Round Six Of Championship, Round Two Of Honda Superbike Showdown
COSTA MESA, CA – June 9, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – There’s no rest for the weary in the 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Series as the riders and teams arrive at the pristine Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, this week for round six of the championship – the Honda Superbike Showdown of Alabama – just five days after completing the fifth round in Wisconsin. And this one promises to be red hot. In more ways than one.
As is always the case in Alabama this time of year, high temperatures and humidity will test the riders physically, especially in the Superbike class with both races scheduled for Sunday on the 2.38-mile road course.
The battle for the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship continues June 11-12 with the Honda Superbike Showdown of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Cameron Beaubier (1) leads Josh Hayes (4) and Roger Hayden (95) in the points chase.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
With the series hitting the two-thirds mark, defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier arrives at Barber Motorsports Park armed with the championship points lead. And even though he’s won six races, this is the first time all season he’s been able to claim that. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden held the early season lead, before it was snatched away by four-time Superbike Champion Josh Hayes. Now, after winning six of the last seven races, Beaubier is finally atop the standings by seven points after making up for his early season snafus. He leads his Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha teammate Hayes, 176-169.
The two Yoshimura Suzukis fared well this past weekend in Wisconsin with Hayden and teammate Toni Elias both earning 43 points after splitting second- and fourth-place finishes on Sunday. They come to Alabama third and fourth in the championship, five points apart and still in championship contention. Hayden is 27 points behind Beaubier with Elias trailing the championship leader by 32. But as we’ve seen all season long, the series has been predictable only in its unpredictability.
While Hayden has yet to win a race in 2016 and Elias hasn’t won since taking the first three races to start the season, both riders have been in the hunt at every round. Hayden came up just .442 of a second short in race one and Elias lost out in race two by just .684 of a second.
“Barber is a great track that’s a lot of fun to race on, but it always provides plenty of challenges – especially with how hot it can get there,” said Beaubier, who crashed in race one, but won race two a year ago. “Racing twice in one day in those conditions really tests you physically and can play a role in the outcome of the races. I always look forward to the challenge that racing at Barber brings and I’m well prepared for the conditions.”
With the top four Superbike men separated by just 32 points after five rounds and 10 races, it’s even closer than that in the battle for the Honda Superbike Showdown, a three-round series within a series that sees the winner take home a brand-new 2016 Honda Civic Sedan. With two rounds left (Barber and Laguna Seca in July), Beaubier holds a 17-point lead over Hayden and Elias, 50-33, after his perfect weekend in Wisconsin. Hayes is fourth with 32 points.
Josh Herrin, meanwhile, made inroads into Claudio Corti’s lead in the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 Championship after his doubleheader sweep of the class last week at Road America. Herrin is now 15 points behind the Italian in the overall Superbike Championship and 17 points behind in the Superstock title chase. Herrin’s wins in Road America were his second and third of the year. Corti, meanwhile, has won four races thus far in his debut season in MotoAmerica. Bobby Fong has won two races and sits in third in the Superstock Championship, eight points behind Herrin. Those three are fifth, sixth and seventh in the Superbike series standings.
Cycle World Suzuki’s Hayden Gillim, TOBC Racing’s Danny Eslick and MotoEverything/DieselOpps Racing’s Taylor Knapp round out the top 10 in the Superbike Championship as they roll into Alabama.
With his six wins thus far in 2016, Garrett Gerloff is starting to run away with the Supersport Championship as he leads his Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha teammate JD Beach by 43 points with four rounds (eight races) remaining. Beach, with a single win this season, leads M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki’s Valentin Debise by eight points after Road America, with Debise scoring his maiden MotoAmerica victory in race two in Wisconsin. Debise’s teammate Cameron Petersen, the fourth rider to win a race this year, is fourth in the title chase – 18 points behind his teammate.
HB Racing/Meen Motorsports’ Richie Escalante became the sixth different rider to win a Superstock 600 race this year when he won the first of two races at Road America. Unfortunately for those trying to catch up in the championship, Tuned Racing’s Bryce Prince won race two to further extend his points lead. After nine races, Prince leads HB Racing/Meen Motorsports’ Dakota Mamola by 65 points. Escalante, who only returned to action from injury two races ago, has 70 points and sits seventh in the chase for the championship.
If you want to witness a rivalry up close, there’s one brewing in the KTM RC Cup Series where AXRacing’s Brandon Paasch and Jimmy Winters Motorsports’ Anthony Mazziotto III are going at it on a weekly basis and it only continues to get more heated. Paasch got the upper hand at Road America and now leads Mazziotto in the championship by seven points after cries of foul-play after race two at Road America when the pair exchanged elbows on the run up the front straight and to the checkered flag. Paasch finished third in that one with Mazziotto fourth. A day earlier, Paasch won his third race of the season with fellow New Jersey resident Mazziotto also on the podium in third. On Sunday, Ashton Yates, the son of former AMA Champion Aaron Yates, was a popular first-time winner over Jody Barry and Paasch.
