2016 VIR MotoAmerica Superbike Results

2016 VIR MotoAmerica Superbike Results | Yamaha Cameron Beaubier
Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier

VIRginia International Raceway hosted round four of the 2016 MotoAmerica FIM/AMA Road Racing Championship, and it was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting rounds that we’ve seen in road racing this year. The Superbike/Superstock classes at VIR MotoAmerica were full of aggressive passing, upsets and redemption.

VIR MotoAmerica Superbike Race One Recap:

Saturday’s qualifying had Monster Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier, and the Yoshimura Suzuki duo of Roger Hayden and Toni Elias on the front row. Uncharacteristically, Beaubier’s teammate, four-time AMA SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes, sat qualified in a lonely sixth place.

From flag drop at VIR, a cutthroat battle began. The front row moved off down into the first turn, with Beaubier, Hayden and Elias leading the way. It didn’t take long for McGraw Powersports/Meen Yamaha R1 Josh Herrin to take advantage of VIR’s compact nature, a track where a superstock bike can easily hang with superbikes.  Herrin did just that, first gobbling up Suzuki GSX-R1000 pilot Roger Hayden and shortly after, making a vicious pass on YZF-R1 rider Beaubier.

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Herrin was riding an invigorating race and put his all into it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for him. Turn seven proved to be a treacherous one. Roger Hayden ran in a bit deep, cutting into Herrin’s line, causing contact and pushed him into the grass.

In the chaos of the race leader going down, it seemed to drag TOBC Racing Yamaha’s Danny Eslick (Superstock) and Broaster Chicken/Road Race Yamaha’s Jake Gagne off the track as well. Both were able to remount their bikes. However, Herrin was forced to retire.

All of the battling meant one thing – the race leaders were slowing the pace. That allowed Hayes and Moto2 Champion Elias to close in on the top three. The heavy hitters of the series were now all in a row: Hayden, Beaubier, Elias and Hayes.

Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier leads Suzuki's Elias and Hayden at VIR MotoAmerica
Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier leads Suzuki’s Elias and Hayden

Suddenly, Beaubier ran it wide out of turn seven. And though Beaubier was a race leader, his YZF-R1 seemed to be having issues, shaking on exits. Near the middle of the race, the top three were established. Hayden, Hayes and Elias fought for a long while but the true battle was between Hayden and Hayes.

Behind them, Beaubier and Gagne began settling in. The two marched through the field, running into the Superstock battle going on between Aprilia HSBK RSV4 rider Claudio Corti and Lotus Motors Racing Kawasaki’s Bobby Fong. Gange, aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1, who has experienced issues throughout the season so far, led reigning champ Beaubier through the field.

It wasn’t meant to be for Gagne. After hopping the curb, he experienced a hearty tank-slapper which forced him to run straight into the grass. Sadly, his redemption march was put to a halt.

It came down to the wire for Hayes and Hayden, who diced it up until the checkered flag. Superbike race one saw Josh Hayes walk away with a victory, swiping the win away from Hayden, who has been desperately trying to grab a checkered flag all year. Elias earned the final podium position.

The Italian Claudio Corti, who defended fourth place brilliantly, eventually was overtaken by Beaubier, who finished fourth. Despite that, Corti has a lot to be happy about. This marks the third consecutive win for the Italian in his class.

Toni Elias has this to say, post-race, “I’ve been lucky since some guy’s crash and I could follow the leading group for some laps but they had a better pace than me. For me it was impossible, I felt I was risking too much.” Toni resigned himself to third, citing problems with the bike all weekend.

Roger Hayden, shared his thoughts as well, “VIR hasn’t been my strong track. I had a little get together with Herrin, our lines just came together – that was a bummer. Then when Hayes came by, I tried to learn from him, he’s kind of a master of this place. I couldn’t find a place to make a move, it was like he knew I was coming, always blocking me.”

Lastly, Josh Hayes was on hand to talk about the race. “It was a hard day yesterday and to think that carries over for a whole day today starting from 10th twice. I hope I didn’t set the bar a little too high for myself for race two.”

It was an exciting race, but the afternoon brought in plenty more action. Additionally, Jake Lewis was seen aboard the M4 Suzuki. Lewis is filling in for the rest of the season due to Chris Ulrich’s retirement from the series.

