MotoAmerica Laguna Seca Preview

Press Release | October 21, 2020

MotoAmerica Superbike Preview: The Series Finale At Laguna Seca

The following is a press release from MotoAmerica…

Irvine, CA (October 21, 2020) – Although the 2020 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship was done and dusted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks ago with Cameron Beaubier clinching his fifth title, the racing goes on in the HONOS Superbike class and this weekend’s MotoAmerica GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Speedfest At Monterey may end up being one of the more wide-open and unpredictable rounds of the season.

Bobby Fong Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Bobby Fong arrives at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with the hot hand after winning two of the three HONOS Superbike races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

One thing the round at The Brickyard showed us was that the rest of the HONOS Superbike pack has gained a little ground on Beaubier and the five-time champion winning at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is no longer a foregone conclusion. Although Beaubier wasn’t his normal dominant self at Indy with three crashes, including two in races as he was trying to lock down the title, the others gained a bit of confidence that they were actually able to beat him fair and square. Especially M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, who put together three strong races at The Brickyard to come away with two wins and a second place. And the other win didn’t go to Beaubier.

Instead, it was Lorenzo Zanetti who scored his maiden MotoAmerica win in race two at Indy, the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York-backed Italian riding the team’s new Ducati Panigale V4 R to a narrow win over Fong. The win ended a 10-year winless drought for Ducati in AMA Superbike racing with the Italian company’s last victory dating back to 2010 with Larry Pegram taking the win at Auto Club Speedway.

Beaubier, however, with the pressure of capturing his fifth title behind him, has to be considered the favorite going into a race weekend at a track that he has won on four times previously. It’s a case of one weekend a champion does not make and vice versa. We must remember that Beaubier has won 13 of 17 races in 2020. Not that he needs any more incentive, but there’s also the added bonus of a 16-win season if he were to emerge victorious in all three HONOS Superbike races at Laguna – and that would tie him with Josh Hayes for all-time AMA Superbike wins in a single season.

Beaubier’s Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Jake Gagne had just one podium finish in the three races at Indy, and that allowed Fong to gain 28 points on him in the battle for second in the title chase. Gagne, however, still leads Fong by 30 points heading to Laguna and it would take a bad weekend from the San Diegan for that to happen.

Fong, meanwhile, has a lock on finishing no worse than third overall as he holds a 13-point lead over Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, who suffered a broken right leg in Indianapolis and won’t be racing at Laguna. The absent Scholtz, in turn, could be caught by M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias for fourth in the championship with the Spaniard 55 points behind with three races remaining.

Scheibe Racing BMW’s Josh Herrin could also move up as he trails Elias by just 10 points. He could also move down to seventh, however, as KWR Racing’s Kyle Wyman is only 11 points behind the 2013 AMA Superbike Champion.

And there’s definitely a battle for the final spots in the top 10 with FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony just two points ahead of Altus Motorsports’ Cameron Petersen and 17 ahead of Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman, who currently rounds out the top 10.

A second rider from Europe will make his MotoAmerica debut this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with Yamaha World Superbike test rider Niccolo Canepa set to take over Scholtz’ Yamaha YZF-R1 for the Westby Racing team. Canepa is vastly experienced and has raced in MotoGP, Moto2, the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, the Italian Superstock Championship and the Superstock UEM European Championship. Canepa also has raced at Laguna Seca during his World Superbike years and MotoGP years.

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Notes…

The winningest AMA Superbike rider of all time at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca? That would be Josh Hayes, the four-time AMA Superbike rider winning six races at the famous facility on the Monterey Peninsula.

Speaking of Hayes, as mentioned earlier Cameron Beaubier has a chance to tie Hayes for the all-time AMA Superbike wins in a season if he were to win all three races this weekend at Laguna. Hayes set the high-water mark in 2012 when he won 16 of 20 races on the year, including a streak in which he won 10 races in a row.

As for active MotoAmerica Superbike riders, Cameron Beaubier leads the way with four Superbike victories; and Toni Elias has three wins at Laguna. No other active MotoAmerica rider has won a Superbike race in Monterey.

The first-ever AMA Superbike race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca was on August 1, 1975, with Reg Pridmore taking the win on his BMW.

