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Apr 9, 2019

MotoAmerica: Interview With Quarterley Racing's Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes (111) leading Chris Parrish (1) during a MotoAmerica Twins Cup race at Road Atlanta. Photo by Brian J. Nelson, courtesy of Quarterley Racing.

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 come together?

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 work.

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 year.

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

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