ALTON, VA (May 6, 2018) – Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias continued to roll through the early portion of the 2018 MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Series, the defending class champion winning today at VIRginia International Raceway in the Championship of Virginia after winning yesterday for his fifth win in six starts.
Unlike yesterday when he stalked race leader Cameron Beaubier until two laps from the end, Elias did the leading this time around. In fact, he led all of the 23 laps of race two on another sunny afternoon at VIR. But his lead didn’t come without pressure from behind as at first there were three riders tailing him – Beaubier, Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Attack Performance/Herrin Compound Yamaha’s Josh Herrin. Herrin was the first to fade, but the other three stayed mostly together.
With two laps to go, Beaubier tried to outbrake Elias going into the first corner but ran wide and very nearly off track. The Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing rider regrouped, re-passed Scholtz, and then tried to make up for the mistake with the fastest lap of the race on the last lap to catch Elias, but he came up .546 of a second short.
“Well, we did a couple of changes on the bike,” Elias said. “Yesterday, the grip was pretty good but it was a little bit uncomfortable. Today, I was more comfortable, but with less grip. You’re never 100 percent happy with what you ride. But I was there trying to make my pace. At several moments of the race, I wanted to let Cam (Beaubier) past. I was thinking we were only two riders. When I turned back, and I saw four riders, I said, ‘Oh my God. It’s not possible. Let’s continue here leading the race, pushing, and let’s see what happens at the end.’ This is what I did. I tried to rest the last three or four laps, and to try to make the last lap with a good level. Try to not make any mistakes. It’s what I did. I didn’t know Cameron ran a little bit wide, and I had a real advantage. It’s perfect. This win is amazing here in VIR. I never expected that. The team works really good, but always, we suffer a little bit here. Now Road America is good for us and I really like. But I know Cameron likes, too. I have to say he rides an incredible level. He was faster than us with his really strong pace. It was difficult to beat him, but also Mat (Scholtz) is very consistent. Every race, he’s there with the great level of riders. So congratulations to both, and thanks to my team.”
The victory was the fifth of the year for Elias and the 21st of his MotoAmerica Superbike career, which moved him past Fred Merkel and into sixth on the all-AMA Superbike win list. Yesterday, Elias became the fastest rider in AMA Superbike history to reach 20 wins.
Beaubier was again a disappointed second and remains winless for 2018, though he’s been on the podium in the last five races and had the pace there to win.
“Just as you guys might think, I’m just sick of second place,” Beaubier said. “I haven’t got a win yet under my belt (this season), but I’m happy that I at least stayed on the track there the last few laps. Yesterday, I was struggling pretty bad with grip there at the end of the race. I felt like I pretty much used up the tire on the right side as much as I could. I was spinning pretty bad at the end of yesterday. So, we went into today with a little bit of a different tactic. Made a couple changes to the bike, mainly on the electronics side. Just tried to ride a little bit more patient race at the beginning. I felt pretty good there with 10 laps to go. I started trying to make my way forward. I was just struggling really hard getting by Toni (Elias). He’s super-good on the brakes, especially down into (turn) one. That was pretty much my only spot I could really make a good move that at least I thought that I could make stick. It didn’t happen the one time. He started covering the inside, so I was starting to go to the outside and maybe sneak up the inside when he would run wide going up the inside. I ended up getting sucked in there pretty good, teeter-tottered on the white line, like I said, in between the dirt and the pavement. I lost probably a second or something. I just did everything I could on the last lap. I felt like a dummy after almost running off the track and kind of blowing it there to make a charge to try to win the race. Hats off to my guys for working so hard all weekend. It could be worse. I could be picking my bike up out of the gravel trap. I got two second places this weekend. We’re going to some good tracks for our bike and tracks I love. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
Scholtz’ third-place finish is also his fifth podium in the first six races and he was closer to the front than he was in yesterday’s identical result. The South African was just 3.8 seconds behind Elias after 23 laps.
“During the final practice, I kind of thought that the first race was going to sort of pan out like the second race did,” Scholtz said. “Me and (Josh) Herrin kind of got caught battling again and these guys gapped us. But this race overall was really positive for us. We made some changes and we really stepped up so, overall, I’m very happy. I think from everyone in the MotoAmerica paddock, we would just like to pay our biggest respects to Jake Lewis for the loss of his father, Bobby. Everyone’s thinking of him.”
Herrin held on to finish fourth, some eight seconds behind Scholtz after harassing Elias at the front of the pack in the early laps.
Fifth placed went to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis – his fifth fifth-place finish of the season. Naturally, he sits fifth in the championship after three rounds and six races.
