Team M4 EMGO Suzuki built upon their spectacular Friday showing at Mid-Ohio with another memorable performance on Saturday. Michael Barnes continued his impressive form at the 2.4-mile race course, notching up high-ranking results in both the Formula Xtreme race and Superstock qualifying.
Barnes, who qualified second for the day’s 16-lap Formula Xtreme contest, got away in third and fought to stick with the leading factory bikes. Unfortunately, the set-up on the team’s trick GSX-R600 FX machine was just off enough to spoil his hopes for a podium finish. On lap five he fell to fourth, the position he would ultimately go on to finish.
Team Crew Chief Keith Perry said, “I think we had a little bit of a set-up issue with the heat. We had a lot more sun on the track this afternoon than we had seen all weekend. We just missed the combination a little bit. Barney rode it as hard as he could ride it. It wasn’t a bad result, but we always want a little bit more.”
Barnes enjoyed more success aboard the team’s big-bore Superstock-spec GSX-R. The Floridian ripped off a 1:27.661 to qualify his Pirelli-shod 1000cc racer third fastest despite being challenged by an incredibly deep field of competitors. His time was well inside the old track record and less than a tenth of a second behind pole.
Barnes credited his front row qualifying position to a combination of his mastery of Mid-Ohio and the team’s top-flight machinery. “I’m definitely happy. I’ve been racing at Mid-Ohio since 1989, my first year in the Nationals, so I’ve been here quite a few times. I think my experience on this track has finally paid off because I finally have the equipment to prove what I can do. I’ve been struggling for seventeen years trying to get a ride like this and it has finally come to fruition.”
He continued, “I was gaining more and more confidence, but on my fast lap I had a big front-end push. I’m confident that I would have had pole position had we had one more session after this because we really found something during this qualifying session. I’m extremely confident about the race coming up. It’s all about getting a good start, staying out of trouble on the first few laps, and going from there.”
Geoff May put in a fine ride during Superstock qualifying as well. The Georgian circulated Mid-Ohio with a best time of 1:28.773 during the session, strong enough to earn a spot on the second row. He’ll start tomorrow’s 60k Superstock final from eighth. May also put in a top-ten performance in Supersport qualifying. His fastest lap aboard his GSX-R600 on Saturday (1:31.366) was tenth fastest overall, earning him a spot on the third row.