This weekend’s results are brought to you by 6D Helmets.
Editorial Note: With his finish in Race Three, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha rider Cameron Beaubier clinches the 2020 MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike Championship. It is his fifth MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
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More, from a press release issued by Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Fong, Zanetti Win Superbike Races at IMS; Beaubier Locks Up MotoAmerica Title
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 – Bobby Fong and Lorenzo Zanetti won Superbike races Sunday in the Superbikes at the Brickyard, while Cameron Beaubier rode away from Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his fifth MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike championship.
Zanetti, from Italy, won the first of two races Sunday on the No. 87 Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York Ducati after a taut race. Fong, from Stockton, California, dominated the second race on his No. 50 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. It was Fong’s second victory in three races this weekend, as he also captured the Superbike race Saturday on the 16-turn, 2.591-mile road course.
Beaubier, from Roseville, California, clinched his fifth overall MotoAmerica Superbike title and his third in a row despite an uncharacteristically quiet weekend. Beaubier entered this race with 13 victories in 14 races this season on his No. 1 Monster Energy Attack Performance, but finishes of third in Race One and second in Race Two today were enough to seal the title after crashing out of Saturday’s race.
“It’s been amazing,” Beaubier said. “I owe so much to my entire Monster Attack Yamaha crew. It was purely such a fun year being able to rack up as many wins as we did. This whole weekend definitely wasn’t easy on us. They were up at midnight fixing my bike after a few crashes. I went pretty much all year with one crash and threw the bike down three times this weekend. It was definitely testing us.”
HONOS Superbike Sunday Race Two
Fong cruised to a 9.831-second victory over Beaubier in a race shortened to just 12 laps due to an early red flag. It was Fong’s third victory of the season.
The margin of victory deceived, as Fong was under pressure from Jake Gagne’s No. 32 Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha until Gagne crashed on Lap 8.
“It’s good to be back up here,” Fong said. “It’s been a long year. I didn’t really have a game plan coming into the race. I talked to my coach, Josh Hayes, and he was like, ‘Man, you’ve just got to be relentless out there.’ I didn’t want to lead the whole thing again, but I just plugged away and put in my laps. The bike felt good. Kudos to everybody on the team.”
Pole sitter Toni Elias lost the front end of his No. 24 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki exiting Turn 15 on Lap 2. Fong, running second, just missed hitting the sliding Suzuki, which leaked oil on the track during the crash and triggered a red flag.
Elias wasn’t able to restart, so Fong led the field into Turn 1 from his second starting spot and never trailed. Gagne bumped past Zanetti for second with an aggressive Turn 2 pass on Lap 2 and set sail for Fong.
Zanetti’s chances for a podium finish looked dashed two laps later when he ran straight past Turn 1 and rejoined the course in fifth, behind Fong, Gagne, Josh Herrin and Beaubier.
Beaubier passed Herrin for third on Lap 7, with Zanetti later passing Herrin for fourth.
Meanwhile, Gagne pulled to within eight-tenths of a second of leader Fong on Lap 8 – his closest gap since early in the race – when disaster struck in Turn 10. Gagne lost grip from his front tire and slid into the gravel trip. He climbed back on the bike and resumed, finishing seventh.
Gagne’s fall deflated the pressure on Fong, who cruised to the checkered flag. Zanetti closed to the rear wheel of Beaubier on the last lap, but Beaubier held him off to keep second by just .068 of a second at the finish.
“I was just riding so timid,” Beaubier said. “I just wanted to bring this thing home for the crew. Hat’s off to Bobby – he was riding his butt off. And Zanetti, he caught me pretty good there at the end.”
HONOS Superbike Sunday Race One
Zanetti earned his first career MotoAmerica Superbike victory by .196 of a second over Fong in a tense, 17-lap race. Former World Superbike racer Zanetti came to the series in August as a replacement rider for the injured PJ Jacobsen at Ridge Motorsports Park.
Ducati Corse test rider Zanetti became the first Ducati rider to win an AMA/MotoAmerica Superbike race since Larry Pegram in 2010. Zanetti finished third Saturday.
