Toni Elias didn’t need to win Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park, but the 34-year-old Spaniard found he had the speed. He moved his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike to the front eight laps into the 23-lap race and held off Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammate Roger Hayden at the finish line by 0.039 seconds to win his ninth race of the season.
In the process Elias clinched the 2017 Motul MotoAmerica Superbike Championship with three races remaining.
The victory marked a record 14th MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike Championship for Suzuki.
Additionally, Hayden secured second in the championship, giving the new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 a 1-2 result in the machine’s debut season.
Elias, a former Moto2 World Champion, now adds a MotoAmerica Superbike title to his already impressive résumé. He was ecstatic with his victory and championship. He graciously thanked everyone who helped make it possible for him to race in America.
“I am so happy,” said Elias, who becomes the first rider from Spain in the 41-year history of the series to win MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike title. “It was amazing to take the championship by winning. That was the way I wanted to do it, but Roger and Josh (Hayes) were riding so strong it was not easy. I am so thankful to my crew, to Yoshimura and Suzuki for giving me this amazing opportunity.”
Elias’ family made the trip over from Spain and was able to enjoy the championship with him.
Earlier in the day, Hayden won Superpole for the sixth time this season and used the power of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to set a new motorcycle track record at NJMP at 1:20.378.
It was a great three-way battle for most of the race with Hayden moving up and trying a last-lap draft on Elias on the main straight, but came up a half-bike length short. It was the ninth time this season Yoshimura Suzuki finished first and second.
Suzuki holds the record for the most championship and wins in MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike history. The Suzuki GSX-R is also the all-time winningest motorcycle in the series.
Racing at NJMP continues Sunday, including MotoAmerica Superbike Race 2. The series concludes next weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
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.