Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Roger Hayden nailed down his first MotoAmerica Motul Superbike victory of 2017 aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the first leg of the Championship of Virginia, Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia. Teammate Toni Elias was taken out in crash caused by a fellow competitor in Saturday’s race, but bounced back strong to finish second in Sunday's contest.
In spite of scoring no points in Saturday's race, Elias’ solid ride on Sunday means he leaves Virginia with a 10-point lead in the MotoAmerica standings. Hayden, who finished sixth on Sunday, is third, just a single point out of second.
At VIR riders were greeted with rainy conditions on Friday, but the weather progressively improved the rest of the weekend.
In Saturday’s race Hayden and Elias powered up quickly on their Suzuki GSX-R1000s from fifth and ninth on the grid respectively. The two both battled up front for the lead. Hayden gradually pulled away from the field and won the race by a margin of 0.485 seconds after backing off on the closing laps.
It marked the fifth-career MotoAmerica Superbike win for Hayden.
“I want to be more aggressive at the beginning, I felt like I had the pace to get away,” Hayden said after his victory. “The team was giving me the board and I could see my lead kept growing, but I decided to back it down the last three laps since water was running onto the track in a few spots. I’m happy to finally get this win after coming up short several times earlier in the season.”
Elias was in a battle for second when Josh Herrin made an error entering a fast right-hand turn and crashed, taking Elias with him in the process. “It was a mistake and Josh ran over to apologize,” Elias said. “This is racing and these things happen over the course of a long season and fortunately we have another race Sunday.”
In Sunday’s race the pair of Yoshimura Suzuki riders once again ran in the lead group. The Suzuki teammates were battling over second on the final lap when Hayden ran wide and off the track going into the first turn. He was able to get back on the track and finish sixth, earning valuable points. Elias held off rival Beaubier for second place. Elias’ finish allowed him to begin to build back his series lead after the misfortune of Saturday.
“It was good to get back on the podium today,” Elias said after Sunday’s runner-up finish. “This was important for the championship and now I will start again and try to rebuild our lead. Our team worked very hard this weekend after I suffered some crashes and it paid off for us.”
Yoshimura Suzuki will participate in a MotoAmerica test this week at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. From there the series returns to action on June 2-4 at the Dunlop Championship at Road America in picturesque Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. For additional details on the upcoming event visit www.MotoAmerica.com
You can keep up with the team’s progress by visiting http://yoshimura-racing.com and http://www.suzukicycles.com/Racing/Road%20Racing.aspx and via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/SuzukiCycles.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki is grateful for the support of their sponsors: Yoshimura R&D, Suzuki Motor of America, Motul, Tucker Rocky, Dunlop, Shorai, Sunstar, K&N Performance Filters, NGK Spark Plugs, RK Racing Chain, Chicken Hawk Racing and Zeta.
About Yoshimura R&D of America: Yoshimura is "The Leader in Performance" and has been for over 60 years. With unmatched skills, knowledge and passion for racing, Yoshimura is on the forefront of the aftermarket. Yoshimura exhaust systems are race bred and feature the same legendary performance, fit, and quality that has been our trademark for six 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.