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Rod pictured with Doug Gust
after Moto 2 at Glen Helen.

5 minutes with Rod Lopusnak
by: Racer 450 Staff

While out in California we caught up with Suzukiís Rod Lopusnak. Rod is the man primarily responsible for keeping the championship winning team on itsí feet and for expansions such as bringing in top riders like Jeremiah Jones. Rod filled us in on current racing issues and where Team Suzuki stands.

R450: Well Rod, how happy are you with the start of the season so far?
Rod: I couldnít be happier with the first moto. We got second, third, and fourth actually with Harold Goodman. We are giving a little bit of help to Harold this year. Itís awesome; I just canít wait for the second moto.

R450: Tell us a little bit about how things got so big this year.
Rod: Doug has been loyal to Suzuki for a long time. Last year, we decided to have a real factory effort. We got together a bunch of different sponsors, and we had a kick ass year. We won eight races, with six straight. The worst we finished was second. A lot of people last year told us that we couldnít even compete when we were here last year because our bike was old. It was a lot of fun proving them wrong. We just wanted to keep stepping it up. The industry has been super supportive, with all of the letters and phone calls that we have received. We wanted to have two guys, just in case, God forbid, Doug got hurt. We wanted to keep Suzuki out there in the front. Last year we spent all year evaluating everybody. We had about four or five guys on our radar, and when it came down to it, we felt that Jeremiah was the best fit for us.

R450: Are you looking to pick up any more support riders for Pro or Pro-Am?
Rod: We have some Pro-Am guys. Jeremy Lawson and John Ragan are a couple of guys that we help out. Weíre going to expand the program at all of the levels. William Yokley in the GNCC gets support from us. Weíre just going to keep expanding. Fly has come in to help out big time. Genuine Suzuki accessories has really stepped up and got behind Doug and Jeremiah this year. More parts of Suzuki are getting involved. Itís not just the marketing or sales side anymore. We are building accessories just for Doug and Jeremiah, making a total group effort. Hopefully, next year I can have three guys. As long as Doug wants to race, it is Dougís race team. That is the way that I look at it. Heís here for as long as he wants to be. Heís the oldest guy out there, and heís still flying. As long as he wants to do it weíre not going to stop him.

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