Team M4 EMGO Suzuki continued their standout weekend at Road America on Saturday by claiming a podium finish and putting in top-flight qualifying performances. Michael Barnes piloted the team’s Pirelli-shod GSX-R600 to a superb third-place finish in a difficult Formula Xtreme contest waged under changing weather conditions and Geoff May qualified on the second row in Supersport and Superstock.
Barnes stormed to the front of the pack early while the track was still considerably wet and threatened to break away while leading four of the race’s ten laps. Unfortunately for the Floridian, the track began to dry late in the race and the Pirelli that had been ideal in his admirable charge to the lead was not a perfect match for the conditions in the final laps.
“When I was in the lead, I had visions of running away with the race but it wasn’t meant to be,” said the racer called “Barney” by his friends. “Still, it was good to lead some laps and be this close at the end, even though I’m a little disappointed it couldn’t have been an even better finish for us.”
A last-lap maneuver relegated him to third — still a remarkable finish considering it was only his second event with Team M4 EMGO Suzuki riding in place of the injured Vincent Haskovec and his third race weekend of the year.
Afterwards he said, “I like to consider it that I’m substituting for Vincent and we all have a lot of hope for him. To come off the couch and show up at Pikes Peak and be competitive and then to come here and show up on the podium, it’s like a dream come true for me. I’ve been waiting for a really good ride for quite some time and Team M4 EMGO Suzuki was a good place for me to fit in. I’m just real happy to be able to help the team in the meantime.”
Barnes and his teammate May also put in impressive showings during the day’s qualifying sessions. Barnes claimed a front row position for tomorrow’s 60k Superstock final, qualifying fourth fastest at 2:15.889 aboard the squad’s fire-breathing GSX-R1000.
May was right on Barnes’ heels in the class, clocking a quick lap of 2:16.069. His lap was good enough to secure the Georgian a solid second-row qualifying position, sixth fastest overall.
May will also start tomorrow’s Supersport final from the second row. He circulated the four-mile raceway in 2:21.476 aboard his GSX-R600 racer, which earned him the seventh spot on the grid in the highly competitive 600cc-based class.