ALTON, Va. – Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier led the opening day of MotoAmerica Motul Superbike qualifying at VIRginia Int’l Raceway on Friday.
The Californian was the only rider to break into the 1 minute, 23 second bracket on Friday afternoon in the Championship of Virginia.
Beaubier turned a best lap of 1:23.976 to lead MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Championship points leader Toni Elias in the qualifying session, with the Yoshimura Suzuki rider crashing in the waning moments after lapping at 1:24.096.
Elias was uninjured in the crash and rode his Suzuki GSX-R1000 back to the pits.
“Between this morning and this afternoon’s session, we made a couple of changes to the bike,” Beaubier said. “But even this morning, when I first got on the bike, I felt comfortable. The weather got a little bit hotter this afternoon and the track got a little greasier, but I feel like, even with that, we picked up a little bit of grip. Our time is better than last year’s Superpole already.
“I’ve got a couple of things to try for tomorrow – a couple of little things with the electronics, just to make me a little more comfortable … and dial things in a little bit more. So far, my team has done an awesome job. I’m looking forward to a good weekend. Rain or shine, we’ll race and see what happens.”
An extra day of testing at Circuit of the Americas the day after the race in Texas paid dividends for the Quicksilver/LEXIN/Hudson Motorcycles team, as Bobby Fong lapped VIR at 1:24.430 for the third-fastest time of the day on the team’s Yamaha YZF-R1.
Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz ended the day with the fourth-fastest time. The South African had led the morning session with his 1:24.432, but went a tad slower in the afternoon with a 1:24.505.
Beaubier’s Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff ended the opening day of the Championship of Virginia in fifth. The Texan posted a 1:24.685 in the afternoon qualifying session.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden, Attack Performance/Herrin Compound’s Josh Herrin, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, Motovation USA/KWR’s Kyle Wyman and Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Cameron Petersen rounded out the top 10.
The Supersport class battle between Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim and Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha’s JD Beach continued into round two at VIR, with Gillim coming out on top on the opening day of qualifying by just .041 of a second over Beach.
Bryce Prince rode his Lucas Oils/KWR Yamaha R6 to third, 1.8 seconds behind Gillim and just a few tenths quicker than M4 medAge Suzuki’s Nick McFadden.
The first Liqui Moly Junior Cup qualifying session also took place on Friday, with the tweaking of the technical rules bringing parity back into the class.
KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training’s Alex Dumas led the way on his KTM RC390. The French Canadian lapped VIR in 1:38.698. That put him .145 of a second ahead of MP13 Racing Yamaha’s Cory Ventura and .188 of a second clear of another Yamaha, ridden by AGVSPORT America MonkeyMoto’s Jay Newton.
Attack Peformance/Herrin Compound Racing’s Gavin Anthony was fourth on a Yamaha, with the first of the Kawasaki Ninja 400s in fifth, ridden by Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates.
Three different manufacturers ended up in the top five in class, with the top seven riders covered by just .359 of a second.
The Twins Cup qualifying session was led by RBoM Racing’s Xavier Zayat. The youngster held a 1.5 second margin over RBoM 180 Racing’s Curtis Murray.
Ghetto Customs’ Chris Parrish, who won the opening round of the series at Road Atlanta, was third fastest. All three were Suzuki-mounted, with Jason Madama riding the first Yamaha to the fourth fastest time.