To say that the Circuit of The Americas seems to suit Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias would be a massive understatement. A five-time MotoAmerica Superbike race winner in Texas, the Spaniard put himself in perfect position to add more race victories to his COTA tally with his 2:08.537 lap in Friday afternoon’s Superpole session putting him on pole for the start of this weekend’s two races.
Elias improved his lap times methodically during the day from recording the third-fastest time in Friday morning’s first qualifying session, to ending the the afternoon’s second qualifying session in second, to grabbing the pole in the 15-minute Superpole session.
Elias’ teammate Josh Herrin made a big jump in Superpole to qualify second, besting Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier. The defending three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion up third-fastest time after leading the timesheets in both of the qualifying practice sessions leading up to Superpole.
“I’m not a guy who takes many poles, so always a pole is very welcome. I think the new rules are better for me. We have more opportunities to make one quick lap, so we have three laps now, a good three laps. I was closing in at Road Atlanta, more than other times, but today we were more ready and we did first pole of the year, so I hope some others will come. But, for the moment, we did a great job. The team is working perfectly. It’s going to be a difficult race for the tires. There’s no one tire which we are sure to make the distance. Some tires are difficult. Medium tires are very difficult. Good luck for everyone.”
“The session was pretty terrible. We were like a second and a half, two seconds off and then I was able to look at some data right before we went out for Superpole and learned something that Toni (Elias) was doing that helped a lot going over the some of the bumps. It made me feel so much more confident on the bike. We made some changes going out also. We fixed some things on the bike, but that also helped a lot. My confidence just doing that lap was so good and I felt really good. It feels like we just won a race. I know we didn’t even get pole. We got second, and it’s not a race, but it feels like it to me. It’s been a difficult beginning of the year and I’m just pumped to see something positive come out of today. No better way to go into the race than being 1-2 with Suzuki, so I’m pumped for that.”
“Superpole didn’t go as well as I wanted it to, but in reality I’m on the front row and I have a good feeling with my R1 this weekend. I feel like I’m riding better, and my bike’s working better than it ever has here. This has always been a track that we’ve struggled on pretty bad. We were able to lead both practices today. So, I’m really happy with that. On the front row and ready to go racing with the boys tomorrow.”