Team M4 EMGO Suzuki came into Thursday at Daytona International Speedway with high hopes for Geoff May and he didn’t disappoint. The Georgian fought for the lead and consistently diced with the AMA roadracing series’ top racers before ultimately scoring two strong results.
Starting from the second grid position on the front row in the Superstock final, May immediately headed to the front aboard his powerful GSX-R1000, holding down first place for the opening seven laps of the 13-lap contest. Unfortunately, grip issues prevented him from fully capitalizing on his form and his bike’s speed. A last-lap clash with the reigning class champion saw May cross the line in fourth, just hundredths of a second off the podium.
“Today was disappointing for us,” said May. “It wasn’t what I wanted. After all that happened last season, I really wanted to win the Superstock race for Vincent and the team and myself. I felt like we had it. I had trained hard all winter and the guys gave me a great bike. I knew I had to go as hard as I could and control the pace. We chose the hardest tire, but the pace for the race was very fast. Leading those laps, it was looking good for a while but then I started to lose grip. By the end, it was pretty tough to hang on and the last three laps, I was doing all I could not to crash, to keep the bike upright. Then (Aaron) Yates caught me and we lost a spot on the podium. That stung pretty bad.”
Immediately following the Superstock contest, May returned to the track to take on the 22-lap Supersport race. Once again he battled near the front of the pack, securing a spot in the top five in the early going. A brief run off into the grass late relegated May to a solid seventh place result in the team’s first AMA race aboard the new for ’06 GSX-R600.
Completing the races was only half the battle for the Georgian on Thursday. May’s packed schedule also saw him qualify for the Daytona 200 aboard the team’s Pirelli-shod Formula Xtreme racer in the afternoon just prior to the two finals. Geoff, however, had to drop his bid to race all four classes this weekend after Mike Barnes was injured.
“We had to drop Superbike,” said May. “I had trained for Superstock for four months and that race was very important to us. Plus, the 200 is very important for Suzuki. We know we have good tires for that race. The plan is to use my GSX-R600 but to pull the trick bits off Barney’s bike. We want to redeem ourselves in that one.”
Still adapting to the FX machine, May managed a respectable top-ten showing in qualifying. He earned the inside position on the third row, qualifying ninth with a best lap of 1:43.520.
The team’s newest member, Shea Fouchek, completed his first AMA final with the squad. Fouchek finished in 20th in the 100k Supersport race aboard his GSX-R600, remaining on the lead lap and establishing the groundwork for continued improvement as the season progresses
Following a one-day break from action on Friday, Team M4 EMGO Suzuki will return to the track on Saturday for the Daytona 200.