Toni Elias and Mathew Scholtz take a win a-piece at COTA
Motul Superbike Race 2
Toni Elias’ losing streak at Circuit of The Americas certainly didn’t last long as the defending MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion turned in a flawless performance to win the second of two Superbike races in the Championship of Texas.
Held under sunny skies and in warm temperatures, today’s conditions were a far cry from yesterday’s rain storm that led to a wet race from start to finish.
Elias, who was fourth in yesterday’s wet conditions, led from the start, was never headed and never put a wheel wrong en route to his fifth win at COTA and his third win of the young 2018 MotoAmerica season. By the end of the 15-lap race, Elias was 10.068 seconds clear of Cameron Beaubier, the two-time series champion putting his YZF-R1 on the podium for the second straight day.
“Yesterday, I expected a little bit more, especially because the bike was the same as last week where we could fight with Cameron, but yesterday, something was, I didn’t feel comfortable… not good grip. So, our main goal was to gain points. Today, the main goal was win. This is a good track for me, and for our bike, so we try to make some difference today. But, we know it will be tough. Like Cameron (Beaubier) said, VIR is coming, Road America… it will be good for the MotoAmerica fans. Big fight and we will try to give maximum effort possible.”
Although he was beaten by Elias, Beaubier was upbeat in knowing that he’d had two up-and-down weekends to start his championship but still leaves Texas with a third and second-place finish. After all, the 2015-2016 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion crashed out of second place in the rain yesterday but was able to remount to salvage third.
“I’m really happy to get out of here with two podiums, especially after yesterday’s little tip-over. I think we’re moving in the right direction. Coming into this race, we knew that it was going to be tough. Our bike seems to struggle a little bit here and there (at this track), but we did the best we could with what we had. Now, we’re going to go to some tracks where the Yamaha rolls really well – VIR, Road America, and some others. I’m really looking forward to it. Hats off to my guys for working so hard and giving me a good bike. And congratulations to both of these guys. I’m ready to go racing at VIR in two weeks.”
And what a difference a day made for Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff. The Texan struggled to a seventh-place finish in Saturday’s rain race but bounced back to finish third in today’s dry race. It was Gerloff’s second podium finish of his rookie Superbike season.
“Yesterday was a little bit of a quick turnaround from Atlanta, where I didn’t have the best race in the rain… so, not the best sensations going in. Today, to be on the podium feels awesome, especially compared with yesterday and how I’ve felt kind of all weekend. The bike really came around for the race. I really felt good after my start, being right there with Toni and Roger (Hayden) from the first lap and tried to put my head down and go with Toni, but he’s riding awesome, and it was really tough to stay with him. And, then, Cameron came by me and I tried to stay with him, but little by little, I’m figuring this Superbike thing out and as the race winds down, it is a little bit more difficult to be consistent. It’s just something that I’m learning every time I get on the bike. Awesome to finish another race. Awesome to be on the podium. I really want to keep moving up the podium, though. I’m already sick of third place. Awesome job to the team for giving me a bike that enabled me to get up here on the podium. We’re just going to keep working and going forward. I can’t wait for the next one in a couple of weeks.”
The best battle on the racetrack today was the one for fourth place between as many as four riders – Josh Herrin, Jake Lewis, Mathew Scholtz and Roger Hayden. Three of the four led the battle with Lewis putting in a late charge to catch the three ahead of him. When all was said and done, Herrin held off Lewis with Scholtz and Hayden finishing sixth and seventh.
Eighth place went to Danny Eslick on the BMW, the Oklahoman some five seconds clear of David Anthony. Cameron Petersen rebounded from yesterday’s crash to finish 10th.
Notable among the non-finishers were Kyle Wyman and Bobby Fong. Both pitted early with mechanical problems.
Elias continues to lead the championship after two rounds and four races, 88-71, over Scholtz. Beaubier is third, 25 points behind Elias, with 63 points. Herrin is one point ahead of Gerloff as they fill the top five in the championship.
MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Standings following Texas
Toni Elias 88
Mathew Scholtz 71
Cameron Beaubier 63
Josh Herrin 49
Garrett Gerloff 48
Kyle Wyman 33
Jake Lewis 33
David Anthony 23
Danny Eslick 22
Bobby Fong 20
Roger Hayden 20
Sebastiao Ferreira 19
Bruno Silva 14
Barrett Long 10
Sam Verderico 7
Cameron Petersen 6
Brad Morris 4
Motul Superbike Race 1
Mathew Scholtz showed once again that when it rains, he pours it on. The South African won his second career MotoAmerica Motul Superbike race and, like the first one at the end of last season in Alabama, this one came on a soaking wet track in the Championship of Texas at Circuit of The Americas.
Scholtz, who won his first-career MotoAmerica Superbike race in the final race of the 2017 season at Barber Motorsports Park, got off the line poorly but started to storm through the pack immediately, ending the first lap in fifth place. From there he continued to lap at a quicker pace than early race leader Josh Herrin and his pursuer Cameron Beaubier, but initially it was the Herrin/Beaubier battle that had everyone’s attention.
Herrin moved around fast-starter Toni Elias and his Yoshimura Suzuki on the opening lap, despite starting from the fourth row. Once in the lead, Herrin opened a gap. On the second lap, Beaubier moved his Yamaha past Elias and set off after Herrin, taking over the lead on the ninth lap. It was short-lived, however, as the two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion crashed a lap later, giving way to both Herrin and Scholtz, as he remounted to eventually finish third.
Two laps later, Scholtz passed Herrin and then cruised to his first win of the season and his third straight podium to start the year. Scholtz ended up beating Herrin by 12.6 seconds. Beaubier was third, 51 seconds behind Scholtz.
Herrin, who a week ago at Road Atlanta was forced to ride his track bike when his team’s semi broke down in Louisiana with his Superbike in it, was pleased with the result in what was his first outing on the Attack Yamaha YZF-R1.
Despite crashing out of the lead after working so hard to get there, Beaubier wasn’t overly disappointed with third. He was fortunate to be able to remount quickly and still make the podium and he also gained some points on championship leader Elias, the defending series champion finishing fourth in the rain.
With Elias fourth, fifth went to a fast-closing Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian finishing three seconds adrift of Elias at the end of the 15-lap race. Kyle Wyman was sixth, one spot better than Garrett Gerloff, the Texan finishing seventh.
David Anthony, Bobby Fong and Barrett Long rounded out the top 10.
Today marked the first time that Elias has been beaten at COTA, the Spaniard coming into this year’s race riding a four-race win streak.
Elias’ Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Roger Hayden, crashed and remounted but eventually pulled out of the race.
The MotoAmerica Series returns to action in two weeks with the Championship of Virginia at VIRginia International Raceway, May 4-6. All five of the MotoAmerica classes will be in action at VIR.
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