Team M4 EMGO Suzuki kicked off the second half of the 2005 AMA racing season in stellar fashion today at Road America, near Elkhart Lake, WI. The squad fared no worse than tenth during the day’s various practice and qualifying sessions and even registered a few top-five performances on Friday at the scenic four-mile road course set in the Wisconsin woods.
In just his second race weekend as a member of the team riding in place of the injured Vincent Haskovec, Michael Barnes qualified the squad’s GSX-R600 Formula Xtreme machine on the front row. The Floridian’s time of 2:19.621 was strong enough for third best in the session, and he feels he’s got a legitimate shot of placing even higher in Saturday’s 10-lap FX final.
Barnes said, “I made it a point to chase the top two factory bikes during qualifying and it seemed to work for me. I really think we’ve got something for both of them this weekend. Overall the GSX-R600 Xtreme bike is just running really fast. I can hang with any bike out there on the straightaways no problem and my Pirelli tires have just been phenomenal all weekend.”
Geoff May was on form as well, posting the third fastest time (2:16.841) during the day’s Superstock free practice. The Georgian was quick right from the start this weekend and even headed the charts for much of the session aboard his GSX-R1000.
“Things are pretty good,” May remarked. “When you go fast it’s easy and everything is going easy. The bike feels great and I’m having fun, and that’s the main thing I think. I love this racetrack — it’s a real track with some speed.”
May also explained that the recent addition of Mike Fitzgerald to the team has been a major plus as well. “Mike has worked with me in the past. I have a goofy style and set-up, I guess. I never really knew that. He knows what I like and I’ve been moving forward ever since he started helping out.”
Barnes wasn’t far behind May on the team’s second GSX-R1000, finishing the 50-minute session fifth fastest at 2:17.392.
May also enjoyed a promising day on his GSX-R Supersport racer, ending up the top-ranked Suzuki-mounted rider in the class at sixth overall (2:22.138). He even qualified his Superstock-spec machine tenth on the provisional Superbike grid at 2:15.880 to round out the team’s impressive day.
Saturday’s schedule features races in Formula Xtreme and Superbike, along with final qualifying in both Superstock and Supersport.