Toni Elias and Josh Herrin are looking to build on Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s winning legacy when the 2019 MotoAmerica Superbike season kicks off the Suzuki Championship at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, on April 5-7th.
Elias and Herrin, each former champions of the series, are eager to once again hold up the No. 1 plate at the end of the year aboard the legendary Suzuki GSX-R1000 in this year’s MotoAmerica Superbike campaign. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 has won more races and championships than any other motorcycle in the 43-year history of the series.
This year’s Yoshimura Suzuki bikes will feature a new, more aggressive livery. And while fresh and updated, the new look retains the distinctive traditional racing colours of Yoshimura Suzuki.
Elias is coming off a strong 2018 MotoAmerica season that saw him battle for the title most of the year. He earned the distinction of scoring the most MotoAmerica Superbike wins of 2018. Elias, who won the championship in 2017 with Yoshimura Suzuki, has quickly become one of the all-time elites of the series in just three seasons with the team. In that three-year span, he’s been the winningest rider in MotoAmerica Superbike. He also became the fastest rider in history to reach the exclusive 20-win club. The Spaniard, now living in America, comes into 2019 with 25-career wins and is now aiming to add to that number and earn a second MotoAmerica Superbike crown.
“I have been waiting all winter for the season to begin,” Elias said. “My off-season preparation was very strong and testing has been positive for the team. My goal is to win back the championship. Of course, it will be a great challenge with the other strong riders in the series, including my own teammate. But I’m confident that our team will all work together to put the best motorcycle on the track. My job will be to ride to my potential, and I believe we will see excellent results.”
Herrin is new to the Yoshimura Suzuki squad, but not to winning. The California native joins Yoshimura Suzuki with 13 years of professional road racing that includes an AMA Superbike Championship in 2013 and a MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 title in 2016. Herrin was one of the leading riders in MotoAmerica Superbike last year, finishing third in the series and winning two rounds riding for an independent team. Not only is Herrin a proven entity on the track, he also has a tremendous social media following numbering well over a hundred thousand and large fanbase.
“Joining Yoshimura Suzuki is something I’m really excited about,” Herrin explained. “I was really happy to find how smoothly the team works together and how Toni and I worked together so well in pre-season testing. Now I’m just anxious to get out there on a race weekend to show what I can do.”
Don Sakakura, President of Yoshimura Racing, is pleased to have two Superbike champions under the tent in 2019.
“It’s always a plus to have two riders on your team who have the experience of winning championships,” Sakakura said. “After testing it was positive to see Toni and Josh working together so well, sharing information and trading ideas back and forth. I’m certain once the green flag drops, Toni and Josh will be working very hard to win and that competitive atmosphere is sure to raise the level of the entire team.”
This season begins the 41st year of the successful partnership between Suzuki Motor of America and Yoshimura R&D.
“Anticipation is running high here at Suzuki as we begin the 2019 MotoAmerica Superbike season,” commented Kerry Graeber, Vice President MC/ATV Sales and Marketing for SMAI. “We are excited to have Toni back again as he looks to regain his championship from 2017 and we welcome Josh to the Suzuki family. This team represents a new chapter in the Yoshimura/ Suzuki history, and we expect great results from both Toni and Josh. We can’t wait for the season to get underway!”
Suzuki is the gold standard in MotoAmerica/ AMA Superbike. The manufacturer reached a major milestone last season, winning a record-setting 200th MotoAmerica/ AMA Superbike victory last July. Elias added three more later in the season, bringing the total to 203 all-time victories for Suzuki at the end of 2018.
Good news for fans following the series on TV is that MotoAmerica and FOX Sports announced FS2 as the “Home of MotoAmerica Superbike Racing”. The network is set to deliver 90 minutes of live or same-day coverage of the MotoAmerica Superbike class on both Saturday and Sunday from each of the 10 rounds of the 2019 MotoAmerica Series.
Yoshimura Suzuki would also like to recognise sponsors of its 2019 racing program: Motul, Shorai Battery, NGK Spark Plugs, RK Chain, Ohlins USA, Dunlop Tire Corporation, Sunstar, Zeta, Chicken Hawk Racing, MWR Air Filters and Taleo Tecnoracing.