2017 Superprestigio IV Results
Since the flat track event began in 2014 at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, the standout riders of Superprestigio were three-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and AMA Grand National Champion Brad “The Bullet” Baker. Heading into 2017 Superprestigio IV, Baker had earned two Superfinal victories (January 2014, December 2015), and Marquez one (December 2014).
Both riders wasted no time Saturday, December 17, during Superprestigio IV, earning wins in their respective classes (Marquez in Superprestigio and Baker in Open). These class finals are basically heat races for the main event, the Superfinal, which combines the top riders from both classes for one 16-lap race.
The Marquez/Baker battle began, but was over by the second lap. This is when Marquez got away, the Spaniard untouchable as he claimed the Superfinal win before his home crowd. Baker settled for third, and Suzuki’s Toni Elias—a Moto2 Champion currently competing for Yohsimura Suzuki in MotoAmerica Superbike—claimed second.
“Of course I’m really happy because this is the Superprestigio,” Marquez said. “Last year I was really close from the victory and this year I get it. I know the mistakes that I did last year, but this year I try to be in a different way and it was working well.
“But especially the pace was working really good. Toni (Elias) was pushing a lot but the pace this year was the best year, what I feel. Also, one of the reasons was my team. They are right here at the Palau. It was a really good job.”
Baker, the only American racing at Superprestigio IV, struggled with setup and tire choice.
“Tire choice was very crucial today,” Baker said. “The surface was very abrasive and these tires are very soft, so they wear really quick. I really never road with a new tire all day long, but I just thought with the 16 laps that I was going to need a lot of rubber, a lot of tire to last at the end and it was a bad decision.”
With Marquez out front, Elias passed Baker on lap two and chased down Marquez. Elias would
finish Superprestigio IV 0.715 of a second behind Marquez.
“We didn’t expect that. We knew that the Superprestigio (Final) was possible but not the Superfinal,” Elias said. Thanks to my team because they work really hard throughout the week, especially the last days. We made the right choices at the right time.”
Elias also had a bit of luck, as he realized last minute that his tire was toast before going into the Superfinal. But with the good will of the tire manufacturer, they reopened their truck and fitted a new tire for him, American Flat Track reports.
“I was really close to losing the Superfinal because my rear tire was completely finished and I went to push for it; I need to change my tire,” Elias said.
“He waited for me and finally everything was right. The Superfinal was perfect. I could pass Brad, someone who rides that well. This is nice to end the year this way, because it’s been a nice year. Thanks to everybody in the U.S. Thanks to this team, to my family, all the fans in the stand. And tonight to continue to party!”
Though he didn’t win, Baker was happy with his podium efforts. He now looks forward to Superprestigio V.
“Well, first off, this event, this time that I come over and spend in Spain is something that I’ll remember forever,” Baker said. “It’s been something that is very important to me and the people that I’ve met here in Spain and for the Superprestigio – it’s irreplaceable.
“I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve had a really good time here at the Superprestigio, but it’s like the pressure to win and to produce for Flat Track, it gets more intense every single year, everybody else gets better. But I’m just thankful to be a part of that and that Flat Track is here and the Superprestigio is getting bigger and everyone else is growing with it.”
Claiming fourth was Moto2’s Xavier Simon, followed by Spanish flat track rider Gerard Bailo and another Moto2 pilot, Marcel Schrotter. The 2016 RFME Copa de Flat Track Champion Ferran Cardus finished seventh, followed by five-time FIM Supermoto World Champion Thomas Chareyre.