Veteran Toni Elias was the quickest rider Tuesday, Day One of a two-day official MotoAmerica pre-season test at Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama.
Riding his Dunlop-shod M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000, the same Superbike he finished the 2019 season with, Elias recorded a lap time of 1:25.371 (a little less than two seconds off Cameron Beaubier’s lap record of 1:23.514) during the only fully dry Superbike/Stock 1000 session of the day.
“It’s a long time without riding the bike, since the last race here, so it’s been great,” Elias told Roadracingworld.com. “We did some laps in Talladega [Gran Prix Raceway] two days ago. It was great to have the feeling back, but it’s a new team. We need to understand each other, what are my requests, and also I’m interested in listening to their solutions. We need to find a way to do everything together and make solid moves. That relationship takes some time to arrive to the perfect point.”
In spite of just starting to build the relationship with his new team, Elias said they found answers to why he lacked grip during the 2019 season finale at Barber Motorsports Park.
“The problems I suffered [during] the last race here, I’ve been very focused and determined to give the information to find different solutions,” said Elias. “We tried very different things, and it worked. It worked in wet, it worked in dry, but it’s just the first day. It’s cold. It’s not clean. But it’s good. It feels good to arrive here after five months and lead the first day in both conditions. Let’s keep going like this. It’s a good start.”
While Elias rode in three of the four 50-minute Superbike/Stock 1000 sessions Tuesday, experiencing wet, drying, and dry conditions, defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Beaubier opted to wait until the final session and dry conditions to try his 2020-spec Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha YZF-R1 for the first time. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan for Beaubier.
“We went with the 2662,” compound front Dunlop tire, said Beaubier, who ended up second-best with a 1:25.992. “It’s not the hardest option, but it’s one of the harder options and it stilled shredded up in five laps. We thought the [new asphalt] would be a little more broken in than it was last year, but that wasn’t the case. The rear tire shredded up pretty good and we didn’t have anything else ready on the [tire] warmers. So, we’re waiting until tomorrow.”
Third in the dry session and near the top of the order all day was Kyle Wyman, who was testing his updated KWR Ducati Panigale V4 R for only the second time since undergoing surgery on his neck during the off-season.
“It went really well,” said Wyman, who was third-fastest with a 1:26.336. “It was very calm. I want to say leisurely because we were so prepared coming in here.
“We kind of rolled the same bike we had at the end of the year last year, except for the updated parts, and just worked into it. We didn’t really change anything. We just put a new tire on that last session and just put laps on it. There’s not much to say. Physically, I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I’m just living the day that I tried to envision for a long time.”
Wyman said his Panigale V4 R has been fitted with new Ducati Corse triple clamps, a Ducati Corse-spec Öhlins shock, and an updated custom fuel tank. He said he also has a full-spec Ducati Corse Superbike engine ready to plug in when the time is right.
Cameron Petersen ranked fourth overall and was the top Stock 1000 rider with a 1:26.667 on his Hagerty Tucker Altus Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R1000, edging out Beaubier’s new teammate Jake Gagne (1:27.019).
Four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes tested the Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike in place of Mathew Scholtz, who broke his collarbone when he crashed his motocross bike while training on March 8. Hayes was seventh overall at 1:28.151 and was second-best in drying conditions during Session Three.
Josh Herrin, another former AMA Superbike Champion, crashed his new Scheibe Racing BMW S1000RR early in the wet second session. Herrin highsided and injured his right shoulder enough that he decided to sit out the remainder of Day One and try to regroup for Day Two.
In the Supersport class, Sean Dylan Kelly came out on top with a 1:30.263 on his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600.
“I’m happy about Day One, happy to be back working with the team, happy to be riding my Suzuki GSX-R600 again,” said Kelly. “It’s been a little bit of a break, so overall I’m just happy to jump back on and start working. The feeling was good. We did test out some stuff already, which is a good start. We have a lot that we want to try out tomorrow. I’m not too worried about fast laps right now because we just want to answer some questions and gather some information, but so far, I’m feeling good and happy with how it’s going.”
Kelly’s performance was impressive considering he is still recovering from a broken leg he suffered in January.
