Team M4 EMGO Suzuki was a major factor throughout the day on Saturday at Virginia International Raceway with riders Geoff May and Michael Barnes combining for three front-row qualifying performances and a top-five race finish on the day.
May, who was fastest in Friday’s Supersport practice, topped the charts deep into the class’ qualifying session on Saturday. The Georgian’s blistering 1:27.112 lap around the 2.25-mile circuit saw him rank first until the session’s very final moments and he ultimately ended up a close second.
After displaying impressive speed all weekend long aboard his Pirelli-shod GSX-R600, May believes he has a legitimate shot at his first career AMA victory on Sunday.
“We’ve been working hard all weekend,” he said. “I’ve got to give all the credit to my M4 EMGO Suzuki crew. We just put our nose to the grindstone and got things figured out this weekend. The Pirelli tires are hooked up — they came out here with some awesome qualifiers for me. I really wanted to get my first pole and I really thought we had it. We did the best we could.
“The most important thing is the race, however, and that’s tomorrow. We have a very good race set-up. I think we might be able to get one this time.”
One of May’s biggest obstacles in the race could prove to be teammate Barnes, who also qualified on the front row for the 17-lap Supersport race. The Floridian will start from the outside of the front row after qualifying fourth fastest at 1:27.384.
The team’s development rider, Shea Fouchek, enjoyed one of his strongest qualifying performances yet. The Texan will start the Supersport race from the inside of the fourth row Sunday, qualifying thirteenth in the competitive class with a fast lap of 1:29.506.
After a difficult Friday aboard his powerful GSX-R1000 Superstock racebike, May bounced back on Saturday to qualify on the front row in the big-bore class as well. He put in the third fastest time during the session, lapping at 1:26.227.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Superstock final, May said, “We’ve got something in our back pocket that we’ve been holding back all weekend. I think we’ll be good for the race, especially with that good starting position since it’s hard to pass here. It’s going to be a good show.”
‘Barney’ already gave Team M4 EMGO Suzuki their first top-five result of the VIR weekend, battling for fourth throughout Saturday’s 17-lap Formula Xtreme race. In the end he finished just over a half-second off the spot, putting in a strong fifth-place run.
The squad will complete the Virginia International Raceway weekend on Sunday. They’re carrying high hopes into both the Supersport and Superstock races following Saturday’s terrific qualifying showings.