A Pair of Podiums Earns Roger Hayden Series Lead at Suzuki Sponsored Event
Chino, CA (April 18, 2016) – It was another impressive weekend for Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Roger Hayden and Toni Elias in the MotoAmerica Suzuki Superbike Shootout of Georgia at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA. Elias continued one of the best debuts in the history of AMA Superbike racing by winning his third-consecutive series race by scoring victory in Road Atlanta’s race one on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike. And the Spanish former Moto2 World Champion did it this weekend on a track he’d never seen before. The magical start to Elias’ 2016 finally came to earth when he crashed out of race two while chasing down the leaders.
Roger Hayden had a solid outing at Road Atlanta, not only scoring two podiums aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki, with a close second in race one and third in race two, his strong and steady finishes in the first two stops of 2016 MotoAmerica Superbike season have earned him the series lead by a single point over Elias (76-75).
Remarkably Elias qualified second in Superpole 2, earning a front row start. It was the fact that it was his first visit to the very technical Road Atlanta, which made his front-row start so noteworthy. Hayden headed up row two after qualifying fourth.
It was an electrifying race with four riders battling for the lead. Leading on the 13th lap, teammates Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes collided and the pair tumbled off into the gravel on the exit of turn 10B. Hayden took over at the point, but Elias was right there with him and with a few laps to go the former World Champion took over and held on to win by .343 of a second.
“I push and where I want to pass Roger every lap was yellow flags, yellow flags, yellow flags,” Elias said. “I did my best and he was there all the time. We got lucky because the leaders crashed out and I'm sorry because they had good rhythm."
In the afternoon race Hayden shadowed Beaubier and Hayes in third most of the way and that’s where he finished. Elias ran off the track in the early going and was actually reeling the leaders back in when a little past halfway he crashed out of fourth place in turn six. He was unhurt in the fall.
Hayden was happy with taking over the championship lead, but obviously still eager to earn his first win after being in the hunt in every race so far this season.
“Obviously I can’t be too disappointed with two podiums and leaving here with the points lead,” Hayden explained. “It was a good comeback for me at Road Atlanta after the disastrous weekend I had here last year. So overall I leave here feeling good going into New Jersey, but I’m really focused on getting some wins. The points lead is nice, but really doesn’t mean a whole lot this early in the championship. We’ve been there knocking on the door and I’d say I’m more than ready to breakthrough to get a victory.”
Team rider Jake Lewis was on hand for Road Atlanta to meet fans and sign autographs. He continues to rehab from pre-season training injuries.
In less than two weeks’ time the 2016 MotoAmerica Championship moves to New Jersey Motorsports Park on April 29th through May 1st in Millville, New Jersey, for the first of two visits this season to the track. 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