This weekend’s results are brought to you by 6D Helmets.
By David Swarts
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias has been struggling a lot so far in the 2020 HONOS Superbike Championship, but it was all systems go for the Spaniard Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
Elias got off to a good start and was third in Qualifying One (Q1), behind four-time and defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s wildcard Lorenzo Zanetti and his factory Ducati Panigale V4 R.
Then, when the rear Dunlop qualifying tires came out in Friday afternoon’s Qualifying Two (Q2), Elias ripped off a new lap record of 1:36.929 to claim pole position for all three HONOS Superbike races this weekend at The Brickyard.
“It’s really good to get pole position,” said the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion, “but I keep my feet on the ground. I have to be honest. Cameron [Beaubier] crashed. If he didn’t crash, he was, as always, on the pole.”
Elias also pointed out that he had help on his fastest lap, an unintentional tow from Beaubier’s Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Jake Gagne.
“The first lap we did together we both [make] mistake a lot, but I think both learned from the first lap,” said Elias. “On the second lap, I think I did the perfect lap, no mistakes, all the lines, trying to find more traction, braking late. But the last present was here on the straight. I took the slipstream [from Gagne] and the bike was really, really fast.”
When asked about his outlook heading into the races, Elias said, “We have to improve a little bit the front feeling and a little bit more traction for tomorrow, but I feel we are better than other races. Still, we are not ready to win, but we are closer.”
Zanetti struggled at the beginning of Q2, but his Ducati Corse factory engineer and mechanic adjusted his Ducati back to earlier settings and sent him out on his Dunlop qualifier.
“With the Q tire the grip [come] back, so I did a good lap,” Zanetti said in English. “I missed the pole position for a front lose in the hairpin, but anyways it’s important to start from the front row tomorrow and I try to do my best.”
Elias’ teammate Bobby Fong struggled in Q1 and was seventh with a best lap time of 1:40.122, but lowering the rear of his Suzuki and a gearing change in between sessions allowed Fong to drop his time by nearly three seconds to 1:37.315 during Q2 and earn the third and final spot on the front row.
Beaubier was fastest in Q1 and led Q2 up until the final five minutes. That’s when Beaubier mounted his rear Dunlop qualifying tire and made his time attack. Beaubier was faster than he had been through the first two timing sectors, but he lost the front and crashed in Turn 10.
“I felt pretty good for the first half-lap,” said Beaubier, “and then I skipped the front over the bumps at the end of the back straightaway. Now I’m going to be starting from row two, but that’s OK because I’m feeling good on race tires.”
Beaubier ended up fourth with the 1:37.365 he did on race-compound tires. Mathew Scholtz, armed with a new engine spec in his Westby Racing Yamaha, improved from 1:38.791 in Q1 to 1:37.484 in Q2 and qualified fifth. Gagne got the final spot on row two with a sixth-quickest 1:37.617.
Row-three starting spots were earned by: Kyle Wyman, who was seventh with a 1:38.927 on his Excelsus Solutions/KWS Ducati Panigale V4 R; David Anthony, who was eighth with a 1:39.654 on his FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R1000R; and Josh Herrin, who was ninth with a 1:39.750 in spite of losing track time due to electrical glitches with his Scheibe Racing BMW S1000RR.
Because of the third Superbike race happening this weekend at IMS there will not be a Superpole qualifying session on Saturday.
More, from a press release issued by MotoAmerica:
Elias Gets His First Pole Of The Season At Indy
A New Lap Record For The Spaniard At The Brickyard
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 9, 2020) – Cautiously optimistic is the best way to describe Toni Elias’ mindset after the Spaniard earned pole position for this weekend’s three HONOS Superbike races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the first pole position of the 2020 MotoAmerica season for the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider.
Elias knew that luck was on his side with runaway championship points leader Cameron Beaubier crashing out of the final qualifying session in the closing stages. Beaubier had led until that point, but the four-time series champion didn’t get the chance to go back out and better his best. That left Elias and the rest to a ferocious battle for the pole and the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion took full advantage of having a carrot dangling in front of him in the form of Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake. However he did it, he did it and you could tell a rather large monkey had been removed from Elias’ shoulders.
