Photos Courtesy of Brian J Nelson
Toni Elias, riding his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000, swept the doubleheader race weekend of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship at the scenic Virginia International Raceway. It marked the second clean sweep of the season for Elias, who also took the double win at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, last month.
Elias reached his milestone 20th MotoAmerica victory in Saturday’s Race One. He earned the distinction of reaching 20 wins faster than any other rider in series history. He then continued adding to his tally with Sunday’s 21st-career victory. That also marked Suzuki’s 199th win in MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike history, putting them just one away from an historic 200th win.
Suzuki is the all-time wins leader among manufacturers in the 42-year history of the MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike Championship.
Elias found two different paths to victory at VIR. In Saturday’s race he trailed most of the way before making his move with two laps to go. In Sunday’s race Elias controlled the pace from the front, officially leading all 23 laps. Both races were epic battles with Elias defeating rival Cameron Beaubier by just 0.114 seconds on Saturday and 0.546 on Sunday.
With five wins in six races, Elias has stretched his championship points lead to 35.
Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Roger Hayden had a tough-luck weekend. He got caught up in a chain-reaction crash in Saturday’s race ending in a spectacular endo at speed. Hayden attempted to race Sunday. He ran as high as fourth in the early going, but began experiencing dizziness and decided the best action was to pull out of the race.
For Elias, the VIR sweep came as somewhat of a surprise.
“VIR has not always been the best track for me,” Elias explained. “In yesterday’s race I just tried to stay close to Cameron [Beaubier] and in the end I was able to find a way to pass. Today I was leading all the way. It was a different strategy, but it worked and we were able to win again and most importantly build on our points lead. This was again credit to my Yoshimura Suzuki crew. Everyone worked so hard to improve our performance at this track and it worked perfectly.
“It is Mom’s Day in Spain and I want to dedicate my victories this weekend to her.”
With a three-week break until the next round at Road America, Hayden hopes to be fully recovered and ready to race by then.
“In the first race a rider in front of us crashed and a couple of us went off track to avoid him,” Hayden said. “I ended up having a pretty big crash and hit my head pretty hard. I tried to ride today, but I was still feeling the effects of yesterday’s hit to the head. I got pretty dizzy on the bike, so I just brought it in to be safe. We’ve got three weeks to Road America. I plan on coming out strong there. It’s a good track for our bike.”
The next event on the MotoAmerica schedule takes place at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 1-3, round four of the 10-event series. Suzuki is hoping to reach and perhaps even eclipse the 200-win plateau that weekend.
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For additional information visit: www.motoamerica.com
You can keep up with the team’s progress by visiting yoshimura-racing.comand www.suzukicycles.com/Racing and via YouTube at www.youtube.com/SuzukiCycles
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.