MotoAmerica Race Review: Fighting for Victory at Road Atlanta

Things got a bit heated at the Road Atlanta MotoAmerica Round in Georgia.

motoamerica road atlanta 2017
Elias (24) raced to his third win of the season following an exciting battle.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

SATURDAY

Five riders battled in the lead group for most of the 21-lap Suzuki ECSTAR Championship at Road Atlanta and the race went to the wire with defending two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier taking his first victory of the season by a scant .287 of a second over Spaniard Toni Elias. The victory was the 20th Superbike win of Beaubier's career, a victory that moved him out of a tie with Fred Merkel and into fifth on the all-time win list. His 20th will also go down as one of the hardest-fought wins of his young career as he had to pass four riders after dropping back to fifth early in the race. The early part of the race was actually led by Beaubier's Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Josh Hayes, after the four-time champion made some changes to his bike that made him competitive after struggling in practice and qualifying.

Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Roger Hayden was another who ran at the front, before a mistake when he was racing with his teammate Elias dropped him out of the lead trio and to fourth, where he would finish. Ditto for HelmetSounds.com/Western Services/Meen Racing's Josh Herrin, the former Superbike Champion showing good pace and running as high as second early on. Herrin would finish an eventual fifth. The race came down to Beaubier versus Elias, with Hayes a shadow third. And it was heated, with the two coming together on at least one occasion and Beaubier coming out the best of it. Elias led going into the final chicane, but Beaubier was able to shoot past and hold the inside line on the run to Turn 12 and the awaiting checkered flag. He shot across the finish line just .287 of a second ahead of Elias and his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing bike. Hayes, meanwhile, was 1.3 seconds behind his teammate Beaubier.

With Hayden fourth and Herrin fifth, sixth place in the Motul Superbike Class went to South African Mathew Scholtz, and that earned him victory in the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class - the first of his MotoAmerica career. Scholtz's victory was also hard-earned with the Yamalube/Westby Racing rider besting Quicksilver Latus Motors Kawasaki's Bobby Fong by just .616 of a second.

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Jake Lewis ended up third in the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class, some five seconds ahead of the Excelsus Solutions/Lucas Oil/KWR's Kyle Wyman on his Yamaha YZF-R1. Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda's Jake Gagne rounded out the top 10.

The Supersport/Superstock 600 race was also a thriller on a perfect Saturday in Braselton, with defending MotoAmerica Supersport Champion Garrett Gerloff taking his first win of the season by a scant .179 of a second over M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Valentin Debise. Third place today went to last week's winner at Circuit of The Americas, JD Beach. Beach led the re-started race early, but ran off the track in the final corner early, dropping to 11th before charging through to third, putting two Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamahas on the podium.

Team H35 Honda's Benny Solis was fourth with class rookie Brandon Paasch rounding out the top five on his M4 The 22 Project Suzuki.

The championship in the Supersport class after two races is tight with Gerloff and Beach tied for the lead with 41 points - just one better than Debise.

M4 medAge Suzuki's Nick McFadden, meanwhile, took his first-career MotoAmerica victory when he beat Aguilar Racing's Jason Aguilar and Team MG55's Michael Gilbert to win the Superstock 600 class.

The KTM RC Cup made its 2017 debut at Road Atlanta today with three fresh faces on the podium. The win went to Quarterley Racing/On Track Development's Benjamin Smith over his teammate Draik Beauchamp. Third place went to Alex Dumas on the JP43 Junior Team in his MotoAmerica debut.

Then win for Smith was his first, and it was a well-calculated one over Beauchamp by 2.021 seconds. Dumas was just behind in third, 2.3 seconds behind Smith.

MotoAmerica Road Atlanta 2017
MotoAmerica at Road Atlanta, 2017Photo: Brian J. Nelson

SATURDAY'S RESULTS

Motul Superbike

  1. Cameron Beaubier, Roseville, Calif., Yamaha
  2. Toni Elias, Barcelona, Spain, Suzuki
  3. Josh Hayes, Gulfport, Miss., Yamaha
  4. Roger Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki
  5. Josh Herrin. Dublin, Ga., Suzuki
  6. Mathew Scholtz, Johannesburg, South Africa, Yamaha
  7. Bobby Fong, Stockton, Calif., Kawasaki
  8. Jake Lewis, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki
  9. Kyle Wyman, Macedon, N.Y., Yamaha
  10. Jake Gagne, San Diego, Calif., Honda

Bazzaz Superstock 1000

  1. Mathew Scholtz, Johannesburg, South Africa, Yamaha
  2. Bobby Fong, Stockton, Calif., Kawasaki
  3. Jake Lewis, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki
  4. Danny Eslick, Tulsa, Okla., Yamaha
  5. Hayden Gillim, Philpot, Ky., Suzuki
  6. Max Flinders, Preston, England, Yamaha

