And finally, we race. Fifty-six days after the original series start date, the 2020 MotoAmerica Championship will get rolling at Road America this coming weekend, May 29-31, with the first of its 10 rounds and the first of two in a row at the picturesque venue in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
With the original series opener at Circuit of The Americas moved to November, round two at Road Atlanta moved to July 31-August 2, and the VIRginia International Raceway round cancelled, Road America will host the MotoAmerica series opener for the first time in history after the COVID-19 pandemic caused major changes to sporting event calendars worldwide. The four-mile racetrack in Wisconsin will host back-to-back rounds of the series, the first without fans (May 29-31) and the second (June 26-28) with fans in attendance.
So, finally, it’s time to talk about the racing.
Four-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier will lead the newly named HONOS Superbike class into Wisconsin for the series opener as the favorite to earn the title again – based on the fact that he’s won four of the past five Superbike titles.
“I can’t wait to start racing again,” Beaubier said. “It’s been so long, and I’ve really missed it. It will be nice to have things get back to normal and being at the track again and seeing everybody. Starting the season with two rounds at Road America is different, but you won’t get any complaints from me as it’s always been one of my favorites. I look forward to working with my team again and racing my R1. It’s a bummer not having fans for the first one, but we have good TV and live streaming packages so they can keep up with it, and we will see them all in a few weeks for round two.”
Beaubier heads to the season opener in Wisconsin with 38 career AMA Superbike wins, a mark that puts him third on the all-time list behind Mat Mladin (82) and Josh Hayes (61). His four titles also place him in rarified air, equaling his former teammate Hayes and trailing Mladin, who has a record seven AMA Superbike Championships.
Beaubier will again ride a Yamaha YZF-R1, but the team has changed with Richard Stanboli’s Attack Racing effort taking over the Monster Energy-backed team from the in-house team of a season ago.
The man expected to give Beaubier the most trouble in trying to earn a fifth title is 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Toni Elias, the Spaniard also changing to a new team with Team Hammer’s M4 ECSTAR Suzuki squad taking over from Yoshimura in 2020. No one has shot up the all-time win list faster than Elias who now has 32 wins in four years to tie him with Miguel Duhamel for fourth on the list.
Elias led the entire championship in 2019 until the final round when he was caught and passed by Beaubier. The diminutive Elias is sure to be a motivated man in 2020.
Other riders changing teams for 2020 include Jake Gagne, the former Scheibe Racing BMW rider moving to the Monster Energy Attack Racing Yamaha as the replacement for Garrett Gerloff who has joined the World Superbike Championship.
Josh Herrin has also made a team switch. Herrin, who rode for the Yoshimura Suzuki team in 2019, will take Gagne’s spot on the Scheibe BMW S 1000 RR. Herrin will be joined on the Steve Scheibe-owned team by former M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Jake Lewis, who was just signed to the team in the past couple of weeks.
Gagne was eighth in last year’s title chase; Herrin was fifth with two victories on the year.
Westby Racing’s team will remain unchanged with South African Mathew Scholtz returning for a fifth season on the one-rider team (he joined the team for a portion of the 2016 season). Scholtz ended up sixth in last year’s Superbike point standings.
Another rider with a team switch is Scholtz’s fellow South African Cameron Petersen. Petersen will race an Altus Motorsports-backed Suzuki GSX-R1000 in both HONOS Superbike and the Stock 1000 class.
Bobby Fong hasn’t changed teams, but he’s changed classes, the 2019 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion getting the call up to the HONOS Superbike class for the same M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team on which he earned the Supersport title.
Among the returning teams are those run by racers Kyle Wyman and David Anthony. Wyman is the owner/rider in the one-rider KWR Ducati team, the New Yorker back for a second season on the Panigale V4 R. Anthony, meanwhile, also has his hands both on the bars and in team ownership with the three-rider FLY Racing ADR Motorsports team. Anthony is joined by teammates Sam Verderico and Bradley Ward on the squad with all three on different brands of motorcycles. Anthony will ride a Suzuki GSX-R1000; Verderico will be aboard a Yamaha YZF-R1; and Ward will campaign a Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Also returning to the HONOS Superbike wars is Max Flinders, the Thrashed Bike Racing LLC rider set to race his Yamaha YZF-R1 after finishing 12th in last year’s title chase.
Jeremy Coffey will race one of the five BMWs in the class, the Washingtonian aboard a Superbike Underground-backed S 1000 RR.
Wyman won’t be the only Ducati Panigale V4 R rider in the HONOS Superbike class this year as PJ Jacobsen moves up from the Supersport class after finishing second to Fong in that title chase last year. Jacobsen will race in both Superbike and Stock 1000 in 2020.
Several other Stock 1000 riders will be doing double duty and racing in the HONOS Superbike class at Road America. Among them are Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman, Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates, Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander, Legacy Dental’s Jeffrey Purk, MonkeyMoto AGVSPORT’s Steven Shakespeare, Limitless Racing’s Joseph Giannotto and Procomps Racing Team’s Danilo Lewis.
In all, there are 22 riders entered in the HONOS Superbike opener at Road America.
Road America Notes…
Toni Elias earned pole position for last year’s two Superbike races, the Spaniard earning the top spot in a wet Superpole session. Elias lapped at a 2:30.992 to best his then-Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Josh Herrin and Monster Energy Attack Racing Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier.
Cameron Beaubier is the Superbike lap record holder at Road America, the four-time series champ turning a 2:11.422 during Superpole in 2018.
Josh Herrin had the fastest race lap last year, the Georgian clicking off a 2:12.287 en route to victory in race two. The faster of the two contests was race one, but the best lap (set by Beaubier) was slower than Herrin’s best in race two.
Toni Elias and Josh Herrin split wins in the two Superbike races last year at Road America with Cameron Beaubier finishing second in both and Garrett Gerloff finishing both races in third place. The races were close as always with Elias beating Beaubier by just .253 of a second in race one with Beaubier coming up just .506 short of Herrin in race two.
Of the active riders in the HONOS Superbike class, Cameron Beaubier leads the list of all-time AMA Superbike race wins with 38 victories. That puts him third on the all-time wins list behind Mat Mladin (82) and Josh Hayes (61). Toni Elias is tied for fourth on the list with Miguel Duhamel with 32 wins. The next highest number of wins by an active MotoAmerica rider is Josh Herrin with eight wins followed by Mathew Scholtz with two.
Six different manufacturers will be represented on the grid at Road America: Yamaha (seven entries), BMW (five entries), Suzuki (four entries), Kawasaki (three entries), Ducati (two entries) and Honda (one entry).
As far as manufacturers go, Yamaha has the most wins at Road America with 19 followed by Suzuki with 17, Honda (12), Ducati (eight) and Kawasaki (four). Yamaha had won seven of eight races until Suzuki swept both races last year with Toni Elias and Josh Herrin.
Riders from five different countries will line up at Road America in the HONOS Superbike class with the U.S., Spain, South Africa, Great Britain and Brazil all represented.
Cameron Beaubier has won seven HONOS Superbike races at Road America, a mark eclipsed only by Mat Mladin’s nine wins and Josh Hayes’ eight wins in America’s Dairyland. Going into last year’s two races, Beaubier had won seven of the past 10 Superbike races in Elkhart Lake, but he was shut out in 2019 with two second-place finishes.
The official track length at Road America is 4.048 miles, which makes it the longest on the MotoAmerica schedule. The track features 14 turns and is affectionally known as “four miles of fun.”
Three-time World Champion Freddie Spencer won the first-ever AMA Superbike race at Road America in 1980.
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