Beaubier Sets Friday Pace at Sonoma

Brian J Nelson

Defending MotoAmerica Superbike champ Cameron Beaubier led the way on the opening day of action in the series' return to Sonoma Raceway.

MotoAmerica Press Office

On-track action got started today at Sonoma Raceway as the MotoAmerica Series brought AMA Superbike racing back to Northern California wine country for the first time since 2012. When all was said and done on a sunny Friday afternoon it was nearby Roseville resident Cameron Beaubier leading the way on the opening day of the Championship at Sonoma Raceway, the defending two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion heading both sessions.

Beaubier lapped at a best of 1:36.585 to best Quicksilver Latus Motors Kawasaki’s Bobby Fong, the Californian slotting his Superstock 1000-spec ZX-10R into second in the lead-up to Saturday’s Superpole session that will set the grid for both Saturday and Sunday’s headline races. Motul Superbike Championship points leader Toni Elis ended up third fastest on Friday.

Championship leader Garrett Gerloff led the two Supersport practice sessions on his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha R6, the Texan besting M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise by 1.2 seconds. Team H35’s Benny Solice ended up third with Gerloff’s teammate JD Beach, who sits just four points behind Gerloff, closing out the day with the fourth fastest time.

The KTM RC Cup, meanwhile, held the first of its two qualifying sessions on Friday with Benjamin Smith heading the time sheets.

1. Cameron Beaubier, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing (1:36.585)

“I think a couple of things that we tried on day two at Laguna and also the little test we did definitely is helping us out so far this weekend. It feels good to get back on the bike with a fresh new outlook after the summer break. So far it’s a good day – Friday. I have plenty of motivation but it’s really cool having my family and friends here supporting me. It’s cool to have back-to-back California rounds. More of the same tomorrow and that’s the day that counts so I think we’re going in the right direction.”

2. Bobby Fong, Quicksilver Latus Motors Kawasaki (1:36.800)

“I’m excited. After the first session it’s definitely a big reward to get in the '36s. I think my game plan worked with going out there with old tires the whole time and just working on race pace. I think working on the motorcycles with old tires... when you put the new tires on it’s just that much bigger of a step. I think I can do those times pretty consistently. I feel pretty good.”

3. Toni Elias, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing (1:37.212)

“Cameron has been really strong. Everybody tell me this is the home track for him and Yamaha’s track, but we don’t care about these things. We are doing our job. We want to win, we want to be on top, in front and trying to make a good lap time and also pace. I was really good all day with a good pace with a medium tire and I expect more with the soft tire. I see it has more potential and I can be faster, but I found some guys, I did some mistakes and then the practice was finished. I’m not happy with my lap time I feel with the bike and the setup I have, I can be a little bit faster. We have tomorrow and we will try to improve with some feelings I have with the front. I’m happy and let’s see what happens tomorrow.”