Team M4 EMGO Suzuki enjoyed a productive day in front of Saturday’s huge crowd at Laguna Seca. Riders Geoff May and Michael Barnes put in solid performances during the day’s practice and qualifying sessions while continuing to make progress in preparation of Sunday’s 17-lap Superstock and Supersport finals.
May in particular had some strong moments during the day. First the Georgian qualified his Pirelli-shod GSX-R1000 Superstock racer on the second row with a fast lap of 1:27.321, sixth fastest in the session. He then recorded a 1:30.473 during the Supersport free practice, sixth quickest overall and fastest among the Suzuki-mounted rider in the field.
May then went on to fight in the top ten for much of the 28-lap Superbike final’s opening half. Unfortunately, he ultimately ran off course and was forced back into the pits.
Barnes fought through the pain of a nagging wrist injury to secure a third row grid position for tomorrow’s Superstock final. His best lap, a 1:27.833, was eleventh fastest overall. Not wanting to risk aggravating his injury, the Floridian elected not to start the Superbike race.
“It was a little bit of an up and down day,” Crew Chief Keith Perry remarked. “We feel good about our race pace on the big bike. Things didn’t go quite as planned in the Superbike race. Geoff ran off in the last corner and we thought we may have damaged the radiator or had some other issue because he had the problem going into the corner and then it seemed like it was running hot afterwards also. So he played it safe and just wanted to check the bike out. I wish we could have finished that race, but he told us a few things for tomorrow and I think with a couple little adjustments we’ll be good to go.”
Perry continued, commenting on Barnes’ condition. “Mike’s wrist has been bothering him for several weeks. It bothered him a good bit at the Mid-Ohio test. It’s been an on-and-off issue, but we feel like with the amount of time on the bike tomorrow, he should be fine.”
Perry was encouraged by May’s form on the 600cc Supersport bike. “We found a couple little things in practice today that should help tomorrow. Anytime we’re top five or six in that class, that’s pretty good.”
Both the Supersport and Superstock races will be held on Sunday.