Hayden Wins Fourth Superpole of the Season and is Runner Up in Both Races
It was a beautiful weekend on the Monterey Peninsula for the annual combined WorldSBK/MotoAmerica weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was complete domination for Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing. Series leader Toni Elias swept the weekend, winning both legs of the event on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. The two victories pushed Elias’ tally for the season to eight wins and extends his series lead to 40 points after 12 of 20 races.
Elias' winning streak now extends to five in a row, giving him firm control of the championship.
Roger Hayden had a strong weekend. He made a last-ditch effort to pass Elias on the final turn in Sunday’s race, but ran wide and finished runner-up in both rounds. Hayden continued to show amazing speed on his 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 in qualifying. He earned a series-leading fourth Superpole of the season on Saturday.
The race enjoyed great fan turnout with perfect weather. They watched the Yoshimura Suzuki duo engaged in an exciting battle for most of Saturday’srace. Hayden came up half a second short of teammate Elias at the finish. On Sunday Hayden led the majority of the race, but Elias made a pass on the final lap. Hayden fought back, but ran wide in the final turn. The margin of victory on Sunday was 1.39 seconds.
“It was an amazing weekend,” Elias said. “The conditions were a little cooler today. I struggled a bit and Roger was very strong. Fortunately, I was able to pass Roger on the last lap and get the second victory of the weekend. I’m very happy with the way the team is working together. It is perfect.
“Winning both races helped give me a gap in the standings and that is important because this season still has a lot of races. I am looking forward to going to Sonoma and I will try to continue doing what we are doing. If we can keep winning it will be perfect, but if we can’t and have to take second that will be good too.”
Hayden continues to be a serious contender and is hopeful that he’ll find the right combo for more wins.
“We got the pole again this weekend, so I was pretty excited about that,” Hayden explained. “In race one Saturday I pretty much followed Toni around. Then we made some changes to the bike and it was a lot better for today’s race. I tried to hold onto the lead, but Toni got by me in turn two there on the last lap. I tried to throw a Hail Mary on the last turn, but he was protecting the inside line. I knew it was a long shot and it didn’t quite work. I’m looking forward to getting back to Sonoma and hopefully we can finish strong in the last four events.”
Elias now has 260 points to Hayden’s 220. Third in the championship is Cameron Beaubier with 180 points.
The series now take a mid-summer break before coming back August 11-13 for the Championship at Sonoma Raceway.
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.