Barber Motorsports Park Notes…
Cameron Beaubier is moving quickly up the all-time win list in Superbike racing. With the first of two wins on Sunday at Road America, Beaubier moved into a tie with MotoAmerica President and three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey for 10th on the all-time win list. A few hours later with his 17th career win in hand, Beaubier moved to ninth on the all-time Superbike win list and that puts him in a tie with 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden.
Fan favorite Nicky Hayden will be on hand at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend as a guest of Honda. Hayden will ride two vintage motorcycles during the lunch break on both days: the Kel Carruthers 1960 Honda RC161 250cc four-cylinder Grand Prix bike and a 1979 CB825 Superbike straight out of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Hayden is currently sixth in the World Superbike Championship on a Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR. Hayden was the AMA Superbike Champion in 2002 and followed that up with his MotoGP World Championship in 2006 on a Honda.
Josh Hayes is the winningest active rider in the MotoAmerica Series, the four-time AMA Superbike Champion has won 59 AMA Superbike races in his career, which puts him second on the all-time list behind Australian Mat Mladin. Of those 59 wins, seven have come at Barber Motorsports Park, including his win in race one last year. Hayes won his first career Superbike race in 2009 at Sears Point Raceway in California.
Hayes won his first race of the 2016 season at VIRginia International Raceway and, believe it or not, that’s his only win of the season thus far. The 41 year old has been consistent and he led the championship going into the last round at Road America by 11 points. Beaubier, however, scored a perfect 50 points in Wisconsin to leave with a seven-point lead over Hayes as they arrive in Alabama.
Former Moto2 World Champion and MotoGP race winner Toni Elias earned his first second-place finish of the season last Sunday at Road America. Prior to that, Elias had three wins and two other podium finishes – but those were both third-place finishes. As is the case with all the racetracks MotoAmerica has visited this season with the exception of COTA, Elias is a first-timer at Barber Motorsports Park.
Beaubier’s two victories at Road America were the 96th and 97th wins in AMA Superbike racing for Yamaha. Suzuki continues to lead the way in Superbike victories with 176. Honda, meanwhile, has 116 Superbike class wins. Yamaha won all 18 races in last year’s MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
Honda will be represented at Barber by Supersport racer Benny Solis Jr. and in the Superstock 600 class by Honda employee and former Pikes Peak winner Jeffrey Tigert.
Kurtis Roberts and Aaron Yates won the first two Superbike races ever held at Barber Motorsports Park in 2003. Roberts is the youngest son of three-time 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts and Yates is the father of current KTM RC Cup racer Asthon Yates, who won his first career MotoAmerica race last week at Road America in the second of two KTM RC Cup races.
Josh Hayes beat Roger Hayden by just .397 of a second to win Superbike race one at Barber Motorsports Park last year. Cameron Beaubier crashed out of the lead of race one, but bounced back to win race two by just .128 of a second over Hayes. Hayden was third.
Beaubier left Barber Motorsports Park with a six-point lead over Hayes in the Superbike Championship a year ago.
Beaubier qualified on pole position for last year’s race at Barber Motorsports Park with a lap of 1:25.599. Hayes, meanwhile, has four pole positions at Barber with the most recent coming in 2014.
In the Supersport class, JD Beach won the two races at Barber a year ago en route to earning the MotoAmerica Supersport crown. Josh Herrin finished second in both races and Bobby Fong was third in both. Herrin and Fong are now racing in the Superstock 1000 class and are second and third in that title chase coming into Barber. Joe Roberts also won both of his races in 2015, winning the Superstock 600 class on both days. Roberts now competes in the Supersport class.
KTM RC Cup racer Anthony Mazziotto III has fond memories of Barber Motorsports Park as he picked up his first career win there a season ago.
How To Watch
BeIN SPORTS (All Times EST)
June 11: Superspole 1&2, Supersport/Superstock 600 Race 1, KTM RC Cup Race 1 (Live), 3 p.m.
June 12: Superbike Race 1&2, Supersport/Superstock 600 Race 2, KTM RC Cup Race 2 (Live) 1 p.m.
BeIN SPORTS CONNECT (All Times EST)
June 11: Superbike Superpole 1 (Live) 2:45 p.m.
June 11: Superbike Superpole 2 (Live) 3:15 p.m.
June 11: KTM RC Cup Race 1 (Live) 4:10 p.m.
June 11: Supersport/Superstock 600 Race 1 (Live) 4:45 p.m.
June 12: Superbike Race 1 (Live) 1 p.m.
June 12: KTM RC Cup Race 2 (Live) 2:50 p.m.
June 12: Supersport/Superstock 600 (Live) 3:30 p.m.
June 12: Superbike Race 2 (Live) 4:45 p.m.
MotoAmerica is the new North American road racing series created in 2014. MotoAmerica is an affiliate of KRAVE Group LLC, a partnership that includes three-time 500cc World Champion, two-time AMA Superbike Champion, and AMA Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey, ex-racer and former manager of Team Roberts Chuck Aksland, motorsports marketing executive Terry Karges, and businessman Richard Varner. For more information on MotoAmerica, visit www.MotoAmerica.com. Also make sure to follow MotoAmerica on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.