Motorcycle Racing News MotoAmerica 2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Hayden & Gerloff Claim Pole Positions

2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Hayden & Gerloff Claim Pole Positions

2017 Austin MotoAmerica Superpole Results

The 2017 MotoAmerica Series officially began this week at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, the opening round running in conjunction with round three of the MotoGP Championship.

The Superbike rider who led the Dunlop Preseason Test at COTA three weeks ago—Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden—continued to set the pace at the Texas Formula One circuit Friday during Superpole.

With a lap of 2:08.184 aboard the new Suzuki GSX-R1000, which was 0.121 of a second faster than his best preseason test time, Hayden claimed pole for both races this weekend at Austin MotoAmerica. This was Hayden’s second-straight pole at COTA; he qualified last season with a 2:09.151 before finishing second in both races.

2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Suzuki's Roger Lee Hayden
2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden

“It definitely feels good to be on pole,” said Hayden. “Overall I just feel pretty good on the bike. Yesterday I didn’t feel as good as the (preseason) test, but today we made some changes this morning and I felt pretty good. The lap time wasn’t there this morning as I had a lot of traffic on my last run, but I feel like the bike is working good. Like these guys said, it’s going to be a tough race.

“I think tire management is going to come into play a lot during the last couple of laps. This place can be pretty hard on tires. I’m happy to be on pole. The new Suzuki GSX-R1000, we definitely want to showcase its ability and putting it on pole is big for them. So hats off to the team and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Joining Hayden on the front row are two-defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier (Monster Energy/Yamahalube/Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1) and Hayden’s teammate, Moto2 Champion Toni Elias.

Beaubier finished 0.158 of a second behind Hayden; both riders posted their best time on lap six of the 15-minute Superpole session. As for Elias, who doubled at COTA last season, he qualified third, 0.245 of a second off the pace.

2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier
2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier

“I’m feeling a lot better,” said Beaubier, who has been suffering from a head cold. “After first practice yesterday, just sweating a little bit of the cold out helped a lot and I woke up this morning feeling quite a bit better. I’m ready to go racing. We had a good day today. We had a decent pace going on the race tires this morning.

“We still have a couple of things here and there to work on that we want to try tomorrow, but hopefully it’s dry. I know the forecast said it might rain overnight so hopefully the track is dry enough in the morning to try what we want to try but all-in-all I’m happy. I feel like I didn’t get completely everything out of the qualifier, but I think that’s kind of always the case. It’s almost impossible to put together a perfect lap. But I’m happy.”

As for Elias, the Spaniard was not overly pleased with his Superpole session.

“Qualifying has been not well,” said Elias. “I did some mistakes. Normally it’s difficult for me to make the pole, but I think we did a good job for the race. We have a good pace. We’ll see about the race distance and how the tires will work during the race. I know these guys are really tough and it will be a difficult race. For sure (Josh) Hayes will also be there because on Sunday he always is. Let’s do a good start and a consistent race.”

Bobby Fong, aboard his Quicksilver Latus Motors Kawasaki ZX-10R Superstock machine, qualified fourth ahead of four-time AMA SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes (Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing) and Kyle Wyman (Motovation USA/Lucas Oils/KWR).

2017 MotoAmerica Supersport Qualifying

Claiming pole in the Supersport class was the reigning champion Garrett Gerloff aboard the

Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha YZF-R6.

Gerloff put in a best lap of 2:12.676, finishing 0.140 of a second ahead of M4 Ecstar Suzuki’s Valentin Debis, and 0.301 of a second ahead of teammate JD Beach, the 2015 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion.

2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff
2017 Austin MotoAmerica Qualifying: Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff

“Today was really good,” Gerloff said. “I felt comfortable and had a very similar setup to the pre-season test,” said Gerloff. “In the final stint of the qualifier I caught a pack of riders pretty quickly and tried to make an aggressive pass while my tires were still in good shape. Unfortunately, I tangled with one of the riders, but luckily the bike was alright. I was pretty fired up and dusted myself off to put in a hot lap and take the top spot.”

Debise said his focus in the final session was making sure his bike was race ready rather than just going for a fast lap.

“I felt good on the bike, despite the schedule giving us limited time on the track this weekend,” said Debise. “Today, I focused on working towards getting a good lap in during the qualifier and we [the team] put a new tire on that allowed me to drop my time. I’m happy heading into the race tomorrow.”

JD Beach also commented: “I’ve made a lot of changes to the bike since the test a few weeks ago here at COTA. I missed about 30 minutes of practice yesterday due to an issue with the bike, so today I was able to try some new parts for the first time. Some of the parts were an improvement and others were not. The team and I will find a happy medium with our setting heading into the race.”

Today’s Superpole session featured the debut of the new Dunlop “pre-qualifying” tire that fits between the race tire and the one-lap, yellow-banded Dunlop qualifying tire.

“I like that MotoAmerica introduced that pre-qualifier because I feel like it’s kind of a safety barrier,” said Beaubier. “You can go out and get a few laps in on that and still be relatively close to what you can do on a qualifying tire, lap-time wise. That way, if someone gets in the way or if you have a big mistake – run off the track on a qualifier – you’re not on the third row. So I think it’s good.”

Photos by Brian J. Nelson

2017 Austin MotoAmerica Superbike Superpole Results:

  1. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 2:08.184
  2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 2:08.342
  3. Toni Elias (Suzuki) 2:08.429
  4. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki) 2:09.588
  5. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:0.9.724
  6. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha) 2:09.788
  7. Matthew Scholtz (Yamaha) 2:09.877
  8. Cameron Petersen (Kawaski) 2:10.124
  9. Jake Lewis (Suzuki) 2:11.077
  10. Hayden Gillim (Suzuki) 2:11.129
  11. Jake Gagne (Honda) 2:11.155
  12. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 2:11.728

2017 Austin MotoAmerica Supersport Qualifying Results:

  1. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)2:12.676
  2. Valentin Debise (Suzuki) 2:12.816
  3. JD Beach (Yamaha) 2:12.977
  4. Daytona Anderson (Yamaha) 2:15.060
  5. Benny Solis (Honda) 2:15.399
  6. Nick McFadden (Suzuki) 2:16.156
  7. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki) 2:16.840
  8. Lucas Silva (Yamaha) 2:17.312
  9. JC Camacho (Suzuki) 2:17.802
  10. Brandon Cleland (Suzuki) 2:17.858

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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