“Yes, of course I am happy because a pole is always welcomed, especially after all this difficult season,” Elias said. “I have my feet on the ground, and I have to be honest – I had two helps, one from Cameron’s (Beaubier) crash, and if not, he was on the pole, and then (Jake) Gagne helped me. I was right behind him (Gagne) and he didn’t want to go, and I said, ‘Man, I am going to wait until you go.’ I waited and I had him as a reference and on the first lap I got lucky because I make a mistake a lot and I lost him, but he made a mistake too so at the end we start another lap and I learn from the mistakes and it was a perfect lap. I didn’t make even one mistake and all braking areas were late and perfect. The last bit was a slipstream like the Moto3 World Championship and the bike took a lot of speed and it was perfect. I knew with a lap like this it would be difficult to not be on the pole, but there are always super strong riders and you never know. We did it.”
As for tomorrow’s first race… can Elias turn his first pole into his first win?
“Tomorrow I feel we have to improve front (tire) contact more and we have to find a little bit more of traction,” Elias said. “If we have more of that and we improve two or three tenths of rhythm, we have a chance to fight for the first time this year. Honestly, I’m really excited and pumped and if I have the opportunity, I will give everything.”
With Superpole removed from the MotoAmerica schedule for the Indy round due to the fact that three HONOS Superbike races will be held this weekend, qualifying came down to the 45-minute session on Friday afternoon.
Elias not only put his GSX-R1000 on pole, but he broke the Superbike lap record (set by Beaubier the last time MotoAmerica competed at The Brickyard in 2015) in the process with his 1:36.929 putting him .126 of a second ahead of Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Lorenzo Zanetti, the Italian in his second MotoAmerica weekend and on a new Ducati Panigale V4 R that was more to his liking than the one he rode at the Ridge last month.
Elias’ teammate Bobby Fong will fill the front row for the three races, the Californian just .386 of a second behind Elias and just a tick faster than Beaubier, whose session ended early after his tip-over. Beaubier will be joined on row two by Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Gagne with the top six separated by just .688 of a second.
FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony, Scheibe Racing BMW’s Josh Herrin and Superbike Unlimited Franklin Armory Racing’s Andrew Lee rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.
A single HONOS Superbike race will be held on Saturday with two HONOS Superbike races scheduled for Sunday.
In Support class action from Indy on Friday, it was SportbikeTrackGear.com Roadracingworld.com Suzuki’s Rocco Landers leading the way in Twins Cup, the champion-elect .816 of a second clear of Hobbs Racing/Trackworx Motorsports’ Teagg Hobbs and 1.5 seconds ahead of Hayden Schultz Racing’s Hayden Schultz. Landers also led the Liqui Moly Junior Cup Q1 session by .856 of a second over BARTCON Racing’s Dominic Doyle. Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Benjamin Gloddy was third fastest.
The Stock 1000 Q2 session was led by Cameron Petersen on the Altus Motorsports Suzuki, the South African 1.3 seconds ahead of Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman and 1.5 faster than Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander.
HONOS Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante led the Supersport field, the championship points leader just .269 of a second faster than his series rival Sean Dylan Kelly on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. MESA37 Racing’s Stefano Mesa ended the day third quickest in his 2020 Supersport class debut.
More, from a press release issued by Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Veteran Elias Claims MotoAmerica Superbike Poles at IMS after Beaubier’s Spill
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020 – Toni Elias has more experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway than any other rider in the MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike field, and he used that advantage Friday afternoon to claim the pole position for all three races this weekend in Superbikes at the Brickyard.
Spanish rider Elias, who competed in MotoGP and Moto2 from 2008-13 and 2015 during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at IMS, earned the pole with a Superbike track-record lap of 1 minute, 36.929 seconds during the second qualifying session on the No. 24 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. It was the first pole of the season for 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike champion Elias.
“Yes, of course I am happy because a pole is always welcomed, especially after all this difficult season,” Elias said. “I have my feet on the ground, and I have to be honest – I had two helps, one from Cameron’s (Beaubier) crash, and if not, he was on the pole, and then (Jake) Gagne helped me.”
Runaway championship leader Beaubier, who has won 13 of 14 races this season, appeared to be headed toward the pole when he crashed late in the session on the No. 1 Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha. He didn’t get a chance to return to the track before the end of the session and will start fourth in all three races – outside of the front row – after posting a best time of 1:37.365 before his crash.
Still, Beaubier should be in good shape to claim his third consecutive and fifth overall MotoAmerica Superbike title this weekend. He leads teammate Jake Gagne by 103 points and needs to only lead by 75 points after this event, as there are only three races remaining after this weekend.
