Only one rider remains undefeated in the 2020 MotoAmerica Series as the championship heads to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta this weekend and that man is Richie Escalante, the Mexico City resident carding a perfect 100 points from the first four Supersport races of the season.
With his perfect tally, HONOS Kawasaki rider Escalante has a 40-point lead in the Supersport Championship, but he’s the only one with that sort of breathing room in the five MotoAmerica classes.
The closest points battle is in the Twins Cup class where 1-833-CJKNOWS Accident & Injury Law’s Kaleb De Keyrel leads Rocco Landers by just nine points after two rounds. In the Liqui Moly Junior Cup Series, Dominic Doyle leads Landers by just 10 points, which translates to Landers trailing in the two series combined by just 19 points. Although the gap is slightly larger in the Stock 1000 Championship between Cameron Petersen and Stefano Mesa (12 points), from top to bottom that one is closer with fifth-placed PJ Jacobsen only 20 points out of the lead.
Escalante’s closest rival in the Supersport title chase as the series ventures to Georgia for round three is Sean Dylan Kelly, the Floridian finishing second in three of the four races to Escalante. Unfortunately for the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider, he crashed out of race one. Thus, the points deficit. But Road Atlanta is a different venue with the opening two rounds taking place at Road America and with a change of scenery comes a change of hope for the Suzuki rider.
And the Supersport class is by no means a two-horse race as Brandon Paasch has shown that he and his Celtic HSBK Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 are also going to be a factor as he’s posted three podiums in the first four races. He was also on the podium in the other race but was disqualified after the post-race weigh-in showed that his bike was underweight. Paasch is only eight points behind Kelly and 48 behind Escalante.
One of the big Supersport surprises thus far in 2020 is TSE Racing’s Nate Minster, the youngster from Minnesota finishing fourth twice, fifth once and sixth once and that puts him fourth in the title chase. Minster is just five points ahead of RiderzLaw Aguilar Racing’s Jason Aguilar, who is fighting to make up ground after not finishing the opening race of the season.
As mentioned earlier, the Stock 1000 class is led by Altus Motorsports’ Petersen, the South African 12 points ahead of Mesa37 Racing’s Stefano Mesa. Petersen has a second-place finish and a win in the two races thus far with Mesa finishing fourth and second in the two races.
Gilbert Racing’s Michael Gilbert, meanwhile, sits third – just six points behind Mesa and only a single point ahead of Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander. Alexander, in turn, is just one point ahead of Jacobsen, who won the first race of the season but missed race two after suffering injury in the morning warm-up. He will be back on board his Celtic HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R at Road Atlanta.
With three wins in four starts, De Keyrel leads the Twins Cup Championship but only by nine points over Landers, who won the first Twins Cup race of his young career in race three at Road America. Those two are well clear of third-placed Jason Madama on the Syndicate Racing/Apex Assassins Yamaha FZ-07/MT-07 with the Coloradan 32 points behind De Keyrel and seven points ahead of a tie between Jackson Blackmon, the Robem Engineering rider finishing second in race two at Road America, and former class champion Chris Parrish and his AP MotoArts/Ghetto Customs Yamaha.
BARTCON Racing’s Dominic Doyle is just .069 of a second from being undefeated in the 2020 Liqui Moly Junior Cup class because that was the difference between the South African and victory in the fourth race of the year. It was Landers who beat Doyle to the line in a well-deserved win as the youngster had been thwarted in the previous three tries by Doyle with eerily similar margins of victory. Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Benjamin Gloddy is third in the series standings with two podium finishes to his credit. He is just two points ahead of another South African – Samuel Lochoff. Lochoff and his Celtic HSBK Racing Kawasaki have two podium finishes from the four races.
Road Atlanta Support Class Notes…
To say that Rocco Landers arrived in the MotoAmerica paddock a year ago with a bang would be an understatement. In his very first Liqui Moly Junior Cup race in round one of the series at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta last April, Landers dominated. He won race one by an unheard of 16.2 seconds and race two by 4.9 seconds.
The two Supersport races at Road Atlanta last year were won by Hayden Gillim and Bobby Fong. Gillim beat Fong after an intense battle in race one and Fong came back to win race two over PJ Jacobsen. Fong would go on to win the Supersport title.
Andrew Lee got his Stock 1000 title defense off to a good start a year ago when he barely beat Michael Gilbert to take the win – by .130 of a second.
Michael Barnes won both Twins Cup races at Road Atlanta last April, the Quarterley Racing Ducati rider topping Curtis Murray in race one and Chris Parrish in race two.
Twenty-eight Twins Cup riders will take to the track at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with that class leading the way in the amount of entries for round three. Stock 1000 will feature 26 racers with the premier HONOS Superbike class consisting of 23 entries. Supersport (20) entries and Liqui Moly Junior Cup (18 entries) will complete the program with 115 total entries spread over the five classes.