Team Suzuki Press Office – September 18.
Roger Hayden: 1st – DNS
Toni Elias: DNF – 2nd
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Roger Hayden and Toni Elias wrapped-up the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama with Hayden winning Saturday’s opening race – his third win of the season – and Elias second in Sunday’s wet second race to cap-off his championship-winning season.
Hayden’s victory gave the new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 a stunning debut season. The newly-designed motorcycle dominated the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship winning 13 of the 20 races and finishing first and second in the championship.
Elias’ title, clinched at the previous round in New Jersey, also marked a record 14th MotoAmerica/ AMA Superbike Championship for Suzuki.
The Barber weekend kicked-off with Hayden speeding his way to a series-leading seventh Superpole. He then went out in Saturday’s race and led flag-to-flag to score his third win of the season and seventh MotoAmerica/ AMA Superbike victory of his career.
Said Hayden: “I really like racing here at Barber and my crew gave me a great motorcycle. It felt good to come out and win a race like that, leading every lap. It was a great way to close out the year and makes me really look forward to next season.”
In Sunday’s wet race, Hayden, who had already clinched second in the championship, elected not to race, citing the potential hazards of slippery ‘seal coating’ in certain sections of the circuit.
Elias also had a strong final weekend: After a rare error in Saturday’s race, which saw him slip-off unhurt, he turned around and ran a solid come-from-behind race to finish second in the rain on Sunday.
“The conditions were challenging and I rode cautiously at first,” said Elias. “But my team made some perfect adjustments to the bike for the wet and I gained confidence as the race continued and that allowed me to finish strong.
“This year was a dream season for me and I again want to thank Suzuki for giving us such a great weapon in the GSX-R1000 and everyone on the Yoshimura team who helped make it possible.”
Elias ended his championship campaign with 10 wins. Interestingly, in just two seasons of MotoAmerica, he is already tied with his childhood hero Wayne Rainey for eighth on the all-time MotoAmerica/ AMA Superbike wins list, with 16-career victories.