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Yoshimura Suzuki’s 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.
Elias, who was fourth in 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 Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s 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,” Elias said. “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,” Beaubier said. “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,” Gerloff said. “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 – Attack Performance/Herrin Compound Yamaha’s Josh Herrin, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Yoshimura Suzuki’s 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 Scheibe Racing’s Danny Eslick on the BMW, the Oklahoman some five seconds clear of Fly Street Racing’s David Anthony. Cameron Petersen rebounded from yesterday’s crash to finish 10th on the Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda.
Notable among the non-finishers were Motovation USA/KWR’s Kyle Wyman and Quicksilver/LEXIN/Hudson Motorcycles’ 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.
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.