Team M4 EMGO Suzuki got out of the gates quickly on the opening day of action at Laguna Seca with Michael Barnes registering a pair of top-five performances on Friday.
Sharing the track with the MotoGP World Championship this weekend, Barnes put on a solid display in front of the huge international audience, first logging the fourth fastest time of the morning’s opening Supersport free session (1:29.918) and then qualifying his Pirelli-slick shod GSX-R600 FX racer on the inside of the second row for Saturday’s 15-lap Formula Xtreme race.
The Floridian was fifth fastest in the afternoon qualifying session with a fast time of 1:29.580. He’ll be looking to take full advantage of his strong starting position and contest for a spot on the podium.
Geoff May had a more difficult start to his weekend than his teammate on the bumpy circuit but he remains optimistic that he’ll rise to his typical placing higher up the charts as the weekend progresses. The Georgian was sixth quickest in Supersport at 1:30.455 and an uncharacteristic ninth best in Superstock at 1:28.271.
May, who has finished no worse than fourth in the Superstock class this year, expects to be up fighting for the podium before the weekend is out.
He said, “We’re not used to being this far down the order. We kind of had to do our homework today. We used both of my bikes to find a direction for tomorrow. I think we’re on the right path now even though we weren’t able to go out and throw down some fast laps. We had to sort some stuff out but we’re on the right track. It’s just going to get better and better as the weekend goes on.”
“We sorted out our tires,” May continued. “That was a big question mark coming into the weekend with the new asphalt. We had a lot of choices to choose from that Pirelli brought here. Luckily we used that session to narrow it down to what we think will be the race tire. We also figured the chassis and the gearing out by riding the two different bikes. We’ll go into qualifying tomorrow and throw some sticky tires at it and try to get on the front row.”
The team’s developmental rider, Shea Fouchek, is also looking to improve throughout the weekend. The Texan was 27th on the day in Supersport, posting a best time of 1:36.656.