Team M4 EMGO Suzuki continued to add to their 2006 trophy haul today at California Speedway, picking up a podium finish and three top-fives on the day. After setting the fastest time in Supersport on Friday and then qualifying on the front row on Saturday, Michael Barnes came through in a major way in Sunday’s 17-lap race as well.
Following an early red flag and complete restart, the Floridian took the early lead before settling into second place. Barnes held steady in the runner-up position, holding a clear gap over third all the way up until the race was ultimately brought to its conclusion three laps prematurely by a second red flag.
The second-place finish was Barnes’ first Supersport podium since 1990. “Today was special,” he said. “Coming back from the Daytona injury and trying to run up front with all of these hungry young riders and old wily veterans isn’t easy. I can’t thank my M4 EMGO Suzuki team enough; they’re obviously well prepared. We did some testing with the Pirelli tires here a couple months ago. To come here and go two seconds faster than I did in the test is a major achievement for the team and myself. I’ve got to thank all my crew and all the guys at Pirelli.”
Geoff May was right in the thick of things as well on Sunday, claiming his fourth consecutive fourth-place finish aboard his GSX-R1000 in the Superstock final. May also looked capable of joining Barnes on the podium in the Supersport race but a stop-and-go penalty from the original red-flagged start that was enforced following the restart dashed those hopes. However, despite losing several positions after being forced to return to pitlane, the Georgian charged his way back up to a fifth-place finish.
Unfortunately, developmental rider Shea Fouchek crashed late in the Supersport race. He was taken to the infield care center to be checked out but appears to be in relatively good shape following the spill.
Following three of eleven rounds on the 2006 calendar, May currently sits in third in the Supersport title race with 79 points. He’s also fourth in Superstock with 82 points. Despite not scoring any points in the season opener after injuring his knee, Barnes has climbed all the way up to seventh in Supersport with 56 points.
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki will be back in action in three weeks time at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on May 19-21.