Veteran Spanish ace Toni Elias scored an impressive victory for Yoshimura-Suzuki in the penultimate race of the Motul Superbike National Championship Saturday at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama. The popular former Moto2 World Champ made up for a poor qualifying effort (he started sixth) by pushing to the front and eventually pulling away to win the 21 lap Feature race in the MotoAmerica Series.
Early leader Josh Herrin was a distant second on his privateer Attach-Yamaha YZF-R1, and admitted to easing his pace late in a very hot and humid southern day. Also in the fight for first was pole sitter Cameron Beaubier, but he crashed his Monster-Yamaha in turn seven, mid-race.
The fight for third was a good one, with South African ace Mathew Scholtz, a victor in the rain here a year ago, staying mostly in front of crowd favorite Roger Hayden. Yoshimura-Suzuki’s Hayden is retiring at the end of this weekend, and was briefly third late in the race. But Hayden ran wide and Scholtz made a re-pass to score third on his Yamalube Yamaha.
Hayden settled for fourth, and a good race long battle for fifth was resolved with Ecstar/M4 Suzuki’s Jake Lewis earning the spot ahead of sixth best Danny Eslick on his BMW. Second works Yamaha racer Garrett Gerloff earned seventh, Genuine Broaster Chicken-backed Honda team-mates Bobby Fong and Cameron Petersen battling to take eighth and ninth.
For Ben Young, the Superbike race was uneventful, after a strong early performance. The runner-up in the 2018 Mopar CSBK Championship tour was in the thick of things early, and would up 13th with his regular BMW S1000RR.
“I struggled with the front, the bike felt vague, and I didn’t want t overdo things,” explained the former Brooklin Cycle Racing Canadian Pro Superbike Rookie of the Year. “Really, the race was a lot of work, the bike became somewhat difficult to ride.
“We have a few things to do for the warm-up tomorrow morning, and that’s a great thing here – we have another race to try and deal with any issues. So the goal is to get on top of things in time for tomorrow’s final race of the season.”
In the SuperSport class for middleweight machinery, Hayden Gillim scored a break-through dry race victory for privateer Rickdiculous Racing Yamaha, holding off the charge of new class Champ J.D. Beach aboard the works Monster Yamaha. French star Valentin Debise was a close third on a M4 Ecstar Suzuki.
Alberta’s Braeden Ortt had another strong effort aboard the Tuned Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, moving up over several restarts to claim a strong fourth overall at the finish.
In the Liqui Moly Junior Cup portion of the MotoAmerica Championship of Alabama, newly crowned debut class Champ Alex Dumas of Quebec earned another solid victory. 16-year-old Dumas led the whole way for his ninth win of the season, gradually pulling away from Cory Ventura’s MP13 Yamaha YZF-R3. Ventura holds second in the standings with only Sunday’s race left to run in the Championship. Renzo Ferreira was third on the Quarterly Racing Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Sunday’s schedule includes a full program of events to conclude the 2018 MotoAmerica National Championship tour.