The Monster Energy Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Team got off to a great start at round three of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship with Cameron Beaubier firing the first shot and taking a dominant victory in race one at VIRginia International Raceway. His teammate Garrett Gerloff joined him on the podium with a third-place finish and backed it up with one better in today’s race two. Unfortunately, Beaubier’s race ended early in the tough track conditions.
The weekend was met with a lot of challenges with the shortened two-day format and mixed weather, but both Beaubier and polesitter Gerloff got off to a great start in Saturday’s race in the top three. The pair tried to pass the leader on the first turn of lap two, but had to patiently wait for another opportunity. That opportunity came a lap later when the race leader made an error. Gerloff made the most of the opportunity and took the lead, but his teammate was right on his heels. The three-time MotoAmerica Superbike champ didn’t waste time in taking that front spot from his teammate and went on to finish the race unchallenged, crossing the line with a 3.509-second lead to take his second win of the season.
Gerloff on the other hand had his hands full. The Texan was passed before the halfway point by one of his championship rivals. Gerloff did not give up the fight for second, sitting right on the heels of his championship rival, but unfortunately was struggling with front grip in the much hotter track conditions. He had a big moment, though, on lap 16, losing a bit of ground and ultimately settling into third to bring home his second podium finish of the season.
It was a whole new bag of challenges in race two with a downpour leading up to the Superbike race. When it was time to grid up, the sun was shining, making tire choice critical for the 18-lap race. Both Beaubier and Gerloff opted for slicks, the right decision as the track dried up in the end, but in the early going, the race was not easy.
Gerloff, hungry for the win, got off to a great start from pole position on his Monster Energy Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1. Beaubier did not fare as well on the start and got shuffled back in the pack. The Californian was able to work his way back to fifth, but knowing that Gerloff and fellow Yamaha rider JD Beach had checked out, he focused on riding safe to score valuable championship points. Unfortunately he still got caught out in the mixed conditions, losing the rear in the wet and was unable to recover it.
Meanwhile two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion Gerloff was battling with his former Supersport rival. He made a valiant effort to keep on his heels, but a few mistakes in the wet had Gerloff using discretion to bring home another podium finish for the team.
Up next on the schedule for the Monster Energy Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing team is round four of MotoAmerica at Road America, May 31-June 2.
Monster Energy Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Overall it was really a great weekend. I’m happy because we have a team that’s working really well together, and two riders that were up front. Cameron had a fantastic victory yesterday. Unfortunately today his race ended early in tricky conditions, but it won’t be the first time he’s fought back to regain the championship. From here he’s got to focus on winning races and we’ll see what happens.
“For Garrett, again I was really happy to see him run up front. It was definitely disappointing and emotional to be that close and not get his first win, but we all know that he’s overdue. Any one of these races, I think he’s going to be right there and we all can’t wait until he gets that first win. Also, I would like to congratulate JD Beach on his first Superbike win and putting a Yamaha on top of the box.”
Monster Energy Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing
“It was a mixed weekend for us. Today was just one of those mixed-conditions races where anything can happen. It can go really great, but it’s also kind of a shot in the dark. I got shuffled back pretty good off the start. After that, I struggled to make any passes even though I felt faster than the guys I was with. There was only so much of a dry line going into some of the corners, so it was single-file for a little bit. I started gaining a little bit more confidence, but I was also just trying to be smart and get some points. It’s just frustrating when you’re trying to be smart and you still crash. It’s a bummer to lose that many points, but I’m really happy for JD. That was really cool, and to have Garrett up on the box for Yamaha also, that’s great too.
“All in all, I’m really happy with how I rode yesterday. I was able to put a little gap on those guys. That gave me a little bit of confidence going into the rest of the season. It’s going to be a tough season. We’ve got some catch-up to do, but it’s still a long season. We’re going to some really good tracks for us, and I’m looking forward to it.
Monster Energy Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing
“I see a lot of positives, but I just don’t feel it. Two podiums and a pole position doesn’t sound like a bad way to have a weekend, but I just felt really strong and wanted that first win. My race pace in practice was really, really strong. I felt good yesterday, but when it came time for the race, the track temp was up quite a bit so the track just felt so different. My front tire felt so much greasier than it had in practice and I just didn’t have the confidence because I was moving around a lot. I know everybody was in the same situation, but honestly, I just had trouble riding around it.
“Then today for sure gnarly conditions. It was wild how fast the track dried out, but I knew from past experience that it would probably happen. Most of the guys started on slicks, but me and JD [Beach] got really good starts and just went. I made a pass for the lead and then he made a pass right back. He started going and I for sure felt like I could go too, but those first couple laps after he passed me back I just hit some wet spots, got out of the seat a couple times, made some mistakes. The gap just started opening up and I just couldn’t close it. At the end of the day, I’m happy to be on the podium again, but I just want to win so bad. I know I can do it. I know it’s coming.”
2019 MotoAmerica Superbike VIR Race One Results
1. Cameron Beaubier
2. Toni Elias
3. Garrett Gerloff
4. JD Beach
5. Jake Lewis
6. Jake Gagne
7. David Anthony
8. Cameron Petersen
9. Kyle Wyman
10. Max Flinders
2019 MotoAmerica Superbike VIR Race Two Results
1. JD Beach
2. Garrett Gerloff
3. Toni Elias
4. Mathew Scholtz
5. Jake Lewis
6. Cameron Petersen
7. Josh Herrin
8. Max Flinders
9. David Anthony
10. Kyle Wyman
DNF. Cameron Beaubier
2019 MotoAmerica Superbike Standings
1. Toni Elias 126
2. Cameron Beaubier 102
3. JD Beach 78
4. Garrett Gerloff 72
5. Jake Lewis 19 62
6. Josh Herrin 58
7. Mathew Scholtz 58
8. David Anthony 52
9. Cameron Petersen 48
10. Kyle Wyman 38