Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias and Josh Herrin Score Podiums in Sonoma
Elias holds 34-point lead in MotoAmerica Superbike Championship in spite of crash
At Sonoma Raceway Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias took second in MotoAmerica Superbike Race 1 and then crashed out while running second in Race 2. Elias now holds a 34-point lead in the series. (Brian J. Nelson photo)
Sonoma, CA (Aug. 11, 2019) — Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias and Josh Herrin both visited the podium at the Sonoma Raceway round of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship in Sonoma, California.
It was an up and down weekend for both riders. Elias finished second in Saturday’s race, then crashed while running second early in Sunday’s round. Herrin crashed out early Saturday, but then rallied to finish third on Sunday. Both were uninjured in their falls.
In spite of Sunday’s tumble, Elias’ MotoAmerica Superbike lead didn’t take much of a hit. He was 39-points ahead coming into Sonoma and finished the weekend in Wine Country still holding a 34-point advantage in the title chase.
Elias capitalized on the power of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike, blasting off the start from the outside of the front row to lead race one in the early going. At the checkered flag Elias came home second. It marked his 12th podium in 13 races. In Sunday’s race Elias was comfortably in second, set to make a charge later in the race, when he lost the front end in turn seven on the third lap and crashed.
Elias had the suspension on his bike stiffened Sunday, and even though it helped him earn P1 in morning warm up, he speculates the firmer settings ultimately may have been too stiff to comfortably handle Sonoma’s bumpier sections.
“I didn’t feel like I was pushing,” Elias said of his Sunday tumble. “I didn’t feel like I made a mistake or braked too late, but maybe with the change I did in the front [suspension], it was too hard and I just lost the front on one of the bumps. I’m sorry for the team, but I want to look in a positive way. We still have a 34-point lead. It’s not 59 like it was yesterday, but it’s still 34. We have six races and we’ll see what happens.”
Elias went on to say he was looking forward to continuing the championship battle in Pittsburgh in two weeks.
Herrin was quick to thank the entire Yoshimura Suzuki crew for rebuilding his bike after Saturday’s race crash. Herrin ran a solid race on Sunday, making a strong pass in the closing stages of the 22-lap event enabling him to earn his third rostrum of the season.
“It feels great to get back up here on the podium,” Herrin said. “I especially want to thank my team for going the extra mile in getting my bike ready for today’s race. Hopefully I can build on this result and keep turning in strong finishes in the final races of the year.”
There are three race weekends, six races, remaining in the 2019 MotoAmerica season. The championship enters the home stretch in two weeks at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, PA, on Aug. 23-25. The Pittsburgh races will be nationally televised, with primetime, same-day coverage on Fox Sports 2.