AUSTIN, TX (April 20, 2018) — Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias took Superpole Friday for this weekend’s MotoAmerica Superbike doubleheader at Circuit of the Americas, part of the giant combined MotoGP/MotoAmerica weekend at the scenic track in Austin, Texas.
Icing on the cake was provided by Elias’ teammate Roger Hayden. Hayden, who won Superpole here last year, qualified second, giving the team the top two spots on the grid for both Saturday and Sunday’s Superbike races.
Elias, who has won four-consecutive MotoAmerica Superbike races at COTA, showed exceptional speed in Superpole, using the precise handling and abundant horsepower of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to clock in a time of 2:09.192. Elias turned the time in spite of a slightly dusty track, the result of grinding a few sections of the track surface to smooth it out.
“I was happy to win Superpole, but because of the dirty track I did not have the kind of feel with the bike that I had at Road Atlanta last week,” said Elias, whose top qualifying performance today gave him his third-career MotoAmerica Superpole. “The track will get better as the weekend goes on, so the other riders will be faster as well. It’s going to be a challenging race, but I am happy with how our team is working and I’m confident I will have a great race setup.”
On a humorous note, Elias did a wheelie for the fans on his cooldown lap from Superpole and he admitted he almost looped it. When he abruptly let off the gas the bike came down hard and a particularly sensitive part of his body was slammed into the gas tank. “I am going to need some ice,” Elias joked in the post-qualifying press conference.
Elias, the defending series champ, comes into this weekend the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship leader, having swept the two series opening rounds at Road Atlanta last weekend.
Hayden was happy with his middle of the front row start on his No. 95 Suzuki. He clocked a 2:09.919 around the 3.426-mile circuit.
“I’ve struggled a bit in testing and last week at Atlanta,” Hayden admitted. “So it’s nice to back at the sharp end, it’s a lot more fun. We’ve got a little work to do, but I’m looking forward to the races.”
Yoshimura Suzuki continues its 40th anniversary celebration. A special display with important past Yoshimura Suzuki Superbikes and a photographic timeline documenting the team’s winning tradition over the years is on display at the Suzuki tent at COTA’s manufacturer’s row.
Racing at COTA continues Saturday and Sunday.
For team media guide click here.
For additional information 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