Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing and Suzuki Motor of America, Inc., are proud to announce its MotoAmerica Superbike riders for 2019. Riding once again for the team this coming season will be Toni Elias, the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion and former Moto2 World Champion. Joining the team for the first time is Josh Herrin, the 2013 AMA Superbike Champion. The pairing of Elias and Herrin, both riding the legendary Suzuki GSX-R1000, will make for a powerhouse squad. It will mark the first time Yoshimura Suzuki has featured two MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike Champions under the same tent since 2008, when Mat Mladin and Ben Spies were teammates.
Elias is aiming to win back the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship in 2019. He’s coming off a solid campaign that saw him battle for the title most of the year and earn 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. He comes into 2019 with 25-career wins.
“I am more than ready to start the 2019 racing season,” Elias said. “We ended last year on a high note with a victory in the final race and now we look forward to the challenge of battling again for the championship. I’m looking forward to having Josh as teammate. We’ve been tough competitors on the track, but also friends off the track. He’ll bring enthusiasm and experience, and this will be a big benefit for the entire team.”
Herrin, who takes over the seat vacated by Roger Hayden upon his retirement last year, joins Yoshimura Suzuki with 13 years of professional road racing in his background, which includes an AMA Superbike Championship in 2013 and a MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 title in 2016. Herrin also has world championship experience, having raced Moto2 in 2014. He 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. His jaw-dropping 37-second margin of victory in the rain at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Superbike Race 1, was one of the largest margins of victory ever in MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike.
“It’s been a goal of mine to get back on a factory team since I won the Superbike championship in 2013,” Herrin explained. “I feel honored to now be a part of Yoshimura Suzuki with its long tradition of winning. I look forward to working side by side with Toni and the rest of the team. We’ll both be working towards the common goal of making the 2019 Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 into a championship winner.”
Don Sakakura, President of Yoshimura Racing, is pleased to have such a strong lineup in 2019.
“Toni and Josh both bring a great deal of experience to the team,” Sakakura said. “They are passionate about winning, and we expect that they will push each other and the entire team to an even higher level of competitiveness.”
Suzuki is already 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. Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing is also the all-time winningest team in MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike history.
Elias and Herrin will both be racing to build on that winning legacy when the MotoAmerica season kicks off at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, on April 5-7.