Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden turned the tables on the competition during the final day of the Dunlop Preseason Test at Circuit of The Americas, the Kentuckian clicking off a 2:08.305 late in the last session of day two to take the top spot.
Hayden was .127 of a second better than his teammate Toni Elias, the Spaniard having logged the best Motul Superbike class time yesterday. Third quickest, and the final rider to break into the 2:08s, was two-time defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier. Beaubier was a tick over half a second off Hayden’s best.
Hayden’s quickest time was .459 of a second faster than Beaubier’s best from last year’s Dunlop test at COTA, and .846 of a second faster than Hayden’s pole time at last year’s race here. The top men all did their times on Wednesday afternoon using the latest generation of Dunlop qualifying tires.
“That felt good that last session,” Hayden said. “Not just the qualifier, but with the softer race tire I did a bunch of 2:09s there so I was really excited about that. I was actually going to try to keep trying to go and see how many low 9s I could do, but the boys wanted me to come in and try the qualifiers. That’s always fun, the qualifiers, having so much grip and going for it one lap. Overall, I’m really happy. We got through a lot of stuff and being fast from the get-go helps a lot. We kinda hit a little bit of a wall yesterday afternoon and this morning we got stuck at a lap time and then this afternoon we started making steps again. We lost a session due to weather and another with an accident, but we leave here with a lot of information. We need to improve in some areas and we still have a long ways to go, but I’m ready to get this season going.”
Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes was fourth fastest, the four-time Superbike Champion lapping at a best of 2:09.696.
Quicksilver Latus Motors Kawasaki’s Bobby Fong was the fastest of the Superstock 1000 riders and was up amongst the Superbikes on his ZX-10R. Fong dropped down to a best of 2:09.745 in the final session on a bike that has yet to be modified to the new Superstock specs. Fong won both Superstock 1000 races at COTA a year ago.
Sixth fastest was Millennium Technologies/Lucas Oil/KWR’s Kyle Wyman, the team owner/racer lapping at 2:10.521 to best Wheels In Motion/Western Services/Meen Yamaha’s Josh Herrin. Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, Broaster Chicken Honda’s Jake Gagne and Fly Racing/Motul/ADR Motorsports’ Cameron Petersen rounded out the top 10 from today’s sessions.
Garrett Gerloff was again the fastest of the Supersport racers, the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha rider stepping up big on day two to slice 1.4 seconds off his best from yesterday. Gerloff lapped at 2:11.728, which was .271 of a second under his pole position time from last year’s Supersport race at COTA.
That put him .658 of a second ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise, the Frenchman’s best also coming in the last of four 50-minute sessions today. Debise’s best was a hair quicker than Gerloff’s Yamaha teammate JD Beach, the 2015 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion ending up third quickest after the two-day test.
Rickdiculous Racing’s Daytona Anderson jumped up to fourth fastest, a tad over half a second faster than yesterday’s fourth-placed rider Brandon Paasch on the second M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. Paasch slipped down a spot to fifth.
“It was a good day,” Gerloff said. “We figured out some things with this new bike. Even though there are some things that are similar to last year, it is a new bike and we have to find different settings for the tracks we go to. The tracks we have been testing on are a lot more flowing and fast and not a lot of hard braking compared to this track where it doesn’t flow very well and there’s a lot of hard braking. They demand two different setups and we struggled a bit with that yesterday. Today, with the better track conditions and everything, we were able to figure out some things that we couldn’t yesterday with the wind. Everything is feeling good and ready for the race in three weeks.”
Day Two Lap Times
1. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 2:11.728
2. Valentin Debise (Suzuki) 2:12.386
3. JD Beach (Yamaha) 2:12.402
4. Daytona Anderson (Yamaha) 2:15.273
5. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki) 2:15.848
6. Nick McFadden (Suzuki) 2:16.153
7. Lucas Silva (Yamaha) 2:17.183
8. Brandon Cleland (Suzuki) 2:17.872
9. JC Camacho (Yamaha) 2:18.961
10. Caroline Olsen (Yamaha) 2:19.227
1. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 2:08.305
2. Toni Elias (Suzuki) 2:08.432
3. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 2:08.827
4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:09.696
5. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki) 2:09.745
6. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha) 2:10.521
7. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 2:10.627
8. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) 2:10.977
9. Jake Gagne (Honda) 2:11.122
10. Cameron Petersen (Kawasaki) 2:11.506