Intermittent showers at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday may have limited track time but they didn’t prevent Team M4 EMGO Suzuki from flashing their potential once again. Coming off an incredible season opener at Daytona that saw the squad claim four top-tens including Vincent Haskovec’s outstanding Superstock victory, Team M4 EMGO Suzuki opened the second round of the 2005 season again ranking consistently near the top of the charts.
In the morning’s opening practices that were run before the day’s first rain showers hit, Haskovec came out in stellar form. He topped the opening Formula Xtreme session, guiding his Pirelli-shod GSX-R600 around the 2.3-mile circuit with a best lap of 1:28.543. Immediately following that session, the Czech Republic native went back out on the track aboard his fire-breathing GSX-R1000 Superstock machine and registered the second fastest time (1:27.367) of that free practice.
Teammate Geoff May ran strong in the morning as well, ranking seventh best in the Superstock session with a best time of 1: 28.378.
Unfortunately, frequent showers plagued the remainder of the day. Haskovec still managed to earn himself a front row starting position for tomorrow’s 17-lap Formula Xtreme final, however, posting a 1:28.882 despite contending with treacherous drying track conditions for much of the session. His quick lap was enough to earn him the third spot on the grid.
“We tried something different in the afternoon with Vincent in FX,” said Team M4 EMGO Suzuki Crew Chief Keith Perry. “We wanted to give some new settings a try. We can always go back to what we used on Friday morning but we wanted to experiment.”
Haskovec said of the session, “You could see the spray from the tires early in the session, so I just hoped for the sun to come out and waited for the track to dry out. It actually happened towards the end. We had an almost dry track except for a few damp spots and the seams which were still slick.”
He credited much of his success to the simple fact that the undulating Alabama track suits his relentless riding. Along with today’s strong showing, Haskovec also claimed the Formula Xtreme pole at this track last season.
He explained, “Definitely I feel really good here. It’s a momentum track, and it just suits my style. I just feel comfortable everywhere around it.”
However, he added that there is still room for improvement. “Pirelli are really searching so far because I’m pretty much the only guy riding them in the Formula Xtreme class. There is no data on anything, so they are working really hard to get these results we’ve been getting. Even the engineer is sometimes very surprised with the outcome of what’s actually happening with this very light bike. It’s good now, but we have plenty of areas where we can make up more time and be even more competitive down the road.”