Two weeks ahead of the opening round of 2016 MotoAmerica at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, which will run in conjunction with MotoGP, the Superbike-class teams got their first official shakedowns at the 3.43-mile track with 20 corners.The man who earned the debut MotoAmerica Superbike title – Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier – wasted no time. He led four of the eight sessions aboard his YZF-R1 at the two-day COTA test, earning the fastest time with a 2:08.764; this was 0.889 of a second quicker than his qualifying time last season.
Trailing 0.484 of a second behind was Jake Lewis’ replacement rider on the Yoshimura Suzuki, Toni Elias. The Moto2 World Champion of Spain posted a quickest lap of 2:09.248, despite crashing twice.Cameron Beaubier says: ”I went out on the softer Dunlop compound and did that time and I matched it on the Q (qualifying tire) with one mistake. I was pretty happy about that. The qualifying tire was pretty nuts. Normally when I go out I try to get warmed up on the warm-up lap, get a flow going and then attack.“On the Q, you have to baby it on the warm-up lap and then attack. It’s a one-lap thing. You can’t overthink it. You just have to clear your mind and just go because it’s really easy to make a mistake and one mistake will just ruin five corners here.“Overall, it was really good. I think it was a really productive test. The wind wasn’t too bad and the weather was good. I had fun. I’m more happy with how I felt with the race tires and the softer compound race tires. I did a race simulation and felt decent there as well. We still have some stuff to work on, but I’m just having fun and feeling good.”Finishing third was Elias’ teammate Roger Lee Hayden, the younger brother of 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden who is competing in his debut World Superbike season. Hayden, who had softer Dunlop tires on his GSX-R1000, finished with a 2:09.495. Though not nearly as fast as Beaubier, both Yosh Suzuki riders Hayden and Elias were under Beaubier’s pole time last season.Roger Lee Hayden says: ”The qualifiers were fun. They have a lot of grip. The only downer was there were a lot of guys out there just tooling around. But I liked the tires. I thought they had good grip and it was a lot of fun. I think it’s going to be good for the sport. That 50-minute session there was a lot of fun.“You just catch guys so fast that aren’t on a qualifier because you’re pushing so hard and you have that grip. It’s kind of crucial to make sure you have good front grip, but it was cool. I think it’s a cool experience and for me it’s a lot more fun. I had a blast doing it and everything was good.”Finishing fourth was four-time AMA SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes on the other factory Monter Energy/Graves Yamaha YZF-R1, followed by Broaster Chicken/Roadrace Factory Yamaha’s Jake Gagne.Sixth went to Team Rabid Transit Yamaha’s Sheridan Morais, who was followed by Wheels in Motion/Motosport.com/Meen Motorsports Yamaha’s Josh Herrin on his Superstock 1000-spec R1, HSBK Aprilia’s Claudio Corti, Yamalube Westby Racing’s Josh Day and Latus Motors Kawasaki’s David Anthony.
2016 MotoAmerica Superbike Test Results, Combined:
1. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 2:08.764 2. Toni Elias (Suzuki) 2:09.248 3. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 2:09.495 4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:10.127 5. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 2:10.160 6. Sheridan Morais (Yamaha) 2: 11.134 7. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 2:11.151 8. Claudio Corti (Aprilia) 2:11.604 9. Joshua Day (Yamaha) 2:11.820 10. David Anthony (Kawasaki) 2:12.043Photos by Brian J. Nelson
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!