Team M4 EMGO Suzuki closed out the U.S. Grand Prix weekend at Laguna Seca with a frustrating day in which the squad was unable to capitalize on the terrific speed they displayed. While Michael Barnes and Geoff May both claimed solid placings, their results weren’t representative of the podium-caliber form the riders proved they had during the races.
Racing in extreme heat in front of a massive crowd (the weekend attendance was greater than 140,000), both May and Barnes got away quickly aboard their Pirelli-shod GSX-R600s in the Supersport contest, running as part of a pack of riders fighting for second.
Georgian May charged up from seventh to briefly take control of second, only to crash after overshooting the Corkscrew in an attempt to secure the position. He managed to remount and come home in seventh.
Barnes ran as high as fourth but lost time after coming together with a rival in Turn 11 on lap 7 of 17. The Floridian held on for fifth, his second top-five finish of the weekend.
Shea Fouchek finished 18th, five spots higher than his qualifying position.
In the Superstock contest that immediately followed the Supersport race, May looked determined to make up for his earlier disappointment. He challenged for the lead aboard his GSX-R1000 and ran in the top three for 11 of 17 laps but a set-up gamble didn’t fully pay off and he faded as the race went on. At the conclusion of the final May claimed seventh, his first finish outside the top four in the class all year long.
Team Crew Chief Keith Perry said, “Neither race reflects what the riders, bikes, and team have in them. We had such promising starts in both those races. Geoff really, really wanted second in that 600 race. He got a little over anxious and made a little mistake. I can’t fault him for trying. We had great tires, a great bike, and I’m proud about how hard he was riding. Barney had a good ride too but I know he was disappointed with the result. Still, he rode strong and consistent.”
Perry continued, “In Superstock we took a little bit of a gamble because of the weather. We gambled and it was awfully good for half the race, but it was all Geoff could do to hang on at the end. It was good that he was able to bring it home and get a result.”
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki will be back in action in two weeks time at Mid-Ohio on August 4-6 for the eight round of the 2006 AMA season.