K&N Sponsored Yoshimura Suzuki Wins Both Races in Superbike Season Finale

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K&N-sponsored superbike racer Toni Elias

Toni Elias gives the thumbs up to his rookie Superbike season

A major headline of the 2016 MotoAmerica Superbike season is the competitive resurgence of the Yoshimura Suzuki race team. Based on the results of last weekend’s performance by teammates Roger Haden and Toni Elias, the momentum is only growing. All signs point to the fact that Yoshimura’s ascent back to the top of America’s premier motorcycle road racing series will continue in 2017.

In race one of the final stop of the Superbike series in New Jersey, Hayden claimed the top podium spot in an exciting and ultra-close race. After the win, Hayden said, “I’m just happy for the team, happy for myself. We all work hard.” That hard work was evident in his teammate’s performance as well. In the second race, Elias earned the top perch of the podium for the 6th time in this, his rookie season in the Superbike class. Elias has given every indication that he’ll be back with Yoshimura in 2017. His bond with his new team was evident when he said in his Spanish accent, “Thank you, everybody, to my team to give me this opportunity…everybody treat me very well.” He continued, “I feel like home.”

K&N-sponsored superbike racer Roger Hayden

Roger Hayden will pilot an all new GSX R1000 in 2017

Even with the powerful finish, Team Yoshimura came up short of the top podium spot in the overall season standings. Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier had amassed just enough of a point cushion that even with an engine failure in the final race, he edged out his teammate Josh Hayes and Elias on the season rostrum, but the point spread was miniscule. Elias’ third place season finish was only 7 points out of the top spot. Hayden finished in the 4th position for the season.

Don Sakakura, the Senior Vice President for Yoshimura Research and Development of America has reason for optimism. When asked to reflect on the 2016 season, Sakakura said, “Well, a major highlight for Yoshimura Racing this season has been that our Suzuki GSX R1000 is winning races again! Our new team racer Toni Elias has adapted very quickly to our Superbike and our team of technicians. Roger Hayden has been instrumental with continued development of our superbike over the past three seasons. It’s clear this season we have advanced technically.”

Toni Elias at New Jersey Motorsports Park

Elias lifts a wheel at New Jersey Motorsports Park

A major part of the rejuvenation of the venerable Yoshimura Suzuki Racing tradition can be attributed to the team’s commitment to fostering mutually beneficial corporate partnerships. “Yoshimura’s foundation is based around technical innovations. We have been very fortunate with our 40-plus-year relationship with Suzuki Motor of America. Together, we use professional level road racing to gather valuable data. Racing successfully at the highest level is the best proving ground, and is extremely beneficial with our commercial product development,” said Sakakura.

Yoshimura’s partnership with K&N Engineering is also vital to the team’s racing success. Sakakura said, “I’m convinced K&N’s high quality products also are developed under extreme conditions. Together we have common goals to win and market the very best products to our consumers.” Clearly, championship results come from championship-level partnerships and that’s the powerful link between Yoshimura and K&N.

Toni Elias and Roger Hayden at Superbike Championship of Texas

Elias and Hayden look forward to sharing the podium again in 2017

So what will 2017 hold for Team Yoshimura? Sakakura’s enthusiasm is palpable. “We are very excited about 2017!” Sakakura revealed that race fans will see some new and exciting hardware rolling out the Yoshimura development facility. “Suzuki will introduce a completely redesigned GSX R1000. Yoshimura will race this motorcycle in the MotoAmerica Superbike class in 2017. We anticipate we will be very competitive. Naturally our goal is to win the 2017 Superbike Championship.”

2016 MotoAmerica Superbike Final Standings:

Cameron Beaubier – Yamaha 311
Josh Hayes – Yamaha 305
Toni Elias – Suzuki 304
Roger Hayden – Suzuki 284
Josh Herrin – Yamaha 163


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