Elias Wins Saturday and Herrin Earns Victory on Sunday
It was a weekend of winning for Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing in MotoAmerica Superbike action at the scenic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Toni Elias overcame a tough last-lap battle to take victory in Saturday’s race one. Then it was Josh Herrin’s turn on Sunday, racing to the checkered flag for his second victory of the season, giving Yoshimura Suzuki a sweep of both Road America rounds.
Unfortunately for Elias, the weekend ended with a crash on the final lap of Sunday’s race while battling for the lead. The good news for the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion, is that he had a big enough lead in the standings, that in spite of the tumble, he still leaves Wisconsin with a nine-point series lead -151-142 -over rival Cameron Beaubier after four of 10 doubleheader weekends.
Herrin’s win put him in a much better position in the championship. The 2013 AMA Superbike Champion is now fifth in the standings, but only eight points out of third.
Saturday Elias came out on top of a battle that featured as many as seven riders at times and whittled down to four riders by the end. The race was run in tricky conditions with occasional light rain. At the finish line, Elias was .253 of a second ahead of his championship rival Beaubier. For Elias it marked his 28th-career MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike victory. That moved him into a tie with former Yoshimura Suzuki champion Ben Spies for fifth on the all-time MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike wins list.
Elias also used the speed of his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to win Superpole at Road America, his second pole of the season.
Afterwards Elias said, of the Road America weekend, “We are doing a great job, but everybody is so fast. It’s so competitive, so close, anything can happen. We had a great win on Saturday and then I had the crash today because I flinched in the final turn when Cameron came in. I could not finish because the handlebar broke off.
“I congratulate Josh for his win. He has worked hard and is very deserving of this. I am sorry to my team for my mistake, but we will come back and fight again to build back our lead.”
Herrin was ultra-competitive in both races. He was fighting for the lead on the final lap of Saturday’s race before he and Elias nearly came together in turn five and Herrin was forced to run wide, costing him a podium. He finished fourth. In Sunday’s race it was another showdown between the Yoshimura Suzuki teammates up front and this time Herrin emerged the victor.
“I wanted to pass Toni on the last lap in a place where he didn’t expect it,” Herrin explained. “The carousel seemed like a good spot. It was a little scary, but luckily, I was able to make it work. I’m super pumped to get this win today. We’ve found that comfortable spot with the bike and it’s a missile. I’m happy and ready to tackle the rest of the season.”
Herrin now has eight-career MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike victories.
The championship next travels west to Utah Motorsports Campus just west of Salt Lake City on June 15-16. The races are televised nationally on Fox Sports 2.
Photos from Road America by Brian J. Nelson.
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