The 2018 MotoAmerica season kicked off on a sunny Friday the 13th at Road Atlanta with Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias leading the timesheets in both Motul Superbike sessions in the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta.
Elias lapped at a best of 1:25.272 in the second of two sessions at Road Atlanta, the defending MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion just .105 of a second clear of Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier, the two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion clocking a best of 1:25.377.
“Things are really good and things are exactly how we plan it before during all the winter,” Elias said. “We work well during the winter, but always we missed something. We needed some step and the step was not with us. This step arrived last week and it was what we requested from Japan. It’s been amazing. We start this morning with the same setup as the last official test and was good because we finish on top, but we knew with the new things we could make another step and we did it. It confirms our directions and our ideas. We were right and it was the right thing. That makes us really happy because sometimes you are thinking you are really clever and when you have the solution it is not what you expect and you are slower. We have clever ideas and the team is working so good. I’m so happy, but it doesn’t mean we are going to win everything because we need to be humble and with feet on the ground and still working, but I think my pace is ready to start and that’s the most important thing for me.”
Third fastest was Beaubier’s Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff, the two-time Supersport Champion just .244 of a second from the top with his 1:25.516. Gerloff and his teammate Beaubier both had crashes with Beaubier’s coming in the first session and Gerloff’s in the second.
Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz was fourth fastest, some .3 of a second faster than Quicksilver/LEXIN/Hudson Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong in his first official outing on the team’s Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden was the last rider to lap in the 1:25s to end up sixth, ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis. Scheibe Racing’s Danny Eslick and Kyle Wyman Racing’s Kyle Wyman rounded out the top 10.
Friday’s two Supersport sessions were led by Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha’s JD Beach with his best of 1:29.156 in Q1 besting Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim by .148 of a second.
The best Junior Cup time of the opening day went to Orange Brigade/JP43 Training’s Alex Dumas, the French Canadian besting fellow KTM rider Sean Ungvarsky by .148 of a second. Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates was third on his Kawasaki.
The new Twins Cup class was led by Ghetto Racing’s Chris Parrish in the first qualifying session with his 1:38.840 putting him ahead of RBOM 180 Racing’s Curtis Murray. Both riders were mounted on Suzukis.