6D Helmets/KWR’s Kyle Wyman ended his weekend with a sixth-place finish after beating Scheibe Racing BMW’s Danny Eslick to the line by just .115 of a second.
Eighth place went to Quicksilver/LEXIN/Hudson Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong with the Californian barely beating South African Cameron Petersen on the Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda. Fly Street Racing’s David Anthony rounded out the top 10 on his Kawasaki ZX-10R.
After three rounds and six races, Elias leads the championship point standings by 35 points over Scholtz and Beaubier, who are tied, 138-103. Herrin is fourth with 75 points.
Supersport: Beach Again
There are two stories to tell about Sunday’s Supersport race. First of all, Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha rider JD Beach put in an even more dominant performance than he did on Saturday to win by more than 28 seconds after Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim crashed out.
Beach got the holeshot in the race and led all 20 laps. While he was way out in front, a fierce battle was taking place behind him between Tuned Racing Yamaha rider Braeden Ortt and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cory West. Ortt and West passed each other back and forth, ran side-by-side through some of VIR’s tight corners, and put on quite a show for the fans. At the checkers, Ortt just edged out West to notch his first career MotoAmerica Supersport podium.
In the post-race press conference, Beach let it be known that he has a specific agenda that he’s focused on this season.
“My whole team just gave me a great bike today,” Beach said. “I think, for me, the race was won in the first five laps or so because I got a little bit of a gap on Hayden (Gillim). Once I got my gap, he was keeping it the same so I was really having to push. Then, he went down on the ground at lap 12 or so. It really sucks to see that just because he’s riding so well. For sure, it’s made me a better rider because I live with him and I don’t want to get beat by him. I know it’s the same for him. It was a great race. I think my mission this year is just to win as much as I can. I want to go faster than we did last year at all the tracks. I want a Superbike ride bad. I’m mad at myself that I messed up last year and didn’t get that ride that my teammate (Garrett Gerloff) got. But that’s the past, and I’m just working towards the future.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup: Dumas Again
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Orange Brigade/JP43 Training rider Alex Dumas won his second race of the weekend, and it was his third victory out of four so far this season. His KTM received some balancing adjustments to start the weekend, in order to level the playing field with the other brands of motorcycles competing in the class. But Dumas seemed unfazed by the reduction in power to his machine, and he used his considerable race craft to prevail over second-finisher Gavin Anthony aboard his Attack Performance/Herrin Compound Yamaha, and third-place finisher Kevin Olmedo, who was also Yamaha-mounted.
“I did a good start, like yesterday,” Dumas said. “I just put my head down and saw Gavin (Anthony) pass me two times in turn one. I passed him in turn seven and just kept my head down. We made some changes on the bike that helped me a lot for the second half of the race. I’m happy with my race.”
Stock 1000: Wyman Takes His Second
Weir Everywhere Racing/BMW rider Travis Wyman has dominated the new Stock 1000 class thus far in the season, and Sunday was no exception as the polesitter led from start to finish and took the checkers with nearly a 10-second lead to notch his second victory in a row.
Riderzlaw Racing’s Andrew Lee raced his Kawasaki to his second-consecutive runner-up result in the class, and Superbike Unlimited rider Samuel Smathers rounded out the podium aboard his Yamaha in his first-ever MotoAmerica race.
“This is a memorable weekend for me,” Wyman said. “I’ve never actually led every session and I got the holeshot for once, which I’ve been kind of struggling with my starts. Happy to do that and happy to really put in some good laps and feel comfortable and have a good pace right from the beginning of the weekend. It’s truly a team effort. The guys from Weir Everywhere Racing and BMW coming on board this year, it’s just been incredible for us. To go two for two is something I never really dreamed of actually happening. It’s all the work behind the scenes that really makes this happen. I can’t thank MotoAmerica enough for putting on this class. It’s really good for us to be able to showcase the new BMW. Just hats off to my team for a really good effort.”
Motul Superbike Race Two
- Toni Elias (Suzuki)
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Josh Herin (Yamaha)
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
Supersport Race Two
- JD Beach (Yamaha)
- Braeden Ortt (Yamaha)
- Cory West (Suzuki)
- Nick McFadden (Suzuki)
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha)
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race Two
- Alex Dumas (KTM)
- Gavin Anthony (Yamaha)
- Kevin Olmedo (Yamaha)
- Jay Newton (Yamaha)
- Sean Ungvarsky (KTM)
- Travis Wyman (BMW)
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki)
- Samuel Smathers (Kawasaki)
- Shane Richardson Jr. (Kawasaki)
- Alastair Hoogenboezem (Kawasaki)
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