2014 Road America AMA Pro Racing Friday Report
While it may still be very early in Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Energy Cameron Beaubier’s AMA Pro SuperBike career, it’s probably not too soon to recognize the class rookie is the real deal.
Beaubier came into the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America leading in the point standings after finishing first and third in his first-ever SuperBike weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
Friday in Wisconsin, Beaubier set the pace in practice and qualifying, claiming the provisional pole with nearly half a second to spare.
The 21-year-old threw down a 2:12.757, over a half second under Hayes’ 2013 pole time and almost a half second better than Hayes’ fastest time today.
“I pushed hard for a last-lap push in practice and that got my confidence up a little bit going into Qualifying 1,” Beaubier said. “I started out strong, just trying to put together laps. This morning I was rushing all the corners and braking too late — running wide everywhere. I just smoothened out and tried to hit my marks, and I threw together a few really good laps at the end.”
And as fast as he was, Beaubier thinks he could have been even faster.
“I had a really good lap going after my fastest lap, but I blew the chicane which was kind of a bummer” he said.
After qualifying, Beaubier talked about his seamless transition to the premier class, and explained he’s trying to blend the styles of Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s two champs in his quest to become the third.
“I’m trying to mix my riding style coming from 600 and a 125 background, and (Hayes’) style, which is more point-and-shoot, and see how it works for the tracks we go to,” said Beaubier. “I’m learning how to use the power to my advantage – stand it up out of the corners. On a 600 you’re wringing its neck and getting everything you can out of it, but on the 1000, you have to stand it up, be patient, and then get on the gas. It’s just a different style of riding and I’m learning something new every time I get on it.
“Honestly, I think I’m a mix of (Josh Hayes and Josh Herrin’s) styles. I carry a lot of corner speed and use long, sweeping lines – that’s how Herrin rides. And I’m trying to learn point-and-shoot like Josh. I’m trying to mix it up and see what works best for each track.”
Beaubier has a bit of unfinished business at Road America. Last year he won every race en route to the GoPro Daytona SportBike crown – except for one of the two legs at Road America. He’s motivated to make up for the defeat this weekend, but realizes it won’t be easy.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” said Beaubier. “I’m feeling really comfortable on the R1. But Martin (Cardenas), (Roger Hayden) and Josh all know how to race 1000s around here so it’s definitely going to be tough. I’m going to learn a lot Saturday and it should be good. Obviously, I really want to win this weekend. Definitely getting beat the last time I was here gives me a little bit of added motivation.”
Beaubier and Hayes were joined in the top three by Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas. The Colombian registered an impressive performance at the high-speed venue a year ago and was the only rider aside from the Yamaha pilots within a second of the pole today.
ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony continued to show he can mix it up with the factory teams on Friday, qualifying fourth, provisionally, ahead of Cardenas’ Yoshimura teammates, Roger Hayden and Chris Clark.
Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram was seventh, followed by GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing Honda’s Chris Ulrich, Team AMSOIL Hero’s Cory West, and local ace Jason Farrell on the Farrell Performance Kawasaki ZX-10.
On Saturday morning the top 12 SuperBike riders following the first two qualifying sessions will move onto a brand new shootout-style qualifying procedure to determine the front four rows of the weekend’s grid. They will follow that in the afternoon by tackling the first half of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Jake Gagne smashed the existing lap record on Friday at Road America, setting a new mark at 2:18.647 on his RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6.
Gagne, a race-winner last year at Road America, went to the top of the charts with less than four minutes to go in the afternoon. The Californian had been in the mix with Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff and Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Dane Westby at the top of the charts in Friday’s two sessions, but came in for fresh rubber and set three consecutive laps under the old record time as the minutes counted down.
“We just put on a new tire at the end and I went for it,” said Gagne. “We wanted to throw down a good time today because qualifying is early tomorrow and conditions might be better today. I think we’re in good shape.”
Gerloff earned second on the day, holding off Westby and Castrol/Triumph/SportBike Track Time’s Jason DiSalvo. Bobby Fong (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) was fifth at the four-mile circuit.
AMA Pro SuperSport
Celtic/HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander showed no ill effects from a recently broken collarbone at Elkhart Lake.
Alexander, who doubled in the AMA Pro SuperSport opener at Daytona, had the training injury surgically repaired just two weeks ago. However, he still managed to claim the provisional pole at Road America, edging Houston Superbike’s Dustin Dominguez by less than two tenths of a second.
“I’m pleased with where we are at, especially since I didn’t know that I would be able to ride,” said Alexander. “This year about honing skills and winning races for me.”
TOBC Racing’s Hayden Gillim was third, just ahead of Mexico City’s Erick Sanchez of EYK Racing. Minnesota’s Kaleb De Keyrel led a group of young riders to take fifth on his De Keyrel Racing entry.
How to Watch
FansChoice.tv is the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2014. The site also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series.