These just in:
Elkhart Lake, WI (June 4, 2018) — Roger Hayden returned to form Sunday in MotoAmerica Superbike action at the scenic Road America. Hayden battled up front most of the race and scored third aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000. It was the first podium result of the season for Hayden. Hundreds of fans broke out in an impromptu singing of Happy Birthday to him at the podium celebration. Roger’s birthday was on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Toni Elias suffered his first bad weekend of the year. He was involved in a controversial last-lap crash on Saturday when rival Cameron Beaubier made contact with him at Canada Corner causing Elias to fall. Elias then dropped off the lead pace mid-way through Sunday’s race and finished fourth. The combination of the DNF and fourth cost Elias his championship lead. He now trails Beaubier by two points in the standings heading into the combined World Superbike and MotoAmerica weekend at Laguna Seca Raceway later this month.
For Hayden Sunday’s race provided a major uplift to his 2018 racing campaign.
“It felt great to get back on the podium,” Hayden said after Sunday’s race. “I felt like I had a chance to win today, but I made a couple of mistakes late in the race that caused me to fall back a bit. Still, it’s a good boost to my season to get back to running up front. I feel like I’ve finally got the season started and I hope to be up there regularly the rest of the year.”
After the race Elias focused on what’s ahead instead of dwelling on an off weekend.
“Sometimes in racing you have weekends like this,” Elias said. “But my team is experienced and we will get back to work to be ready for Laguna Seca and see if we can again fight for this championship.”
Elias leaves Elkhart Lake a close second in the title chase, while Hayden is just a single point outside of the top 10.
Suzuki still sits at 199 MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike wins. It would be most appropriate if Elias or Hayden gave Suzuki the milestone 200th win at in Monterey. It was at Laguna Seca in 1977 when Suzuki won its first AMA Superbike Championship race with rider Steve McLaughlin.
Yoshimura R&D and Suzuki are in the middle of celebrating the 40th anniversary of their formal racing relationship resulting in the most successful racing team in the history of MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike.
Next up for Yoshimura Suzuki is the combined MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship/MotoAmerica weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on June 22-24.
Yoshimura Suzuki Statement on Road America Incident
Elkhart Lake, WI (June 3, 2018) — Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing is disappointed with MotoAmerica and FIM officials for not issuing a penalty for the last-lap incident in MotoAmerica Superbike race one Saturday at Road America. The incident resulted in a crash by series points leader Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias.
The episode at Road America’s Canada Corner saw Elias committed to his line and turned into the corner, when Cameron Beaubier came into the turn out of position to make a safe pass, running up on the inside hitting Elias and knocking him out of the race. From Yoshimura Suzuki’s point of view Beaubier was clearly at fault in the incident, yet no penalty was assessed. The resulting DNF for Elias was costly in terms of his championship points lead.
“We understand there is going to be tight racing and occasionally even contact between riders,” said Yoshimura Suzuki’s Don Sakakura, President of Yoshimura Racing. “But in the case of Saturday’s race we feel Cameron clearly entered the corner out of position to make a safe pass and Toni never saw him coming until he was down from contact. Toni had no opportunity to alter his line.”
Yoshimura Suzuki hopes that all riders in the championship will race in a safe and sportsmanlike manner and we implore MotoAmerica and the FIM to regulate those riders who fail to meet those standards.
Beaubier Does The Double At Road America
JD Beach Takes Win Number Four In Supersport
ELKHART LAKE, WI (June 3, 2018) – Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier came into the Dunlop Championship at Road America winless, 35 points behind Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias. And desperate. He leaves Wisconsin with pole position, two Motul Superbike wins, a two-point lead in the championship and feeling pretty good about things.
With his double win combined with Elias’ crash on Saturday and fourth-place finish on Sunday, Beaubier takes over at the top of the MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Championship, 153-151, over Elias.
