Team Suzuki Press Office – September 11.
A day after clinching the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias made a last-lap pass on teammate Roger Hayden to take victory in Sunday’s second race at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, marking his 10th victory of the season.
Hayden sprinted to the front on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike and led the race for 22 of the 23 laps. Elias, who fell back to seventh after debris hit him in the foot, rallied back and pulled up to Hayden in the closing laps. On the final lap, he dove underneath Hayden in turn one and pulled away to victory. The close pass forced Hayden wide and he ran off into the grass, costing him a shot at the win in process. He managed to keep the bike on two wheels and held on to a podium finish of third.
“I am happy for my team to take another victory,” Elias said. “I think my pass on Roger was too close and I did not want it to happen that way, but he braked very late and so did I. I thought I had room. It was fantastic to win the championship and I just want to keep going like this through the end of the season.”
Hayden was masterful in keeping his machine upright after running off the track.
“I had a good start and I put my head down and tried to get away,” Hayden explained. “Kyle (Wyman) ran a great race today. On the last lap when Toni passed me I had nowhere to go but the grass. Fortunately, I was able to get back on the track and still put it on the box.”
On Saturday Hayden set a track record in Superpole. It was his second track record of the season.
Elias’ victory now raises Yoshimura Suzuki’s win count to 12 in 18 races for the revolutionary 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 in its debut season. Additionally, Elias and Hayden have given Suzuki’s flagship Superbike a first and second in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
The series concludes next weekend, September 15-17th, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.