WILLOWS, CA, MAR. 4 – Two days of testing ended on Friday afternoon at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California, with several of the top MotoAmerica teams taking part in the final shakedown prior to the Dunlop Preseason Test, scheduled for March 28-29 at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
In all, 10 riders took part in the two days of testing in Northern California: Cameron Beaubier (Superbike), Josh Hayes (Superbike), Roger Hayden (Superbike), Toni Elias (Superbike), Josh Herrin (Superbike), Bobby Fong (Superstock 1000), Bryce Prince (Superstock 1000), Garrett Gerloff (Supersport), JD Beach (Supersport) and Michael Gilbert (Superstock 600).
When all was said and done it was Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias coming away with the fastest lap time, the Spaniard circulating the three-mile road course in 1:46.10, according to lap times supplied by the team and garnered by Roadracing World magazine. This was Elias’ first time at Thunderhill Raceway Park and his second test on the brand new GSX-R1000.
“The new bike is really good,” Elias said. “There is a lot of potential in that bike. It is better than last year’s package and it is only really the third real test day for us. I’m very happy with the work we did here and now we must work for the next test at COTA.”
Elias and his teammate Roger Hayden tested previously at the Sepang test in Malaysia.
New MotoAmerica Motul Superbike class rules has meant for a busy off-season for two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier and the rest of the Superbike riders, but the defending champion said the Monster Graves Yamaha team is getting ahead of the game. Beaubier was fastest on Thursday at Thunderhill, but slipped to second on Friday – just a 10th of a second off Elias’ best. In all he did some 130 laps over the two days, Beaubier said.
“We’ve had a good, solid off-season,” Beaubier said. “It’s been nice, honestly – for riders and the team. Just being able to test more and ride a little bit more than we have in the past few off-seasons. I think we’re going into the season with some good riding fitness and with some good track time. We’ve been able to evaluate the new parts we have and it’s only getting better and better. I feel like we made some good steps on the electronics side today and also made a couple of chassis changes here and there. We were also able to focus on a few of the new developmental tires that Dunlop brought for us and found some good stuff. I’m looking forward to what they come up with come race time.”
Elias’ teammate Hayden ended up third fastest after the two-day test, making a big jump on day two to a best of 1:46.8. Josh Herrin was next on the Meen Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R1, the 2016 MotoAmerica Bazzaz Superstock 1000 Champion lapping at 1:47.25. Beaubier’s four-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Josh Hayes was fifth fastest at 1:47.33.
The quickest of the Supersport riders was Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Yamalube/Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff, the defending class champion third fastest overall on Thursday prior to a big highside on his R6. The Texan was fortunate to escape injury and was back on board on Friday, improving to 1:47.64. Gerloff’s teammate JD Beach, who is still recovering from his leg injury, ended up ninth fastest overall with a 1:49.17.
The fastest of the Superstock 1000 riders was Latus Motors Racing’s Bobby Fong, the Kawasaki ZX-10R-mounted rider posting a 1:48.20 on Friday to best the second Superstock 1000 rider at the test, Meen Motorsports’ Bryce Prince. Prince lapped at a best of 1:49.02.
Michael Gilbert was the lone Superstock 600 rider at Thunderhill Raceway Park and he circulated at a best of 1:51.50 on his Yamaha R6.
Lap Times (Unofficial)
Toni Elias (Suzuki) 1:46.10
Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:46.28
Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:46.80
Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:47.25
Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:47.33
Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 1:47.64 – Supersport
Bobby Fong (Kawasaki) 1:48.20 – Superstock 1000
Bryce Prince (Yamaha) 1:49.02 – Superstock 1000
JD Beach (Yamaha) 1:49.17 – Supersport
Michael Gilbert (Yamaha) 1:51.50 – Superstock 600