2016 Road Atlanta MotoAmerica Results
Road Atlanta MotoAmerica proved to be one of upsets and revelations in the Superbike and Superstock classes. The 2016 MotoAmerica AM/FIM North American Road Racing Champion made its second stop of the season at the Georgia-based track and there was plenty of action to be had.
2016 Road Atlanta MotoAmerica Race 1 Recap
The dominance of Moto2 Champion Toni Elias during round one at Circuit of the Americas last weekend questioned the skilled riding of Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha riders Josh Hayes and Cameron Beaubier. During race one at Road Atlanta, both YZF-R1 pilots looked to have the first two positions secured, but the poor luck struck again as Hayes made contact with Beaubier, taking them both out on the exit of 10B. The four-time AMA SuperBike Champion Hayes and reigning MotoAmerica Champion Beaubier walked away from the incidents.
Though Yoshimura Suzuki riders Roger Hayden and Elias looked strong in race one of Road Atlanta, they certainly were both relieved to see the Yamaha duo out of the contention. From that point on, Hayden and Elias battled it out. Hayden once again proved his worth, dicing it up and hanging on, but Elias’ signature deep braking put him in first place again.
Hayden maintained the lead after the Yamaha duo crashed, only succumb to Elias in the final moments of the race. This marked three consecutive first-place finishes for the Spanish rider. As for Hayden, this was his third-consecutive second-place finish. Jake Gagne aboard the Broaster Chicken/Roadrace Factory Yamaha R1 took third place finish. Gagne took his gracious prize in stride because it was his first Superbike podium.
Elias looked as if he was at a loss for words when questioned about his victory, despite his absolutely brilliant riding. “My plan was no this one,” Elias said. “I’d been surprised at the beginning. In turn one I had been struggling a lot all weekend. I wasn’t surprised when Roger passed me. Today in warm-up he was really fast. He could stay with us for the race and he showed me on the second lap. After that I made a mistake and I lose one second and a half, and in two laps I could catch the group again and that gave me a lot of motivation.
“I could catch again, especially the last section but I suffer all day. I try to keep my calm. I try to keep calm and try to not come too tired, I have arm pump. Finally, I push and where I want to pass Roger every lap was yellow flags, yellow flags, yellow flags. I did my best and he was there all the time. We got lucky because the Yamaha guys crashed and I’m sorry because they had good rhythm.”
HSBK Aprilia RSV4 RF pilot Claudio Corti – another transplant from Europe – earned fourth place and top results for the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class. The Aprilia was much stronger at Road Atlanta; the Speed deficit at COTA has been dramatically reduced, which is most likely the result of the Italian brand stepping in with some factory technical support.
Wheels In Motion/Motosport.com/Meen Motosports’ Yamaha YZF-R1 rider Josh Herrin claimed fifth. Trailing the AMA SuperBike Champion closely in sixth was Latus Motors Racing’s Bobby Fong and in seventh, MotoEverything/DieselOps Racing’s Taylor Knapp. Herrin and Corti are the men to watch in Superstock; the two have been at each other’s throats since the opening race of the season, making for thrilling racing.
Cycle World Suzuki’s Hayden Gillim, took home an eighth place finish in race one. Team Rabid Transit’s Sheridan Morais and Millennium Technologies/KWR’s Kyle Wyman formed the top ten.
Road Atlanta MotoAmerica, Race 2 Recap
That wasn’t the whole story – during race two, the Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha team came back with a vengeance shook out all of the gremlins that have plagued the team so far in the season. But Elias showed signs of weariness in the initial laps of the race, even running off track through the chicanes. It was a tough race for the big threats this weekend and, unfortunately, it was his turn; while picking up the pace and attempting to catch teammate Hayden, who sat in third place, Elias lost the front end and was out.
Hayes led race two for the majority. As it wore on, Beaubier went from nipping at his heels to making moves – which were always answered, swiftly and with finesse. The two fought hard like most of 2015 MotoAmerica, passing each other continually until Beaubier took home his 12th Superbike win of his career.
Beaubier said I’m really happy to get on the podium and to get a win after the disaster of a weekend we had in COTA and in the first race. All in all, I felt good and it was an awesome race. It was pretty fun dicing back and forth with Josh and I knew Rog was right there behind us too. It seemed like Josh had his spots and there were spots where I knew I was better than him. It felt good to actually pass Josh decently on the brakes too because I’ve struggled with that in the past.”
Despite his lack of wins, Roger Hayden of Yoshimura Suzuki could be seen as the winner today. After two rounds of MotoAmerica and four races, his consistent podium finishes have landed in first on the points leader board but only by a narrow margin. Hayden has 76 points, and currently leads Elias by a single point. Thanks to his second-place finish, Hayes sits in seventh overall which is decidedly uncharacteristic.
With Roger Hayden walking away with third place and a nice podium finish, fourth went to Herrin. Though Herrin is considered a local at Road Atlanta, he has had trouble securing any type of success here. This weekend, things were different as we saw him lead Corti, Fong and Gagne across the finish line. Gillim and Morais rounded out the top ten. Fong leads the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 standings with 66 points, Herrin sits at 56 and Corti with 45. But let’s give credit where credit is due – the Superstock racers paced Superbike rider Gagne and that in itself is an accomplishment.
To say that perspectives have changed would be a monumental understatement. The third race of the season left more questions unanswered than we had before and shook up the field standings dramatically. Will the Spaniard take home wins in New Jersey? Have the Americans been checked? Will Yamaha go uncontested as the season Progresses. We’ll know in two weeks as the crews head north to New Jersey, where the action will continue April 28-May 1st at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.
SUPERBIKE RACE 1: 1. Toni Elias (Suzuki); 2. Roger Hayden (Suzuki); 3. Jake Gagne (Yamaha); 4. Claudio Corti (Aprilia); 5. Josh Herrin (Yamaha); 6. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki); 7. Taylor Knapp (Yamaha); 8. Hayden Gillim (Yamaha); 9. Sheridan Morais (Yamaha); 10. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha).
SUPERBIKE RACE 2: 1. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha); 2. Josh Hayes (Yamaha); 3. Roger Hayden (Suzuki); 4. Josh Herrin (Yamaha); 5. Taylor Knapp (Yamaha); 6. Claudio Corti (Aprilia); 7. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki); 8. Jake Gagne (Yamaha); 9. Hayden Gillim (Yamaha); 10. Sheridan Morais (Yamaha).