Team M4 EMGO Suzuki opened the tenth round of the 2006 AMA road racing season in promising fashion at Road Atlanta, putting in three top-five performances on the day.
Coming off of their spectacular double podium result in the AMA Supersport contest at Virginia International Raceway two weeks ago, Michael Barnes and Geoff May are right in the thick of things again this weekend aboard their Pirelli-shod GSX-R600s.
In the class’ solitary practice session on the day, Barnes posted the fourth fastest Supersport time with a quick lap of 1:27.435. Local favorite May was only fractions of a second behind his teammate, clocking in at 1: 27.684, the sixth best lap in the practice.
Shea Fouchek, the team’s developmental rider, got off to a solid start at Road Atlanta as well. The Texan was 17th in Friday’s Supersport session at 1: 31.861.
Georgian May was also impressive at his home track aboard the squad’s powerful GSX-R1000, notching up the fourth fastest lap of the day in Superstock at 1: 24.997.
Despite a tough go of things in Formula Xtreme qualifying, Barnes managed to qualify on the second row for Saturday’s 15-lap race. The Floridian set the sixth fastest lap in FX qualifying at 1: 26.760 even after crashing and fighting to find grip in the hot afternoon conditions after getting off to a quick start in the morning free session (5th — 1:26.298).
Barnes explained, “We set some pretty good times in the morning FX session and I was really looking forward to qualifying. But when I went out with a race tire the temperature didn’t treat it like I was hoping. I had a major moment and I saved a highside but then I was running off the track towards the airfence and I had to bail on the bike. I flipped over and hit my head pretty good.
“I got a ride back in from a fan and got on the ‘B’ bike. We just put some softer tires on and tried to salvage a grid position but we went slower than we did this morning on a race tire. I’ll be ready to go tomorrow. I just need a good night’s sleep.”
In addition to Saturday’s Formula Xtreme race, Team M4 EMGO Suzuki will also qualify for Sunday’s Supersport and Superstock finals tomorrow.