Team Suzuki Press Office – August 18.
Toni Elias – GSX-R1000 – 3-2
Roger Hayden – GSX-R1000 – 6-7
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias raced his GSX-R1000 to a pair of podium finishes at the weekend’s MotoAmerica Superbike Championship seventh round at Sonoma Raceway with a third in Saturday’s opening race, then improving to finish second on Sunday.
In his last race in Sonoma after announcing his retirement at the end of this season, fellow Yoshimura Suzuki rider Roger Hayden nailed down two top-10 finishes, with a sixth and seventh at the doubleheader weekend in the heart of America’s Northern California wine country.
Elias got great starts and battled up front all weekend, but ultimately no one could match the pace of series leader Cameron Beaubier, who won both races.
“We came away with a couple of podium finishes and found improvements with the bike in Sunday’s race,” said Elias, the defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion. “Cameron has a fantastic feeling for this track and he is riding the best I’ve seen since I’ve been here.
“Obviously I would like to get the feeling for the bike I had earlier in the season, but sometimes you do not have it, and this is where we are at the moment. We will continue to work hard to find solutions and my goal is to get back to winning races so that we might be able to apply a little pressure on the competition.”
For Hayden the Sonoma weekend was bittersweet. He was racing in his first event since announcing his retirement from racing at the end of this season. He was overwhelmed by the well wishes he received from fans, but was not satisfied with his results on the track. He experienced arm pump in both races.
“For whatever reason I’ve never got along with this track and that carried over to this weekend,” Hayden said. “But on the positive side I was taken aback by the warmth of fans here. They were so thoughtful in telling me how they followed my career and how they wished me well as I move on to the next stage in my life. For that alone I’ll always have a good memory of my last race here. Now we move on to Pittsburgh. I had pretty good luck there last year, so I’m hoping to find it again this time around.”
Elias remains second in the series after 14 of 20 races. He is 63 points behind Beaubier, while Hayden moved up a position from ninth to eighth in the MotoAmerica Superbike standings.
Next up for Yoshimura Suzuki is the Championship of Pittsburgh, MotoAmerica round eight, scheduled for August 24-26th at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.