Josh Hayes & Cameron Beaubier share Laguna Seca Spoils
JD Beach Continues Hot Hand On Tragic Day In Monterey
Yamaha’s Josh Hayes and Cameron Beaubier drove out of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday night all even in the 2015 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North America Superbike Championship, the pair having taken a win apiece in the two races on a day marred by tragedy.
Hayes won the first of the two races on Sunday morning, a race declared wet but run in mostly dry conditions with both Hayes and his junior teammate Beaubier making the right choice in running slick tires on their R1s. Hayes ended up winning the race with almost 19 seconds in hand with Beaubier finishing second, well clear of third-placed Roger Hayden on the Yoshimura Suzuki. Hayden’s teammate Jake Lewis finished the race in fourth.
Race two went to Beaubier with a three-way battle between the two Yamaha men and Hayden going to the very end of the race. At the finish line it was Beaubier beating Hayden by just .084 of a second with Hayes a shadow third – just .398 of a second behind. Fourth place overall and first in the Superstock 1000 class went to Roadrace Factory’s Jake Gagne over HSBK Aprilia’s Sheridan Morais. Fourth in the Superbike race and eighth overall went to Lewis on the second Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Race two (the final race of the day after two World Superbike races, the first MotoAmerica Superbike race and MotoAmerica Supersport), however, was marred by a chain-reaction, multi-bike incident on the first lap that resulted in the death of Spanish racers Bernat Martinez, 35, and Dani Rivas, 27. The incident occurred just seconds after the start of the race and the red flag came out immediately to stop the race. The race was later restarted and ran for the scheduled 18 laps. Click Here for more on the double fatality incident.
After seven of nine rounds (14 races), the Yamaha men are tied on points with 286 apiece. The win early in the day was the eighth on the season for Hayes with Beaubier’s victory in the afternoon his sixth of the year. Hayden, who came into the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round trailing his teammate Lewis, shot past the class rookie and into third in the series standings. Hayden now has 205 points to Lewis’ 197.
Gagne continues to lead the Superstock 1000 point standings over TOBC Racing’s Taylor Knapp, but the gap is now 20 – 244-224. Knapp finished the day with a pair of thirds with Gagne sixth in race one and victorious in race two. Race one was won by Brit Mark Heckles, the first of the season for the Yamaha-mounted series rookie who is a solid third in the series standings. Morais was second in race two after struggling with a poor tire choice in race one.
“Yeah, it was a hard day,” Hayes said at the end of race two. “It was a long day. There were such different halves of the day. This morning was so much different. This morning experience really paid off, being here for as long as I have paid off. I think that if I’d been lucky enough for that first start to go that would have worked more in my favor than the second start. I felt like I had gotten up to speed pretty quick. I was ready to go and just doing a race start kind of gets everybody up to speed. So I think these guys were a little better prepared on the second go around. But I rode the best race I could. I got to the front. I was going to fight for that position as long as I could. And as soon as Roger (Hayden) came by I wanted to go right back at him. I just didn’t have the tools that I needed to go after him, so as the race was wearing on I knew Cam (Beaubier) was right behind me. I didn’t know really where I was doing good against him and where I wasn’t or what was going on. But when he finally made the move again I wanted to go right back at him, but I didn’t have what I needed to do it. I got to be honest, with five laps to go, just seeing how everything was playing out, how I was feeling and knowing what my bike was like, I figured Cam’s was probably very similar to mine. My money was on Roger. I thought he had it, but turns out this old turd’s a pretty good racer and came up with some good ones there on the last couple laps.”
Beaubier, who was beaten handily by Hayes in race one, was happy to be back on top in race two.
“I’m glad I redeemed myself after race one,” the 22-year-old said. “Pretty much got schooled by Josh out there. It wasn’t too fun. Went back and I just struggled a little bit right at the beginning. Half wet, half dry conditions, that was tough on me. Second race, I knew I had to hang it out. At the beginning I was struggling quite a bit, just latching onto those guys. I was making mistakes running wide here and there and was kind of struggling with drive grip a little bit. Towards the end it seemed like maybe their tire dropped a little bit and mine stayed the same throughout the race. So I was able to make a last-lap push. It was tough. It’s so hard to pass here.”
