Chino, CA (July 10, 2017) – It was a beautiful weekend on the Monterey Peninsula for the annual combined WorldSBK/MotoAmerica weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was complete domination for Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing. Series leader Toni Elias swept the weekend, winning both legs of the event on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. The two victories pushed Elias’ tally for the season to eight wins and extends his series lead to 40 points after 12 of 20 races.
Elias’ winning streak now extends to five in a row, giving him firm control of the championship.
Roger Hayden had a strong weekend. He made a last-ditch effort to pass Elias on the final turn in Sunday’s race, but ran wide and finished runner-up in both rounds. Hayden continued to show amazing speed on his 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 in qualifying. He earned a series-leading fourth Superpole of the season on Saturday.
The race enjoyed great fan turnout with perfect weather. They watched the Yoshimura Suzuki duo engaged in an exciting battle for most of Saturday’s race. Hayden came up half a second short of teammate Elias at the finish. On Sunday Hayden led the majority of the race, but Elias made a pass on the final lap. Hayden fought back, but ran wide in the final turn. The margin of victory on Sunday was 1.39 seconds.
“It was an amazing weekend,” Elias said. “The conditions were a little cooler today. I struggled a bit and Roger was very strong. Fortunately, I was able to pass Roger on the last lap and get the second victory of the weekend. I’m very happy with the way the team is working together. It is perfect.
“Winning both races helped give me a gap in the standings and that is important because this season still has a lot of races. I am looking forward to going to Sonoma and I will try to continue doing what we are doing. If we can keep winning it will be perfect, but if we can’t and have to take second that will be good too.”
Hayden continues to be a serious contender and is hopeful that he’ll find the right combo for more wins.
“We got the pole again this weekend, so I was pretty excited about that,” Hayden explained. “In race one Saturday I pretty much followed Toni around. Then we made some changes to the bike and it was a lot better for today’s race. I tried to hold onto the lead, but Toni got by me in turn two there on the last lap. I tried to throw a Hail Mary on the last turn, but he was protecting the inside line. I knew it was a long shot and it didn’t quite work. I’m looking forward to getting back to Sonoma and hopefully we can finish strong in the last four events.”
Elias now has 260 points to Hayden’s 220. Third in the championship is Cameron Beaubier with 180 points.
The series now take a mid-summer break before coming back August 11-13 for the Championship at Sonoma Raceway.
For additional details on the upcoming event visit www.MotoAmerica.com
You can keep up with the team’s progress by visiting yoshimura-racing.com and www.suzukicycles.com/Racing and via YouTube at www.youtube.com/SuzukiCycles