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Cameron Beaubier put together a dream weekend for himself in the MotoAmerica Championship at Sonoma Raceway, the two-time defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion sweeping both Motul Superbike races at his home track for his first double-win of the season.
After storming to victory in Saturday’s Motul Superbike race, Beaubier came back to the track in Northern California’s wine country with aspirations of doing the same thing. And that he did, the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing-backed Beaubier winning Sunday’s race by 7.2 seconds for the 23rd AMA Superbike win of his career.
“I’m just really happy with how the whole weekend went,” the 25-year-old Beaubier said. “We made a few changes here and there to get a bit more comfortable but I think we made a good step fine tuning the electronics, which we had been struggling with a bit this year. All in all it was a really successful weekend for us. Today’s race was quite a bit tougher than yesterday. Yesterday when Josh (Herrin) and Roger (Hayden) went down I think that made the race. It made the race a little easier midway. When I went to settle down I had about a 4.3-second gap and I started calming down a little bit to not make any big mistakes. I didn’t want to go throw it down the road and then Toni (Elias) shrunk the gap so I just kept my head down, kept pushing the whole way and tried to keep that gap the same. We were able to hold on, he (Toni) was riding really good, and I’m just happy I can get this done for Yamaha. I know how hard they work and they want to win real bad. I’m ready to go win in Pittsburgh.”
For the second straight day, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias finished second to Beaubier. This time the Motul Superbike Championship points leader got to second place quicker than yesterday after again starting from ninth on the grid. Once he got to second, the Spaniard was able to chip away a little bit at Beaubier’s lead, but the Yamaha rider responded in kind to pull back away. Elias, with a 70-point lead in the championship, didn’t keep up the fight and faded to finish a tick over seven seconds behind. It was Elias’ 13th podium finish in 14 races.
“After yesterday’s race I felt there was nothing left to lose so we tried the super soft (Dunlop) tire, not the extra soft like yesterday,” Elias said. “What we calculated was perfect. I did a good start and quickly passed some riders and soon I was in second. We tried to keep that pace (with Beaubier) without making any mistakes, but he did an incredible job. He maintained that pace and was so strong. Of course, I wanted to win but I tried with all my horses and second was only so good. Sorry again for Roger (Hayden), it’s not good, but races are like this. We would like to continue like this (in the championship) and to win races. When that’s impossible, like today, then second is enough. A big thanks to my team, they always work hard and give me the best bike possible.”
Elias’ points lead didn’t suffer this weekend as his closest rival coming into Sonoma Raceway failed to finish either race. Roger Hayden was taken out of yesterday’s race by Helmet Sounds/Western Services/Meen Racing’s Josh Herrin on the opening lap. Today, Hayden crashed by himself on the third lap, leaving Northern California with no points gained in the two races. Hayden’s bad luck allowed Beaubier to move into second, 70 points behind Elias, 300-230. Hayden is third with 220 points.
Beaubier’s teammate Josh Hayes put himself on the podium for the second straight day, the four-time Superbike Champion finishing third again.
“Today at the beginning of the race it was a little bit cleaner and everybody got through a little bit better so I had some more work to do during the race,” Hayes said. “It took me a little while to get through everybody and I had to pick my spots a little more carefully. I had what felt like a little bit better pace than yesterday and overall felt like I had a little bit better motorcycle. Overall, I felt like it was a more solid day. The work I did on the bike this weekend felt like an improvement so hopefully I can carry that through to Pittsburgh and the rest of the series and be a little bit more of a permanent fixture closer to the front.”
Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz finished fourth and with that earned his sixth Bazzaz Superstock 1000 victory of the year, the South African suffering from arm pump but still holding off M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis and Quicksilver Latus Motors Kawasaki’s Bobby Fong in the final laps.
“Yesterday was a really difficult race,” Scholtz said. “After the Friday practice I felt like I had the pace to battle with these Superbike guys and take the Superstock win, but it just didn’t seem to work out like that. Jake Lewis was phenomenal, he made me look silly. We went back to the drawing board last night and changed the bike slightly and that definitely seemed to help me out, but I had some serious arm pump. I’m really happy to take the Superstock win and open up the championship lead, that’s why we’re here. Next we head into Pittsburgh and that’s where I had a really good test and I’m hoping I can just carry on taking some more wins and take the championship. That’s the ultimate goal for us.”
Herrin ended up seventh on his Superbike-spec Yamaha R1, the Georgian some 16 seconds behind Fong and three seconds ahead of Brixx Performance’s Sylvain Barrier. Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Jake Gagne and TOBC Racing’s Danny Eslick rounded out the top 10 finishers.
Gerloff Again In Supersport
The start wasn’t an exact repeat of Saturday’s Supersport race at Sonoma Raceway, but the outcome was the same as Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./ Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff won again, this time by 8.004 seconds over his teammate and championship rival JD Beach.
While Gerloff streaked away at the start of yesterday’s race, today he got off to a fourth-place start while Beach tried to make a break at the front. But before two laps were complete, Gerloff was out front. From there he methodically pulled away, a 10th of a second here, a 10th there until the gap at the finish was just a tick over eight seconds.
Beach managed to limit the damage to as little as possible, the Owensboro, Kentucky resident finishing second and losing five more points to his teammate Gerloff, who now leads the series standings by 14 points, 246-232, with three rounds (six races) remaining in the series.
“It feels good after a month off to come back and feel good on the bike and feel comfortable,” Gerloff said. “I felt a lot better in that race – just everything was clicking real nice. We made some changes to our bike yesterday because I knew there were a few things to improve for consistency and it definitely helped today. It’s nice to win again, to get the double, I haven’t done that all year and I’ve been wanting that. It’s a good track for me and we have a couple of tracks coming up that are good for me too so we’re going to go there (Pittsburgh) and try my best to get some more wins.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise finished third, matching his effort from Saturday. Team H35 Honda’s Benny Solis again had a lonely ride to fourth.
The battle for fifth overall was fought out until the very end with Team MG55’s Michael Gilbert getting the spot and victory in the Superstock 600 race, Presented by Riderz Law. The win was Gilbert’s third of the year and it allowed him to gain some points on championship leader Jason Aguilar. Aguilar ended up fifth in the Superstock 600 class on Sunday at Sonoma and he leads the standings by 14 points, 191-177.
Andrew Lee Racing/Tri-County Power Sports’ Andrew Lee and Palmetto Motorsports Team New Zealand’s Shane Richardson finished sixth and seventh overall and second and third in Superstock 600, respectively.
Ventura aces Smith to turn the tables
A day after getting beat up by Benjamin Smith in the first of two KTM RC Cup Presented by Riderz Law races at Sonoma Raceway, CSVMoto’s Cory Ventura turned the tables on the Quarterley Racing/On Track Development rider by beating him to the flag by .394 of a second to win his third KTM race of the season.
On Saturday, Smith won the race by over 11 seconds but Ventura was having none of that on Sunday, the resident of nearby Union City, California, catching Smith before the Pennsylvanian could get away and eventually passing him for victory.
Ventura not only scored the victory, but the win also propelled him into second in the championship standings. He now trails Smith, 192-155.
“With struggling a bit with mistakes yesterday and with him (Smith) putting a little bit of a gap on me, it was definitely a good confidence builder going into Pittsburgh,” Ventura said. “Last night I sat down with my coach and talked about it a bit. I was losing a lot of time in sector one and we really broke it down. We noticed that Ben really got a good drive out of one and today we knew we just had to do it.”