2018 Barber MotoAmerica Preseason Test Results, Day 2
The reigning MotoAmerica Superbike Champion was quickest overall Tuesday when the two-day MotoAmerica Dunlop Preseason test was completed at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier, a two-time MotoAmerica SBK Champ (2015, 2017), had led all other testing heading into the Barber test, which is the final one before the season opens in three weeks at Road Atlanta (April 13-15).
Beaubier was quickest with a 1:24.677; to put this time into perspective, the lap record at Barber is a 1:24.091, which was posted by Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 pilot Roger Hayden last year during qualifying (Dunlop tires).But Beaubier didn’t exactly leave the field far behind; the top-six MotoAmerica Superbike riders were within a second of Beaubier, and four of those were within a half-second of Beaubier.Finishing second was Yamalube/Westby Yamaha YZF-R1 pilot Mathew Scholtz. The South African rider finished 0.018 of a second behind Beaubier. This was after having ignition issues with his R1 throughout the day; Scholtz completed 69 laps compared to Beaubier’s 119.Third went to Monday’s test leader, the other factory Yamaha YZF-R1 rider Garrett Gerloff. The reigning Supersport Champion and Superbike rookie finished 0.106 of a second behind Beaubier.Cameron Beaubier says: “The two days here at Barber went well. I was stoked to be able to ride here again. Yesterday, I was a little rusty since I didn’t get to race here last year (due to injury). Thanks to my team, they dialed me in and I got comfortable. I ended up fastest right there at the end, but what I’m happiest about is that I was within a tenth (of a second) on the soft race tire.“It’s going to be a tough year. There are a lot of fast guys… my teammate Garrett (Gerloff), Toni (Elias) and Roger (Hayden), and (Mathew) Scholtz are all riding really well right now. So now, I’m ready to go racing. My off-season has been a little bit longer than everyone else’s, so I’m ready to just line up and get the elbows out. I’m excited.”Mathew Scholtz says: “We were confident coming into Barber that we were going to be competitive, but the big unknown after racing in Superstock 1000 last year was how would we compare now that we’re on a Superbike. Yesterday didn’t start out well, and we didn’t get much track time due to a few different problems. But, in the final session of the test, we got the bike straightened out, and we were able to work on setting it up for the Superbike engine, the forks, and the wheels.“Our lap times weren’t where we wanted to be, though. Today, we started out really well, which was a positive step for us. And that was on the older rear tire, which was what we raced on here last year. In the second and third sessions, the bike just wasn’t working, unfortunately, so we didn’t get any track time with the new Dunlop tire. In the final session, the team got things working properly, and the bike was great.“With 15 minutes left in the test, we put in the softer tire and did a really quick lap time. We still have a lot of work to do with the brand-new tire, but it was good to show that we have the pace. We go to Virginia (International Raceway) next week to do a test there, so we’ll have some more track time to work on setting the bike up for the new tire before we go to Road Atlanta for the start of the season.”Garrett Gerloff says: “We did a lot of work at this test. We concentrated on race setup mostly, but we also wanted to have a good setup for quick lap times. Today, it felt like we were struggling a little bit in the beginning, so we made some changes for the last two sessions in order to up the pace.“Later on, the bike felt really good so I felt like I really had good pace and I was able to do a couple of good laps. I had a mechanical in that final session and I wasn’t able to finish it. All in all, I feel really good about my Yamaha R1. We’re really meshing well. I learned so much about how to ride this bike in the last two days than I had learned in the past five tests we did. What I learned today, I think, is really going to help me this season and it gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”Defending MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion Toni Elias finished fourth, 0.0419 of a second off the pace. Elias, who suffered a mechanical issue in the final session, finished 0.4 of a second ahead of teammate Roger Lee Hayden.M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis was the final rider within a second of Beaubier, finishing 0.984 off the top in his first outing on the team’s GSX-R1000. Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Cameron Petersen was seventh fastest, half a second faster than Danny Eslick, who was making his debut on the Scheibe Racing BMW S 1000 RR. Fly Street Racing’s David Anthony and Dunlop test rider Taylor Knapp rounded out the top 10.
2018 Barber MotoAmerica Test Results: Supersport
For those who were assuming that the battle for the 2018 MotoAmerica Supersport Championship was going to be a two-horse race between 2015 Supersport Champion JD Beach and Frenchman Valentin Debise, put the brakes on. Based on the two-day test at Barber, there’s a third rider who seems to be ready to put himself in that conversation.That rider is Hayden Gillim, the Rickdiculous Racing rider the surprise of the test in the Supersport class as he topped Beach and his Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves Motorsports R6 by 0.508 of a second in the final session to steal the top spot. Gillim lapped at 1:26.804 to Beach’s 1:27.312.Hayden Gillim says: “The past two days have been really good,. Day 1, I was surprised with my speed. I knew at some point that I would be there with JD (Beach), but I wasn’t expecting it to be right off the bat. I think that says a lot about the whole Rickdiculous program.“This whole off-season I’ve done a ton of riding with (rider coach Ken Hill). (Rickdiculous Racing team owners) Josh and Adam Bronfman have been gracious enough to bring me on the team and have me out for every single riding camp that they’ve done. All that riding that I’ve done has definitely paid off, and the whole crew is working really hard to make sure I have the best stuff. It’s a good way to start the season, but I know it’s going to be a dogfight this season – starting in a couple of weeks at Road Atlanta.”Those two were well clear of the rest with Braeden Ortt the best of those moving up from the now defunct Superstock 600 class. Ortt’s best on the Tuned Racing Yamaha was a 1:28.910, which put him just ahead of M4 medAge Suzuki’s Nick McFadden. Last year’s Superstock 600 Champion Jason Aguilar ended up fifth on his Rickdiculous Racing Yamaha R6.JD Beach says: “The test definitely started out a little rocky…just some tough luck. The team worked really hard to get it sorted out. I’m glad we had this first test because I have a whole new crew this year and the format is a little bit different now, especially with me being the only rider on the team. It was good to be here to get some things sorted out and see where we need to improve. We’re going in the right direction and, come Road Atlanta, I think we’ll be good.”
2018 Barber MotoAmerica Test Results: Junior Cup/Twins Cup
Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates led the Junior Cup class for the second straight day, the Georgian riding his new Kawasaki to a 1:39.061 in the sixth session. That put him ahead of French Canadian Alex Dumas on the KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training RC390R and RiderzLaw Racing’s Jackson Blackmon on a Yamaha R6, giving the new class three different brands of motorcycles in the top three.The new Twins Cup class was led by Brad Perdiew for the second straight day, the AP MotoArts Yamaha rider besting Altus Motorsports’ Jason Madama and Evansville Superbike Shop’s Shane Perry.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.