ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Toni Elias emerged from the Friday fray as the fastest man in the MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike class at Road America, but that was before his time was disallowed.
His fastest lap was disallowed in the final session for the loss of custody of the bike at the end of session. That miscue by the current Superbike Championship points leader dropped him to third in the combined times and allowed Cameron Beaubier to move to the top in the Dunlop Championship at Road America.
“This morning, first practice, I was a little slow to get up to speed and the wind was kind of affecting everyone, blowing us around,” Beaubier said. “That was something to get used to. All in all, it wasn’t too bad and we led the first session by a little bit. Second practice, made a couple of changes chassis-wise and struggled a little bit with a couple of things that we’re going to work on for tomorrow.
“I noticed Toni (Elias) was a chunk faster than us, like three or four tenths, so definitely we have to do our homework tonight and come out swinging tomorrow. All in all, felt like I wasn’t piecing the track together like I was last year. My times were slower than what they were last year on Friday. I wasn’t super comfortable, but I’m still happy to be up with those guys, looking at the positives. I’m curious to see what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. We will see what happens, but no matter what we will be ready to go.”
Elias had ended up on top via his 2:12.444 lap on Friday afternoon, the Spaniard besting Beaubier by .421 of a second. Beaubier, meanwhile, had put his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1 in second, leading his teammate Garrett Gerloff by .308 of a second. But that was before Elias was penalized.
The Spaniard encountered electrical issues and made his way back down toward turn five on an ill-running motorcycle. He then left the track and rode the bike back to the paddock. At that point, he was in violation of the rules and his lap times from the session were disallowed. Elias, with his 2:13.603 from the morning session, was dropped to third fastest on the day.
“Today went pretty well,” Elias said, prior to learning of his penalty. “The bike is pretty different than last year. We move in the same direction as last year to see if all the pumping problems from last year can come back for this race. The problems of pumping came back when we did the same moves as last year so it’s good to know and not on Sunday. We found out on Friday so for this afternoon we moved in another direction so it works so well because in five or six laps we are running in 12s (2:12 lap times) very consistent and very comfortable.
“We need to improve if we want to continue like this because the other rivals will improve too for tomorrow. I’m happy. We had an electrical problem because we did just six or seven laps. The first time I could come back to the pit, but the second time I couldn’t come back to the pit. The bike stopped, I switched the bike on and then I had to take the bike to the track but only with 2000 rpm. I hear that you cannot do that, so what do I have to do? I have to stop the bike and it wasn’t working so being in the middle of the way was not okay. What I did in VIR was not okay. Today I brought the bike to the pit and I hope everything will be fine.”
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz ended the day fourth fastest, one spot better than Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong and Sean Dylan Kelly gave the team a one-two finish in the Supersport provisional qualifying session on Friday afternoon. Fong was best, turning in a 2:19.814 on his final lap to snatch provisional pole from Kelly, the Floridian ending up .575 of a second behind.
The Stock 1000 provisional pole went to Geoff May, the veteran racer besting defending class champion Andrew Lee. Weir Everywhere Racing BMW’s Travis Wyman rounds out the provisional front row going into tomorrow’s final qualifying.
Rocco Landers put a half a second between himself and his closest rival Dallas Daniels in advance of Saturday’s final qualifying session for the Liqui Moly Junior Cup class. The rest of the class finds itself in a hole, with Kevin Olmedo third, but 1.7 seconds behind Landers, who has won three of the first four races so far in 2019.
Michael Barnes led Kris Turner to lead the only Twins Cup practice session of the day.