Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier won his third race in a row today, the two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion winning race one of the Championship of Monterey on a hot, sunny day at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Beaubier, who won the Motul MotoAmerica Superbike title in 2015 and 2016, beat early race leader Josh Herrin by 5.403 seconds with the Attack Performance/Herrin Compound rider exhausted after taking part in both the MotoAmerica and World Superbike races today.
For Beaubier, it was win number three on the season and win number 27 of his Superbike career. He is now one short of tying Ben Spies for fourth on the all-time Superbike win list.
In addition to winning on the racetrack, Beaubier also won big in the championship as his rival Toni Elias crashed his Yoshimura Suzuki twice in the race, ending up 14th and earned just three points. Beaubier, who started the day two points ahead of Elias, is now 24 ahead, 178-154, after taking home the maximum haul of 25 points.
“I’m happy I increased my points for sure,” Beaubier said. “That race was tough. I got shuffled back. I got such a bad start, kind of like always. I need to work on those. (Josh) Herrin was putting the laps together at first out front. I saw the red band on his tire and I noticed that he went with the super soft option, and I went with the second soft option. To be honest I didn’t really notice a huge difference on the tires in the practices and qualifying we did. That was the tire we decided to go with and I think it was the right choice. I felt pretty consistent the whole race. Honestly, from the start of the race my tires just felt kind of greasy. It’s a little hotter than the past couple years here, but I enjoyed it. I was able to get through the pack somewhat clean and slowly catch Herrin. It could have been a different story if Herrin didn’t have a race before. He’s been on fire all weekend, so hats off to him and also Roger (Hayden). I’m just really, really happy to put my R1 up on the top step. It’s been kind of a slow start to the season. We had some podiums. We’ve had some good races, some bad races. I’m really, really happy. We’re just moving in the right direction after Road America. Just chipping away, and hopefully tomorrow put my head down again and see what happens. I know these guys are going to be tough. Thanks to all you fans for coming out.”
Herrin, who earned his first MotoAmerica Motul Superbike pole position earlier in the day, led the first eight laps before giving way to Beaubier.
“As you said, I did a lot of laps this weekend,” Herrin said. “It was a lot hotter than the weather said it was going to be. Can’t ever trust the weatherman. It’s been difficult for sure. I think we kind of hurt ourselves racing World Superbike as well and not putting in as many laps in MotoAmerica practices as we should have to learn the tires. But that’s just what we had to do to make sure we minimized the amount of time I was on the bike to be able to finish the races today. Just happy to be up here, to be honest. It feels good to be in second. I was pretty disappointed at first just because the weekend was going so well with MotoAmerica practices. I was real confident we were going to be able to fight up front the whole time. Cam was riding a hell of a race. I don’t know how much of a difference or how much the tires came into play. I was definitely sliding a lot, but it could have been the same for him.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden also put in a day’s work today, the Kentuckian starting all the way back in 12th and on the fourth row of the grid after crashing on the first lap of Superpole. Hayden got a good start and worked his way through the pack for his second third-place finish in a row.
“Yeah, definitely didn’t make things easy for me,” Hayden said. “Crashed in qualifying the first lap. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. I got a good start and went through the pack pretty quick. These two have been fast all week. They were fast and just a little bit better than us today, so we have a little homework we have to do tonight to try to find a little speed. I’m happy to be on the podium. Got a good start and made some passes pretty quick and got into third pretty early. Tried to catch these guys, but it just wasn’t happening. I had a big gap to the guy behind me. Josh (Herrin) was a little bit in front of me. I could tell he was just managing our gap so we’ll try and find a little speed tomorrow. Hats off to these two guys.”
Fourth place today went to Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff, the Texan some three seconds behind Hayden and some four seconds ahead of Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz.
Scheibe Racing’s Danny Eslick qualified on the front row and pushed hard in the opening laps, but eventually faded back to sixth by the end of the 23-lap race. Still, the result matched his best effort of the season.
Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Cameron Petersen ended up seventh, racing mostly alone and finishing two seconds ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis. Cycle Gear/KWR’s Kyle Wyman and Fly Street Racing’s David Anthony rounded out the top 10.
For Elias it was a tough day at the office with two crashes both caused by false neutrals.
“Great start and then did a neutral into turn one, unfortunately running off and losing the front on the gravel,” Elias said. “Then I was working for tomorrow, trying different things on the bike to get more information for my team. Then I lose the front going into (turn) one again. Since the new tire arrived we are having a lot of problems and then here mixing with traction control problems. I’m 24 behind now. 24 points or Cameron Beaubier is not my problem. The problem is myself and my bike and when that is like it was before we will be okay again.”