Supersport

  1. Garrett Gerloff, New Waverly, Texas, Yamaha
  2. Valentine Debise, Albi, France, Suzuki
  3. JD Beach, Philpot, Ky., Yamaha
  4. Benny Solis, North Hollywood, Calif., Honda
  5. Brandon Paasch, Freehold, N.J., Suzuki
  6. Nick McFadden, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki
  7. Jason Aguilar, Placentia, Calif., Yamaha
  8. Michael Gilbert, Santa Ana, Calif., Yamaha
  9. Daytona Anderson, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
  10. Conner Blevins, Oklahoma City, Okla., Kawasaki

Superstock 600

  1. Nick McFadden, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki
  2. Jason Aguilar, Placentia, Calif., Yamaha
  3. Michael Gilbert, Santa Ana, Calif., Yamaha
  4. Conner Blevins, Oklahoma City, Okla., Kawasaki
  5. Shane Richardson, Wellington, New Zealand, Kawasaki
  6. Braeden Ortt, Calgary, Alberta, Yamaha
  7. Rafael DaSilva, Minas, Brazil, Yamaha
  8. JC Camacho, Deer Park, Texas, Suzuki
  9. Brandon Cleland, Fort Worth, Texas, Suzuki
  10. Ryan Christian, Clearwater, Fla., Yamaha

KTM RC Cup

  1. Benjamin Smith, Glenmoore, Pa., KTM
  2. Draik Beauchamp, Knoxville, Tenn., KTM
  3. Alex Dumas, Quebec, Canada, KTM
  4. Trevor Standish, Roswell, Ga., KTM
  5. Tyler Wissel, Medina, Ohio, KTM
  6. Gavin Anthony, Hilliard, Ohio, KTM
  7. Cory Ventura, Union City, Calif., KTM
  8. Toby Khamsouk, Banning, Calif., KTM
  9. Nate Minster, Oak Grove, Minn., KTM
  10. Jake Leahey, Hammonton, N.J., KTM
MotoAmerica Road Atlanta 2017
Roger Hayden (95) holds off Toni Elias (24) at the front of the pack.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

SUNDAY

It looks like we have a rivalry in the 2017 MotoAmerica Series with a heated exchange taking place in today's post-Motul Superbike press conference between race winner Toni Elias and yesterday's winner Cameron Beaubier at the Suzuki ECSTAR Championship at Road Atlanta. The war of words started yesterday when Elias was angered by Beaubier's pass in the final corner that pushed Elias onto the grass on the exit of Turn 12. Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Elias said yesterday he had a long memory, but he didn't need it as he retaliated quickly in today's second race, moving over on Beaubier on the run down to Turn 12, then touching his helmet and looking back at his new rival. The two exchanged words prior to the winner's circle celebration and that spilled over to the press conference.

As for the race itself, it was another thriller with five riders at the front early, a battle that whittled down to three late in the race. Elias ended up beating his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Roger Hayden by just .308 of a second with Beaubier and his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory R1 just another .256 of a second behind in third. Josh Herrin rode his Helmet Sounds/Western Services/Meen Racing Yamaha to fourth, some five seconds behind the lead trio and six seconds ahead of fifth-placed Kyle Wyman on the Excelsus Solutions/Lucas Oils/KWR Yamaha YZF-R1. Sixth place went to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Jake Lewis, a spot that put him on top of the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 podium. The win was Lewis' first in the class and first in his MotoAmerica career.

Lewis benefitted by the non-finish of championship points leader Fong and yesterday's winner Scholtz. Fong crashed his Quicksilver Latus Motors Racing Kawasaki early in the race and Scholtz went out with a mechanical on his Yamalube/Westby Racing Yamaha R1. That means Lewis is now tied with Fong for the lead in the championship with 70 points, five clear of Scholtz.

As for the Motul Superbike class points, Elias leads the championship by 26 points after his third win in four races over Beaubier and Hayden, 95-69, with those two tied for second. Herrin is fourth in points with 43 points. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Valentin Debise won his second career MotoAmerica Supersport race today at Road Atlanta, the Frenchman turning the tables on yesterday's winner Garrett Gerloff and the Monster/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha. Again, Gerloff's teammate JD Beach finished third.

With his first win of the season, Debise moves to the lead in the championship over Gerloff, 65-61, with Beach third on 57 points.

For the second straight day it was M4 medAge Suzuki's Nick McFadden taking victory in the Superstock 600 class over yesterday's third-place finisher Michael Gilbert on the Team MG55 Yamaha. Yesterday's second-place finisher Jason Aguilar was third today on his Aguilar Racing Yamaha R6.

The KTM RC Cup also had its second race of the weekend today and two-thirds of the podium was the same as yesterday. The winner was the same in Quarterley Racing/On Track Development's Benjamin Smith with his teammate Draik Beauchamp again finishing second. Today's margin of victory was closer than yesterday's, with Smith winning by 1.039 seconds. Third place went to Wissel Racing's Tyler Wissel, the first podium finish of his MotoAmerica career.

The 2017 MotoAmerica Series resumes, May 12-14, with the Championship of Virginia at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia.

