Team M4 EMGO Suzuki was back in action on Friday, just days removed from their double podium performance at Barber Motorsports Park, the previous round of the 2006 AMA roadracing championship series. The team was a major factor again today at California Speedway with Floridian Michael Barnes leading the charge.
Barnes, who bounced back quicker than anyone expected from his Daytona knee injury, impressed in Alabama by running solidly in the top ten in his return to action. In order to help him get into the flow, the Floridian focused solely on the Supersport class. He continued to do so this weekend and the decision paid off once again as Barnes posted the fastest lap of the Supersport practice aboard his Pirelli-shod GSX-R600 racer.
After registering a session-best time of 1:27.137, Barnes said, “We made a lot of progress in that session. My knee has been good. It hasn’t really been an issue. In Alabama it got a little sore but it didn’t slow me down. It got a little stiff after I got off the bike, but I just need to put heat on it before I ride and ice on it afterwards to keep it loosened up. A couple more weeks I should be as close to 100% as I can expect to be.”
“Team M4 EMGO Suzuki prepares such awesome bikes and the Pirellis are working really well,” Barnes continued. “We tested here and learned a lot and it’s showing. I think we’ll be able to maintain a good solid race pace on Sunday.”
Teammate Geoff May continued his strong early-season performance, clocking the third fastest time (1:26.034) in the morning’s Superstock session. The Georgian also continued to fare well in Supersport. Coming off last weekend’s podium-winning ride, May was seventh best in the opening middleweight practice with a quick time of 1: 28.339.
Kurtis Roberts, who finished third in his first ride aboard the team’s trick GSX-R600 Formula Xtreme machine, is back on the bike again this weekend. Roberts managed to secure a second row grid position for Saturday’s 17-lap FX race. The two-time class champ qualified seventh with a best time of 1: 28.751.
Shea Fouchek gained more experience with the team on Friday. The developmental rider was 19th fastest in the opening Supersport practice, circulating the California Speedway course with a best time of 1: 31.544.
On Saturday Roberts will look to give Team M4 EMGO Suzuki their third podium finish of the season, while Barnes, May, and Fouchek will focus on qualifying for Sunday’s finals.