Team M4 EMGO Suzuki gave their rivals something to think about on Friday at Road America, registering four top-four practice performances on the day. Based on their tremendous showing at the four-mile long circuit in 2005 and the impressive gains already displayed in 2006, the squad came into the weekend with high hopes. Following the opening day of action, those lofty expectations have only intensified.
Geoff May has had the Road America round circled on his calendar for the past year. The Georgian narrowly missed scoring his first AMA win here last year in the Superstock final, leading much of the race before ultimately finishing a close second.
May hopes to put his Pirelli-shod GSX-R1000 on the top of the box this time around and snap his four-race streak of fourth-place finishes in the process. He got off to a fantastic start on Friday, posting the second fastest time in the class at 2: 15.025.
After practice May said, “We were second today, less than one tenth behind first, so we’re right there. The pace has definitely stepped up from last year — I think we’re already over a second faster than we were last year. There are a lot more guys closer at the top this year, too. The race should be a barnburner.
“We’re looking for payback,” he continued. “I’ve been waiting a year for this. We’re going to do everything in our power to win it this time. I’ve been riding a lot better this year, the Pirelli tires are a lot better this year, and we’ve made refinements to the GSX-R1000 and it’s a lot better this year too.”
Michael Barnes also enjoyed a memorable trip to Elkhart Lake last season, finishing third in the Formula Xtreme final. The Floridian looks more than capable of finishing on the podium again this weekend, posting the third fastest time in both the Formula Xtreme (2: 19.625) and Supersport (2:20.682) practices today.
Barnes will have to wait until Saturday morning to qualifying in FX after the scheduled qualifying session was postponed due to heavy rain that hit the area at the end of the day.
May was right on Barnes’ heels in Supersport, notching up the fourth best time of the practice aboard his GSX-R600 at 2:20.937.
The team’s developmental rider, Shea Fouchek, was 31st in Supersport at 2:28.671.
On Saturday Team M4 EMGO Suzuki will qualify in Formula Xtreme, Superstock, and Supersport, and Barnes will look to add to the team’s trophy haul in the Formula Xtreme race.