Beaubier had his hands full in Sunday’s race with Elias and Attack Performance/Herrin Complex Yamaha’s Josh Herrin and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden early in the red-flag-interrupted race. Then Elias ran wide and lost touch with the top three, the MotoAmerica Superbike Champion holding off Quicksilver/LEXIN/Hudson Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong by less than a second for fourth place.
Following Elias’ miscue, that left three at the front: Beaubier, Herrin and Hayden. Hayden made a mistake on the final lap, leaving it down to Beaubier and Herrin, and then Herrin erred in the final corner and that was all Beaubier needed to streak to his second win of the season and the 26th of his AMA Superbike career.
“I wasn’t aware of the two-point game, but I’m really, really happy with how the weekend went,” Beaubier said after learning he’d taken the championship points lead. “My bike felt perfect from the first session on. I think we were able to lead all the sessions this weekend too, which I’m really happy about. We’ve been working so hard just trying to get that first win this year. We finally got it and we were able to back it up today. I was a little nervous there after the red flag because Josh (Herrin) and I had got into a position where I felt pretty confident for the rest of the race before the red flag. Once we lined up again, I was on the second row and I kind of got shuffled back like I did before at the beginning of the race. I was able to make my way through a little bit. The last few laps I just put my head down and pushed as hard as I could. I was trying to be a little protective because I know Josh is really good on the brakes. We were able to get it done. I was a little nervous going into Canada Corner behind him because I knew he had the last section dialed. I was able to sneak up the inside of him when he went a little wide. I thought I was pretty protective going into the last corner and somehow he found a way up the inside. That was a really fun race, that second half. Really, really happy that I was able to get it done for the Yamaha boys.”
Herrin ended up second again, just .195 of a second behind Beaubier after finishing .002 of a second behind yesterday. That’s an average margin of victory of .098 in the two Motul Superbike races.
“I think the biggest mistake was just running into Canada Corner hot,” Herrin said of the final lap. “I think I might have had a shot if I hadn’t have done that. The last corner was kind of like one last effort because I knew I couldn’t draft by Cam (Beaubier) to the line. I tried every lap to get a good run at it just to line him up to see if I could. I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to. I was getting real good drives out of there and I couldn’t keep the front wheel down. Super happy with the double podium. We’ve been working super hard to try and get this bike up to par with the rest of the field. I think we’re getting to the point now where we’re about even with them. I think we still got a lot to go. Richard’s (Stanboli) working night and day to try and get this thing going and ready, especially for the World Superbike race.”
Hayden held on for third, his first podium in a difficult year thus far.
“Yeah, it was a pretty good race for me,” Hayden said. “I’ve been struggling a little bit with my confidence. Every race so far this year I haven’t really made it past the third lap. Yesterday’s race was really intense, and I was just glad to get a finish and kind of get some momentum. Felt pretty good today. Made a big mistake with two to go in turn six and these guys got a little bit of a gap on me. They were quicker than me anyway, but I was just kind of hanging on. I feel really good. I needed this podium to kind of get my season going and get a little bit of momentum. Got some work we have to do. These guys are riding good, but definitely a good start.”
Then came Elias and Fong in fourth and fifth and 1.7 seconds clear of Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis was seventh.
“For us it’s back to the office this week and we have some work to do,” Elias said. “We are having some problems with the bike under acceleration, so we must solve this. But our crew is dedicated, and we will figure it out and come to Laguna Seca and start again to fight for this championship.”
Danny Eslick rode the Scheibe Racing BMW to eighth with Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Cameron Petersen and Excelsus Print Solutions/KWR’s Kyle Wyman rounded out the top 10.
The red flag came out on the second lap when Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz crashed with his bike ending up on the racing line. Scholtz escaped injury but it was his second non-finish of the weekend for the rider who came into the race tied for second in the points with Beaubier. Scholtz is now fourth in the series standings with Herrin moving to third behind Beaubier and Elias.
