It would be difficult to imagine a much better way for Team M4 EMGO Suzuki to open their 25th anniversary season than the fashion they did on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. In the very first AMA Superstock race of 2005, Vincent Haskovec piloted his GSX-R1000 to a stunning victory.
Over the 13-lap contest’s final half, the Czech-born racer tracked down and overhauled the class’ top factory riders to position himself for the win. Working his way up from sixth following the opening lap into the lead by lap 10, Haskovec built up just enough of a gap over the final laps to prevent any of his rivals from counterattacking with a last-gasp drafting maneuver.
Utilizing a clever race strategy, he settled in during the first five laps so that he could readjust to his fire-breathing 1000 after immediately coming from his Formula Xtreme qualifying session. After doing so, his Pirelli tires offered him more grip than his opponents could muster in the race’s late stages. Haskovec raved about the all-new GSX-R1000, which took a clean sweep of the podium, and marveled over how quickly the team was making improvements in the bike’s set-up with the help of new suspension partner Öhlins.
“As soon as I got up to the leaders, I sat behind them for five or six laps,” he explained. “I told myself, ‘everything feels good, I should start to roll forward.’ The Suzuki is unbelievable — it’s like they made it for me. I didn’t have the best time in practice — I struggled a lot — but everything came together for the race. I knew three or four laps from the end that I was going to have some rubber on them. I could drive off the corners much better. The motorcycle was amazing and the tires worked real well with the set-up we found. The team gave me the perfect motorcycle today.”
While Haskovec’s win was undoubtedly the highlight of Thursday, it was a strong day for both racers on Team M4 EMGO Suzuki. Haskovec’s teammate Geoff May diced with the leaders in the early stages of the Superstock race as well before claiming a clear sixth place in his AMA racing debut as a member of the squad. The Georgian then went straight back out onto the 2.95-mile circuit and picked up his second top-ten finish of the day, taking eighth in the 22-lap Supersport final.
But perhaps his most impressive accomplishment of the day was his showing during qualifying for Saturday’s Superbike final. May ripped off a 1:40.608 aboard his GSX-R1000 to set the fifth best time — outpacing several full-factory and factory-supported Superbike stars.
Haskovec will also be back in action on Saturday, racing in the prestigious Daytona 200. He put his Formula Xtreme-spec GSX-R600 on the second row of the grid for the 64th running of the grueling 68-lap contest, qualifying in sixth at 1:44.191 just before taking his Superstock victory.