It would be hard to imagine a rider with more experience
getting on unknown racebikes and going fast than Michael Barnes. Having ridden
15 brands of motorcycles on 33 different teams in his career, he is the
acknowledged expert at getting up to speed quickly. His talent brought him the
win in the 2016 Daytona 200.
So when a last-minute collaboration between Moto Corse Performance
and Quarterley Racing On Track Development came together that would see a
Ducati Monster 797 in the MotoAmerica Twins Class at Road Atlanta, Michael got
the call. He rewarded the team by winning both races.
When was the last
time you rode a racebike?
Barnes: It was the Daytona 200 last year. It ended in a DNF
How did this ride
Barnes: Chris Boy from Moto Corse Performance contacted me
three weeks before the race. We did a track day at Homestead and the bike felt
good, but we didn’t know how competitive it was until we got to Atlanta. I like
twins because twins have instant response power -wise. We looked at the lap
times for that class from Homestead and we knew we had a platform.
Has there been a lot
of development in the motor?
Barnes: The spec fuel limits us as far as pistons and other
internal engine components go. The motor is relatively stock except for some head
Did you make a lot of
adjustments to the bike when you got to Road Atlanta?
Barnes: The suspension didn’t even move at first. We softened
it up for the wet sessions on Friday and made one last change for the Sunday
race. It was mostly on the compression setting for bumps.
How did you like
riding the bike?
Barnes: The bike is a lot of fun. By race time it was set up
superbly. I’ve seen a lot of Moto Corse’s work over the years and I was really pleased
to work with them for the first time.
Did you know you had
a competitive machine for Road Atlanta right from the first practice?
Barnes: I knew we had something competitive at Homestead,
but wet sessions like the first one at Road Atlanta throw things off. Some
guys are faster in wet than they are in the dry. We never really thought we had
it in the bag. Chris Parrish and Curtis Murray are really fast guys and they
have a lot of experience in the class. When we got the proper gearing on the
bike,though, we were pretty confident.
Are there plans to
continue racing in the Twins Class this year?
Barnes: We’re going to VIR, that’s determined already. I really
enjoy working with Dale Quarterley and his team. Dale and I have known each
other since my first year of racing. Dale and his team co-owner Bob Robbins are
excited to take this further.
Were you planning on
racing this year before you got the call?
Barnes: I had no intention of racing a full season, but the
Twins Class is easier to jump into and not feel like I was in over my head. I
haven’t been training the way I normally would if I had planned to race this
Is there anyone in particular
that you would like to thank after winning both races?
Barnes: Anne Roberts for taking care of all the logistics
and my new sponsor, 6D Helmets.
From Quarterley Racing:
Some questions came up about a
rider development team having a 30 year veteran in the saddle for the Twins
race. A late series of events led to getting the Ducati homologated for the
class, and after some inquiries from potential riders we felt the bike needed
some development prior to committing to a rider to run the series. What better
guy than Michael Barnes to give a true assessment of the bike in short order.
Winning both races by a comfortable margin was certainly a stamp of approval
for the bike as built, and we now can feel good about interested riders
inquiring about the same set up. The project was a joint venture between Moto
Corse Performance and Quarterley racing born out of a plan to provide a future
stepping stone from the Junior Cup for our young riders before trying to tame a
600 at the pro level. Michael did a great job for us and we made plans for him
to ride the bike again at VIR. Beyond that, we will see where it goes regarding
a season-long championship chase.
Quarterley Racing On Track Development sponsors for 2019
include Inter-Tech Supplies, Fast By Ferracci Racing, Yoshimura R&D, Wiseco
Performance Products, Motul USA Inc., Regina Chain, BrakeTech, Ferodo Racing,
Matt & Jesse, Scott Powersports, Defiance Lifestyle Clothing,
Woodcraft-CFM, Dynojet Research, Beta Tools, Roadracing World, Drippin’ Wet
Graphics, Moto-D Racing, Fast Bike Industries, Van Dyk Recycling Solutions,
Earl’s Racing Team and Kiwi Classic Moto
And proudly acknowledging Ducati
North America in support of our Twins class program