Man in a Van with a Plan 2.0 Race Report: VIRginia International Raceway

The 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 has arrived and it is good

The minute Hayden Gillim hopped aboard the new 2017 version of the Cycle World/Suzuki GSX-R1000 a smile came across his face.

"The first time I gave it some gas I could feel the bike was faster," Gillim said comparing his new bike to the 2016 version he raced in the first two rounds of the MotoAmerica Superbike/Superstock 1000 Championship. "And after a few laps I could tell it was a lot more nimble. It just flicked back and forth a lot better. And the way it made its power was just incredible. Instantly I knew it was going to be a great weapon."

hayden gillim virginia international raceway action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson

Gillim got his first laps on the new Suzuki in testing at Jennings GP in Florida on Monday, prior to the third round of the MotoAmerica Series at VIRginia International Raceway.

Better results were immediate. In the cold and damp first Superbike practice session on Friday at VIR was P4.

“I just took it very gradually,” Gillim explained. “Every lap I would brake a little deeper, lean it a little harder, get on the gas a little earlier.”

Gillim’s rain pucks told the story. Obvious scrapes on each puck, meaning he was dragging his knee through the turns even on a fully wet track.

hayden gillim virginia rain race action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson

His time in the rain was even more impressive considering Gillim was riding for the first time with traction control.

“It was fun playing around with the electronics and seeing how the bike reacted,” he said. “I even managed to turn in the fastest trap speed, so that was pretty cool. It was a good session and I’m still getting the feel for the bike.”

In between testing and coming to VIR, since Gillim was in Florida anyway, he took the time to do some cycling and managed to hit the beach for a few days. He was sporting a nice tan at VIR.

In the pair of VIR races, Gillim scored 10th overall in Superbike in each race (6th and 4th in the Superstock class respectively on Saturday and Sunday). It was the best weekend result of the season so far and Gillim said more importantly he is inching ever closer to the riders who’ve been finishing ahead of him.

hayden gillim virginia motoamerica race action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson

“In Sunday’s race, I could see the guys in front of me (Mathew Scholtz and Jake Lewis),” Gillim grinned. “That shows me we’re making big improvements, so I’m really looking forward to us making this bike better as the season goes on.”

Next up is testing at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, a new circuit to MotoAmerica, where the series will visit in late August. Gillim is also hoping to race in the American Flat Track Springfield TT National over Memorial Day weekend. He won the non-national race there last year.

The next MotoAmerica round is at the scenic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 2-4. Gillim will get the chance to really stretch the legs of his new 2017 Cycle World Suzuki GSX-R1000 on that scenic four-mile circuit.

VIRginia International Raceway MVP Results Recap

Session/Race Position Best Time
Race 1 10th overall, 6th in class 1:26.750
Race 2 10th overall, 4th in class 1:26.105
Current Superbike Standings 12th

Scroll down for even more MVP photos from VIRginia International Raceway

hayden gillim motoamerica superstock 1000 race action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson
hayden gillim motoamerica superstock 1000 race action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson
hayden gillim motoamerica superstock 1000 race action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson
hayden gillim motoamerica superstock 1000 race action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson
hayden gillim motoamerica superstock 1000 race action
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson
hayden gillim motoamerica paddock
MotoAmerica, Round 3. VIRginia International RacewayBrian J. Nelson