“Compared to yesterday, I just tried to keep calm,” Zanetti said. “I managed the tire well, but in the end, I just compared to Bobby, so I just tried to go in front and get my rhythm because I struggled a bit in some corners. But that’s all right. I’m so happy for all.”
Beaubier finished third after overcoming an electrical gremlin during the morning warm-up, which came after his team worked after midnight to rebuild his Yamaha after it was heavily damaged in two crashes Saturday.
Fong, who started third, got a strong drive off the line at the start and wasted no time passing teammate and pole sitter Elias for the lead, riding around Elias in Turn 10 on Lap 1.
Zanetti dove under Elias in Turn 1 on Lap 3 to set up a head-to-head duel with Fong. Within two laps, Zanetti had pulled on the rear wheel of Fong and applied constant pressure.
But Zanetti went a bit wide in Turn 1 on Lap 7, letting Elias slip under for second. But Zanetti returned the favor two laps later in Turn 2, passing Elias to regain second.
Then Zanetti clawed his way back to Fong’s rear wheel, and the tandem started to pull away from Elias, Gagne, Herrin and Beaubier.
Zanetti continued to develop his rhythm on the fly and used setup changes on his bike after Saturday’s race to post a race-record lap of 1:36.825 on Lap 13 – a quicker lap than Elias’ pole time of 1:36.929 Friday.
That pace helped Zanetti pull to within one-tenth of a second of Fong at the start of Lap 15. Then Zanetti pounced for the top spot, diving under Fong in Turn 10 on Lap 15 for a lead he would not surrender.
Beaubier, who dropped back to seventh at the start, completed his climb to the podium by passing teammate Gagne in Turn 1 on the final lap. He tried to close on Zanetti and Fong to create a three-bike train to the finish, but a bobble midway through the last lap ended any hope of racing for the victory.
Richie Escalante swept both Supersport races this weekend with another victory Sunday on his No. 54 HONOS Kawasaki, winning by 1.198 seconds over the No. 40 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki of Sean Dylan Kelly.
It was the 13th victory of the season for 2020 Supersport champion Escalante.
Rocco Landers earned his third victory of the weekend, completing a sweep of the two Liqui Moly Junior Cup races with another win Sunday. Landers rode his No. 1 Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr. Farr/Wonder CBD Kawasaki to victory by .157 of a second over the No. 25 BARTCON Racing Kawasaki of Dominic Doyle.
Landers also won the Twins Cup race Saturday.
More, from a press release issued by MotoAmerica:
Fong And Zanetti Win, Beaubier Crowned At The Brickyard
Beaubier Wraps Up His Fifth MotoAmerica Superbike Crown
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 11, 2020) – Three things of note jump out after a three-HONOS Superbike race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: for starters, Italian Lorenzo Zanetti ended a winless drought for Ducati in AMA Superbike racing that dated back to 2010. Then there was Bobby Fong’s arrival as a bonafide MotoAmerica Superbike star with a weekend that saw him win two races and finish second in the only one he didn’t win. And it all wrapped up with the bow on top being the fact that Cameron Beaubier emerged from a somewhat difficult weekend with a fifth MotoAmerica Superbike Championship in his back pocket.
For the first time all season, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Beaubier wasn’t the dominant force at Indy. With the weight of trying to put the championship on ice in the penultimate round, Beaubier had some struggles. He crashed out of Saturday’s race one and it put a visible dent in his confidence for Sunday’s two races. Even with the pressure, he persevered and finished on the podium in both races – third in race two and second in race three. With that, he takes an insurmountable 97-point lead to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks where he hopes to return to his winning ways in an attempt to match Josh Hayes’ 16-win season from 2012.
