Elias Shines In MotoAmerica Superbike Action

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Toni Elias (24) leads en route to winning Sunday's MotoAmerica Superbike race. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

BRASELTON, Ga. – Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias won his first race of the MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike Series season Sunday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

The Spaniard bested Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz by 1.839 seconds under sunny skies on the final day of the Suzuki Championship.

The win, combined with his second place from Saturday, gives Elias the early lead in the EBC Brakes Superbike Championship with 45 points – four more than Saturday’s winner Cameron Beaubier, who was third Sunday.

As was the case yesterday, the Superbike race began with six riders running together at the front with those three – Elias, Scholtz and Beaubier – joined by Beaubier’s Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Garrett Gerloff, Attack Performance Estenson Racing’s J.D. Beach and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin.

Gerloff was the first to have issues, the Texan slowed by a front fender flapping in the wind. Despite repeated attempts at kicking the bodywork off his bike, Gerloff eventually had to pull over to remove the fender. He would continue onward and eventually finish ninth.

Herrin, meanwhile, lacked the pace to stay with the top four with the race coming down to just three in the final laps as the trio pulled slightly clear of Beach. Then both Beaubier and Scholtz were bauked badly by a back marker with two laps to go, costing them any shot at Elias and also allowing Beach to move to the tail of the battling duo. Scholtz ended up getting the edge on Beaubier to take second with Beach finishing just .3 of a second off the back of the defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion.

Apparently, the birth of his son just a few weeks ago hasn’t slowed Elias who leaves the opening round with the points lead for the fourth straight season.

“Everybody was telling me that,” Elias said of his pace being slowed with having a child. “I was kind of worried. When he was born, in my head I said, ‘what the heck? Now I have a really strong reason to fight for,’ so that’s what happened. I’m super motivated. I didn’t slow down. So, I’m happy. This winter the team worked so good. But, honestly, I was thinking to be more comfortable in these first rounds. Last year to be more competitive we took a good direction. I was thinking this would change a little bit… but then we arrive here and seems different… all the time the bike is moving a lot around. We were going to do some changes for this morning, but we couldn’t try anything. For everybody it was the same. Same tire. Harder than yesterday. I was not thinking yesterday to do that slow pace. I think it’s the race. A little bit frustrated. I couldn’t do what I wanted.

“In the mid part of the race I started to lose a lot of grip, maybe less than J.D. and Mathew. But Cameron was so strong. I missed something there. Anyway, for today I was going to use the same tire as Dunlop wanted, and it was really good. The tire has been super consistent all the race, but we still have to improve in some areas. Anyway, yesterday 20 points. Could be zero. Now 25 (points), so perfect Sunday.”

In Supersport, Saturday’s second-place finisher Bobby Fong came back strong on Sunday and notched the race win aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. Second-place finisher P.J. Jacobsen kept Fong honest throughout the majority of the 18-lap race to record his first MotoAmerica podium result in his second race aboard his Celtic HSBK Racing Yamaha.

Hudson Motorcycles – HB Racing Yamaha rider Richie Escalante finished third and dedicated the race to his grandfather after getting the sad news earlier in the day that he had passed away.

In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Saturday’s race winner Rocco Landers did the double and got the win on Sunday aboard his Landers Racing Kawasaki. Almost a carbon copy of yesterday, he got a great jump off the line from the pole position, led the 11-lap race from start to finish, and pulled a gap of nearly five seconds.

Dallas Daniels, the second-place finisher from Saturday’s race, once again finished second on Sunday aboard his Quarterley Racing/On Track Development Kawasaki. Altus Motorsports rider Kevin Olmedo finished third to complete the podium.

Last year’s Stock 1000 champion Andrew Lee got his 2019 season off to a flying start with a win in Sunday’s race. The Northern Californian is defending his title aboard his No. 1 Franklin Armory/Graves Kawasaki, and he stalked second-place finisher Michael Gilbert, who led the majority of the race on his Team Norris Racing Kawasaki until Lee made his decisive move and took the checkers. MESA37 Racing’s Stefano Mesa came in third, making it a Kawasaki podium sweep.

The same podium finishers in Saturday’s Twins Cup race were again on the podium in Sunday’s race, and Quarterley Racing Ducati rider Michael Barnes was the race winner for the second day in a row. Barnes once again showed that experience (age) is the secret to success as he had the measure of his competitors. Defending class champ Chris Parrish improved on his Saturday third-place result by finishing second on Sunday aboard his Ghetto Customs Suzuki, and RBoM Racing’s Curtis Murray rounded out the podium in third.