Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Garrett Gerloff continued to hold the hot hand in the MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike Series, the Texan winning race one in the Championship of New Jersey for his fourth win in the last six races.
Gerloff had his hands full for the entire 23 laps of the New Jersey Motorsports Park race with his teammate Cameron Beaubier, the three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion ending up 1.7 seconds behind at the finish line. Attack Performance Estenson Racing’s JD Beach rebounded from a tough stretch of races to finish third, his first podium since his victory in race two at VIR the first weekend in May.
The Gerloff, Beaubier and Beach podium gave Yamaha a one-two-three for the first time this season. Gerloff and Beaubier used their strong finishes to gain some points on championship leader Toni Elias, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider ending up a distant fourth on the day – some 25 seconds behind Gerloff.
With tomorrow’s race two and the two races at Barber Motorsports Park for the season finale remaining, Beaubier trails Elias by 28 points, 320-292, with Gerloff 44 points in arrears in third. Beach strengthened his hold on fourth in the championship with a 13-point gap over Josh Herrin, who was seventh today on the second Yoshimura Suzuki.
“Cameron was right there,” Gerloff said of his teammate. “I got to follow him through the first few laps and our bikes both seemed like they were really good everywhere. I felt comfortable and I saw plus zero forever, and JD (Beach) was right behind us too. So, Yamaha is really doing well with this track, and shining. I found a few spots where I thought it was pretty good. Made the pass on the line and was just trying to put my head down and do laps, but there was no getting away from him. We were together. The track fell apart, for sure. Everything was a little greasy, but the Dunlops felt really good. I felt like I was able to be consistent and hit my marks every lap. That was it. Just tried to be consistent. I feel good for tomorrow. Just motivated, for sure. I just want to finish the year off strong.”
Although he didn’t win, Beaubier had clawed back valuable points on Elias.
“Garrett had a little pace on us in both practices this morning,” Beaubier said. “We made a little change going into – well, a pretty big ride height change going into the race. I felt pretty comfortable right away. But then I started having little problems on the front. I had a couple pretty close calls. Was kind of yo-yo-ing with Garrett behind him. I got by him going into one, but way too deep. I had to try to play catch-up again. It was a tough race. Hats off to him. He rode really good. It’s really good to have three Yamahas up on the box. Obviously, I wanted to win and gain some more points on Toni, but I’ll take what I can get right now. Going to go look at some data and come back swinging tomorrow and see what happens.”
Beach was happy with a return to the podium, the two-time Supersport Champion and the Attack team finding a cure for the chatter issue that has slowed him of late.
“We’ve struggled a little bit all year,” Beach said. “I know I’ve gotten a win this year, but we’ve been off just a little bit. I think it just comes down to this is just my first year on this bike. We just couldn’t get something figured out. We honestly just changed the foot pegs and the tank for race two at Pittsburgh and the bike was way better. Then this morning, this is the first time here on this bike, so the first session out was just kind of trying to fine-tune the bike a little bit. Then in the second session, I was P3 for a while and got fourth at the end, which is my best since I think Virginia. So, I just feel good on the bike again. It’s great to finally feel good and enjoy being out on track and to get third. It feels really good. We still have a race tomorrow. We’ve got some stuff to change, so we’ll see what we can do.”
With Elias a distant fourth, he had some three seconds on Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African holding off M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis by just .060 of a second for fifth place. Herrin, in turn, hands his full with Scheibe Racing BMW’s Jake Gagne with the Yoshimura Suzuki besting the BMW by .169 of a second.
Lion Fuel/Cyclance/KWR Ducati’s Kyle Wyman finished ninth with FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony rounding out the top 10.
Supersport: Jacobsen In The Mix
Saturday’s Supersport race started out well for championship contender Hayden Gillim, who battled for the lead until he lowsided out of the race and handed the lead to fellow championship contender Bobby Fong aboard the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. Fong held the lead over his teammate Sean Dylan Kelly and a hard-charging PJ Jacobsen. Jacobsen bided his time and passed Kelly followed by Fong as the laps wound down. Kelly and Fong drag-raced to the finish line, and Jacobsen prevailed by .046 of a second at the checkers.
For Jacobsen, it was his third win of the season, and he moved up to second in the championship, 15 points adrift of Fong. Gillim’s crash dropped him back to third in the standings, but he is still in contention for the title.
“I got a good start and then led the first lap, but I didn’t feel so good on the first lap,” Jacobsen said. “Kind of weird. But I knew that they were going to come past me with a pretty fast pace. Then after that, there was just some pretty crazy battling. It wasn’t even battling in the corner. It was like on the straightaway. Like, who’s going to just put someone in the fence? So, I just wanted no part of that. I was happy just to even come home after that one. But it was going on for a while, and then Sean looked like he was struggling a little bit with rear grip, so I passed him. Then once I had that rhythm I kept going to the front towards Bobby when Hayden crashed. I felt pretty good, but again when I got to the front, I felt a little strange. I don’t know if the wind picked up or what, I just didn’t feel that great. So, I think I can make some improvements for tomorrow. I just kind of sat there. I rode a pretty good race. I’m pretty happy about that. I got more points on Bobby, so pretty excited for tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it’s not as crazy as it was in the beginning of the race today, because it was a bit dangerous for a bit. We’ll see what happens.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup: Landers Crowned!
In Saturday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race, Ninja400R.com/Norton Motorsports/Dr Farr Kawasaki rider Rocco Landers won his 11th race of the season, which is the most wins accumulated in one season for any Junior Cup rider in MotoAmerica history. With the victory, Landers clinched the 2019 Championship, and there are still three more races left to go in the season. Second place on the day went to MonkeyMoto/AGVSport/Blud Lubricants Kawasaki’s Jackson Blackmon, with Hunter Dunham Racing’s Eziah Davis finishing third for a Kawasaki podium sweep.
“In the beginning (of the race), I was just trying to get a good first lap and try to see if I could get away, and I couldn’t,” Landers said. “I looked back and Jackson (Blackmon) was there. He got by me. I was like, ‘So what’s going to happen?’ Then I looked back and I had a few seconds on (Kevin) Olmedo and Dominic (Doyle) and Damian (Jigalov), I think it was. Then me and Jackson just rode together. Then, on the last lap, I saw Kevin went by me and then highsided, and I was like, ‘That sucks.’ Then I just tried to get the draft and see what I could do with that and I pulled it off and got the championship.”
EBC Brakes Superbike
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
- JD Beach (Yamaha)
- Toni Elias (Suzuki)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
- Josh Herrin I(Suzuki)
- Jake Gagne (BMW)
- Kyle Wyman (Ducati)
- David Anthony (Kawasaki)
- PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha)
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki)
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki)
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha)
- Nick McFadden (Yamaha)
- Xavier Zayat (Yamaha)
- Braeden Ortt (Yamaha)
- Benjamin Smith (Yamaha)
- Cory Ventura (Yamaha)
- Jason Aguilar (Yamaha)
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki)
- Jackson Blackmon (Kawasaki)
- Eziah Davis (Kawasaki)
- Cody Wyman (Yamaha)
- Jacob Stroud (Kawasaki)
- Damian Jigalov (Kawasaki)
- Toby Khamsouk (Kawasaki)
- Teagg Hobbs (Kawasaki)
- Gus Rodio (Kawasaki)
- Benjamin Gloddy (Kawasaki)
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