News MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Elias & Gerloff Lead Day 1 at COTA

MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Elias & Gerloff Lead Day 1 at COTA

2017 MotoAmerica Preseason Test Results, Day 1

Three weeks ahead of the 2017 MotoAmerica season opener at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, the Superbike and Supersport pilots began Tuesday a two-day test at the 3.4-mile circuit containing 20 corners.

As expected, some familiar names led the time sheets in both classes. Topping the Motul Superbike class was last year’s COTA winner, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias, a Moto2 Champion. Topping the Supersport class was the defending champion Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff.

Both riders had crashes, but walked away unharmed.

MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Elias & Gerloff Lead Day 1 at COTA
2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Suzuki’s Toni Elias

In the Superbike class, Elias put in a best lap of 2:09.547 aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the fourth and final 50-minute session of the day, which was just off his best ime set last season. The Spaniard finished 0.556 of a second ahead of teammate Roger Lee Hayden.

This was down from last year’s test time on Dunlop qualifying rubber: a 2:08.764 set by reigning MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier on the Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha YZF-R1.To put these times into perspective, last year’s last pole set by Hayden was a 2:09.151.

During Tuesday’s Dunlop Preseason Test, Beaubier finished third, ahead of four-time Superbike Champion Josh Hayes.

Though he finished fastest, Elias was not happy with the front-end feel of his new GSX-R1000.

2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Suzuki's Roger Hayden
2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Suzuki’s Roger Hayden

“It has been a tough and difficult day,” Elias said. “I don’t feel comfortable yet, but it has been a perfect lap because I didn’t make any mistakes, the lines… everything was perfect. Some days you feel much better, for example at the Thunderhill test I felt much better and thought I would be half a second faster but I make mistake a lot. Today, I don’t feel comfortable but I had the perfect lap. The team worked hard and we improved, but I’m still missing some front information. With brakes, without brakes, it’s the same feeling and we need to work on that.”

2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier
2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier

Hayden was more pleased.

“The day went pretty good,” Hayden said. “We got to go through a lot of stuff. It was nice to get a dry day in and get to learn more about the bike. We tried out a lot of things. Some were positive, some weren’t, but we were pretty fast all day and that’s good. We’re always looking for a little more, but we were always toward the front every session and the bike, for me, is getting more comfortable. I’m looking forward to another good day tomorrow.”

The Superstock 1000 class was led on the first of two days of testing by last year’s doubleheader winner Bobby Fong on the Latus Motors Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R. Fong turned in a 2:11.887 – 1.542 of a second slower than his qualifying time from last year’s race, MotoAmerica reports.

KWR’s Kyle Wyman was sixth overall today and fifth-fastest Superbike with Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz seventh. Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Jake Gagne, Fly Racing/Motul/ADR Motorsports’ Anthony David and Cycle World Suzuki’s Hayden Gillim rounded out the top 10, MotoAmerica Reports.

2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Yamaha's Josh Hayes
2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Yamaha’s Josh Hayes

2017 MotoAmerica Dunlop Preseason Test, Supersport Results, Day 1

Taking the best time in the Supersport/Superstock 600 class was Gerloff aboard the 2017 YZF-R6, who posted a best lap of

2:13.197. This was slower than his last year’s test time of 2:11.987, and his pole time from last year’s COTA Supersport race of 2:11.999.

Gerloff finished day one 0.402 of a second ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise by .402, and 0.764 ahead of his teammate JD Beach third.

KTM RC Cup Champion Brandon Paasch made his Supersport debut a good one, setting the fourth fastest time despite a crash in the third of four sessions. Rickdiculous Racing’s Daytona Anderson rounded out the top five on day one.

2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff
2017 COTA MotoAmerica Preseason Test: Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff

Gerloff did crash, but it was no fault of his own. Gerloff was following Moto3 test rider Gabriel Martinez-Abrego when the KTM-mounted Mexican crashed and took Gerloff with him.

“Today wasn’t too bad,” Gerloff said. “It didn’t start off the best. I had a little incident with another rider and gave my team a little bit of work to do. After that, we put our heads down and worked our way up slowly into the groove. We got into a flow and me and my bike were working together better. It took a little bit of time, but we’re getting pretty close. We have a good setting right now. There are still a few things I’d really like to improve tomorrow that are going to be a big help for the race in a month’s time. I’m excited for tomorrow and I think it’s going to be another good day.”

The riders return to COTA Wednesday for the final day of testing.

Photos by Brian J. Nelson

2017 MotoAmerica Preseason Test Results, Day 1 from COTA:


  1. Toni Elias (Suzuki) 2:09.547
  2. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 2:10.103
  3. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 2:10.643
  4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:11.000
  5. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki) 2:11.887
  6. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha) 2:12.191
  7. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) 2:12.339
  8. Jake Gagne (Honda) 2:12.921
  9. David Anthony (Kawasaki) 2:13.498
  10. Hayden Gillim (Suzuki) 2:13.728


  1. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 2:13.197
  2. Valentin Debise (Suzuki) 2:13.599
  3. JD Beach (Yamaha) 2:13.961
  4. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki) 2:17.311
  5. Daytona Anderson (Yamaha) 2:17.505
  6. Nick McFadden (Suzuki) 2:17.728
  7. Lucas Silva (Yamaha) 2:18.854
  8. JC Camacho (Yamaha) 2:20.478
  9. Brandon Cleland (Suzuki) 2:20.582
  10. Jody Barry (Yamaha) 2:22.125

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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