2017 Thunderhill MotoAmerica Testing: Suzuki’s Elias Fastest

2017 Thunderhill MotoAmerica Testing: Suzuki’s Elias Fastest
Yoshimura Suzuki's Toni Elias, who was fastest at Thunderhill MotoAmerica Testing

2017 Thunderhill MotoAmerica Testing Results

2017 Thunderhill MotoAmerica Testing: Suzuki’s Elias Fastest
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias, who was fastest at Thunderhill MotoAmerica Testing

Three weeks ahead of the Dunlop Preseason MotoAmerica test set for Circuit of the Americas in Austin (March 28-29), 10 riders took part in testing last week at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, Calif.

The 10 riders testing at Northern California circuit were Cameron Beaubier (Superbike), Josh Hayes (Superbike), Roger Lee Hayden (Superbike), Toni Elias (Superbike), Josh Herrin (Superbike), Bobby Fong (Superstock 1000), Bryce Prince (Superstock 1000), Garrett Gerloff (Supersport), JD Beach (Supersport) and Michael Gilbert (Superstock 600).

When the two-day test was completed Friday, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias—a Moto2 Champion of Spain—was quickest, posting a 1:46.10 around the three-mile road course, MotoAmerica says. This was Elias’ second ride aboard the new GSX-R1000; his first arrived during a Sepang test with teammate Roger Lee Hayden.

“The new bike is really good,” says Elias, who completed his first-ever rider at Thunderhill Raceway on the new GSX-R1000. “There is a lot of potential in that bike. It is better than last year’s package and it is only really the third real test day for us. I’m very happy with the work we did here and now we must work for the next test at COTA.”

The reigning MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion, Monster Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier, was quickest Thursday. But he dropped to second, trailing Elias by 0.18 of a second.

“We’ve had a good, solid off-season,” says Beaubier, who completed 130 laps over the two-day test. “It’s been nice, honestly – for riders and the team. Just being able to test more and ride a little bit more than we have in the past few off-seasons. I think we’re going into the season with some good riding fitness and with some good track time.

:We’ve been able to evaluate the new parts we have and it’s only getting better and better. I feel like we made some good steps on the electronics side today and also made a couple of chassis changes here and there. We were also able to focus on a few of the new developmental tires that Dunlop brought for us and found some good stuff. I’m looking forward to what they come up with come race time.”

Claiming third fastest was Hayden, who was followed the 2016 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 Champion Josh Herrin on the Meen Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R1.  Beaubier’s four-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Josh Hayes was fifth fastest at 1:47.33.

Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier and Josh Herrin at Thunderhill
Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier leads Josh Herrin at Thunderhill

The quickest of the Supersport riders was Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Yamalube/Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff, the defending class champion third fastest overall on Thursday prior to a big highside on his R6. The Texan was fortunate to escape injury and was back on board on Friday, improving to 1:47.64. Gerloff’s teammate JD Beach, who is still recovering from his leg injury, ended up ninth fastest overall with a 1:49.17, MotoAmerica reports.

The fastest of the Superstock 1000 riders was Latus Motors Racing’s Bobby Fong, the Kawasaki ZX-10R-mounted rider posting a 1:48.20 on Friday to best the second Superstock 1000 rider at the test, Meen Motorsports’ Bryce Prince. Prince lapped at a best of 1:49.02, MotoAmerica reprots.

Michael Gilbert was the lone Superstock 600 rider at Thunderhill Raceway Park and he circulated at a best of 1:51.50 on his Yamaha R6.

2017 Thunderhill MotoAmerica Testing Results (Unofficial):

  1. Toni Elias (Suzuki) 1:46.10
  2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:46.28
  3. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:46.80
  4. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:47.25
  5. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:47.33
  6. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 1:47.64 – Supersport
  7. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki) 1:48.20 – Superstock 1000
  8. Bryce Prince (Yamaha) 1:49.02 – Superstock 1000
  9. JD Beach (Yamaha) 1:49.17 – Supersport
  10. Michael Gilbert (Yamaha) 1:51.50 – Superstock 600