When Tommy Hahn plants his Yamaha YZ450F behind the starting gate at Anaheim I next month, it will be the third year in a row that Hahn will begin a new racing season on a new machine and with a new number. In 2009, Hahn rode for the Canidae Motosport.com Kawasaki team on the number-48 KX450F, where he finished out the season with his first overall National MX win. In 2010, Hahn switched gears (and numbers) when the Canidae team changed to Suzuki machinery. He spent the 2010 season on the Rockstar Energy/Canidae Suzuki team on the number-10 RM-Z450, where he finished out the 2010 AMA Supercross Championship in eighth place, and the outdoor Nationals in 13th.
Earlier this year, Suzuki announced that the Rockstar/Canidae/Suzuki team would handle Suzuki's Lites-racing effort in 2011, leaving Hahn, a 450cc, rider without a job. But that wouldn't last for long. The Motoconcepts Yamaha team quickly snatched up the 24-year-old (he turns 25 on Friday) rider from Decatur, Texas, who will now be sporting the number 12 on his blue and white YZ.
One of Hahn's most memorable moments in 2010 came when he and his brother, Wil, both finished on the podium at the Seattle Supercross - Wil in the Lites class and Tommy in the premiere class. It was a Supercross first that two brothers finished on the podium on the same night.
Tommy also finished third in two outdoor motos in 2010, and second once in the first moto at Southwick. His hopes of finishing out the ride on the podium that day, however, was wiped away when his clutch gave out and he had to nurse his bike to the finish. He still finished eighth overall.
Despite separating his shoulder during practice at the final round at Steel City a week later, Hahn was able to look back on his 2010 and feel good about himself and they way he rode, and would no doubt worry about landing another job for 2011. And he did land another job, but not with his previous team.
We caught up to Hahn today while he was out testing his new YZ450F at Milestone MX Park in California, and talked with him a little about his new deal with Motoconcepts and his progress.
Tell about your new deal with Motoconcepts.
I got on board with Motoconcepts for 2011 after riding for the Rockstar Suzuki team, and so far so good with the new bike. I've been on the Yamaha now for about two months; I guess, I got on it about mid-October for the first time. We've been doing a lot of testing, and I just got out to California last week. I've been at home in Texas and doing my training and stuff, and riding my tracks. We've been doing test all this week, getting the bike dialed in some more before Christmas, and then do a little more testing right after Christmas when I get home.
How's the shoulder and your health overall now?
I feel good, I'm in shape and I'm ready to go. Anaheim I is getting closer. I wish it was next weekend! Some people wish they had more time, some people wish they had less time, but I feel like it's been a long off-season and I've been doing my homework, and I'm healthy and ready to go. Like I said, I'm feeling really good, but I did have a little crash Friday, twisted my ankle some. It was the same ankle I broke a long time ago. It's real finicky, so when I twist it a little bit it hurts. It's fine today, so I'm stoked about that.
How did things end at the Rockstar/Suzuki Team?
It was a great team that I was riding for, those guys put on a good program. But they have Suzuki's Lites program now and didn't have any room for a 450 guy, and that was it. So, I'm happy for them and that they got their deal and are moving forward. You know, change is always good. I'm on a different bike now, and I really like it. I'm just looking forward to doing well.
How has the transition been going from Suzuki to Yamaha?
It's not that hard going from Suzuki to Yamaha. All of the bikes these days are pretty close to each other. There were a few little things that I had to get used to, but the Yamaha overall is super easy to adapt to. I liked it straight off, so it's been going good.
How are things going with the new team? Happy?
I'm happy with the team, and the mechanics are working really hard. My mechanic Derrick works really hard for me, he always comes out to the track with me, and my practice-bike mechanic Trey, he's always there for me at home and out here too, so it's been great.
How's testing been going? Are you where you want to be?
We got the motor dialed in pretty fast. I pretty much knew what I liked in the motor, so that didn't take long getting dialed. We're mostly working on suspension now. I don't think you can ever get too great with suspension. I've been riding with one setting and getting used to it and kind of picking apart what I don't like and what I do like and trying to go from there. We're doing a little shock-testing today. I think I've got my forks pretty close, so we'll see if we can get the shock a little better, and I think we'll be good.