Chino, CA (July 11, 2016) – Toni Elias won the pole and scored a pair of podium finishes Sunday in MotoAmerica Superbike at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Elias finished second aboard his No. 24 Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 in race one and followed that up with third in race two. Teammate Roger Hayden finished fourth in race two after crashing in the first leg.
Elias earned his second successive MotoAmerica Superbike pole position and the second of his debut season in the series aboard his speedy Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during qualifying on Saturday.
"I'm happy because we try to make a good job all weekend, working for the race, but every time we put a new tire on I found traffic," Elias said. "I knew this wouldn't happen on the Superpole because there are only 10 riders on the track. It was a shame that I make a mistake in the Corkscrew and in the last corner because I feel that was one of my best laps in my career. But finally it was enough to have the pole and I didn't expect that."
Hayden showed good speed all weekend on his Suzuki GSX-R1000, including qualifying on the front row, but the fall in race one ended his quest to win this year’s championship.
Both Superbike of Sunday’s races were thrillers with Elias getting nipped out by just .300 of a second in race one and then battling for the lead nearly the entire way in race two as well.
“It was one of the hardest races of the season,” Elias said. “At the start I tried to go, but everybody followed me and then I understood it was going to be a group race. I tried maximum every lap. I was pushing 120% and risking a lot. Now I can say I’m happy. I’m happy because I gave all I had and tried very hard the last few laps. We’ll keep working.”
Hayden mixed it up in the battle up front in race one and actually held the lead at one point before taking a tumble on lap 14 of the 20-lap race. In race two Hayden ran fourth the entire distance.
“In race one I made a mistake going into turn one,” Hayden explained. “In the second race I ended up fourth. It’s not what we wanted, but sometimes that’s how racing goes. I wish we didn’t have to wait so long for New Jersey to have another go at it. I thank the whole Yoshimura Suzuki team and my crew for everything they do and the great GSX-R they give me every weekend. We’ll be ready to go for New Jersey.”
Elias currently sits third in the championship, 35 points out the series lead, but technically still in the championship hunt going into the final round. The MotoAmerica Superbike Championship series heads back to New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey for the finale on September 9-11th.
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.