“It’s been an interesting eight weeks,” said the 17-year-old from Florida. “I had an accident while training on my dirt bike and broke my tibia and fibula in my left leg, and I had to get surgery two days after that. We were in a little bit of an unknown for a few weeks after that and weren’t really sure how things were going to go in terms of my recovery and things like that. But I did what the doctors recommended me to do, and everything went really well from that point on. I got my cast off three weeks ago. It’s been a lot of work since then. It’s been tough, but it’s doing better than expected right now. We still need some recovery time and still need to keep working at it, but I’m happy to be here and feeling good.”
Ben Gloddy was quickest among the Liqui Moly Junior Cup riders with a time of 1:40.631 on his Quarterley Racing/On Track Development Kawasaki Ninja 400.
No riders from the MotoAmerica Twins Cup class rode on Day One.
MotoAmerica Pre-Season Test
Barber Motorsports Park
March 10, 2020
Superbike/Stock 1000 Session Four Results (all on Dunlop tires):
- Toni Elias (Suz GSX-R1000), Superbike, 1:25.371
- Cameron Beaubier (Yam YZF-R1), Superbike, 1:25.992
- Kyle Wyman (Duc Panigale V4 R), Superbike, 1:26.336
- Cameron Petersen (Suz GSX-R1000), Stock 1000, 1:26.667
- Jake Gagne (Yam YZF-R1), Superbike, 1:27.019
- David Anthony (Suz GSX-R1000), Superbike, 1:27.124
- Josh Hayes (Yam YZF-R1), Superbike, 1:28.151
- Bobby Fong (Suz GSX-R1000), Superbike, 1:28.169
- Max Flinders (Yam YZF-R1), Superbike, 1:28.725, crash
- PJ Jacobsen (Duc Panigale V4 R), Stock 1000, 1:29.252
- Bradley Ward (Kaw ZX-10R), Superbike, 1:29.599
- Maximiliano Gerard (Kaw ZX-10R), Stock 1000, 1:29.973
- Alex Dumas (Suz GSX-R1000), Stock 1000, 1:30.558
- Taylor Knapp (Suz GSX-R1000), Stock 1000, 1:30.734
- Hunter Dunham (Yam YZF-R1), Stock 1000, 1:31.159
- Joseph Giannotto (Kaw ZX-10R), Stock 1000, 1:33.521
- Mauricio Hidalgo (Kaw ZX-10R), Superbike, 1:38.987
- Josh Herrin (BMW S1000RR), Superbike, no lap time recorded
- Lindsay McGregor (Yam YZF-R1), Stock 1000, no lap time recorded
Supersport Session Four Results (all on Dunlop tires):
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suz GSX-R600), 1:30.263
- Brandon Paasch (Yam YZF-R6), 1:30.974
- Lucas Silva (Suz GSX-R600), 1:31.711
- Benjamin Smith (Yam YZF-R6), 1:31.972
- Xavier Zayat (Yam YZF-R6), 1:32.594
- Nolan Lamkin (Yam YZF-R6), 1:33.412
- Jaret Nassaney (Suz GSX-R600), 1:33.869
- Kevin Olmedo (Suz GSX-R600), 1:35.278
- Roberto Hernan Medina (Yam YZF-R6), 1:36.029
- Tony Blackall (Yam YZF-R6), 1:50.783
- Josh Hayes (Yam YZF-R6), no lap time recorded
- Carl Soltisz (Yam YZF-R6), no lap time recorded
- William Sweeney (Yam YZF-R6), no lap time recorded
- Shane Hobgood (Yam YZF-R6), no lap time recorded
Twins Cup/Liqui Moly Junior Cup Session Four Results (all on Dunlop tires):
- Benjamin Gloddy (Kaw Ninja 400), 1:40.631
- Gus Rodio (Kaw Ninja 400), 1:40.681
- Cody Wyman (Yam YZF-R3), 1:40.790
- Jack Roach (Kaw Ninja 400), 1:42.685
- Samuel Lochoff (Kaw Ninja 400), 1:43.635
- Cameron Jones (Hon CBR500R), 1:43.777
- Kody Kopp (Kaw Ninja 400), 1:48.788
- Mathias Mulet (Kaw Ninja 400), 1:57.195
- Taylor Knapp (Kaw Ninja 400), no lap time recorded
More, from a press release issued by MotoAmerica:
Elias Leads Day One Of The MotoAmerica Dunlop Preseason Test At Barber
Wet And Dry At Barber Motorsports Park For First Day Of Test
BIRMINGHAM, AL (March 10, 2020) – Inclement weather struck the Birmingham area on Tuesday morning, creating a wet Barber Motorsports Park and not a lot of track activity in the early sessions. But things cleared for the afternoon and it was business as usual with M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias barely besting four-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier in the final session to top the Superbike timesheets on the opening day of the two-day MotoAmerica Dunlop Preseason test.
