Coming into the 2017 season was a hectic time for the JGRMX team. To race or not o race Suzukis was the burning question.
Yamaha and JGR had a falling out during the
off-season, and since JGR’s Yamaha contract had
expired, JGR was free to find a new bike supplier. Suzuki was the logical choice, but with RCH
already signing on the dotted line to be Suzuki’s
factory supported team, Suzuki’s budget was
maxed out. Yet, Suzuki wanted to find a way to get
JGR on board. In the end, a one-year contract was
drafted for the 2017 season, but the entire JGRMX
team was investing for the long haul in yellow.
After the agreement between Suzuki and JGR
was signed to back the 450 effort, Suzuki Japan
asked JGR if they had any interest in running
the 250 program as well. JGR said they had room
in their semi for one 250 rider on each coast.
Suzuki agreed to the terms. The JGR 250 East/
West would be the first full-blown, factory-backed
Suzuki 250 effort since 2009 (with Ryan Dungey
and Cole Seely). Suzuki Japan, Yoshimura and RG3
Suspension would back the 250 effort 100 percent.
That meant JGRMX was able to take a step back
from having to develop the engines and suspension. JGR signed Phil Nicoletti and Matt Biceglia for
the 250 class. Nicoletti made it through the first six
250 West rounds before breaking his ankle, while
Bisclegia never made it to the starting line because
of a series of injuries.
Phil Nicoletti has been with the JGRMX team for
a very long time, and in recent years has contributed a lot as a test rider. Phil is uniquely capable
of communicating what he is feeling to the technicians. Good test riders are surprisingly hard to find,
especially at the professional level. Phil spent a lot
of his time making things easier for Justin Barcia
and Weston Peick. Phil also functioned as JGR’s
in-house fill-in rider for the 450 class.
“AFTER PHIL DISLOCATED
HIS ANKLE AT THE
MXA CONNECTED WITH
JEREMY ALBRECHT AND
VOLUNTEERED TO MAKE SURE
THAT NOTHING GOT RUSTY ON
PHIL’S FULL-FACTORY RM-Z250
WHILE HE HEALED UP.”
For 2017 Phil was signed to race and help develop the RM-Z250 for Supercross and to race the
RM-Z450 for the AMA outdoors. After Phil broke
his heel and dislocated his ankle during press day
at the Dallas Supercross, the West Coast Supercross
went on hiatus and Phil’s bike became no more
useful than a paperweight. MXA connected with
Jeremy Albrecht, team manager of JGRMX, and
volunteered to head to North Carolina to help make
sure that nothing got rusty on Phil’s full-factory
RM-Z250 while he healed up.
In stock trim the 2017 Suzuki RM-Z250 is the
heaviest in its class at 226 pounds. It is also the
lowest on the totem pole when it comes to horsepower. Phil’s factory bike is littered with titanium
and carbon fiber to shed as much weight as possible. A good 95 percent of all the hardware on his