Press Release: Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing has signed Toni Elias to join the team for the remainder of the 2016 season. The former Moto2 World Champion created a sensation when he won his first three MotoAmerica AMA Superbike races on a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 as a fill-in rider for the injured Jake Lewis.

With Elias joining the team Jake Lewis will move to Team Hammer on an M4 Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the Superstock 1000 class. Lewis is expected to return to competition at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) round. The transition became possible when Team Hammer rider/owner Chris Ulrich decided to retire from racing effective immediately. Suzuki recognized the opportunity for Lewis and began a discussion with the team.

“Suzuki Motor of America is pleased to have the resources available and the support of our M4 and Yoshimura Suzuki teams to take full advantage of this opportunity,” said Pat Alexander, Suzuki Road Race Manager. “We have a tremendous heritage with the most championships on the GSX-R and these changes will give us a great opportunity to continue achieving strong results in both the MotoAmerica Superstock and Superbike Classes.”

“We’re happy to have Toni officially join the team for the rest of the season,” added Don Sakakura, Yoshimura Suzuki Vice President. “Toni has provided a great boost and wants to stay. The logistics were made easier for everyone when we learned Team Hammer had an opening. Having Jake available to step in and provide them a proven rider is a win-win situation for both teams. Jake will continue his development as a GSX-R1000 rider with Suzuki with one of the most established teams in the paddock.”

For Elias word that he would stay with Yoshimura Suzuki for the 2016 season was welcome news.

“I’m very happy for the opportunity to continue racing with Yoshimura Suzuki,” Elias said. “I’ve gotten to be good friends with everyone on the team and we work together very well. I’m also happy for Jake to be able to continue racing with Suzuki on the Team Hammer Suzuki. Jake was so kind to help me in any way he could as I filled in for him. I look forward to seeing him back on the track.”

Toni Elias
Chris Ulrich was pleased to be able to bring Lewis on board with his squad.

“We’re happy to welcome Jake Lewis to the Team Hammer family,” said Ulrich. “We’ve been interested in Jake for years and the project fits Team Hammer’s renewed focus on developing talent in the MotoAmerica series. Over the decades the team has worked with many riders who went on to do great things, including winning Superbike races, titles and finishing on the podium in World Championship events. Jake has the potential to win in this class and we look forward to helping him return to competition and continue his development aboard our M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki GSX-R1000.”

In addition to joining Team Hammer Suzuki, Lewis’s contract with Suzuki has been extended through the 2017 season.

“This is a good move for me,” Lewis said. “Obviously it’s been a tough start to this season, but the steps Suzuki are taking work for me because I feel like I can run up front and challenge for wins in the Superstock class. For them to extend my contract was great. It’s nice to have a company like Suzuki showing faith in me and my future in the sport. I’m eager to finish my rehabilitation and come back to racing with Team Hammer Suzuki.”

Jake Lewis
After the first four races of the MotoAmerica Superbike season, Yoshimura Suzuki riders Roger Hayden and Elias are first and second in the point standings. Elias made one of the most impressive debuts in AMA Superbike history when he opened his MotoAmerica career with a sweep of the two races at the Circuit of the Americas earlier this month. He followed that up with another victory in race one at Road Atlanta.

The 2016 MotoAmerica Championship is at New Jersey Motorsports Park this weekend, April 29th through May 1st in Millville, New Jersey, for the first of two visits this season to the track. The races will be televised on beIN SPORTS.