Cameron Beaubier Wins AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Round 5 of GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing
MONTEREY, Calif. (July 26, 2013) - The AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at the United States Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was a chance for some bright young stars with international aspirations to shine on a global stage, and Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pilot Cameron Beaubier took full advantage in the weekend's sole Daytona Sport Bike battle.
As has often been the case in his dominating 2013 season, the Californian won the contest over teammate Garrett Gerloff and RoadRace Factory/Red bull's Jake Gagne. Beaubier, winner of seven of eight races this year, won his 14th career GoPro Daytona SportBike race on Sunday but it wasn't easy. Beaubier had to contend with a red flag and a shortened race distance as well as his rivals.
After earning pole, the Yamaha pilot did not get a great start and had to contend with five riders in front of him. Beaubier had worked himself into the lead with a pass of Gagne, but the race was stopped after a crash and the five-lap shootout would tax Beaubier's common strategy of settling in early, then moving to the front with his sure and fast style, one position at a time.
Beaubier instead took the lead on the restart and was never challenged, winning by 2.955 seconds. The win showed the versatile Beaubier has more tricks in his bag and will use them if needed.
"I kind of slacked on the first start and I went back to fifth. I was on the outside of (Jason) DiSalvo and he ran a little wide. I finally made my way up to the front, put my head down, and pulled a little gap and then I saw the red flag," said Beaubier. "I thought, 'Oh man, it's going to be a bummer if we have to restart.' So I just made sure I got a really good start on the restart and just put my head down. I knew Jake and Garrett were going to be right there. I have to give it up my whole Yamaha Extended Service Monster Energy Graves Yamaha crew. They've been working so hard and giving us awesome bikes."
Beaubier now leads the championship by 56 points heading into Miller Motorsports Park.
His teammate Garrett Gerloff had his best result since he finished second at Daytona. Gerloff, in the midst of a learning year on the second Graves Yamaha, was able to leapfrog some of the excellent riders that had been getting the better of him in recent races in California, rallying after the red flag to top Gagne for second place.
"Finally, back on the podium," Gerloff commented after the race. "It's been a while since Daytona. We came into this weekend and everything was working as it should and I was getting more speed every time I went out. But during the race, that red flag kind of messed me up. I was hoping that we could just do a clean race. But after the restart, I got behind a little bit and Cameron got away. I had to settle for second. I was really hoping to stay with Cameron. My goal by the end of the year is to win a race and I feel like I'm getting closer to that so I'm really happy about that."
After missing virtually all of 2012 with an injury, Gerloff has faced the challenge of a strong field in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike that makes progress tough. The Texan looks like he's learned a few things along the way and the rest of 2013 will be about fighting for that win.
Gagne was disappointed after the event. The Californian led the first five laps and was in second at the red flag, but a poor start meant he crossed the fifth on the first time around after the stoppage. He climbed to third at the flag but clearly wanted more.
"It was a pretty bad race. I got off to a bad start, which you couldn't really do with this five-lap thing," said Gagne, who won at Road America in a fantastic battle with Beaubier. "I tried to do what I could but it took me a little while to get by some people and I made some mistakes. It's a little disappointing. We tried some stuff today in the race to try to get a little better bike but we keep up with the Graves bikes, really. I don't know ... we'll try to come back and work hard at the next race. My guys are working hard behind the scenes. We'll come back next time and come out swinging."
Gagne's second place in the points seems secure as he leads teammate JD Beach by 37, but after a fourth, two thirds and four second place results, he is clearly looking to add to his win total in 2013.
Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo was fourth, taking advantage of the starts to move up the order. The Triumph-mounted pilot got fliers each time and was able to keep RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Beach at bay by .03 at the flag.
DiSalvo has shown good form in 2013 as his team continues to develop the Triumph Daytona 675. "It's more based on the track layout than anything," said DiSalvo of his competitiveness at AMA Pro events. "We did well at Barber and we're doing well (at Laguna Seca.) Even at Ohio we struggled a bit. Any time we have slow corners leading onto a long straight, it is difficult ... right now, it's still development time for us. The progress is coming."
Going into the race, Beach admitted he struggles at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca but he was still able to salvage another top five result after getting up to speed despite the abbreviated weekend.
"Going into Laguna I knew it was going to be a hard weekend on me. It's always a bit of a struggle for me with not getting much track time doesn't help much," said Beach, third in AMA Pro Go Pro Daytona SportBike points. "Being able to leave with a top five is great for me and the team. We are really looking forward to Miller."
Fast rookie Jake Lewis took sixth on his Meen Motorsports bike. Lewis once again was the top first-year racer in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike.
Lewis was able to top Dane Westby by more than a second as the GEICO Motorcycle Road Race pilot took seventh once again.
"There's a lot of sevens on the ledger for us this year and it's getting frustrating," Westby said. "We knew there would be a bit of a mountain to climb this year switching to the Honda, but the mountain might be a little steeper than we anticipated. After finishing runner-up to the championship last year and regularly getting up on the podium, I know we have the ability to be there again. We all want it and the work is definitely being put in. We're just frustrated the top results aren't happening just yet."
National Guard/Celtic Racing's James Rispoli, fifth in points, was well clear of two Triumph-mounted riders in eighth. Bobby Fong (D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph) and Joey Pascarella (Riders Discount Racing Triumph) rounded out the top ten.
With the whirlwind of back-to-back events, the field will have time to catch their breaths before the show continues in Utah, a much different circuit than the twisty confines of Mid-Ohio and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Sunday's GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing finals from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be aired in a set of tape-delayed broadcasts on CBS Sports Network.
Flag-to-flag coverage of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike races scheduled for Sunday afternoon will be featured in one-hour broadcasts as part of the CBS Sports Spectacular. Television broadcast airdates and times will be released as soon as they are available.
The 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season will resume in two weeks' time as the series travels to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah for Round 6 on August 2-4. For tickets and additional information, please visit www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
Stay connected with GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing on social media at www.amaproracing.com/rr/. and www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
About GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing:
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The 2013 schedule consists of nine rounds of competition on the country's finest road courses. The Series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
About AMA Pro Racing:
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.