Toni Elias opened his MotoAmerica Superbike title defense by scoring victory aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000 in race one Saturday at the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta. Elias battled Mathew Scholtz much of the race before pulling away to a 5.123-second victory.
It marked Elias’ 17th-career MotoAmerica Superbike win. It was also the 190th MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike victory for the Yoshimura Suzuki squad, and the 195th for Suzuki.
Roger Hayden crashed and was unhurt, but out of the race.
Elias reflected on his battle for the lead with Scholtz.
“My board showed my that Mathew was only 0.1-0.2 (back), but I did not know what was behind us,” Elias said. “I turned back and saw the group that was two seconds behind and I thought that was the time to continue pushing to the end. My surprise was when Mathew passed me. He was doing a good job, At that moment I thought, ‘Man, this is not good.’”
But Elias rallied and used the razor-sharp handling of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to quickly take back the lead and from there he began to pull clear en route to victory.
“My pace was good,” Elias continued. “It was time to push and I was doing that all the time, so at the end it was perfect.”
Earlier in the day Suzuki’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Kerry Graeber presented Elias a custom-made surfboard in a appreciation for his championship-winning effort of 2017. Surfing is one of Elias’ favorite pastimes.
The victory for the team was the perfect way to kick off the 40th anniversary celebration. Inside the paddock there is special 40th anniversary display featuring some of significant Yoshimura Suzukis from the past and a timeline detailing the successful history of the team. Suzuki’s Graeber also presented Don Sakakura, President of Yoshimura Racing, a commemorative plaque honoring the team for last year’s championship and their 40-year relationship with Suzuki.
Racing continues at the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta on Sunday.
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Team Yoshimura Suzuki is grateful for the support of their sponsors: Yoshimura R&D, Suzuki Motor of America, Motul, Dunlop, Tucker Rocky, Team Suzuki, Shorai, Sunstar, MWR Racing Filters, NGK Spark Plugs, RK Racing Chain, Zeta High Performance Products, and Chicken Hawk Racing.
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. Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide manufacturer of Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automobiles, Outboard Motors and related products. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has business relations with 201 countries/regions. For more information, visit www.suzuki.com.
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.