“A long time,” Beaubier said when asked how long Sunday’s second race felt like it lasted. “To be honest, I felt like I just lost a little confidence after three crashes this weekend, and the little electrical gremlins we had, which it doesn’t happen often, but the Superbikes, the electronics are so complex that just one little thing you do wrong can just kind of throw everything off. Luckily everything was fine that last race today, but after the tires heat cycle, I just had no confidence, man. Sure, I could have gone faster but I wanted to bring this thing home after crashing three times and having my guys stay up until midnight a couple nights this weekend fixing my bike. Obviously, I’m over the moon happy, but I’m just relieved at the same time to get this plate for my guys, for Monster Attack Yamaha and everyone at the team, my family, my friends, everyone that supports us. 6D my helmet sponsor, it’s their first Superbike Championship and I think Attack’s first Superbike Championship as well.
“I just had pure fun this year. It was so fun just ripping off those wins. I was just really enjoying riding my bike all year. I’ve never felt so comfortable on a bike and just at home with my guys. We really built a family together, Yamaha and me. It’s just such a privilege to ride for them. This is my eighth-year riding for them, and we’ve been able to rack up six championships together. I’m just so thankful for the opportunity and everything they’ve given me. Just going to enjoy this one and go have fun at Laguna.”
Zanetti, meanwhile, started Sunday morning off with a victory on his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York Panigale V4 R Superbike in the second of the three HONOS Superbike races following his first podium a day earlier. The win ended a drought for Ducati in the AMA Superbike Series as it was Ohioan Larry Pegram who rode his privateer Ducati to the Italian manufacturer’s last victory at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California on March 27, 2010.
In winning at The Brickyard, Zanetti also became the first Italian to win an AMA Superbike race since Alessandro Gramigni rode a Fast By Ferracci Ducati to victory at Brainerd in 1996.
Zanetti was in a race-long battle with Saturday’s race-one winner Fong and his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki for the duration of race two on a cloudy and cool Sunday morning, the Italian taking over for the first time with three laps to go. On the final lap, Zanetti was able to hold off Fong by just .196 of a second. Beaubier was third, .323 of a second from the win with his teammate Jake Gagne a close fourth. With the top four covered by just .505 of a second it was the best HONOS Superbike race of the year, thus far.
“I compared yesterday, and the key of today is the work of the guys during the night,” Zanetti said. “They changed the balance for the bike. Yesterday, I’m not really confident on the front tire. Today I did a really good job. This morning in warmup I was in first place so I think that the whole race I can win. It’s not easy because from yesterday also the tire (temperature) is different, maybe seven or eight degrees less. So just try to keep calm because yesterday when I tried to stay in front to Bobby (Fong) I did a mistake, so today I just stay on back for half part of the race and study. So, when I try in the last four or five laps, the tire is dropped and it’s difficult to manage. Some parts of the track Bobby is better than me, and some I’m better. So, it’s difficult, but in the end is all right. I don’t want to think a lot. Just try to improve a little bit again for the second race of today and try to be again on the podium. This is incredibly important for me but also for Ducati because four months ago not many people trust in me that I can do it, to be able to ride in the U.S. and win some races. So, I think it’s a really good target today for me.”
The third race was all Fong. After a red flag came out when his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Toni Elias crashed out of the lead (and right in front of him), Fong simply dominated. Chased by Gagne and Zanetti, Fong’s win got really comfortable when Gagne crashed and Zanetti ran straight at the end of the front straight, joining in fourth place. Gagne was able to remount from his blunder to finish seventh, but the miscues moved Beaubier to second and he was able to hold off Zanetti’s charge to take the spot – 9.8 seconds behind the fleeing Fong.
“No, it’s a good feeling,” Fong said when asked if this was the best weekend of his life. “First of all, I just want to say congratulations to Cameron (Beaubier). The whole pack has been chasing him all year long. He’s rode so good all year long. Hopefully, we’ll battle with him at Laguna. We all know if he didn’t have a championship to win, he would have been right there with me or in front of me. Who knows? But it’s been a good weekend. I can’t complain. It’s been weird, though. This weekend we haven’t changed anything on the bike. We started FP1 and we made minor changes, a few clicks of something, whatever. Usually every weekend we have a completely different motorcycle every session, almost. This was the first weekend where I said, ‘Just don’t touch it. I’ll figure it out.’ We made a little bit of TC stuff and fork maps, but other than that this was the most consistent motorcycle I’ve rode this year. So, it definitely paid off and I definitely had a good feeling out there. Had plenty of moments out there on the front (tire), just trying to get a 36 (1:36 lap time) for a while but it didn’t happen. Thankful to get some money and get the win. Looking forward to Laguna.”
