Team M4 EMGO Suzuki picked up a front row grid position and a top-ten race result on Saturday at California Speedway. Carrying in the momentum of last weekend’s double podium performance in Alabama, the squad has continued to regularly challenge at the top of the charts.
Michael Barnes impressed once again aboard his Pirelli-shod GSX-R600 Supersport machine on Saturday. After posting the fastest time in the class during Friday’s free practice, the Floridian proved that he could post hot laps in qualifying as well, claiming a spot on the front row for Sunday’s 17-lap final. Barnes clocked the third best time of the session with a fast lap of 1: 26.959.
Geoff May shot out of the blocks on Saturday morning. The Georgian battled for the top spot on the timing sheets in the Superstock and Supersport practice sessions, posting the second best time (1:25.438) in the big-bore class and the third best time (1: 27.227) in the middleweight class.
May went on to post solid times in the afternoon qualifying sessions as well, despite a spike in the track surface temperature. Geoff will look to rejoin the fight for first place in tomorrow’s finals. He’ll start the Supersport race from the second row, qualifying sixth fastest with a lap of 1: 27.357. He’ll open the Superstock final from the third row, qualifying in tenth at 1:26.183.
May said, “We’re trying to run down these factory guys and they’re going so fast. It’s hard work but we keep inching up on them every weekend and we continue to make progress. A lot of that has to do with Pirelli’s tire development because of all the work we did at the beginning of last year, sorting out a lot of stuff: the profile, the shape, the carcass, the compounds. Everything is different this year because of what we figured out last year. We’re really reaping the benefits from last year now.”
After picking up a podium result in his first ride aboard the team’s FX machine, two-time class champion Kurtis Roberts put in a hard day’s work in Saturday’s 17-lap affair. Despite a small technical problem, Roberts still managed to finish in the tenth position even though an abrupt change in weather conditions left the team with a less than ideal tire situation.
Developmental rider Shea Fouchek qualified in 18th for the Supersport race with a quick time of 1:31.120. The former motocrosser hopes to fare better in the race after lapping considerably quicker during the free practice. During the morning session he ranked 14th overall with a lap time of 1: 30.510.
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki has big expectations for Sunday’s Superstock and Supersport finals where the squad should be in contention to add to their 2006 trophy haul.