The man of the moment in MotoAmerica racing is Supersport star JD Beach. The Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Motorsports Yamaha rider reeled off his sixth straight and eighth win of the season on Sunday, the man who now calls Owensboro, Kentucky home beating Wheels In Motion/Motosport.com/ Meen Motorsports’ Josh Herrin by a tick over five seconds. Herrin was in turn almost two seconds ahead of M4 Suzuki/SportBikeTrackGear.com’s David Anthony, the Australian taking advantage of Bobby Fong’s crash with barely over a lap remaining to take third. Fong was able to remount to finish sixth, behind Beach’s teammate Garrett Gerloff and Roadrace Factory’s Tomas Puerta.
Beach now leads Herrin by 49 points with two rounds (three races) remaining in the series, 265-216. Gerloff is third with 199 points.
“It feels amazing (to win six in a row) and especially to do it against these guys that are just riding so fast,” Beach said. “Guys like Herrin that I’ve actually looked up to before I started racing in the AMA series. Really the only thing I can say, it’s really just luck. We’re all great riders and I’ve just been having things click this year for me.”
SUPERBIKE RACE 1: Josh Hayes (Yamaha); 2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha); 3. Roger Hayden (Suzuki); 4. Jake Lewis (Suzuki); 5. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki); 6. Bernat Martinez (Yamaha); 7. Kevin Pinkstaff (Kawasaki); 8. Elena Myers (Suzuki); 9. Chris Fillmore (KTM).
SUPERBIKE RACE 2: 1. Cameron Baubier (Yamaha); 2. Roger Hayden (Suzuki); 3. Josh Hayes (Yamaha); 4. Jake Lewis (Suzuki); 5. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki); 6. Elena Myers (Suzuki).
SUPERSTOCK 1000 RACE 2: 1. Jake Gagne (Yamaha); 2. Sheridan Morais (Aprilia); 3. Taylor Knapp (Yamaha); 4. Josh Day (Yamaha); 5. Tyler O’Hara (Yamaha); 6. Mark Heckles (Yamaha); 7. Steve Rapp (BMW); 8. Cory Call (BMW); 9. Sebastiao Ferreira (Yamaha); 10. Barrett Long (Yamaha).
SUPERSPORT: 1. JD Beach (Yamaha); 2. Josh Herrin (Yamaha); 3. David Anthony (Suzuki); 4. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha); 5. Tomas Puerta (Yamaha). 6. Bobby Fong (Triumph); 7. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha); 8. Corey Alexander (Yamaha); 9. Hayden Gillim (MV Agusta); 10. Ben Young (Yamaha).
Joe Roberts wrapped up the MotoAmerica Superstock 600 crown with a victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Joe Roberts became the first MotoAmerica Champion in series history today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the 18-year-old Californian streaking to his ninth Bazzaz Superstock 600 win of MotoAmerica’s debut season to wrap up the title with one round (two races) remaining.
Roberts rode his Wheels In Motion/Motosport.com/Meen Motorsports Yamaha R6 to a narrow victory over Tune Racing’s Bryce Prince, but the title fell to Roberts much earlier than that when his title rival Richie Escalante crashed out of the lead on the fifth lap. From there all Roberts had to do was keep going and that he did, besting Prince by just .219 of a second to wrap up his sixth straight victory and his first professional racing championship.
“It’s been a really interesting year,” Roberts said. “It’s been filled with a bunch of wins,but I haven’t had it handed to me. I’ve had Bryce (Prince) here with me and Michael (Gilbert, who finished third on Saturday) and Richie (Escalante) up there a lot. It’s a bummer that he crashed out of this round, but it wasn’t just handed to me. I had to dig deep sometimes and really push it in some of these sessions to get to be the top rider. It’s been really cool.”
Behind the lead duo of Roberts and Prince came Michael Gilbert on the HB Racing entry, the Southern Californian earning his second podium of the season. Prince’s teammate Jason Aguilar ended up fourth with Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman rounding out the top five.
With one round and two races remaining, Roberts holds an insurmountable 62-point lead over Escalante in the series standings, 245-183. Wyman is third with Wyatt Farris, sixth today, and Prince fourth and fifth, respectively.