With Fong (2-1 finishes), Zanetti (1-3 finishes) and Beaubier (3-2 finishes) getting the most out of the weekend, what of the rest?
Scheibe Racing BMW’s Josh Herrin mixed it up with the lead pack in both races before eventually finishing sixth and fourth, giving him the fourth highest point score on the day.
Gagne was then the best of the rest, though the Californian looked to deserve even better as he was set to finish on the podium for a second straight day until the crash in race two. Still, he ended the day with fourth- and seventh-place finishes.
Altus Motorsports’ Cameron Petersen, who wrapped up the Stock 1000 title on Saturday, finished sixth and seventh in the two races on Sunday; KWR Racing’s Kyle Wyman ended up ninth and fifth with his brother Travis riding the Travis Wyman Racing BMW to two eighth-place finishes.
More, from a press release issued by Ducati North America:
Lorenzo Zanetti Claims Ducati’s First MotoAmerica Superbike Race Victory At Indianapolis Moto Speedway Race
Sunnyvale, Calif., October 11, 2020 – Today marked a historic time for Ducati as Lorenzo Zanetti took a stunning victory in race two of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fending off the advances of Suzuki’s Bobby Fong and 2020 series champion, Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier.
Zanetti and the Warhorse Racing HSBK Ducati New York on the Ducati Corse Supplied Ducati Panigale V4 R SBK started race one with a debut podium in third place and took the victory in race two. Zanetti concluded race three with another third place, totaling three podiums and showing the incredible performance of the Ducati Panigale V4 R SBK against America’s fastest superbikes.
In race one, Ducati rider Kyle Wyman encountered a fierce highside crash causing him unable to restart in a red flagged. However, Wyman showed the grit he is renowned for in races two and three, ending the final race with his fastest ever lap at Indy as the team regroups for the series finale at Laguna Seca in two weeks’ time.
Lorenzo Zanetti (#87 Warhorse Racing HSBK Ducati New York)
“In the end, it was an amazing weekend for me with three podiums and a victory, it’s unbelievable,” Zanetti beamed after race three. “I’m really happy, and after this morning I wanted to make another victory! I had a bad feeling on the back tire, I try to understand why for a few laps, but it doesn’t work. So, I decided to push a bit more on the front tire, but I didn’t have the feeling and I had to go straight (Zanetti ran off track but rejoined).”
“I tried then to come back and fight with Cameron (Beaubier), but I didn’t have the performance to beat him and finish in second place. But anyway, it was a great day. Thanks to Ducati and MotoAmerica and congratulations to Cameron for the championship win and Bobby Fong for the exciting performance today.”
Kyle Wyman (#33 Excelsus Solutions/KWR Ducati Team)
“Yesterday was a big highside,” Wyman said of his race one crash. “I was flicked off hard and I broke the windscreen and the fairing with my neck.”
“Race two was my first opportunity to put together a bunch of laps, but I struggled on the side of the tire with front grip and ended up running off and was down to fourteenth. I worked my way back to ninth, but it was tough race”
“We made a couple of small changes for race three, there was a red flag when Toni Elias crashed, and I felt some stuff I didn’t like so we made some changes to tire pressure for the restart.”
“At the 12 lap restart I was in sixth and had a guy three seconds up the road. I put together 10 really good laps in a row and on the last lap I ended up doing a 1:38.2, which was my fastest ever around Indy. In the last two laps, I found a full second and eventually took fifth. There was something with confidence that was holding me back, and in the last few laps I could let it flow and we could put out a respectable lap time. That’s a positive to build on heading into Laguna.”