Garrett Gerloff introduced himself to the Motul Superbike class today at the Dunlop Preseason Test at Barber Motorsports Park with a firm handshake and a gleam in his eye that said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Gerloff bested the best of the best on a chilly spring day in Alabama, the Motul Superbike class rookie and two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion turning in the fastest lap on what was just his eighth day on his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1. Gerloff did his best lap in the fourth and final session on the opening day of the two-day test.
With the season opener to the 2018 MotoAmerica season just under three weeks away at Road Atlanta, the Dunlop test at Barber is the final shakedown before wheels are turned in anger. With Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden setting a lap record in qualifying last year (with Dunlop qualifying tires) of 1:24.091 and following that up with a lap 1:26.301 in race one en route to victory (Josh Herrin had the fastest lap of race one – a 1:26.190), Gerloff’s lap of 1:25.335 was impressive, especially considering a temperature difference of some 40 degrees.
“The last test we had at Sonoma was not the best test for me, honestly,” Gerloff said. “I didn’t leave Sonoma with good vibes. But I came here with a positive outlook because Barber is a track that I really like. I used to live in (nearby) Trussville, so I consider this my home track and I’ve had a good amount of laps around here. When I got on the bike here this morning, it felt really good. I’m not sure what happened between the Sonoma test and here, but things are working really awesome. I’m really happy and I’m ready to make some changes, go faster tomorrow, and work on being consistent, mainly. It feels good – damn good – to have my name at the top of the timesheets. I put together a string of fast laps, and I’m happy to be at the top of the board on any day.”
Two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier was just .067 of a second behind his teammate Gerloff and in turn was only a scant .031 of a second clear of third-placed Toni Elias, the defending MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion. The came Roger Hayden, with Elias’ teammate a tick over a second off the pace of the lead trio.
“It was a good day,” Beaubier said. “I enjoyed myself. I didn’t get to ride here last year (due to my shoulder injury at Pittsburgh). It was nice to ride here again, and I enjoy this track. We tried a couple of things here and there, but I mostly just worked on getting comfortable on the bike. It was cold the first couple of laps, and I felt like the grip level was a bit down. But it’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow, and I expect the lap times to come down quite a bit. We’ve got a couple of things to work on overnight that we learned today, so I’m looking forward to another day of testing here.”
Birthday boy Elias was left wanting more on his 35th.
“Normally, the track conditions affect me a lot, so to be competitive in these (colder temperatures) is a good signal because I didn’t feel it,” Elias said. “Everything is good. I’m there, which means something. We did a good job today. I wanted P1 today because it’s my birthday, but what can I say? Maybe next year’s test.”
Mathew Scholtz recovered from a blown motor on his Yamalube/Westby Racing Yamaha in the first session to end the day fifth fastest, ahead of fellow South African Cameron Petersen on the Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda.
M4 Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, Fly Street Racing’s David Anthony, Scheibe Racing’s Danny Eslick (on his first day on the BMW) and Dunlop test rider Taylor Knapp rounded out the top 10 of the 17 Superbike/Stock 1000 testers on the day.
Supersport: Beach Over Gillim
Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha’s JD Beach bested fellow Kentucky resident Hayden Gillim on the opening day of Supersport testing at Barber. Beach, the 2015 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion, ended up ahead of Rickdiculous Racing’s Gillim by .122 of second as those two were well clear of the rest.
“The day started out a little rough,” Beach said. “We had a few bike problems that we weren’t expecting, so we had to change our plan. But, all in all, I think we got a good direction with the bike. It’s nice to have Hayden (Gillim) out there to push me because he’s going really fast, and I’ve got him to compare with since (Valentin) Debise is not here. It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow, so I expect a few more guys to be up there at the top. It should be a really good day to test.”
Third fastest of the Supersport testers on day one was Altus Motorsports’ Miles Thornton, the Suzuki-mounted rider just ahead of the M4 medAge Suzuki of Nick McFadden. Tuned Racing’s Braeden Ortt ended the day fifth fastest.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup/Twins Cup: All Yates
The two new classes, Liqui Moly Junior Cup and Twins Cup, ran together on track at Barber Motorsports Park and the fastest of them all was Ashton Yates, the Georgian riding his Kawasaki Ninja 400 for the first time after taking delivery of the bike this week. Yates lapped at a best of 1:40.018, which put him 1.6 seconds clear of Dunlop test rider Taylor Knapp.
The first of the Twins Cup riders was third and that was Brad Perdlew on his AP MotoArts Yamaha. Perdlew was just .003 of a second faster than Altus Motorsports’ Jason Madama.
The third fastest of the Junior Cup riders was Cameron Jones on the Jones Racing Kawasaki with Riderz Law’s Jackson Blackmon fourth fastest on his Yamaha R3. Blackmon bested KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training’s Alex Dumas, who was just ahead of Rickdiculous Racing’s Gauge Rees.
Results: Dunlop Preseason Tire Test, Day One
1. Garrett Gerloff (Yam YZF-R1), 1:25.335
2. Cameron Beaubier (Yam YZF-R1), 1:25.402
3. Toni Elias (Suz GSX-R1000R), 1:25.433
4. Roger Hayden (Suz GSX-R1000R), 1:26.364
5. Mathew Scholtz (Yam YZF-R1), 1:26.391
6. Cameron Petersen (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), 1:27.044
7. Jake Lewis (Suz GSX-R1000R), 1:28.481
8. David Anthony (Kaw ZX-10R), 1:28.515
9. Danny Eslick (BMW S1000RR), 1:28.729
10. Taylor Knapp (Suz GSX-R1000R), 1:28.793
1. JD Beach (Yam YZF-R6), 1:28.214
2. Hayden Gillim (Yam YZF-R6), 1:28.336
3. Miles Thornton (Suz GSX-R600), 1:30.684
4. Nick McFadden (Suz GSX-R600), 1:32.378
5. Braeden Ortt (Yam YZF-R6), 1:32.384
6. Ashton Yates (Yam YZF-R6), 1:32.734
7. Daytona Anderson (Suz GSX-R600), 1:32.924
8. Lucas Silva (Yam YZF-R6), 1:33.206
9. Nolan Lamkin (Yam YZF-R6), 1:33.598
10. Jason Aguilar (Yam YZF-R6), 1:33.998
1. Brad Perdiew (Yam FZ-07), 1:42.019
2. Jason Madama (Yam FZ-07), 1:42.022
3. Shane Perry (Suz SV650), 1:42.172
4. Carl Price (Yam FZ-07), 1:43.933
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
1. Ashton Yates (Kaw 400), 1:40.018
2. Taylor Knapp (Yam YZF-R3), 1:41.627
3. Cameron Jones (Kaw), 1:42.351
4. Jackson Blackmon (Yam YZF-R3), 1:42.796
5. Alex Dumas (KTM RC 390 R), 1:42.956
6. Gauge Rees (Yam YZF-R3), 1:43.109
7. Josh Jovi (Yam YZF-R3), 1:44.087
8. Draik Beauchamp (Yam YZF-R3), 1:45.110
9. Tyler Freeman (Yam YZF-R3), 1:45.193
10. Jamie Astudillo (Kaw 400), 1:45.193
1. Stephen Incledon (Yam YZF-R1), 1:33.570
2. Felipe MacLean (Suz GSX-R1000R), 1:33.669
3. Shane Richardson (Kaw ZX-10R), 1:35.365