Road America Wrap-Up: What The Teams Have To Say

Cameron Beaubier had a perfect weekend in Wisconsin. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The following is from Yamaha…

It was a near-perfect weekend at Road America for Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier, who came away from Round 4 of the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship with a double-victory in the Superbike class and a two-point lead in the championship standings.

Meanwhile, Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha Racing’s JD Beach notched his fourth win of the series in Sunday’s Supersport Race 2, extending his lead in the championship to 43 points.

Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing Superbike Team

Sunday’s Superbike Race 2 virtually mirrored the excitement from Saturday’s action as Cameron Beaubier and Yamaha bLU cRU rider Josh Herrin carried the already-exciting battle for the lead to the checkered flag once again, providing race fans with a dually-impressive performance. Beaubier went to work early in the race, making his way to the lead by the end of the first lap and swapping the position several times before a red flag halted the action on the fifth lap and sent everyone back to the starting grid.

As the green flag waved for the second Superbike start, Beaubier got shuffled into a top-five position and rode smart to regain the battle for the lead. The two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion found an opening with four laps to go and passed Herrin to lead the race. The tworiders pushed hard on the final lap, dicing back-and-forth for the lead. After a few changes in position, it was Beaubier who made it stick as he carried his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing R1 to its second-straight victory of the series at Road America.

Beaubier’s teammate, Garrett Gerloff, got a great start from his front row qualifying position and was in contention to battle for the lead before the red flag came out. When the race restarted, he launched himself into fourth-place and battled for a top-five position, but a mistake dropped him back to seventh place. Gerloff regained his focus, and fought back late in the race to finish in sixth place. Overall, Gerloff had a very successful weekend, reaching the podium with a third-place finish in Race 1 and quickly adapting to Road America in his first ride there on a Superbike.

Cameron Beaubier – #6 YZF-R1

“This weekend couldn’t have gone better. We were able to lead every session, put it on pole and get the double-victory in two very tough races. I’m looking forward to heading back west for the next few rounds.”

Garrett Gerloff – #6 YZF-R1

“All in all, it was a good weekend for me. My team and I worked well all weekend trying different setups and dialing in my Yamaha R1. In qualifying, I got in a decent lap and finally got a front row starting position! Then, in race one, I made some mistakes but ended up with some luck and got third place. In Race 2, after the red flag, I had a little bit of trouble getting a rhythm going and made some mistakes, leaving me with a sixth place. A lot of positives to take away. I learned a lot and I’m excited to move on to a favorite track of mine, Laguna Seca.”

Tom Halverson – Team Manager

“This weekend was huge for us, with Cameron leading every session and taking the pole and a double-win. I don’t think any of us were thinking we’d leave here with the points lead but congrats to Cam and the entire team for a great effort! Garrett made a mistake during the race that cost him positions but he is learning quick and plans to be a threat at Laguna. Congrats as well to Josh Herrin, who put in two fantastic rides this weekend taking two very close second-place finishes.”

2018 MotoAmerica Superbike Standings – 8 of 20 Series Races Completed

Pos.                Rider                                                  Points

1                     Cameron Beaubier – Yamaha        153
2                     Toni Elias – Suzuki                            151
3                     Josh Herrin – Yamaha                      115
4                     Mathew Scholtz – Yamaha              105
5                     Jake Lewis – Suzuki                          77
6                     Garrett Gerloff – Yamaha                74
7                     Kyle Wyman – Yamaha                    66     

Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha Supersport Team

Following a runner-up finish in Saturday’s Supersport Race 1, points leader JD Beach fought back to put his Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha R6 back on the top step of the podium for Race 2. He had another close battle with Valentin Debise, but this time Beach emerged with the upper-hand as he claimed victory by 0.037 of a second.

JD Beach – #95 YZF-R6

“Road America as a whole was great. Of course, it would have been nice to pick up both wins but getting [a pole-position start], a second and a first-place is great. It was a blast having Valentin back and battling with him. My team did a great job with the bike and getting it sorted when we were struggling. I can’t wait for the next round!”

