During the opening round of the 2020 MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike Championship May 29-31 at Road America, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier simply dominated the competition.
After setting a new lap record of 2:11.145 during qualifying, Beaubier led every lap of both races, winning twice and breaking his new lap record during Race Two in the process.
But will the four-time and defending Superbike Champion’s dominance continue during Road America 2?
If you are someone who likes to gamble then the odds favor Beaubier having another successful weekend, but a wager on him dominating again is not a sure thing.
First of all, Beaubier is riding very well. Even though he was on board a new, 2020-model YZF-R1 built by a new team and tuned by a new crew chief, Richard Stanboli, Beaubier looked very comfortable at his record-breaking pace and he gave much of the credit to Stanboli’s electronics tuning.
Assuming Beaubier is not planning to go slower on his second visit to Road America, how could the outcome be any different when the MotoAmerica Superbike field returns to race at the Wisconsin road course?
Because the rest of the field was closing in on Beaubier during the first weekend.
At Road America 1, Beaubier was doing 2:11 lap times on Friday, and his top challengers were only in the 2:13s. On Saturday, Beaubier continued doing 2:11s during Superpole and Race One, while his rivals started dipping into the 2:12s.
The at the start of Race Two on Sunday, Bobby Fong went from fifth on the grid to first into Turn One. Beaubier passed Fong for the lead in Turn Three and inched out a 0.5-second lead by the end of the first four miles of racing. On the next lap, Beaubier extended his advantage by 0.4 second, but it took a new lap record of 2:11.033 to do it because four of his closest rivals also did 2:11s on lap two.
With very little testing time on his new M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R, Fong’s 2:11.485 was faster than either Toni Elias or Josh Herrin went to beat Beaubier at Road America in 2019.
Elias’ 2:11.692 during Race Two was essentially equal to his personal best lap time (2:11.662) during five years of racing at Road America and the Spaniard was just starting to find his way after limited off-season testing and a weekend of setup struggles.
Beaubier’s teammate Gagne also got off to a somewhat slow start at Road America 1 but did a 2:11.689 in Race Two while still getting comfortable on his new Yamaha and with his new team.
And Mathew Scholtz did a 2:11.773 on his Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 early in Race Two in spite of losing out on some track time during the weekend and riding without the upgraded engine spec he hopes to have at Road America 2.
Beaubier, however, continued lapping consistently in the 2:11s during Race Two until his lead expanded to more than four seconds on lap five of 12, and the Californian went on to win the race by 13 seconds.
But if Elias, Fong, Gagne, Scholtz, and possibly Scheibe Racing BMW’s Josh Herrin or KWR Ducati’s Kyle Wyman can make another step forward or if weather conditions become a factor this coming weekend, a bet on Beaubier dominating again at Road America 2 doesn’t look as solid.