Supersport: Beach Fights Back
Sunday’s Supersport race looked to be a carbon copy of Saturday’s race, with M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise and Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha’s JD Beach battling at the front again. This time, the script was flipped, though, as Beach held off Debise at the checkers to win his fourth race of the season.
Debise, who was Saturday’s race winner in his first weekend back from an injury prior to the start of the MotoAmerica season, barely missed out on a perfect weekend when he crossed the finish line just a little more than three one-hundredths of a second behind Beach. Rickdiculous Racing/Yamaha’s Hayden Gillim finished third for the second day in a row to complete the podium.
“With the rule change for this year, this is the first year that, being on the Graves bike, we don’t have the most power,” Beach said. “It’s weird, but that’s racing. I know a few years ago that’s how it was. I could tell when I would pass (Debise). I was riding hard and I couldn’t make any kind of gap at all. Every time he did draft by me, he had some speed. It was a lot of fun racing. We were racing hard. I knew with the speed I had, I had to try something coming out of the last turn. I just tried to do a different line than what I had been doing, so it would kind of surprise him. It was a good race. It was fun.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup: Yates Gets It Done
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Alex Dumas, who was Saturday’s race winner and the winner of four out of the five races so far this season, looked like he was headed for the top step of the podium again on Sunday as he got the holeshot and was running a fast pace at the front. Unfortunately, Dumas’ pace proved to be a little too fast as he crashed out unhurt and handed the lead to Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates. The Kawasaki rider pressed his advantage at the front and went on to take the checkers by nearly eight seconds. Second went to MP13 Racing/Yamaha’s Cory Ventura while KTM Orange Brigade/Ghilliman Racing’s Sean Ungvarsky matched his third-place result from yesterday with another third today.
“Unfortunately, I got a bad start,” Yates said. “Then, I knew I needed to get to the front and make something happen. I was pushing really hard when I got to the front of the group. I rode my butt off. I got by most of the guys and back to the front going into the infield, or after turn five and through the turns. I was able to make up a decent gap to take off and run away with it. I’m happy with it.”
Stock 1000: Richardson Gets His First
In Stock 1000, Woolich Racing/Kawasaki rider Shane Richardson got his first win in the class, and it was also the first MotoAmerica victory of his career. The New Zealander bested fellow Kawasaki rider Andrew Lee, who finished second for the third time in three races. Newcomer-to-the-class Andy DiBrino brought his EDR Performance/DiBrino Racing Yamaha home in third.
Lee now leads the point standings by virtue of the fact that Weir Everywhere Racing’s Travis Wyman, who was the previous points leader, crashed out of the race on the fifth lap, and was fortunately unhurt.
“It’s been a really good weekend,” said Richardson. “This is my first win in MotoAmerica since coming here last year, so we’re pretty stoked with that. It’s been a long year and a bit for us, but we’re happy to finally stand on the top step. The weekend’s been pretty good. It started out slow in the first session, but we improved more and more in the two qualifying sessions, so I was feeling pretty confident for the race to run up front with these guys. Luckily, lap five went my way. Obviously, a bad lap for Travis (Wyman) going down. I was right behind him. After that, Andrew (Lee) got behind me. I could see him on the TV screen heading down to turn three. So I knew he was right there every lap. I just tried to put together the best laps I could, lap by lap. I was waiting for the fight to come, but luckily I got away with it.”
Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
Roger Hayden (Suzuki)
Toni Elias (Suzuki)
Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
JD Beach (Yamaha)
Valentin Debise (Suzuki)
Hayden Gillim (Yamaha)
Cory West (Yamaha)
Nick McFadden (Suzuki)
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
Ashton Yates (Kawasaki)
Cory Ventura (Yamaha)
Sean Ungvarsky (KTM)
Gavin Anthony (Yamaha)
Jackson Blackmon (Yamaha)
Shane Richardson (Kawasaki)
Andrew Lee (Kawasaki)
Andy DiBrino (Yamaha)
Dustin Dominguez (Kawasaki)
Garrick Schneiderman (Yamaha)