Beaubier’s crash set up a fierce duel between Elias and Gagne for the pole. Elias waited for Gagne to make his final qualifying laps first and followed on the 16-turn, 2.591-mile course.
“I was right behind him (Gagne) and he didn’t want to go, and I said, ‘Man, I am going to wait until you go,’ Elias said. “I waited and I had him as a reference, and on the first lap I got lucky because I make a mistake a lot and I lost him, but he made a mistake, too, so at the end we start another lap and I learn from the mistakes and it was a perfect lap. I didn’t make even one mistake and all braking areas were late and perfect.
“The last bit was a slipstream like the Moto3 World Championship and the bike took a lot of speed and it was perfect. I knew with a lap like this it would be difficult to not be on the pole, but there are always super strong riders and you never know. We did it.”
Lorenzo Zanetti qualified second at 1:37.055 on the No. 87 Warhorse HSBK Racing New York Ducati. Bobby Fong – the only other Superbike rider to win this year besides Beaubier – will round out the front row at 1:37.315 on the No. 50 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.
The second row will be comprised of Beaubier, Mathew Scholtz on the No. 11 Westby Racing Yamaha (1:37.484) and Gagne on the No. 32 Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha (1:37.617).
Race One for the Superbikes starts at 3:10 p.m. (ET) Saturday. Race Two is at 11:10 a.m. Sunday, with Race Three at 3:10 p.m. Sunday. Each race is 17 laps.
In support class action, Rocco Landers led the way on his Suzuki in Twins Cup, the champion-elect .816 of a second ahead of Hobbs Racing/Trackworx Motorsports’ Teagg Hobbs. Landers also led the Liqui Moly Junior Cup Q1 session by .856 of a second over BARTCON Racing’s Dominic Doyle.
The Stock 1000 Q2 session was led by Cameron Petersen on the Altus Motorsports Suzuki, the South African 1.3 seconds ahead of Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman.
HONOS Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante led the Supersport field, the championship points leader just .269 of a second faster than his series rival Sean Dylan Kelly on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.
Visit IMS.com for ticket information. Fans 15 and younger are admitted free all weekend to general admission areas when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
More, from a press release issued by Ducati:
Zanetti soars as MotoAmerica returns to Indianapolis. Kyle Wyman concludes day one in seventh
Sunnyvale, Calif., October 9, 2020 – Lorenzo Zanetti gave the Warhorse Racing HSBK Ducati New York team Ducati Panigale V4 R SBK a sensational debut on American soil, taking second in both Friday practice sessions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, right on the tail of former champion, Suzuki’s Toni Elias.
Zanetti completed 33 laps on the brand-new Ducati Corse-built Panigale V4 R SBK and was consistently in the hunt for the top placings, eventually going on to a 1:37.055 at his first trip to The Brickyard.
For Wyman, the return to Indy was a trying one. The Excelsus Solutions/KWR Ducati Team man ended the day with a 1:38.929 for seventh fastest after a total of 34 laps, as he and the crew work through some chassis adjustments for the demands of Indianapolis.
Race One of MotoAmerica Superbikes at The Brickyard will start at 3:00 p.m. local time tomorrow, with Race Two scheduled for the same time on Sunday, October 11.
Kyle Wyman (#33 Excelsus Solutions/KWR Ducati Team)
“It was a bit of an uneventful day,” Wyman said. “We keep trying things and going backwards. We can’t find the right feeling in the rear, and there are a few issues with the front.
“We’re trying to get better here, which is a unique track, without having to revert back to what we had a Road America. We need to be better than that. We’re trying all our options—we think we’ve got a solution for the rear that will help us for the races. We are not going to give up.”
Lorenzo Zanetti (Warhorse Racing HSBK Ducati New York Team – Ducati #87)
“I struggled a bit compared to this morning,” Italian Zanetti said after the second practice session, “but this morning I started immediately with a good sensation. From first session to second, I tried to improve and the engineers from Ducati Corse helped me, but, maybe, like me, they thought of the Pirelli tires (MotoAmerica runs Dunlop slicks as opposed to Pirelli).
So, for me, the way of the second session was wrong. During the session, I managed a change on the chassis, and when I put the qualifying tire on with extra grip, the bike started to work. That gave me the opportunity to try for pole position on the first lap, but on the second lap I try and try, over the limit a bit. But, this time, I have a good bike, good support, although not many spare parts! So, I need to stay calm, and try to work and give the result for the team and the sponsors and help for the next race and next season.”