HAYDEN & YOSHIMURA SUZUKI GSX-R1000 WIN IN VIRGINIA2017-05-16 15:49
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Roger Hayden nailed his first MotoAmerica Motul Superbike victory of 2017 aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the first race on Saturday at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, as team-mate Toni Elias was taken out in crash caused by a fellow competitor, but bounced back strong to finish second in Sunday’s race.
After scoring no points in Saturday’s race, Elias’ strong performance on Sunday means he left Virginia with a 10-point lead in the MotoAmerica standings, while Hayden, who finished sixth on Sunday, is third just a single point from second.
Riders were greeted with rainy conditions on Friday, but the weather progressively improved over the rest of the weekend: In Saturday’s race, Hayden and Elias powered-up quickly on their Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000s from fifth and ninth on the grid respectively. The two both battled up-front for the lead and Hayden gradually pulled away from the field and won the race by a margin of 0.485 seconds after backing-off in the closing laps, marking the fifth-career MotoAmerica Superbike win for Hayden.
“I want to be more aggressive at the beginning, I felt like I had the pace to get away,” Hayden said after his victory. “The team was giving me the board and I could see my lead kept growing, but I decided to back-it-down the last three laps since water was running onto the track in a few spots. I’m happy to finally get this win after coming-up short several times earlier in the season.”
Elias was in a battle for second when Josh Herrin made an error entering a fast right-hand turn and crashed, taking Elias with him in the process. “It was a mistake and Josh ran over to apologise,” Elias said. “This is racing and these things happen over the course of a long season and fortunately we have another race Sunday.”
In Sunday’s race, the pair of Yoshimura Suzuki riders once again ran in the lead group and were battling over second on the final lap when Hayden ran wide and off the track going into the first turn. He was able to get back on the track and finish sixth, earning valuable points. Elias held off rival Beaubier for second place, but Elias’ finish allowed him to begin to build back his series lead after the misfortune of Saturday
“It was good to get back on the podium today,” Elias said after Sunday’s runner-up finish. “This was important for the championship and now I will start again and try to rebuild our lead. Our team worked very hard this weekend after I suffered some crashes and it paid off for us.”
Yoshimura Suzuki will participate in a MotoAmerica test this week at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. From there the series returns to action on June 2-4th at the Dunlop Championship at Road America in picturesque Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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