Team Suzuki Press Office – August 12.
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias and Josh Herrin both raced to podiums at the Sonoma Raceway 7th round of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship in Sonoma, California this weekend aboard their GSX-R1000 machinery.
It was an up-and-down event for both riders: Elias finished second in Saturday’s race, then crashed while running second early in Sunday’s race. Herrin crashed out early Saturday, but then rallied to finish third on Sunday. Both were thankfully uninjured.
In spite of Sunday’s tumble, Elias’ MotoAmerica Superbike lead didn’t take much of a hit. He was 39-points ahead coming into Sonoma and finished the weekend in Wine Country still holding a 34-point advantage in the title chase.
Elias capitalised on the power of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike, blasting off the start from the outside of the front row to lead race one in the early going. At the flag, Elias came home second. It marked his 12th podium in 13 races. In Sunday’s race, Elias was comfortably in second, set to make a charge later in the race, when he lost the front end in turn seven on the third lap and crashed.
Elias had the suspension on his bike stiffened Sunday, and even though it helped him earn P1 in morning warm-up session, he speculates the firmer settings ultimately may have been too stiff to comfortably handle Sonoma’s bumpier sections.
“I didn’t feel like I was pushing,” Elias said of his Sunday tumble. “I didn’t feel like I made a mistake or braked too late, but maybe with the change I did in the front [suspension], it was too hard, and I just lost the front on one of the bumps. I’m sorry for the team, but I want to look in a positive way. We still have a 34-point lead. It’s not like it was yesterday, but it’s still 34. We have six races and we’ll see what happens.”
Herrin was quick to thank the entire Yoshimura Suzuki crew for rebuilding his bike after Saturday’s race crash. He ran a solid race on Sunday, making a strong pass in the closing stages of the 22-lap event enabling him to earn his third rostrum of the season.
“It feels great to get back up here on the podium,” Herrin said. “I especially want to thank my team for going the extra mile in getting my bike ready for today’s race. Hopefully I can build on this result and keep turning in strong finishes in the final races of the year.”
There are three race weekends, six races, remaining in the 2019 MotoAmerica season. The championship enters the home stretch in two weeks at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum on August 23-25th.