San Jose BMW Leading at VIR ALTON, Va. - The first half of the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series VIR 500K at Virginia International Raceway has been an exciting one, with thirty riders battling for position on the esteemed 3.27-mile natural road course.
San Jose BMW Leading at VIR
ALTON, Va. - The first half of the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series VIR 500K at Virginia International Raceway has been an exciting one, with thirty riders battling for position on the esteemed 3.27-mile natural road course. The No. 6 Aprilia USA Tuono 1000 of Ty Howard and Troy Green took the green flag from pole position only to be passed in the first turn by the third-position No. 46 San Jose BMW team piloted by Brian Parriott.
A close three-way battle developed in the Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport Twins class as the BMW and Aprilia were trailed by the No. 32 Vallely Racing Suzuki SV1000 of Mike Himmelsbach and Matt McBride. Himmelsbach took the lead from Parriott only briefly, as Parriott has led all but one lap since the beginning of the race.
The first half of today's race also saw the first caution of the 2007 season, as the No. 89 RightsforBikers.com Ducati PS1000LE of Jason Edmonds, Chris Boy and John Linder crashed hard in Turn 1. Edmonds was taken to medical for a precautionary checkup before being released. During the caution, the No. 6 Aprilia pitted for a rider change, giving Parriott a lap lead on the field aboard the No. 46 BMW.
Nate Kern plans on taking control of the No. 46 BMW at the halfway point of today's race. "We're going to change the rear on every stop. We're keeping Brian on. We each have a totally different brake feel and we have to adjust the lever a bit when we switch. He's feeling good on the bike and everything's going good," Kern said after the first round of pit stops.
The No. 46 BMW holds the fastest lap of the race at 1:59.239 (98.726 mph), with the No. 6 Aprilia's fastest lap only two tenths of a second slower. Both bikes are consistently turning laps almost two seconds faster than the rest of the field.
The No. 6 Aprilia has been a strong presence in every race this year, finishing in first place at the opening race of the season, the DAYTONA USA 300, and finishing second in last month's Homestead 500K at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We're not feeling so good. We've been struggling with the dyno so we've gone really safe on horsepower and we can't pull anybody on the straights," team manager Dave Lloyd commented from the pits today.
In the ST class, the No. 87 Speedwerks.com Suzuki SV650 of Brian Kcraget and Melissa Berkoff have held a commanding lead over both the ST and BMW Grand Sport Twins classes. Kcraget started the race from deep in the field, but the Danville, Va. local is utilizing his knowledge of the track to outperform some of the series best competitors. Kcraget is followed by the No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki EX650 of Jay Springsteen and Jimmy Filice.
The BMW Grand Sport Twins class has also seen a dominant team in the way of the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducati SS1000. Pete Friedland and teammates Brad Phillips and Frank Shockley have built up a forty-second lead over the second-place No. 8 Richie Morris Racing Buell XB12 of Shawn Higbee and Clint Brotz.
Following this weekend's event, this year's SunTrust MOTO-ST Series will continue with the Road America 500K, July 7-8 at Road America, the Iowa Speedway 500K at Iowa Speedway July 12-14, and the 8 Hours At Daytona Finale, October 19-20 at Daytona International Speedway.