Elias and Hayden Finish First and Second in Both Races at COTA
Chino, CA (April 11, 2016) – Former Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias made a stunning MotoAmerica Superbike debut with Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing, sweeping both legs of the season-opening doubleheader at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Teammate Roger Hayden finished second in both rounds, giving Yoshimura Suzuki one of the most memorable opening weekends in team history.
The combined MotoGP/MotoAmerica event drew a three-day total of 131,881 spectators.
Elias, who is serving as a replacement rider for the injured Jake Lewis, won the Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike after the team made adjustments on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 during a red flag. The changes made all the difference in the world and Elias came out flying on the restart and at the checkered flag was 1.714 seconds ahead of Hayden.
Elias was even stronger in race two on Sunday. After battling with Hayden, Elias managed to pull out a gap late in the race, this time sprinting ahead to a 4.063-second margin of victory over Hayden to complete the sweep of the COTA weekend, giving Yoshimura Suzuki a 1-2 in both legs.
When asked in the press conference Sunday afternoon if he felt like the king after winning both races, Elias replied, "I'm not the King, just winning some races. I'm happy and I'm satisfied. At the beginning of the race, I was a little bit worried. I didn't have a great, great feeling, but we start, I try to stay behind Roger (Hayden) and Cameron (Beaubier). Finally, I found myself again and try to go away but was impossible. Roger was there all the time.
“I want Jake (Lewis) to come back and this is his bike, but since we have started so well, I hope that somehow Yoshimura Suzuki will be able to have three bikes for the team and I can stay on and fight for the championship.”
For Hayden Saturday’s race one was especially heartbreaking, since he had a two-second-plus lead when the red flag came out due to oil on the track.
“I was running really good in race one,” Hayden explained. “It was a bummer for sure when the red flag came out, since I had a pretty big lead. That’s the way it goes sometimes. You have red flags and it’s the same for everybody. On the restart I didn’t feel as good and got second.
“On Sunday’s race I got up front and pretty much battled with Toni, until the last couple of laps I started struggling a lot with the rear grip. He set an incredible pace. I’m happy to start the year this strong. I know it’s only the first race, but I’m really happy with where we’re at as a team. I can’t be happier for Yoshimura Suzuki to sweep the weekend with a first and second. It shows you how hard they’ve been working.”
Earlier in the weekend Hayden was impressive in scoring the pole in qualifying on his powerful Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. Hayden’s 2:09.151 set a new Superbike lap record at COTA, eclipsing the mark of 2:09.653 set by 2015 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier in qualifying for last year's race.
Elias leads the series with 50 points to Hayden’s 40.
The 2016 MotoAmerica Championship now moves to Road Atlanta next weekend for the MotoAmerica Suzuki Superbike Shootout of Georgia on April 15-17. 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