Team M4 EMGO Suzuki opened the Laguna Seca weekend in front of a massive Friday crowd that flocked to Monterey to attend the highly anticipated combined AMA/MotoGP event. With a three-day attendance figure expected to be in the neighborhood of 150,000 spectators, this weekend provides a fantastic opportunity for the team to make a big impression.
Believing the best way to accomplish that goal is to come through big in the races, Geoff May and Michael Barnes focused throughout the day on Friday on fine-tuning their race set-ups and doing endurance tests on their tires rather than attempting to pull off single fast laps. The strategy appears to be paying dividends, with both riders posting impressive times during marathon runs on their Pirelli-shod Suzuki GSX-Rs.
May, who appears to be 100% healthy again after having to cut a test session at Mid-Ohio short due to a shoulder injury last month, was the fastest Suzuki-mounted rider in the day’s Supersport session. The Georgian posted a fast lap of 1:32.068 around the undulating 2.2-mile circuit to end Friday seventh overall in the class.
May also performed well aboard his GSX-R1000 Superstock race machine. On the heels of his first career AMA podium finish he earned at the season’s previous race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, he expects to be a contender again this weekend. Geoff ranked eighth fastest today at 1:28.788, despite concentrating on his bike’s race set-up.
Meanwhile, Barnes continued to make strides with the team as he further adjusts to the equipment and his crew learns how to make the bikes work best for the Floridian. With the Formula Xtreme class taking the weekend off due to the packed schedule, Barnes is spending all of Laguna Seca track time aboard his GSX-R1000. He rounded out the top ten in the Superstock session, circulating the Northern Californian with a best lap of 1:29.093.
The two also rode their Superstock-spec machines in the day’s Superbike session. May was eleventh fastest at 1:29.339, one spot ahead of Barnes at 1:29.494.
Team Crew Chief Keith Perry summed up the day for Team M4 EMGO Suzuki, commenting, “I thought things went well — no big dramas. We’re just working through some settings and some tires, and we found a really good tire we think. Actually one of our fastest laps was set on the 17th or 18th lap of a tire. Geoff ran one out for 23 laps. We’re working towards the race set-up more so than we did at Elkhart, trying to overcome some of the issues we’ve run into before. So far so good.”
Saturday’s schedule features qualifying in Superstock and Superbike along with the 28-lap Superbike final.