MotoAmerica Title Hopefuls Headed To Pittsburgh

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MotoAmerica Title Hopefuls
Toni Elias and Cameron Beaubier battled throughout the second EBC Brakes Superbike race last year at PittRace. (Brian J. Nelson photo)

COSTA MESA, Calif. – The MotoAmerica Series is headed into its final three races of the season, with much to play for as Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex hosts the tour Aug. 23-25.

With rounds six and seven held in California, the series heads east this week for three straight races on the East Coast – PittRace, New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sept. 7-9 and the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park, Sept. 20-23.

This weekend’s race will mark the third time MotoAmerica has visited Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex, which is located some 45 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, and it’s already become a series favorite for riders, teams and fans.

This year the premier EBC Brakes Superbike Championship arrives at PittRace with the top three championship contenders separated by just 40 points, with 150 points still up for grabs.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias leads the standings with 266 points, 34 more than Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier and 40 more than Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff.

Based on past history at PittRace, this one is wide open, as a Superbike rider has yet to win twice on the twisty and undulating 2.78-mile racetrack in the green hills of Wampum.

Beaubier won the first-ever MotoAmerica Superbike race at PittRace in 2017 but suffered a separated shoulder in race two, with that race going to the now-retired Roger Hayden.

In 2018, Josh Herrin won race one in iffy conditions, with Elias winning race two.

The margin of victory has also been close in those previous four races – 1.4 seconds, .263 of a second, 2.3 seconds and .046 of a second.

Looking at the season thus far, things become much clearer, and it really all comes down to just how fast and dominant Elias has been. The Spaniard has won six races so far, but his tally is blemished by two race crashes that have allowed the others to stay in the chase.

Those crashes came in race two at Road America in June and two weeks ago in race two at Sonoma Raceway.

Going into Sunday’s second race at Sonoma, Elias looked to have both hands on the number-one plate as he lined up with a 59-point lead over Beaubier, who had crashed out of race one. Then race two happened.

Elias crashed out, Beaubier won and now the title chase is on again.

Beaubier went into Sonoma as a four-time winner at the Northern California race track near his home, but he was fortunate that Elias followed his lead with a crash on Sunday – with Beaubier pulling away to his third race win of the season.

On Saturday, it was Gerloff who scored the victory, his second of the year and his second in a row. Gerloff followed that win with a second-place finish behind Beaubier on Sunday and his solid weekend at Sonoma – combined with the other two both having DNFs – puts the Texan in the title chase. He trails Elias by 40 points and Beaubier by just six.

Attack Performance Estenson Racing’s JD Beach was fourth and fifth in the two races at Sonoma and he’s fourth in the title chase, but well out of title contention with 107 points.

Beach now has his hands full defending his position with Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin fifth and just 11 points behind. Herrin crashed out of race one at Sonoma and rebounded to finish third in race two.

Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz put his Yamaha on the ground a few times during the Sonoma weekend, but not during the two races. For that he was rewarded with third in race one and fourth in race two. He’s just nine points behind Herrin and 18 ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, with Lewis crashing in both races at Sonoma.

Omega Moto’s Cameron Petersen heads to Pittsburgh eighth in the title chase, just six points clear of ninth-placed David Anthony on the FLY Racing ADR Motorsports Kawasaki and seven points ahead of the ever-improving Scheibe Racing BMW of Jake Gagne.

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong didn’t win a race at Sonoma, but he still came out of the event smelling like a rose, with two second-place finishes in the Supersport class.

Fong leads the title chase by 20 over Ricdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim, the Kentuckian having won five races (the most of anyone in the class), including race one at Sonoma.

Rocco Landers’ rivals would basically have to steal his Ninja400R.com/Norton Motorsports/Dr Farr for him not to earn the Liqui Moly Junior Cup Championship.

The 14-year-old Oregonian is 76 points ahead of his nearest rival in the title chase and on the verge of capturing his first MotoAmerica title.

Franklin Armory/Graves Kawasaki’s Andrew Lee has won four of the seven Stock 1000 races this season and he will arrive in Pittsburgh with a 23-point lead over Mesa37’s Stefano Mesa. North Carolina’s Mesa has one win to his credit in 2019.

The closest championship points battle can be found in the Twins Cup class, where the top three are separated by just two points.

AP MotoArts’ Draik Beauchamp heads the list with 108 points, one better than Roadracing World Young Guns’ Alex Dumas and two better than Quarterley Racing’s Michael Barnes.