Kurtis Roberts picked up a podium result in his Team M4 EMGO Suzuki debut on Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park. The two-time Formula Xtreme champion quickly diced his way up into third in the 17-lap FX final and held the position to the checkered flag.
Despite Roberts’ relative unfamiliarity with the team’s GSX-R600-based FX racer and the Pirelli tires, a stellar effort all around allowed the combination to jell quickly enough to run up front this weekend.
Roberts said, “I’ve never doubted how fast I can ride a motorcycle, you just need to have the right people behind you to be able to show it. With all the inclement weather it was hard for us to make improvements prior to the race and know they would be good. We were fighting having less track time than the others but that’s what we had to do. The team was awesome. My hats off to all the guys on the team and at Pirelli. It worked out. Sure, we could have gotten two places higher, but I think we would have needed a few more tests together if we were going to run a pace quick enough to win this weekend. It was a good beginning.”
Geoff May put in an impressive day’s work himself, earning front-row grid positions for Sunday’s Superstock and Supersport contests. The Georgian set the fourth fastest time aboard his GSX-R1000 in the Superstock qualifying session, registering a quick time of 1: 27.104. He then went out and turned a 1:28.732 aboard his Supersport-spec GSX-R600 to claim the outside spot on the front row for that class as well.
Teammate Michael Barnes wasn’t far behind. Even though he was put on a Supersport bike this weekend in order to provide him with as an opportunity to get back into the flow while recovering from his Daytona knee injury, Barnes has already proven to be a contender in the class.
“The knee is doing real well,” said Barnes who posted a best time of 1:29.391. “Right now I’m icing it after I get done riding, but it’s not really bothering me on the bike at all and I’m just kind of getting back into the groove of things. I haven’t been on the bike since Daytona so it was six weeks of just riding the stationary bicycle and doing rehab and getting the knee strong.”
“Riding the Supersport bike is working out well,” he continued. “It’s allowing me to get back into it without as much pressure — just concentrating on one bike instead of two. I wouldn’t have wanted to let the team down if I wasn’t ready and they wanted to have all their bases covered, so it was probably the best thing to do for the team.”
Shea Fouchek made strides on Saturday, cutting more than a second off his Friday best. The Texan racing in a learning season qualified on the fifth row for Sunday’s 17-lap Supersport race, setting the 19 th fastest time at 1:29.391.
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki will look to add to their trophy collection in Sunday afternoon’s 60k Supersport and Superstock finals.