Elias was fastest on the day by virtue of his 1:25.371 on his 21st and final lap of the final session to best Beaubier, the Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha rider not going on track until the last session and even then only doing seven laps. Beaubier’s best was a 1:25.992.
For comparison’s sake, the best race lap in the 2019 MotoAmerica season finale at Barber Motorsports Park was set by Beaubier in race one with a 1:23.871.
“Well, it’s a long time without riding the bike,” Elias said. “Since the last race here, it’s been great. We did some laps in Talladega two days ago. Was great to have the feeling back, but it’s a new team. We need to understand each other, whether my request. I’m also open to listen to their solutions. But we need to find a way to do everything together and everyone agree to make the solid moves. That’s a relationship and takes some time to arrive to the perfect point. Anyway, just is the first day and it’s the beginning. But from the problems I had during the last years with this bike and the problems I suffered at the last race here, I’ve been very focused and very determined to give the information to find a different solution. We tried very different things and it worked. It worked in wet. It worked in dry. But it’s just the first day. It’s not clean. Yamaha guys have much more miles than us, much more work in advance. So, it’s going to be difficult. Probably tomorrow they’ll be faster than us. It’s good and feels good after five months arrive here and kind of lead the first day in both conditions. So pretty happy.”
KWR Ducati Team’s Kyle Wyman ended the day third, the racer/team owner having a good opening day to his season with a lap that was .925 of a second off Elias’ best.
Altus Motorsports’ Cameron Petersen was a surprise fourth, the South African – like Beaubier – also sitting out the wet sessions but jumping to fourth fastest when it counted. Petersen lapped at 1:26.667, .331 of a second slower than Wyman and .352 faster than Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne, the Californian rounding out the top five.
Sixth fastest on day one was FLY Racing’s ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony. Four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes, filling in for the injured Mathew Scholtz on the Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1, was seventh fastest. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong was eighth with Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders and Celtic HSBK Racing’s PJ Jacobsen rounding out the top 10 on opening day.
Scheibe Racing BMW’s Josh Herrin crashed in the second of four sessions and sat out the rest of the day with an injured right shoulder. Herrin said he will attempt to ride tomorrow.
The Supersport class was led by M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly, the Floridian lapping at a best of 1:30.263 to lead Celtic HSBK Racing’s Brandon Paasch by .711 of a second. Kelly’s M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Lucas Silva was third fastest with his 1:31.711.
“Really good day one,” said Kelly in his first ride since breaking his tibia/fibia two months ago. “Happy to be back, first of all. Nice to jump back on my Team Hammer 600 and nice to be working with the guys again. Good feeling with the bike. Just been working at it. We’ve been trying out some different things. Haven’t really focused too hard on a fast lap or anything. I’ve just been out there and getting the confidence up. That’s important for day one. Just happy to be back and looking forward to tomorrow. We’ll definitely be testing out some more stuff and seeing how we continue.”
The Liqui Moly Junior class was led by Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Benjamin Gloddy, the New Hampshire resident lapping at 1:40.6321 on his Kawasaki Ninja 400.
“This morning I didn’t go out for the first session,” Gloddy said. “I didn’t want to risk anything in the first with the wet. Then it kept raining all day, so the second session I just decided to go out and was able to lead that session towards the end and came on top with P1 at the end. I didn’t go out for the third session, either. Just it was half dry, half wet. I didn’t want to ruin a set of rain tires. Just decided to stay in. Then we went out for the fourth session and came in and ended up being P1 on an almost completely dry track.”