Bad Weekend for Hayden and Elias Drop Team from atop Superbike Standings
Chino, CA (May 2, 2016) – Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Roger Hayden and Toni Elias had a tough, cold and rainy weekend to say the least at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ. Hayden lost the MotoAmerica Superbike points lead finishing ninth in race one and then crashing in the second race. Hayden remounted to finish 17th, but he missed out on scoring points. Teammate Elias was able to finish both races, but also suffered through a difficult outing finishing 18th and 12th in the two legs.
Hayden qualified his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 on the front row Saturday, in third with a time of 1:21.641 in Superbike Superpole 2. Elias started from row two after qualifying sixth with a time of 1:22.285.
Sunday brought rainy and cool weather all day and proved to be difficult conditions for the Yoshimura Suzuki pair. Hayden could not find any confidence with the track, citing sealer patches as his biggest issue. Even though Elias already has three MotoAmerica Superbike wins to his credit, he feels he’s still learning the Yoshimura Suzuki and found the combination of a new track and wet conditions a major challenge.
In the first leg Sunday, Hayden raced to an uncharacteristic ninth-place finish. Elias meanwhile struggled mightily in the steady rain and lost positions as the race progressed to finish 18th.
Hayden was determined to earn a better finish in race two and nailed a good start and ran third in the early laps, but on lap three he hit one of the tricky patches on the circuit and crashed. Even though it was a high-speed fall, Hayden scrambled to his downed machine and was able to get back underway. He came back from last and earned back several positions to ultimately finish 17th, missing a points-scoring position by two spots.
“We definitely struggled in the wet this weekend,” Hayden said. “We made some changes in race two and I felt a lot better. I was running third and was really just cruising. I knew I didn’t have the pace to run with the top two guys. I was just going to settle in and out of nowhere the rear end came around and spit me off. There’s so much sealer around this track it’s like riding on ice or something. That’s the way it goes. We’ll regroup and head to Virginia and try to get back on the podium.”
Elias found better pace in the second race and improved six spots to take 12th.
“It was a tough weekend,” said Elias, who won the first three rounds of the season. “I struggled a lot in wet conditions so in the first race I wasn’t able to get into the points. We improved a lot for the second race and take home some points, but it’s not what we want of course. I need more kilometers on the Suzuki in wet conditions to find the right set ups. We have to accept and continue fighting and the next one we’ll be better for sure.”
As a result of the tough weekend in New Jersey, Hayden and Elias fell from first and second in the series standings. Hayden is now third with 83 points, nine points out of the series lead, while Elias is fourth with 79 points.
In two weeks the MotoAmerica Championship moves to Virginia Motorsports Park in Alton, Virginia, on May 13-15. The races will be televised on beIN SPORTS.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki is grateful for the support of their sponsors: Yoshimura R&D, Suzuki Motor of America, Motorex, Dunlop, Parts Unlimited, Shorai, Sunstar, K&N Performance Filters, NGK Spark Plugs, RK Racing Chain, Kushitani, Zeta and Chicken Hawk Racing.
About Yoshimura R&D of America: Yoshimura is “The Leader in Performance” and has been for more than 55 years. With unmatched skills, knowledge, and passion for racing, Yoshimura is on the forefront of the aftermarket exhaust industry. Yoshimura pipes are race bred and feature the same legendary performance, fit and quality that has been their trademark for more than five decades. To learn more about Yoshimura and view their wide variety of performance products, visit www.yoshimura-rd.com.
About Suzuki: Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (SMAI) distributes Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Outboard Motors and Automotive Parts and Accessories via an extensive dealer network throughout 49 states. SMAI’s supplier, Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide manufacturer of Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automobiles and Outboard Motors. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has 147 distributors in 201 countries. For more information, visit www.suzuki.com