Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki suffered through a trying Formula Xtreme race at Road Atlanta on Saturday, but remain optimistic about their Sunday prospects.
Following an impressive third-place qualifying performance on Friday in a return to the scene of Vincent Haskovec’s first career AMA roadracing victory, hopes were high for another stellar performance from the charismatic rider. Not content with a mere podium finish racing in a class with one full factory team, Haskovec has stated, “I won’t be truly happy until I win a race this year.”
Unfortunately for Vincent, he will have to wait until the final round at Virginia to give it another shot after he failed to achieve his goal in Saturday’s race, held in warm conditions at Road Atlanta. Haskovec worked his way into a solid top-five position in the race and looked certain to finish no worse than fifth until a stock reprogrammed ECU malfunctioned. The problem made his GSX-R run rich and eventually out of fuel as he slowed to a stop before reaching the checkered flag.
Despite the disappointing finish, he remains fourth in the championship with just one race left on the calendar.
The squad enjoyed a more favorable day qualifying for Sunday’s 60K Supersport race. Steve Rapp earned a second row grid position on his Michelin-shod GSX-R600 by circulating the 2.54-mile racetrack with a fast time of 1:28.044.
The Californian hopes to make a similar showing in Sunday’s race, starting from the eighth spot on the grid. “Today went pretty well for us on the 600. It’s nice to be on the front two rows, and I think even with a really deep field of fast riders in the class, we should be able to finish about the same.”
His teammate Chris Peris will start a couple rows further back in 13th. The Canadian posted a 1:29.735 during the abbreviated session, just fractions off a third row starting position.
Meanwhile in Superstock, the team expect the strengths of their Suzuki GSX-R750s to allow Rapp and Haskovec to improve upon their starting spots in the race. While the powerful 1000s have a significant edge around a track like Road Atlanta on fresh, sticky rubber, the Michelin-shod GSX-R750s could surprise tomorrow when the laps start adding up in the hot Georgian conditions.
Haskovec qualified twelfth with a best time of 1:26.348 while Rapp will start in fifteenth with a 1:27.948 qualifying performance.