NCR Road Race Team’s Gage McAllister came into the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round with a whopping 47-point lead in the KTM RC 390 Championship and he looked to be a shoo-in for the title. But that wasn’t the case as Saturday’s racing program came to a close with Braeden Ortt taking his second win of the season and second in a row. Combine that with McAllister’s non-finish – thanks to a thrown chain – and suddenly there’s a championship battle again.
Ortt battled to the finish with Anthony Mazziotto III, with the 15-year-old Canadian besting the 15 year old from New Jersey by just .747 of a second after 12 laps of the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway. Third place went to pole-sitter Xavier Zayat, the 16-year-old getting held up badly on the opening lap when Hayden Schultz crashed and nearly took Zayat with him. The MFactory West-backed rider from New Jersey battled from way back to finish on the podium in his MotoAmerica debut.
Mexico’s Alejandro Gutierrez Mejia and Californian Josh Serne rounded out the top five finishers in the spec class for riders aged 14-22.
With McAllister failing to score any points, his lead in the championship is now 22 points over Ortt with the two races at New Jersey Motorsports Park in September remaining on the schedule. Mazziotto III is another 13 points behind in third as the title chase goes to the final round.
“The lead fluctuated and at one point Anthony (Mazziotto) was ahead of me so it was a very, very close race and it could have gone either way,” Ortt said. “On the last lap mistakes were made and I knew that I really had to ride a clean lap to stay ahead and I think I got a pretty good lap in and I set myself up nice in the last corner and got a drive to make sure I didn’t get drafted. Luckily, that finish line was where it was. It was a great race.”
Monster Energy/Graves Motorsports Yamaha’s Josh Hayes earned his fourth Superbike pole position of the year and the 37th of his career during Superpole, held on a chamber of commerce type day on the Monterey Peninsula.
Initially it was Hayes’ teammate and Superbike Championship rival Cameron Beaubier who had his Yamaha R1 at the top of the time sheets, but then Beaubier had a big crash in turn six, the Californian lucky to walk away without injury. His R1 was less fortunate.
While Beaubier scrambled to get back to the pits and his second bike, Hayes made hay while the sun shone, lapping at 1:24.538 to lead Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden and his 1:24.776. Beaubier, however, made it back in time to have another go on his backup bike and he managed to move past Hayden and into second with a best lap of 1:24.688. Those three will make up the first row for tomorrow’s two MotoAmerica Superbike races. They were also the only riders to circulate Laguna Seca under 1:25.
The second row of the grid will be filled by Yoshimura Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, Roadrace Factory’s Jake Gagne (who led the Superstock 1000 field) and HSBK Aprilia’s Sheridan Morais, who was second quickest of the Superstock 1000 riders. KTM’s Chris Fillmore, BMW-mounted Dani Rivas and Turbo Turtle Racing’s Danny Eslick will start from row three.
“I had three race weekends in a row where I had a crash over 120 miles an hour,” Hayes said after earning pole position. “If that’s not proof that you’re trying hard then I don’t really know what is. I’m such a lucky guy that I’m still doing this. I’ve been in this paddock… Roger (Hayden) and I came into AMA Pro Racing at the same time. We’ve been here a long time and we’re still here. I think we’re both still having a great time and love racing motorcycles. More proof of that is, I couldn’t believe it, I was talking to my crew chief, I’m like, ‘man, I’m really nervous about a 15-minute qualifying session.’ It’s been a lot of years. I can’t think of a time that I haven’t been competitive at the front and I still get nervous because I want to make sure that I do my part and that I’m able to repeat and continue what I’ve doing. When you’ve got good competition it’s easy to get nervous like that. It’s a good feeling. It keeps it fun.”
BAZZAZ SUPERSTOCK 600: 1. Joe Roberts (Yamaha); 2. Bryce Prince (Yamaha); 3. Michael Gilbert (Yamaha); 4. Jason Aquilar (Yamaha); 5. Travis Wyman (Yamaha); 6. Wyatt Farris (Yamaha); 7. Gage McAllister (Yamaha); 8. Andy DiBrino (Yamaha); 9. Ryan Matter (Yamaha); 10. Cody Wyman (Yamaha).
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.