MotoAmerica Results From Road America: Gerloff Wins Supersport, Hayes On Superbike Pole

Close Racing At Elkhart Lake

ELKHART LAKE, WI, JUNE 4 - Racing doesn't get much closer than it was today at Road America during the opening day of action in the Honda Superbike Showdown of Wisconsin, with the three races featuring a combined margin of victory of just .111 of a second.

The closest of the two was the MotoAmerica Supersport race with Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha teammates Garrett Gerloff and JD Beach separated by just .004 of a second after 12 laps of the 4.048-mile Road America. And Cameron Petersen was third, just .264 of a second from victory, as the Supersport race started on a partially wet racetrack and ended on a dry one. All of the top Supersport riders used slick tires.

Garrett Gerloff (31) won his sixth Supersport race at Road America
Garrett Gerloff (31) won his sixth Supersport race of the season on Saturday at Road America; Cameron Petersen (45) finished third with JD Beach (1) second - by just .004 of a second.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

"The first part of the race it was pretty wet in a few spots," Gerloff said after his sixth win of the season extended his lead in the championship to 39 points. "We had to tiptoe through there and four or five laps passed and there was a pretty solid dry line and by the last three laps it was, unless it was under a bridge or under some trees like turns 12 and 14, the entire track was dry. I wasn't really pumped on having to do the tire choice thing again, but everybody was going with slicks so we went with slicks. The first couple of laps was tiptoeing."

Richie Escalante (54) won his first Superstock 600 race at Road America
Richie Escalante (54) won his first Superstock 600 race of the season with his win over Bryce Prince (74). Escalante is recovering from an off-season leg injury.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

The Superstock 600 race, which ran with the Supersport class, was won by Richie Escalante, the HB Racing/Meen Motorsports' rider showing he's back from the leg injuries suffered during the off-season. In just his second race back in the series, Escalante beat championship leader Bryce Prince by just .073 of a second while also finishing fourth overall in the Supersport class.

"In my first test, I broke my knee and it was difficult to recover," Escalante said after his second career MotoAmerica Superstock 600 win and his first of the 2016 season. "In Virginia, I had a good race, second, and here in the first laps I was very happy to stay with the Supersport guys. The last lap in the draft I passed Bryce (Prince) and I'm very happy. I love my R6 and my team, HB/Meen Motorsport. We will see tomorrow. I try to win. "

In the KTM RC Cup final, AXcess Racing's Brandon Paasch came back from 10th on the opening lap to draft past Mini GP Mexico's Alejandro Gutierrez at the flag, beating the Toluca, Mexico, resident by just .034 of a second after six laps. And Paasch's rival Anthony Mazziotto III was just .137 of a second behind after leading out of the final corner and getting passed by both Paasch and Gutierrez at the finish line.

KTM RC Cup race at Road America
The KTM RC Cup race was won by Brandon Paasch (969) by just .034 of a second.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

"I had a good start, I just didn't know what to expect from the track with all the conditions," Paasch said after his third win of the season, a win that moved him into the championship points lead over Mazziotto, 148-144. "I got off to a slow start and picked it up towards the end. I honestly didn't think I was going to win when I came out (of turn 14) in second. He had a little bit of a gap so I thought he was going to get a good drive and beat us to the line."

In addition to today's racing action at Road America, the day also featured Superpole qualifying for tomorrow's two Superbike races. The session was held in wet conditions and four-time Superbike Champion Josh Hayes dominated, the Monster Energy/Graves Motorsports Yamaha rider mastering the wet conditions to lap at 2:30.734. It was the 39th Superbike pole of Hayes' career (and his sixth at Road America) and rather remarkably his first of the 2016 season.

Josh Hayes takes Road America Superbike pole position
Josh Hayes earned his first Superbike pole of the year at Road America.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

"By memory, I feel like the track is in much better condition than it was last year," Hayes said. "The improvements in turns five, six, eight and the last turn are really good. There is a lot of grip in those sections of the racetrack. I was watching the previous section session (Superpole 1) where they were showing Hayden (Gillim) and (Claudio) Corti and those guys going through there and I felt pretty confident about it. I was able to get up to speed pretty quickly. I had a big group behind me and I didn't want to bring them all along with me. I got one in the books and then steadily chipped away from that point on and I definitely had some limitations and some things with my motorcycle that kept me from going a little bit quicker, but all in all I got a little lucky. In the dry, I haven't quite had the pace but I feel pretty good about the race. I think I will be able to dice it up and be in the race."

Spaniard Toni Elias and Cameron Beaubier will join Hayes on the front row, the latter ruining his chances of challenging his Yamaha teammate with a crash during the session. Elias rode his Yoshimura Suzuki to a best of 2:32.514 - 1.790 seconds behind Hayes. Beaubier's best was a 2:32.628, but he has the confidence from being the fastest rider in all three of the dry Superbike practice sessions and tomorrow's forecast is dry and sunny.

The second row of the grid will be led by Elias' Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Roger Hayden. He will be joined there by Broaster Chicken/RoadRace Factory's Jake Gagne and Aprilia HSBK Racing's Claudio Corti, the Italian coming through to Superpole 2 from Superpole 1. He was also the fastest of the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 racers.

Team Rabid Transit's Mathew Scholtz, who is replacing injured South African countryman Sheridan Morais, TOBC Racing's Danny Eslick, Wheels In Motion/Meen Motorsports' Josh Herrin and Latus Motors Racing's Bobby Fong rounded out the top 10 Superbike qualifiers.

SUPERBIKE QUALIFYING: 1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:30.734; 2. Toni Elias (Suzuki) 2:32.514; 3. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 2:32.628; 4. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 2:33.183; 5. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 2:34.371; 6. Claudio Corti (Aprilia) 2:35.178; 7. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) 2:36.684; 8. Danny Eslick (Yamaha) 2:37.215; 9. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 2:38.167; 10. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki) 2:38.693.

SUPERSPORT RACE 1: Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha); 2 JD Beach (Yamaha); 3. Cameron Petersen (Suzuki); 4 .Richie Escalante (Yamaha); 5. Bryce Prince (Yamaha); 6. Joe Roberts (Yamaha); 7. Travis Wyman (Yamaha); 8. Dakota Mamola (Yamaha); 9. Nick McFadden (Yamaha); 10. Conner Blevins (Kawasaki).

KTM RC CUP RACE 1: 1. Brandon Paasch; 2. Alejandro Gutierrez; 3. Anthony Mazziotto III; 4. Josh Serne; 5. Renzo Ferreira; 6. Benjamin Smith; 7. Ashton Yates; 8. Draik Beauchamp; 9. Brandon Altmeyer; 10. Christopher Kosan.