Team M4 EMGO Suzuki opened the Virginia International Raceway AMA weekend in strong fashion on Friday, claiming a front-row grid position in Formula Xtreme and posting the fastest time in Supersport.
Michael Barnes will start Saturday’s FX contest from a prime position after qualifying third best in the class aboard his Pirelli-shod GSX-R600. The Floridian clocked a 1:26.937 during the session in preparation of tomorrow’s race.
“This is a real soft compound tire track and we’ve got such a wide range of Pirelli tires available to us that we were just able to throw a bunch of different stuff at it for this sticky session,” ‘Barney’ said. “We have to figure out a race tire yet. I believe we’ve got some that will do the job, it’s just a matter of deciding which one to run and making the best judgment for the race. Overall, the bike ran really well and my crew just worked great.”
Geoff May got off to a quick start at VIR as well, topping the morning Supersport practice just as he did to open the last round at Mid-Ohio. The Georgian circulated the 2.25-mile course with a best time of 1:27.386 to lead the way in the class. May also practiced in Superstock on Friday, running seventh fastest aboard his GSX-R1000 at 1:27.217.
“The GSX-R600 is running unbelievably around here at VIR,” May remarked. “It’s hooked up. What can I say? It’s easy to do the times. We’re not quite where we want to be in Superstock but that seems to be a common trend. We usually have to work a lot harder on the big bike to find a set-up that will make the thing happy.
“We’re going to try to get both bikes up on the front row — that’s the main goal for tomorrow. And then in the races we want to get a win. We’ve been fighting all year for one. We’ve been so close a few times, and this being one of my home tracks, I think we’ve got a good shot here.”
Barnes and Shea Fouchek joined May in the Supersport practice and gave Team M4 EMGO Suzuki three bikes in the top fifteen. Barnes was seventh at 1:28.562 while Fouchek was fifteenth at 1:30.465.
On Saturday, the team will contest the Formula Xtreme final and qualify for Sunday’s Supersport and Superstock races.