SHORAI POWERS YOSHIMURA SUZUKI’S TONI ELIAS TO 2017 MOTOAMERICA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Chino, CA (Sept. 9, 2017) – Toni Elias didn’t need to win Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park, but the 34-year-old Spaniard found he had the speed. He moved his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike to the front eight laps into the 23-lap race and held off Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammate Roger Hayden at the finish line by 0.039 seconds to win his ninth race of the season.
In the process Elias clinched the 2017 Motul MotoAmerica Superbike Championship with three races remaining.
The victory marked a record 14th MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike Championship for Suzuki.
Additionally, Hayden secured second in the championship, giving the new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 a 1-2 result in the machine’s debut season.
Elias, a former Moto2 World Champion, now adds a MotoAmerica Superbike title to his already impressive résumé. He was ecstatic with his victory and championship. He graciously thanked everyone who helped make it possible for him to race in America.
“I am so happy,” said Elias, who becomes the first rider from Spain in the 41-year history of the series to win MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike title. “It was amazing to take the championship by winning. That was the way I wanted to do it, but Roger and Josh (Hayes) were riding so strong it was not easy. I am so thankful to my crew, to Yoshimura and Suzuki for giving me this amazing opportunity.”
Elias’ family made the trip over from Spain and was able to enjoy the championship with him.
Earlier in the day, Hayden won Superpole for the sixth time this season and used the power of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to set a new motorcycle track record at NJMP at 1:20.378.
It was a great three-way battle for most of the race with Hayden moving up and trying a last-lap draft on Elias on the main straight, but came up a half-bike length short. It was the ninth time this season Yoshimura Suzuki finished first and second.
Suzuki holds the record for the most championship and wins in MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike history. The Suzuki GSX-R is also the all-time winningest motorcycle in the series.
Racing at NJMP continues Sunday, including MotoAmerica Superbike Race 2. The series concludes next weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
Additional release from the Team:
Chino, CA (Sept. 11, 2017) – A day after clinching the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Toni Elias made a last-lap pass on teammate Roger Hayden to take victory in Race 2 Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville.
It was Elias' 10th victory of the season.
Hayden sprinted to the front on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike and led the race for 22 of the 23 laps. Elias, who fell back to seventh after debris hit him in the foot, rallied back and pulled up to Hayden in the closing laps. On the final lap Elias dove underneath Hayden in turn one and pulled away to victory. The close pass forced Hayden wide and he ran off into the grass, costing him a shot at the win in process. He managed to keep the bike on two wheels and held on to a podium finish of third.
"I am happy for my team to take another victory," Elias said. "I think my pass on Roger was too close and I did not want it to happen that way, but he braked very late and so did I. I thought I had room. It was fantastic to win the championship and I just want to keep going like this through the end of the season."
Hayden was masterful in keeping his machine upright after running off the track.
"I had a good start and I put my head down and tried to get away," Hayden explained. "Kyle (Wyman) ran a great race today. On the last lap when Toni passed me I had nowhere to go but the grass. Fortunately, I was able to get back on the track and still put it on the box."
On Saturday Hayden set a track record in Superpole. It was his second track record of the season.
Elias' victory now raises Yoshimura Suzuki's win count to 12 in 18 races for the revolutionary 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 in its debut season. Additionally, Elias and Hayden have given Suzuki's flagship sportbike a first and second in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
The series concludes next weekend, Sept. 15-17, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
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