MotoAmerica Road Atlanta 2017
The Superstock 600 Championship round underway.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

Motul Superbike

  1. Toni Elias, Barcelona, Spain, Suzuki
  2. Roger Hayden, Owensboro, Ky, Suzuki
  3. Cameron Beaubier, Roseville, Calif., Yamaha
  4. Josh Herrin, Dublin, Ga, Yamaha
  5. Kyle Wyman, Macedon, N.Y., Yamaha
  6. Jake Lewis, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki
  7. Jake Gagne, San Diego, Calif, Honda
  8. Danny Eslick, Tulsa, Okla., Yamaha
  9. David Anthony, Melbourne, Australia, Kawasaki
  10. Bryce Prince, Bakersfield, Calif., Yamaha

Motul Superbike Championship Standings

  1. Toni Elias, Barcelona, Spain, Suzuki - 96
  2. Cameron Beaubier, Roseville, Calif., Yamaha - 69
  3. Roger Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki - 69
  4. Josh Herrin. Dublin, Ga., Suzuki - 43
  5. Bobby Fong, Stockton, Calif., Kawasaki - 36
  6. Jake Lewis, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki - 34
  7. Mathew Scholtz, Johannesburg, South Africa, Yamaha - 32
  8. Josh Hayes, Gulfport, Miss., Yamaha - 31
  9. Josh Herrin. Dublin, Ga., Suzuki - 30
  10. Danny Eslick, Tulsa, Okla., Yamaha - 28

Bazzaz Superstock 1000

  1. Jake Lewis, Owensboro, Ky, Suzuki
  2. Danny Eslick, Tulsa, Okla., Yamaha
  3. Bryce Prince, Bakersfield, Calif., Yamaha
  4. Hayden Gillim, Philpot, Ky., Suzuki
  5. Max Flinders, Preston, England, Yamaha
  6. Anthony Kosinski, South Bend, Ind., Yamaha

Superstock 600

  1. Nick McFadden, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki
  2. Michael Gilbert, Santa Ana, Calif., Yamaha
  3. Jason Aguilar, Placentia, Calif., Yamaha
  4. JC Camacho, Deer Park, Texas, Suzuki
  5. Shane Richardson, Wellington, New Zealand, Kawasaki
  6. Conner Blevins, Oklahoma City, Okla., Kawasaki
  7. Braeden Ortt, Calgary, Alberta, Yamaha
  8. Anthony Mazziotto III, Hammonton, N.J., Yamaha
  9. Rafael DaSilva, Minas, Brazil, Yamaha
  10. Brandon Cleland, Fort Worth, Texas, Suzuki

Superstock 600 Championship Standings

  1. Nick McFadden, Owensboro, Ky., Suzuki - 50
  2. Michael Gilbert, Santa Ana, Calif., Yamaha - 36
  3. Jason Aguilar, Placentia, Calif., Yamaha - 36
  4. Conner Blevins, Oklahoma City, Okla., Kawasaki - 23
  5. Shane Richardson, Wellington, New Zealand, Kawasaki - 22
  6. JC Camacho, Deer Park, Texas, Suzuki - 21
  7. Braeden Ortt, Calgary, Alberta, Yamaha - 19
  8. Rafael DaSilva, Minas, Brazil, Yamaha - 16
  9. Brandon Cleland, Fort Worth, Texas, Suzuki - 13
  10. Ryan Christian, Clearwater, Fla., Yamaha - 11

KTM RC Cup

  1. Benjamin Smith, Glenmoore, Pa., KTM
  2. Draik Beauchamp, Knoxville, Tenn., KTM
  3. Tyler Wissel, Medina, Ohio, KTM
  4. Alex Dumas, Quebec, Canada, KTM
  5. Toby Khamsouk, Banning, Calif., KTM
  6. Gavin Anthony, Hilliard, Ohio, KTM
  7. Trevor Standish, Roswell, Ga., KTM
  8. Cory Ventura, Union City, Calif., KTM
  9. Jake Leahey, Hammonton, N.J., KTM
  10. Sergio Rodriguez II, Oxnard, Calif., KTM

KTM RC Cup Championship Standings

  1. Benjamin Smith, Glenmoore, Pa., KTM - 50
  2. Draik Beauchamp, Knoxville, Tenn., KTM - 40
  3. Alex Dumas, Quebec, Canada, KTM - 29
  4. Tyler Wissel, Medina, Ohio, KTM - 27
  5. Trevor Standish, Roswell, Ga., KTM - 22
  6. Gavin Anthony, Hilliard, Ohio, KTM - 20
  7. Toby Khamsouk, Banning, Calif., KTM - 19
  8. Cory Ventura, Union City, Calif., KTM - 17
  9. Jake Leahey, Hammonton, N.J., KTM - 13
  10. Nate Minster, Oak Grove, Minn., KTM - 12
MotoAmerica Road Atlanta 2017
The KTM RC Cup saw some new faces on the podium after its 2017 debut.Photo: Brian J. Nelson