2014 Road America AMA SuperBike Preview
The 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing season resumes this weekend with the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and all eyes will be on 21-year-old AMA Pro SuperBike rookie Cameron Beaubier on the No. 2 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1.
Beaubier may be the new kid on the block, but he entered the season opener at Daytona International Speedway with high expectations. However, no one was quite sure how long it might take the reigning AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike champion to get up to speed on a powerful and unforgiving 1000cc SuperBike.
It turns out it didn’t take Beaubier long at all, as he finished third in his first premier-class race. Beaubier backed up his strong start by winning in just his second career SuperBike outing, cementing his debut weekend as one of the greatest in series history. As a result, the gifted Californian rolls into fast and flowing Road America with the points lead.
Road America was the scene of the Yamaha star’s only SportBike defeat last season. Beaubier’s weekend wasn’t a complete disaster however; he did finish as the runner-up in the second half of the double header and he won the first race of the weekend.
Beaubier wasn’t the only rider to race to an impressive start at Daytona. His championship lead is just a single point due to the strong showing from Roger Hayden on the No. 95 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000. Hayden wasted no time getting accustomed to the vaunted Yoshimura Suzuki squad.
Hayden missed victory by scant 0.025 and 0.090-second margins in Florida and will be hungry to strike back in Wisconsin and claim the championship lead for himself.
Yoshimura Suzuki will be expecting a big weekend from more than just Hayden. Last season, Colombian Martin Cardenas aboard theNo. 36 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000 enjoyed one of the finest weekends of his entire 2013 campaign in Wisconsin, ringing up a pair of impressive second place finishes.
The third Yoshimura pilot, Chris Clark, of the No. 6 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000, registered arguably his career-best SuperBike weekend before this season in 2012 at Road America when he finished seventh and ninth. But Clark opened the season in superb fashion with a double fourth place finish at Daytona which left him third in the early season points race, trailing only Beaubier and Hayden.
Cardenas, meanwhile, has a bit of catching up to do despite finishing on the box in Race 2 at Daytona. A crash in the opening-leg had him walk away from the weekend tied in points with fifth-ranked Josh Hayes on No. 4 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1.
For the second consecutive year, AMA Pro SuperBike legend Hayes left the Daytona facing an uphill climb. For the third time in his last four races at DIS, the 39-year-old three-time series champion saw a potential victory go up in smoke due to mechanical issues.
However, he did minimize the impact of that disappointment with a spectacular performance in the opening-leg of the double header, taking the checkered flag first to score the 42nd victory of his decorated premier-class career.
The Mississippian will be looking to get his title challenge back on track this weekend and Wisconsin is a good place for him to do so. Hayes has reeled in maximum points in each of his two prior visits to Road America, as its varied corners tend to reward his all-around superiority.
Privateer David Anthony, pilot of the No. 25 ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000, is slotted between the top three, Hayes and Cardenas. Anthony continued to show he can hang with the big boys, finishing in the top five both times out at Daytona, and he’ll look to continue that trend at Elkhart Lake.
Chris Fillmore on No. 11 KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R finished just behind Anthony in both races in the Daytona opener. Fillmore has the ability to take the RC8R to its first-ever podium and would love to do so this weekend at KTM/HMC Racing team’s home circuit.
Similarly motivated are Wisconsin-based EBR’s leading men, Cory West on the No. 13 Team AMSOIL Hero EBR 1190RS and Larry Pegram aboard the No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing EBR 1190RS. West logged a pair of top tens in Daytona while Pegram, a one-time Road America SuperBike race-winner had a more difficult time in his first weekend on the 1190RS.
Taylor Knapp on the No. 44 TOBC Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000, Chris Ulrich on board the No. 18 GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing Honda CBR1000RR and rookie Stefano Mesa, the pilot of theNo. 37 DMS Kawasaki ZX-10, all factored in the top ten at Daytona and have the potential to do the same again this weekend.
In addition to the twin 13-lap SuperBike races, this weekend will also see the introduction of a new qualifying procedure in which the top 12 battle it out shootout-style for grid position.
The AMA Pro SuperBike riders will kick off the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader on Friday, May 30 with their opening practice session at noon local time (1 p.m. EST).
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series.