Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias scored his fifth MotoAmerica Superbike victory of the season on Saturday in race two at Utah Motorsports Campus during round seven of the nine-round championship as team-mate Roger Hayden also turned in a strong outing, twice earning a spot on the podium with third-place finishes in both races.
Elias got the unique Thursday through Saturday weekend schedule started off on the positive side by earning his first MotoAmerica Superbike pole position of his debut season. He used the power of his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to set a blistering 1:49.613 to lead a tightly-knit group at the top heading into Saturday’s two races. Elias credited a little help from a friend for his pole.
“I spoke with Carlos Checa who won here many times,” Elias said of his fellow Spaniard. “He gave me some advice. He said I would enjoy this track and I am enjoying this track.”
Hayden, who qualified third in Superpole, battled for the lead nearly the entire way in both races. He described the exciting conclusion of race two: “The crew made a couple of little changes between races and it was definitely a little better so I have to thank them,” Hayden said. “Toni was stronger than me in a couple of spots and I was better in the last section. I wanted to lead the last lap. I got a good run on my GSX-R and almost got under him and Cameron (Beaubier) got by both of us and I lost the front end a little bit on the brakes. It was just a seesaw on the last lap with everyone just going for it. I would have liked to have done better, but we got third today.”
Elias ran into grip issues in the first race and finished fourth. He was able to refocus and turn it around in the second race. He found he had better grip and was able to take advantage, winning a scintillating last-lap battle to take victory.
“We put new tyres on and my GSX-R was working perfect,” Elias said of race two. “These guys are riding really strong and were pushing a lot, but I knew we could win this race. I am happy for the victory and also for my team, because they are working very hard to give me the best bike. The championship is not over yet. We will continue fighting to the end.”
Elias now goes to one of the few American circuits he’s had experience on, with the upcoming race at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
With the victory Elias moved into third in the MotoAmerica Superbike standings with only two weekends of racing to go. Elias is 26 points out of the series lead and Hayden is in fourth, just one point behind his Yoshimura Suzuki team-mate.
Next up for Yoshimura Suzuki is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the combined MotoAmerica/ World Superbike Championship as the very best of the national and international Superbike racers invade the Monterey Peninsula on July 8-10th.
Utah MotoAmerica Image Gallery: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
Championship Points (after 7 of 9 rounds): CLICK HERE