The first official two-day test of MotoAmerica – North America’s new road racing series spearheaded by three-time 500cc Champion Wayne Rainey – wrapped up Friday at Circuit of the Americas just outside Austin, Texas.
During the test, all four MotoAmerica classes were present – Superbike, Superstock 1000, Supersport (formerly Daytona SportBike), and Superstock 600 (formerly AMA SuperSport). The 1000cc Superbike and Superstock 1000 classes ran together for four sessions, as did the 600cc Supersport and Superstock classes.
Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier was the dominate rider in the Superbike class at the Dunlop Tire Test. The 2013 Daytona SportBike Champion posted a best lap of 2:11.910 on Wednesday, but shaved more than a second off Thursday with a lap of 2:10.730 around the 3.427-mile COTA circuit.
The 22-year-old California was the only rider to post under the 2:11 mark at the 20-corner COTA, which hosts the opening round of 2015 MotoAmerica during MotoGP April 10-12. Beaubier finished 0.349 of a second ahead of teammate Josh Hayes, and 0.581 of a second ahead of fellow Superbike-category rider Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden.
“We started out strong today and put in a solid race stint,” Beaubier said. “This track is super physical and I just wanted to make sure I was solid in a race situation, a race stint. I felt good. I was plugging away at laps and not pushing like crazy.
“Kinda riding around at 80 percent and getting a good flow going. I felt really good. We put some new tires on for the last session and went out and did some fast laps. I didn’t get a perfect lap in and I made a couple of mistakes and ran into a couple of guys, but I think coming back here for the race we’ll be ready. I can’t thank my guys enough for all the hard work they put in. It’s been crazy.
“They’ve been staying up until 2 in the morning getting ready for the test. It’s pretty cool they’re working that hard. I just need to keep my hard work up too and get ready for the season.”
Hayes, the defending four-time AMA SuperBike Champion, was one of only three other pilots that rode at COTA before this test. The others were Roger Hayden and Meen Motorsports Yamaha’s Josh Herrin (Supersport). Besides learning the long layout, multiple elevation changes including the highest – a 133-foot ascend at Turn 1 – and a huge 0.745-mile back straight, the new riders were also challenged with some slick conditions due to mixed weather throughout the day.
“I’m very thankful that MotoAmerica had this test prior to the race,” Hayes said. “This was super beneficial for me. We started off a little bit frustrated yesterday but we found some better direction today and I feel better about today than yesterday. I feel like it’s going to be a long couple of weeks before we come back here because I want to keep working. Fortunately, with the MotoAmerica format we’re going to have a bit more time to where we can sort out the motorcycles rather than racing on the very first day that we show up. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.”
Hayden wasn’t happy with third, and has some work to do on his GSX-R1000 to catch up to the dominate Yamaha duo of Hayes and Beaubier.
“For the most part, I’m happy,” Hayden said. “I got going pretty quick this afternoon and consistently so I’m pretty happy with that and we got the tire life a little bit longer too. You’re never happy when you’re a half a second off, but at the same time yesterday we were a lot farther off than that.
“And I could do those times now by myself. We’re satisfied. As always we could be a little better, but I think we have a good setup for when we come back her for the race. I’m not fighting any big problems. We just have a few little things that we could get working a little better at the low :11s pace, which would have been nice if I could have gotten to the lower :11s a little sooner. Overall we’re happy, but you never leave a test completely happy when you’re third quick.”
In the Supersport class, once again it was Yamalube/YES Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff leading the field, the Texan posting his best lap in the fourth and final session. He finished 0.045 of a second ahead of Herrin. To put this time into overall perspective, the Supersport class was only 2.69 seconds behind the Superbike class.
“I’m really happy we got to come test here with everybody and see everybody on the same track, in the same weather conditions,” Gerloff said. “We can see where everybody stacks up so that was really good. It’s also really cool being so close to my hometown of Houston, so it’s all good things. I think we worked a lot and hopefully we’ll come back here with some more speed.”
The fastest of the Superstock 1000 riders was Yamahalube Westby Racing’s Dane Westby, the Oklahoma rider putting his Yamaha R1 fourth overall in the combined Superbike/Superstock sessions.
The Superstock 600 class was led by Meen Motorsports’ Joe Roberts with a lap that would have put him fifth overall in the combined 600 timesheets.
The MotoAmerica Series opener will be held in conjunction with the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, April 10-12.
2015 MotoAmerica / Dunlop Tire Test Results (Combined):
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 2:10.730
- Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:11.079
- Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 2:11.311
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki) 2:12.289
- Chris Fillmore (KTM) 2:13.219
- Chris Ulrich (Suzuki) 2:14.733
- Elena Myers (Suzuki) 2:19.341
- Johnny Rock Page (Suzuki) 2:23.172
MotoAmerica Superstock 1000
- Dane Westby (Yamaha) 2:11.580
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 2:11.622
- Dustin Dominquez (Aprilia) 2:14.372
- Devon McDonough (Aprilia) 2:17.933
- Marcel Irnie (BMW) 2:18.224
- Max Flinders (EBR) 2:20.067
MotoAmerica Supersport/Superstock 600
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 2:13.420
- Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 2:13.465
- Bobby Fong (Triumph) 2:13.925
- JD Beach (Yamaha) 2:14.754
- Joe Roberts (Yamaha) 2:14.850 (SUPERSTOCK)
- Tomas Puerta (Yamaha) 2:15.310
- Benny Solis (Yamaha) 2:15.743
- David Anthony (Suzuki) 2:15.822
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha) 2:16.862
- Ben Young (Yamaha) 2:17.950
- Kyle Wyman (Yamaha) 2:18.460
- Tucker Lancaster (Kawasaki) 2:20.862
- Hayden Gillim (MV Agusta) 2:20.880
- Jay Newton (Yamaha) 2:21.151 (SUPERSTOCK)
- Kaleb de Keyrel (Yamaha) 2:22.245
- Kris Lillegard (MV Agusta) 2:25.360