce that amateur star Enzo Lopes will be making his professional racing debut at the opening round of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The Brazilian is scheduled to contest several Nationals on the Suzuki RM-Z250 for the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team while Jimmy Decotis is out of action.
Lopes has established himself as a premier amateur racer in the United States. The 18-year- old from Lajeado, Brazil, has steadily worked up the ranks, most recently winning the 250 Pro Class at the California Classic. In total, Lopes has 11 Brazilian National Championships and multiple U.S. titles. He is slated to make his professional debut at the Hangtown National on May 19th in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The Brazilian will be filling in on the RM-Z250 until Jimmy Decotis returns to action.
"This is a dream come true! Being a kid from Brazil, it's amazing to think that I'm part of the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team," stated Lopes. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm so thankful. I like North Carolina because it reminds me of home. My first day on the Suzuki RM-Z250 was so much fun. The bike felt perfect right away, as it is very fast and handles well. I'm really looking forward to Hangtown."
Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team manager Jeremy Albrecht is eager to see what Lopes can accomplish. "It's exciting to give a young kid and promising amateur this opportunity. We're interested to see what he's capable of. He will be spending the next few weeks riding in North Carolina in preparation for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. I'm happy to support Enzo. Hopefully, he can achieve his goals. We expect that he will race the opening three or four Nationals."