2018 MotoAmerica Supersport Standings – 6 of 18 Series Races Completed

Pos.                Rider                                              Points
1                    JD Beach – Yamaha                     140
2                    Hayden Gillim – Yamaha              97
3                    Cory West – Suzuki                         79
4                    Braeden Ortt – Yamaha               60

Additional Yamaha bLU cRU Rider Notes

Attack Performance/Herrin Compound/Yamaha’s Josh Herrin put in a pair of impressive performances at Road America to claim two close runner-up finishes. Herrin and his R1 led 11 official laps over the course of both Superbike races, and he proved that he is a force to be reckoned with during the most intense battles all weekend long.

Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim made it two-for-two podium finishes on his R6, matching his third-place finish in Race 1 with a hard-fought third-place finish in Race 2.

In the Junior Cup class, MP13 Racing’s Cory Ventura made big strides from his fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Race 1, placing his R3 on the podium in Sunday’s Race 2 with a second-place finish.

Overall, the Graves/Yamaha R3 Support Program is still facing some challenges when it comes to parity in rules for the new Junior Cup class. “Sunday had some better results with Cory Ventura finishing in the second position, but it’s still frustrating that the organizers haven’t done enough to balance out the brands,” noted Chuck Graves.

Nonetheless, Graves is very proud of everyone involved in the program and their ability to quickly adapt to the challenges, and said, “The Graves Yamaha R3 racers did a great job this weekend, and still fought hard for every position.”

The Yamaha bLU cRU riders will head to Monterey, California June 22-24 for Round 5 of the 2018 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship series at Laguna Seca. For complete schedule details, visit:

Roger Hayden returned to the podium in race two at Road America.

The following is from Suzuki…

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.

Bobby Fong finished fifth on Sunday in Wisconsin on the Quicksilver/LEXIN/Hudson Motorcycles Yamaha. Photo by Brock Imaging.

The following is from Hudson Motorcycles…

For every motorcycle road racer, their primary goal in every race they contest is to win. For riders on privateer teams, there is a secondary goal- finishing ahead of the factory-supported riders. In Sunday’s Superbike race at MotoAmerica’s Dunlop Championship at Road America, Quicksilver / Lexin Moto / Hudson Motorcycles rider, Bobby Fong, did not take the win, but finished ahead of a factory rider and places himself inside the top five.

After putting in a brilliant performance in Saturday’s Superbike race, Fong started Sunday’s race from ninth on the grid. Fong had raced his Yamaha YZF-R1 up to seventh place when the red flag came out. When the race restarted, Fong recovered from a bad start and moved up another two positions on the shortened race’s Lap 4 to finish fifth. Fong finished ahead of a factory rider who was also campaigning a R1 and moved up to 10th place in the Superbike point standings.

Quicksilver / Lexin Moto / Hudson Motorcycles’ Supersport rider Richie Escalante ended his up-and-down weekend at Road America on a good note. Escalante started Sunday’s Supersport Class race in fourth place on his Yamaha YZF-R6 and was able to recover from a poor start to finish just outside the top five.

MotoAmerica’s next round is set to take place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Both Hudson riders will be aiming to continue their respective progress with their motorcycles and continue to gel with their Quicksilver / Lexin Moto / Hudson Motorcycles team.

Bobby Fong / #50
“Today’s result feels like a win for how much effort we’ve been putting in this year and some of the bad luck we have had. It was a top five, but we definitely worked for it today. I made it tough on myself by not getting off the line well on the restart. I ended up having to work my way past a few riders but was able to put in several fast laps and was feeling really good on our Yamaha YZF-R1. We made really big strides with bike set-up this weekend, and I really feel like we are heading in the right direction. I am really looking forward to heading to Laguna Seca in a few weeks. We did really well this weekend on the tighter infield sections of Road America and on the brakes. I think that will help us get up with the frontrunners at Laguna.”

Richie Escalante / #54
“It was a difficult race today. I was aiming to finish on the podium but ended up finishing sixth and was able to take home good points for the championship. I had some trouble getting into a rhythm today out on track, but I feel like the team and I are making good progress with our Yamaha YZF-R6. I feel like all the advancements we are making  will really help us head into the next round at Laguna Seca. It’s a very different track from Road America and it’s a track that I like a lot.”

