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May 3, 2014

Gerloff Captures Dynojet Pro Sportbike Pole Position At Arai Pacific Nationals At Sonoma Raceway (Updated Again)

The top qualifiers for the Dynojet Pro Sportbike race at the Arai Pacific Nationals, Round Two of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented by Yamaha: pole-sitter Garrett Gerloff (center), second-best qualifier Bobby Fong (left) and third-fastest qualifier Jake Zemke (right). Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

In his first day ever riding at Sonoma Raceway, 18-year-old Texan Garrett Gerloff captured pole position during Dynojet Pro Sportbike qualifying Saturday at the Arai Pacific Nationals, Round Two of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented by Yamaha.

Riding his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves YZF-R6, Gerloff lapped the challenging 2.3-mile, 12-turn road course in 1:38.669, outpacing the field by nearly one full second.

“This is a new track for me,” said Gerloff, “and every lap for me I figure something else out, find a new bump, figure out a different line, something to help me get around the track a little faster. During the first part of the session I was still working on my race setup a little bit. I went out with my teammate JD Beach for a little bit, came in [because] I was having a little bit of chatter in the front. I got a soft tire on with 15 minutes to go, just went back out and started to try to build speed a little bit, get a little bit faster.

“Those last three laps my [pit signal] board didn’t tell me what position I was in. I made a mistake the first two laps, and that last lap I had a clean one. I wasn’t really sure where I was [in the qualifying order], so I was just kind of going for it. This is just an awesome track, and I’m having a lot of fun.”

Qualifying second was Bobby Fong, the winner of the Dynojet Pro Sportbike race at Auto Club Speedway. Fong, a resident of Stockton, California, recorded a time of 1:39.644 on his final qualifying lap on his Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675R. Fong said he encountered slower traffic on his fastest laps but was happy with the race setup of his motorcycle.

Earning the third position on the front row was veteran Jake Zemke, of Paso Robles, California. Like Fong, Zemke said his best laps were thwarted by traffic, contributing in him qualifying third with a time of 1:39.878 on his GEICO Motorcycle Honda CBR600RR.

Joe Roberts, a 16-year-old from Glendale, California, competing at Sonoma Raceway for the first time, posted the fourth-best time in qualifying, a 1:40.446 on his Team M4 Honda CBR600RR.

Team H35’s Benny Solis was fifth in the 30-minute qualifying session with a best lap time of 1:41.157 on his new Yamaha YZF-R6.

Bryce Prince turned in the sixth-best qualifying time, a 1:41.265, on his Tuned Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.

Gerloff’s teammate JD Beach earned the seventh grid spot with a time of 1:41.925 on his factory Yamaha.

Prince’s 17-year-old teammate Jason Aguilar (1:42.582) qualified eighth on his SolarMax Technology-sponsored Yamaha YZF-R6.

Veteran journeyman racer Michael Barnes, age 45, was ninth-quickest in his debut on his new Veloce Racing MV Agusta F3 675 with an effort of 1:42.838.

CM Motorsports’ Michael Gilbert rounded out the top 10 qualifiers with a lap time of 1:42.999.

The 20-lap Dynojet Pro Sportbike race is scheduled for 12:55 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday.

Arai Pacific Nationals hosted by AFM

GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented by Yamaha

Sonoma, Raceway, Sonoma, California

May 3, 2014

Dynojet Pro Sportbike Provisional Qualifying Results (all on Dunlop tires):

1. Garrett Gerloff (Yam YZF-R6), 1:38.669

2. Bobby Fong (Tri Daytona 675R), 1:39.644

3. Jake Zemke (Hon CBR600RR), 1:39.878

4. Joe Roberts (Hon CBR600RR), 1:40.445

5. Benny Solis (Yam YZF-R6), 1:41.157

6. Bryce Prince (Yam YZF-R6), 1:41.265

7. JD Beach (Yam YZF-R6), 1:41.925

8. Jason Aguilar (Yam YZF-R6), 1:42.582

9. Michael Barnes (MV Agusta F3 675), 1:42.838

10. Michael Gilbert (Yam YZF-R6), 1:42.999

11. Chad Lewin (Yam YZF-R6), 1:43.405

12. CJ Weaver (Yam YZF-R6), 1:43.890

13. Erick Yahir Sanchez (Yam YZF-R6), 1:44.125

14. Stephen Rue, 1:44.641

15. Mario Alvarez, II (Yam YZF-R6), 1:44.871

16. Thomas Montano (Tri Daytona 675R), 1:45.233

17. David Christensen (Yam YZF-R6), 1:46.984

18. Darren James (Yam YZF-R6), 1:47.481

19. Jason Catching (Suz GSX-R600), 1:47.606

20. Roi Holster (Yam YZF-R6), 1:48.509

21. Stephen Gould, no time recorded

22. Joshua Picard, no time recorded

More, from a press release issued by Geiger Media Global on behalf of GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing:

Zemke to start from front row for GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout

SONOMA, Calif. (May 3) -- Jake Zemke and the GEICO Motorcycle Honda team hope to build on a solid start to the Arai Pacific Nationals, the second round of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout.