Superbike Race 1 Results:

  1. Josh Hayes – SBK
  2. Roger Hayden – SBK
  3. Toni Elias – SBK
  4. Cameron Beaubier – SBK
  5. Claudio Corti – STK
  6. Bobby Fong – STK
  7. Taylor Knapp – STK
  8. Hayden Gillim – STK
  9. Jake Lewis – STK
  10. Kyle Wyman – SBK
  11. Danny Eslick – STK
  12. Dustin Meador – STK
  13. Barrett Long – SBK
  14. Anthony Kosinski – STK
  15. Billy Ethridge – SBK
  16. Max Flinders – STK
  17. Josh Chisum – STK
  18. Ryan Jones – SBK

Not classified:

  • Jeremy Cook
  • Jake Gagne
  • David Anthony
  • Frankie Babuska
  • Josh Herrin
  • Tony Leong

VIR MotoAmerica Superbike Race Two Recap:

Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier leads Suzuki's Elias and Hayden at VIR MotoAmerica
Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier leads Suzuki’s Elias and Hayden

Elias take the early lead followed by Corti, Beaubier, Hayden, Herrin and Hayes. Elias performed very well, holding onto the lead with a decent margin and it seemed that the Yoshimura Suzuki was the dominate force

Once again, the Superstock bikes made their presence known on this tight course. Herrin, who was dicing it up with the big bikes in race one, made a full lean pass around Corti to third. Though he kept it up for a few laps, he ran wide over the hill and dropped back. Fellow Superstock rider Corti also made a mistake that cost him some positions.

The field seemed steady from then on with Toni Elias holding onto fourth. Chasing him on the rear, always within striking distance was Beaubier.

Hayes sat in fourth position biding his time. When the opportunity presented itself, nearing the mid-point of the race, he struck. First tackling Hayden and within a lap and a half, he’d made quick work of both Elias and Beaubier, moving up into second place through the chicane. The race craft was nothing short of phenomenal and his experience at VIR was certainly showing.

During the penultimate laps, Beaubier saw a crack in the door and barged his way through, a move that led to him taking the checkered flag. “It felt really good to redeem myself after race one. To be honest, Josh had pace on me. He ran a little wide, he was stronger on the brakes too but it was the only way I could pass him,” Beaubier said. He now sits in second place in the championship standings.

Hayes didn’t seem upset with the results and explained the situation: “I made one mistake in the race, I had always intended to block the entrance to four and I knew I opened the door for Cameron.” But that’s all it takes when you’re dealing with riders of that caliber. Either way, Monster Energy Graves Yamaha walked away with two bikes on the podium for race two at VIR.

Third place finisher  Elias shared some words as well: “Yamaha guys are really strong. I’m really happy because the position is the same as before but we made big changes on the set up. It worked very well because I could fight with them. It means we did a great job, I’m happy; I get some points and I’m alive on the championship.”

Yamaha's Eslick at VIR MotoAmerica
Yamaha’s Danny Eslick

In Superstock, a familiar battle raged on with Eslick, Herrin and Fong fighting for first, second and third in their class. One name that we all thought would be in the mix was Corti, but an issue early on saw him wind up in 12th place overall.

The top-three Superstock riders battled until the end, giving quite a show. When it was all said and done, Eslick took sixth overall, Fong in seventh, and Herrin eighth.

After eight rounds in four rounds, the 41-year-old Hayes has 137 points, 11 ahead of Beaubier. Hayden is in third with 116, and Elias fourth with 111.

In the Superstock 1000 battle, Corti has a nine-point lead over Fong, who finished second in both Superstock battles at VIR. Herrin is third, 27 points behind.

With another MotoAmerica round in the books, we can say that this one will be talked about for a while. With the introduction of talent coming in the form of Spaniard Elias, MotoGP race winner and former Moto2 champion, as well as  Corti, former MotoGP rider, the level of riding is being pushed to new heights. That isn’t just relegated to the Superbike class; Supersport/Superstock 600 is hosting M4 Sportbike TrackGear.com Suzuki riders, Frenchmen Valetine Debise and South African, Cameron Peterson, who have both made some stellar performances against the dominant Yamahas and Suzukis in the field.

The riders are there, the racing is there, but what this series needs now is manufacturers to step up their support. Not just in title sponsorship but in new bikes as well. As of next year, Aprilia HSBK, based out of Houston, will be putting another bike together with the help of Aprilia USA and Aprilia Italy.

Superbike Race 2 Results:

  1. Cameron Beaubier
  2. Josh Hayes – SBK
  3. Toni Elias – SBK
  4. Roger Hayden – SBK
  5. Danny Eslick – STK
  6. Bobby Fong – STK
  7. Josh Herrin – STK
  8. Hayden Gillim – STK
  9. David Anthony – STK
  10. Kyle Wyman – SBK
  11. Jake Lewis – STK
  12. Claudio Corti – STK
  13. Frank Babuska – STK
  14. Dustin Meador – STK
  15. Anthony Kosinski – STK
  16. Max Flinders – STK
  17. Barrett Long – SBK
  18. Billy Ethridge – SBK

Not Classified:

  • Josh Chisum
  • Ryan Jones
  • Frankie Babuska
  • Tony Leong

As always, for all your MotoAmerica news, keep your browsers open to Ultimate MotorCycling.

Photos by Brian J. Nelson

2016 VIR MotoAmerica Superbike Photo Gallery