Sean Ungvarsky had two podium finishes in the Liqui Moly Junior Cup races at Road America.

The following is from KTM…

KTM Orange Brigade rider Alex Dumas experienced the highs and lows of racing over the weekend for Round 3 of the MotoAmerica Junior Cup, held at the historic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Dumas rode his KTM RC 390 R to a commanding victory in Saturday’s Race 1 but a crash in Race 2 kept him from scoring championship points during Sunday’s race action. His teammate, Sean Ungvarsky, was a model of consistency as he emerged from Wisconsin with a pair of third-place finishes in the Junior Cup class.

Dumas demonstrated his READY TO RACE mentality on Friday as he led the class’ only practice session and put himself on provisional pole by a margin of more than two seconds. Wet conditions on Saturday morning allowed Dumas to maintain his pole position heading into Race 1. Dumas made a great start on Saturday and led every lap while taking the win by over eight seconds. On Sunday, Dumas made another great start but made a mistake on the opening lap and crashed as he exited Road America’s Turn 13. Although he didn’t earn any points toward the championship, Dumas still holds a two-point lead in the overall standings.

Ungvarsky emerged successful from two tough on-track battles. Starting from ninth on the grid, Ungvarsky showed great poise and racecraft as he skillfully used the draft, rode defensively and utilized the KTM RC 390 R’s power to finish on the podium in both races.

The MotoAmerica Junior Cup’s next round is scheduled for June 22-24 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

Alex Dumas, #23KTM Orange Brigade Rider“The weekend started off very good for us. I was able to get provisional pole on Friday and ended up starting from pole in Saturday’s race, where I was able to come away with the win. I was feeling really good going into Race 2 and I had built up a lead of over a second before the end of the first lap. I was trying to ride cautiously but as I opened the throttle coming out of Turn 13 I lost traction on the front tire and crashed. I think the KTM is going to perform well at Laguna Seca and I am looking forward to getting back on the bike there.”

Sean Ungvarsky, #48KTM Orange Brigade Rider“I had a pretty rough start to the weekend. I didn’t have great pace in qualifying and was a little disheartened with having to start on the third row of the grid. I knew if I got a good start, though, I could be right up there battling for the lead. I got a really good start in Race 1 and got involved in a great battle for the podium. Fortunately, I was able to come out on top of that battle and helped put two KTMs on the podium. In Race 2, I got an even better start and quickly found myself in an even more intense battle for the podium. I was able to figure out which parts of the track I was faster in than my competitors and used some defensive riding to secure my second podium finish of the weekend. I think the KTM will do really well at Laguna Seca and I think Alex and I are proving the KTM RC 390 R is the bike to have in this class.”

Chris Fillmore, KTM Orange Brigade Team Manager“I am extremely pleased with both of our riders’ performance this weekend. Alex proved his dominance in Race 1 by having a flawless race at the front. He was in a battle at the beginning but was able to drop his competition. His pace was both fast and very consistent. He had an unfortunate Race 2 from pushing too hard too quickly. The Junior Cup is meant to develop road racing talent and I think Alex learned a valuable lesson this weekend. Sean showed good consistency this weekend. He was locked in two close battles and was able to get himself on the podium in both races. I am expecting more of the same positive results from both riders at Laguna Seca. Both riders are making big strides on bike set-up from track to track and I think we will continue to perform well there.”

Valentin Debise was first and second in the two Supersport races at Road America.

The following is from Team Hammer….

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise backed up his Saturday race win with another sensational performance in his return weekend. The Frenchman battled back and forth for the lead throughout Supersport Race 2.

After numerous trial runs covering a variety of last-lap strategies, Debise elected to attempt a draft and slingshot move for the win driving up the hill for the final time. Unfortunately, his bid for victory fell just 0.037-second short of completing an elusive double victory.

“All of the race, I was trying to see what I could do (on the last lap),” Debise explained. “I saw that pulling away like yesterday was not going to be possible because my competition was faster today than yesterday. So then I tried to see if he could draft pass me before the finish line, and he could. After that, I knew I had to be behind him and maybe I could make the pass. I saw that I could, so I held off and didn’t show him that I could. It was not easy, but I was comfortable. But when it came time to do it, I decided to go to the left, and he turned to the left on the main straight, too. That made me roll off the throttle and I lost all the speed I had.

