MotoAmerica At COTA: Beaubier Qualifies On Top

Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Rider Cameron Beaubier earns Superbike pole at Circuit of The Americas

The MotoAmerica Series officially got started at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, with Cameron Beaubier earning the first Superbike pole position of the new era of AMA racing. Beaubier rode his Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha to the top spot, besting teammate Josh Hayes and Roadrace Factory's Jake Gagne in the afternoon session, held on a dry racetrack after a day of mostly rain at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.

While Beaubier's 2:09.653 gave him the third Superbike pole position of his career, it was Gagne's front-row spot that drew a lot of attention, as the Red Bull-backed Californian was riding a Superstock 1000-spec Yamaha YZF-R1 in the combined Superbike/Superstock 1000 class. With his third overall quickest time, Gagne was obviously the fastest of the Superstock 1000 class, besting the Aprilia RSV4 ridden by Aprilia HSBK Racing's Dustin Dominguez by a tick over two seconds.

Due to weather delays and a dog on the track (yes, a dog) that brought out a red flag during a MotoGP session, the MotoAmerica qualifying sessions originally scheduled for the morning hours were scrapped. That meant two 35-minute sessions (Superbike/Superstock 1000 and Supersport) would decide the first pole position earners of the new season.

So with very little track time and nearly a full a day of waiting to get back on track, the Superbike men got up to speed rather quickly and Beaubier's 2:09.653 leading they way (Beaubier had led the MotoAmerica test three weeks ago with a 2:10.730).

"To get pole here in the first MotoAmerica round is pretty special," Beaubier said. "We're in front of the GP paddock and guys I haven't seen in a long time. It's good. It started off a little bit rough. I was struggling getting a flow going and I came in and saw that Jake [Gagne] and Josh [Hayes] were already in the low 10s. I put on a new tire and just put my head down with five minutes to go and I saw a 2:09 on my dash and I was like, 'Whoa.' I came and saw that I had the pole and I'm really happy. Our team has been working so hard over the off-season getting our new bikes going for us and it's shaping up to be a good year and I'm looking forward to the races."

The Supersport class also completed its qualifying today in a 35-minute session held on a mostly dry track and it was Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff earning pole position - his first in the class (formerly Daytona SportBike). Gerloff lapped at a best of 2:13.082 to top Latus Motors Racing Triumph's Bobby Fong and Wheels In Motion/Motosport.com/Meen Motorsports' Josh Herrin, the former AMA Superbike Champion suffering a mechanical problem that saw him complete only half the laps of his competition. Fong was .764 of a second off Gerloff's best and .221 of a second faster than Herrin.

"It went really well," Gerloff said. "My session yesterday didn't go as I hoped it would, so today I knew what I had to do. The session got shortened by 15 minutes so I knew it was going to be short and sweet. I got ready mentally, got two tires and went out there and felt like I rode pretty well. I'm still working to try and make the bike fit me a little better. I've kinda changed up my riding style this year so we're still working on stuff and feeling good. Everything is meshing really well."

The Supersport class will race Saturday April 11 at 4:15 p.m. with the Superbikes racing in their first of two races at 5 p.m. On Sunday, the Superbikes will race in the second race of their doubleheader at 3:30 p.m.

SUPERBIKE/SUPERSTOCK 1000 QUALIFYING:

  1. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 2:09.653
  2. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:10.198
  3. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 2:10.286
  4. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 2:10.449
  5. Jake Lewis (Suzuki) 2:12.075
  6. Dustin Dominguez (Aprilia) 2:12.342
  7. Chris Fillmore (KTM) 2:13.185
  8. Tyler O'Hara (Yamaha) 2:15.551
  9. Taylor Knapp (Yamaha) 2:16.083
  10. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki) 2:16.125

SUPERSPORT QUALIFYING

  1. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 2:13.082
  2. Bobby Fong (Triumph) 2:13.846
  3. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 2:14.067
  4. JD Beach (Yamaha) 2:14.094
  5. Joe Roberts (Yamaha) 2:14.731
  6. David Anthony (Suzuki) 2:14.983
  7. Tomas Puerta (Yamaha) 2:15.196
  8. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha) 2:15.607
  9. Cameron Petersen (Yamaha) 2:16.730
  10. Ben Young (Yamaha) 2:18.099