Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias scored a nail-biting victory aboard his 2018 GSX-R1000 in Sunday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
Defending champion Elias and current series leader Cameron Beaubier passed each other several times on the final lap with Elias scratching and clawing his way to his seventh victory of the year.
His win, combined with his fourth-place on Saturday, drew Elias seven-points closer in the series standings and is now 57 points back (329-to-273 pts) with four races remaining in the 2018 championship.
Yoshimura Suzuki team-mate Roger Hayden had a tough outing at the ‘PittRace’ finishing seventh in Saturday’s race and crashing out of Sunday’s after another rider made contact with him.
In Sunday’s race Elias was able to quickly power to the front of the field on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000: He looked strong throughout the 18-lap final, but in the closing laps, Beaubier moved up to make a challenge. In a thrilling final lap, the leading duo got into a heated exchange, swapping the lead several times before Elias finally wrestled away control of the race in the final few turns.
Elias, said, “Cameron has been so strong here this weekend I didn’t think I would be able to run this pace. My team asked me to try a different setup and I agreed to do it; and it worked to perfection. It was a great battle and we were both on the limit. I think it was a great race for the fans. I want to dedicate this victory to our announcer Brian Drebber. He was great man and we will miss him.”
Elias was referring to MotoAmerica track announcer Brian Drebber, who tragically passed away on Thursday.
For Hayden things were setting-up for a much better race for him on Sunday when the collision occurred.
“I had a good start and made some good passes,” Hayden explained. “Then at turn six, another guy got up inside of me hit my elbow and down I went. It was disappointing because we had pretty good pace. I’m looking forward to New Jersey; it’s a track that I like and we’re hoping to have a good weekend there,” added Hayden, who is currently ranked eighth in the championship.
Next up for the team is the Championship of New Jersey at New Jersey Motorsports Park on September 7-9th in Millville, New Jersey.