The two-day Dunlop tire test came to a conclusion this afternoon with Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier ending the day as the fastest rider at the Circuit of The Americas, the site of round one of the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship, April 10-12.
The carrot of a sub-2:11 lap was hung at the end of the stick after yesterday’s four sessions when Beaubier completed the opening day of testing, held in mixed weather conditions, with a 2:11.910. Today, Beaubier went out and got it done, the 22-year-old Californian taking over a second off his Wednesday best to break into the 2:10s with his 2:10.730 coming in the final of four sessions.
“We started out strong today and put in a solid race stint,” Beaubier said. “This track is super physical and I just wanted to make sure I was solid in a race situation, a race stint. I felt good. I was plugging away at laps and not pushing like crazy. Kinda riding around at 80 percent and getting a good flow going. I felt really good. We put some new tires on for the last session and went out and did some fast laps. I didn’t get a perfect lap in and I made a couple of mistakes and ran into a couple of guys, but I think coming back here for the race we’ll be ready. I can’t thank my guys enough for all the hard work they put in. It’s been crazy. They’ve been staying up until 2 in the morning getting ready for the test. It’s pretty cool they’re working that hard. I just need to keep my hard work up too and get ready for the season.”
Beaubier’s best was .349 of a second quicker than that of his teammate Josh Hayes, the defending four-time AMA Superbike champion lapping at 2:11.079 in the final session.
“I’m very thankful that MotoAmerica had this test prior to the race,” Hayes said. “This was super beneficial for me. We started off a little bit frustrated yesterday but we found some better direction today and I feel better about today than yesterday. I feel like it’s going to be a long couple of weeks before we come back here because I want to keep working. Fortunately, with the MotoAmerica format we’re going to have a bit more time to where we can sort out the motorcycles rather than racing on the very first day that we show up. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.”
Roger Hayden also set his fastest time in the fourth and final session, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider ripping off a 2:11.311. Hayden was pleased at the progress he’d made during the test, but wasn’t happy at being third fastest. He left wanting more, but he’ll get his chance in three weeks.
“For the most part, I’m happy,” Hayden said. “I got going pretty quick this afternoon and consistently so I’m pretty happy with that and we got the tire life a little bit longer too. You’re never happy when you’re a half a second off, but at the same time yesterday we were a lot farther off than that. And I could do those times now by myself. We’re satisfied. As always we could be a little better, but I think we have a good setup for when we come back her for the race. I’m not fighting any big problems. We just have a few little things that we could get working a little better at the low :11s pace, which would have been nice if I could have gotten to the lower :11s a little sooner. Overall we’re happy, but you never leave a test completely happy when you’re third quick.”
Yamalube/YES Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff was fast yesterday and again today, the Texan leading the way in the combined Supersport and Supertock 600 sessions. Gerloff’s best came in the fourth and final session.
“I’m really happy we got to come test here with everybody and see everybody on the same track, in the same weather conditions,” Gerloff said. “We can see where everybody stacks up so that was really good. It’s also really cool being so close to my hometown of Houston, so it’s all good things. I think we worked a lot and hopefully we’ll come back here with some more speed.”
The fastest of the Superstock 1000 riders was Red Bull Roadrace Factory’s Jake Gagne, the Californian putting his Yamaha R1 fourth overall in the combined Superbike/Superstock sessions.
The Superstock 600 class was led by Meen Motorsports’ Joe Roberts with a lap that would have put him fifth overall in the combined 600 timesheets.
The MotoAmerica Series opener will be held in conjunction with the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, April 10-12.
Thursday Lap Times (Combined)