AUSTIN, Texas (April 11) — Kicking off the first MotoAmerica race of this weekend’s doubleheader at the Circuit of the Americas, GEICO Suzuki rider Chris Ulrich battled the elements on his way to a sixth-place Superbike finish.
Running the Superbike and Supersport class in tandem, Ulrich started the day from the 10th qualifying spot, and by erring on the side of caution due to slick conditions, he found himself rallying back throughout the shortened 12-lap race.
“I’m 100 percent sure I was too cautious on the start,” Ulrich said. “It took me a couple of laps to really understand what I could do. I picked up the pace but just gave away a little bit too much there in the first lap. I should know better though, I’m a professional.
“That’s our mistake, and we’ll try to make sure we don’t do that tomorrow so we can move up. That’s all we can do. I know the guys are working really hard, and I’ll be working hard looking at data overnight seeing what we can improve to get a better result tomorrow.”
After ensuing rain wet the track down just before the start of the Superbike race, Ulrich and the other riders had to adapt quickly to their surroundings. Despite not getting the result he had hoped for right out of the gate, Ulrich is confident that the GEICO team has a solution in place for a much better showing in Sunday’s race.
“Today was a tough race,” Ulrich said. “It was difficult conditions, and we didn’t have too much time in the wet track this weekend. I struggled a lot on corner entry and throughout the fast areas. Going forward we’ll need to be better there. It’s not like I was miles off though. I could see all those guys up ahead, but I just couldn’t get to them. I really tried hard through the midsection the last few laps to catch them, and I started getting more comfortable picking up the pace, but in the end it was too much.
“I also had a few big moments today but thought, ‘Where we’re going to finish is where we’re going to finish today.’ It’s always that racer mindset of if you’re not winning it’s not where you want to be. However, we already figured some things out on the chassis after the race and have made the necessary changes so we can come back swinging tomorrow.”
The weekend’s racing action will wrap up with the final Superbike race on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.