With the two-day MotoAmerica test session at the Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington, concluding today, the overall consensus from the riders taking part is that the newest addition to the MotoAmerica calendar is going to be a great place to race when the series heads there, August 28-30.
After two days of testing on the 16-turn, 2.47-mile racetrack, it was four-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier who clocked the fastest time – a 1:41.1 on the final day on his Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha YZF-R1.
“It was nice to be able to sleep on it overnight and come back today and know where I was going,” Beaubier said after completing the test at the top of the timesheets. “I feel like this test was super useful for us just to adapt to the track because there are a lot of spots that are blind. It was really good that we got here and got some good track time before we start racing. Yesterday I was kind of struggling to put my bike on the right line and I was making quite a few mistakes, but today felt pretty good. I felt dialed in and as soon as I got on track. I ran off the track once today, but it was a lot smoother of a day today. We didn’t work on the bike too much; we just got in some good laps and tried to get comfortable more than anything. I think it’s going to be good for the race. There are a couple of areas that are high speed and blind without a ton of runoff that might be a little scary, but for the most part it’s pretty good.”
Jake Gagne, who had the advantage of riding at the Ridge a few years ago at a track day, led the opening day of the test and ended up second to his teammate after two days. Gagne lapped at 1:42.9 on Tuesday and 1:42.1 today. The track, however, is a bit different than the last time Gagne visited as a new turn-one chicane has been added.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias ended up third best, the Spaniard improving from his 1:43.8 on day one to a 1:42.37 on day two. That put him ahead of his teammate Bobby Fong, the non-defending MotoAmerica Supersport Champion logging a 1:42.63 today.
“It was good,” Fong said of his second day at the test. “We had a few problems at the beginning of the day, but overall we tested a lot of stuff. I couldn’t put in a fast lap at the end, but race pace I felt pretty good. I think the races are going to be pretty good here. There will be some close stuff and I didn’t see anything that stood out as being not safe. It’s definitely a different circuit than we ever go to, but it’s fun. It’s like a combination of Pittsburgh, Infineon and Thunderhill. It’s pretty cool.”
Sean Dylan Kelly was the only Supersport rider at the test and the young Floridian used the time effectively, learning the new racetrack and preparing for the upcoming race. He lapped at a best of 1:45.1 on the second day.
“I loved it,” Kelly said. “Number one, it’s super fun. It’s definitely a technical track and not a track you learn the first session out. It was good for us to get out here and take these two days to learn it. The asphalt is super nice, so it makes for fun riding. Overall, just learning a new track, and it will definitely be good racing. There are a lot of passing zones even though it’s pretty tight. There’s a lot of hard braking areas and it will make for good races.”
The Ridge will play host to round five of the series with all six of the MotoAmerica classes – HONOS Superbike, Supersport, Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Twins Cup, Stock 1000 and Mini Cup by Motul – set to make their racing debut there.
Lap Times – Day 2
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha), Superbike, 1:41.1
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha), Superbike, 1:42.1
- Toni Elias (Suzuki), Superbike, 1:42.3
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki), Superbike, 1:42.63
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki), Supersport, 1:45.1
Lap Times – Day 1
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha), Superbike, 1:42.9
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha), Superbike, 1:43.1
- Toni Elias (Suzuki), Superbike, 1:43.8
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki), Superbike, 1:44.3
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki), Supersport, 1:47.0
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki), Junior Cup, 1:54.8
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