Zemke qualified third in the Dynojet Pro SportBike class on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway and will start from the front row in Sunday's race.

"It's always good to start from the front row," Zemke said. "The race is always different than qualifying, but we'll take the front row for now. We're definitely looking for a little bit more out of the bike."

Zemke's best lap in qualifying was 1 minute, 39.878 seconds and for a time he was atop the SportBike class during the session. That performance came after he was second in practice, though his lap times were much quicker in qualifying.

"We've been making adjustments all weekend," Zemke said. "I think we're getting closer, for sure. The bike is working really well through the corners, and we're trying to get that last little bit out of it. We'll make a couple more changes in the morning to try a couple different things and get us ready for the race."

Zemke finished third in the first Shootout race last weekend in Fontana, Calif., but hopes to race up front this weekend.

"The goal is to actually be in the race this week, as opposed to last weekend," Zemke said. "It was a bit of a lonely race last weekend, so we want to get up there and mix it up with the boys this week."

Zemke's teammate, Chris Ulrich, hopes to mix it up with the RaceFuelZ SuperBike front-runners, but Ulrich admits he has some work to do for Sunday's race. He was ninth in qualifying after getting acclimated to racing his GEICO Honda for the first time in Sonoma.

Ulrich took advantage of some extra track time through some classes of the American Federation of Motorcyclists, the sanctioning body for this event.

"We're just working through everything," Ulrich said. "It's the first time here on the CBR1000RR, and sometimes life isn't that easy when you unload with no data. It's a good thing we had a few AFM races and practices to go through, so we're a little farther ahead than we would've been.

"Still, not that satisfied, not happy at all, to be honest with you. We need to try to clean some things up for tomorrow and improve. I have faith in my crew and myself that we'll improve in the race."

Ulrich and his team improved his lap times throughout practice and hope to continue that trend Sunday.

"We made a substantial amount of progress from the start to the finish, so that was good," Ulrich said. "It's not enough, of course, so we need more steps. I think there's a little bit of time in me, a little bit of time in the bike, and if we get those two together and talking to each other, we'll be better off tomorrow in the race."

Both riders have practice Sunday morning before the race, where final adjustments are made to make the bikes as fast as possible.

"Sonoma is probably the most physically demanding track we go to all year," Zemke said. "There's not one spot on this racetrack where you get to relax and rest at all. It's pretty constant, back and forth, with elevation changes and everything else. There are some really hard braking areas, and it definitely keeps you on your toes.

"I've done enough races here to know that a good bike setup will definitely pay dividends at the end of the race. If you can get through the race a little bit easier than the rest of the guys, it'll definitely pay off in the end."

GEICO Motorcycle rider Jake Zemke qualified third and will start from the front row during Sunday's Dynojet Pro SportBike race.

GEICO Motorcycle SuperBike rider Chris Ulrich qualified ninth for Sunday's race in Sonoma.

More, from a press release issued by Team Hammer:


Joe Roberts and Team Hammer showcased podium potential today at Sonoma Raceway, as the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented By Yamaha resumed action in Northern California for this weekend's Arai Pacific Nationals.

The M4 Racing star entered this weekend's event ranked seventh in the Dynojet Pro Sportbike points following last weekend's opening round performance in Southern California. The 16-year-old looks more than capable of improving upon that position this weekend in Sonoma, as he ranked near the top of the charts in Saturday's short free practice and qualifying sessions.

Roberts came out swinging Saturday morning, hustling his M4 Honda CBR600RR around the undulating 2.32-mile, 12-turn circuit with a quick time of 1:42.326, which put him third in the order even though he was still learning the track.

The young gun proceeded to blitz that time in the afternoon, clocking a 1:40.446 in qualifying to earn the fourth slot on the grid for Sunday's race, on the front row of the Sonoma grid.

"We’re a lot closer to the front and I am loving this track. It really suits my style and I got the flow of it,” said Roberts. “The bike is handling great but I think we can improve it even more. In the first session we were third and it was a real confidence booster to start out fast. In qualifying, I was able to put it together for a good lap on the last lap of my session. We’re looking forward to a good race tomorrow and we’ll try to keep improving."

The outcome of Sunday's race will set the stage for the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout finale, the Arai Mountain Nationals, to be held at Miller Motorsports Park on May 24-25. Roberts and Team Hammer are determined to turn today's promising qualifying into a good finish at Sonoma, and build momentum heading into final round at Miller.

About Team Hammer: In 2014, Team Hammer, Inc. is competing in its 34th consecutive racing season, and is marking its eighth year of offering technical and logistical support through its Contract Services Department. Riders on Team Hammer-prepared racebikes have earned 59 AMA Pro National race wins; 135 AMA Pro National podium finishes; 5 AMA Pro Championships; 133 Overall National Endurance race wins; 13 National Endurance Championships and assorted other race wins and titles.