ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Monster Energy/Graves Motorsports Yamaha teammates Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes split victories today at Road America, though it’s Beaubier who leaves America’s Dairyland with the biggest smile after his win and second-place finish increased his championship points lead to 26 points.
Beaubier came into round four of the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM Superbike Championship with a 16-point lead over Hayes, but he managed to increase that to 26 after his solid day of 1-2 finishes while Hayes crashed in race one, remounted and finished sixth, before ending his day with a victory – the 52nd of his stellar career – in the second race of the Subway Superbike Doubleheader.
In race one, Beaubier had his hands full with Roger Hayden, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider coming up just .136 of a second behind the championship leader a day after celebrating his 32nd birthday. Hayden hounded Beaubier throughout the 14-lap race, but came up just short at the finish with Beaubier winning his fourth race of the season. Third place in race one went to Hayden’s rookie teammate Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian repeating the effort in race two to beat his teammate Hayden to end his day with another third-place finish.
“I knew going into today that the race was going to be pretty interesting because we hadn’t really had much dry track time this weekend,” Beaubier said after race one. “I knew it would be a tough race, an interesting race. Josh (Hayes) was super good on the brakes, but he was making little mistakes here and there. It’s a bummer that he went down, but it was all good and I think he came back to sixth or seventh. Roger (Hayden) and Jake (Lewis) were riding awesome and it was tough.
Hayes, meanwhile, crashed in turn 14 of race one and was fortunate to be able to remount and continue, finishing sixth and earning 10 points that may prove very valuable by season’s end. Still, he leaves Wisconsin with a 26-point deficit to his teammate Beaubier, 176-150.
In race two Hayes took advantage of a electronics problem that Beaubier encountered in the opening laps. Hayes shot out to a solid lead while Beaubier tried to sort through his problems. Once he did, he started to eat into his teammate’s lead, but the gap at the finish was 4.5 seconds after Beaubier had closed to within 2.5 seconds at one point.
“It’s always good to bounce back,” Hayes said after race two. “I rode as hard as I could. I hated to see that Cameron (Beaubier) was running me down because I didn’t think I had any more pace in me. I figured I would just figure it out at the end of the race if he got there. I was just trying to plug away and have a clean race and my bike worked so well. It was a joy to ride. I’ve had a lot of fun riding the motorcycle this weekend – rain or shine. It was a fun weekend and a big thanks to everyone and all the fans who came out.”
Lewis ended up third with his second podium of the day with his teammate Hayden fourth. Fifth place in both Superbike races went to Turbo Turtle Racing Honda’s Danny Eslick, though he was beaten both times out by Superstock 1000 winner Jake Gagne, the RoadRace Factory Yamaha rider sweeping to victories in both races. South African Sheriden Morais made his MotoAmerica debut a good one with second and third-place finish in the two Superstock 1000 races on the Aprilia HSBK Racing RSV1000.
GN Gonzales Racing’s Shane Narbonne had his best finish of the season in the first Superstock 1000 race with a third-place finish and Taylor Knapp bounced back from a mechanical problem in race one to finish second in the class on his TOBC Racing Yamaha in race two.
After eight rounds, Gagne leads Knapp in the title chase by 30 points, 150-120. Gagne’s two wins today were his fifth and sixth of the eight-race (four rounds) old series.