“Anyway, if you told me before this race weekend, that I would get first and second, I would sign for it. I’m glad I’m here. Thanks to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. As always, they did a great job.”

M4 medAge Suzuki’s Nick McFadden got a terrific launch off the starting grid and used the draft of the leaders to help him break free from the pack behind. The Kentuckian put that early advantage to good use, coming home well clear in fifth position to improve on Saturday’s seventh.

M4 RiCK! Suzuki’s Daytona Anderson finish a battling 12th after suffering a DNS the day prior.

Despite missing the season’s opening four races, Debise has jumped into the Supersport championship top 10 rankings, now holding ninth with 45 points. McFadden ranks fifth with 59 points while Anderson is 15th with 15 points.

Meanwhile, M4 ESCTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis finished seventh in a stopped and restarted Superbike Race 2. Lewis was part of a long freight train connected to the front in the early going, but eventually settled into to a lonely ride to the checkered flag.

The result marked the first time in six races that Lewis has finished outside the top five.

Lewis continues to hold down fifth in the Superbike title fight with 77 points to his credit.

Next up for Team Hammer is MotoAmerica’s annual trip to scenic Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, on June 22-24, where MotoAmerica will once again share the spotlight with the Superbike World Championship.

Mathew Scholtz didn’t have the best of weekends in Wisconsin.

The following is from Yamalube/Westby Racing…

Road America is the first U.S. track where South African Mathew Scholtz raced when he came to America two years ago. Last year, he won Sunday’s Superstock 1000 race at “America’s National Park of Speed.” For those reasons and many others, Mathew loves Road America and considers it one of his favorite tracks on the MotoAmerica schedule.

But, sometimes, as that old song by the 70s band Nazareth sang, “Love Hurts.” It hurt on Saturday, and then, it hurt a little more on Sunday for Mathew and the Yamalube/Westby Racing team.

After suffering a lowside in Saturday’s Superbike Race 1, which resulted in an uncharacteristic 14th-place finish for the 2017 MotoAmerica Superstock Champion and two-time Superbike race winner, Mathew and the team went into Sunday with a solid plan to improve on their results from Saturday and return to the level of success that had Mathew in second place in the Championship points standings heading into the weekend.

But, in a cruel twist of fate, things went from not-so-good to something even less than not-so-good when Mathew crashed on Lap 2 of Sunday’s race, which resulted in a red-flag stoppage due to Mathew’s #11 Yamalube/Westby Racing/Yamaha YZF-R1 coming to rest on the racing line. After gathering himself, Mathew remounted his bike, but quickly found that it was too damaged to continue. The race was restarted, but without Mathew, unfortunately, and his weekend concluded with only two points earned, which moved him from second place down to fourth place in the Championship standings.

“Dunlop introduced a new rear tire at Road America,” Mathew commented. “It’s the one we had at the preseason test at Barber, but we didn’t get a lot of laps on it at that test, and we kind of knew going into this weekend that we wouldn’t be up to speed right off the bat. We were chipping away trying to get the bike set up for the new tire, and we’re really happy with the progress we made. In Saturday’s race, I didn’t get a great start off the line, so I was trying to make up time. I pushed too hard, lost the front, and lowsided. I was able to get back on the bike, and I managed to salvage a couple of Championship points. Overnight, we made some pretty drastic changes to the bike. In the Sunday morning warmup, some of the changes worked, but some of them didn’t. So, going into the second race, we weren’t sure about our consistency. Again, I just pushed too hard, and this time, I lost the rear of the bike and highsided out of the race. Today was 100% on me, and I really have to say sorry to my team. They worked really hard, and we made a lot of progress this weekend. I really feel like I let them down. We are going to try to test the new tire before we go to (WeatherTech Raceway) Laguna (Seca) for the next round. Laguna really suits our bike and the way I ride, so we’re looking to return to form.”

Round 5 of the 2018 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship will take place on June 22 through 24 in Monterey, California, as MotoAmerica joins the FIM World Superbike Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.