Last year’s two Superbike races at Laguna were won by Toni Elias and Garrett Gerloff. For Gerloff, his win in race two was his first career MotoAmerica Superbike victory.

Gerloff also earned pole position for the two Superbike races in 2019, the Texan lapping the 2.238-mile WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 1:23.286 to best his then-teammate Cameron Beaubier by .109 of a second in Superpole.

The MotoAmerica Superbike lap record at Laguna is held by Josh Herrin set in 2018 with his Superpole lap of 1:22.908.

Coming into the Laguna round, Cameron Beaubier has 27 career Superbike pole positions. He leads that category among active MotoAmerica racers. If Beaubier earns pole at Laguna, he will eclipse his single-season pole mark of six (2018) with a seventh pole in 2020.

With his maiden MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Italian Lorenzo Zanetti became the 60th rider to win an AMA Superbike race.

Battle For Superbike Cup To Be Decided At Laguna Seca: Petersen Vs. Wyman For All The Marbles

While all the championships in the 2020 MotoAmerica Series have been decided as the series heads to the MotoAmerica GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Speedfest At Monterey this weekend, there’s still one score to settle and it’s worth $25,000 to the rider who gets it done. That $25,000 will be paid to the winner of the MotoAmerica Superbike Cup, a championship within a championship for the Stock 1000 racers who double-dipped in the HONOS Superbike class.

Cameron Petersen
Cameron Petersen is leading the MotoAmerica Superbike Cup standings heading into the series finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The rider on top of the heap is Cameron Petersen, the Altus Motorsports Suzuki rider who clinched the Stock 1000 Championship at the last round at Indianapolis. The South African is 36 points clear of Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman with plenty of points still available in the final round of the series this coming weekend as there are three HONOS Superbike races on the schedule. Third place is held by Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander, but the New Yorker mathematically can’t win the title as he’s 124 points behind Petersen.

All three of the top men, however, will make money as second place in the Cup will take home $10,000 with third collecting $5000.

Petersen has emerged from the fray as the top Superbike Cup racer on nine occasions with Wyman taking the top points haul twice in 2020. Alexander has two Superbike Cup wins to his credit. The only other rider to win in Superbike Cup was PJ Jacobsen, but he suffered an injury early in the season and missed the rest of the season.

“This was the first year for the Superbike Cup and we’re happy with how it turned out,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “The Cup allowed our Stock 1000 riders to gain some valuable experience in the Superbike class and it also gave our fans more action to watch as those guys had some really good battles. We’re pleased to be able to pay out $40,000 to the top three and look forward to watching them race one last time in 2020 as we head to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.”

MotoAmerica Support Class Preview

Expect Battles Royale In Season Finale

Champions have been crowned in all four of the MotoAmerica support classes as the series rolls into WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the MotoAmerica GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Speedfest At Monterey, but the racing is far from over. While the champions come to Monterey wanting to end the season on a high, the challengers arrive wanting nothing more than to prevent that as they head into the off-season.

MotoAmerica Supersport Richie Escalante (54) vs. Sean Dylan Kelly (40)
It’s been like this all year in Supersport: Richie Escalante (54) vs. Sean Dylan Kelly (40). We can expect more or the same at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this coming weekend.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Case in point: The Supersport class. Nobody would like to end their championship season with a win more than Sean Dylan Kelly and Brandon Paasch. HONOS Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante wrapped up the Supersport title at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and left the facility with his 12th and 13th wins of a dominant season. Kelly and his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki have been Escalante’s biggest challenger this season but by no means are his three wins enough to satisfy him for what will be a long off-season. Ditto for Paasch, who has gone so far as to join Escalante’s team for the series finale at Laguna and will race a HONOS Kawasaki. How’s that for, if you can’t beat ‘em, join them?

To add a bit more fuel to the fire, the Celtic HSBK team is bringing in the winningest Supersport rider in the history of the MotoAmerica Series to ride the Yamaha YZF-R6 vacated by Paasch. That rider is none other than two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion JD Beach, who arrives in Monterey with 32 Supersport wins to his credit and plenty of pent-up aggression following a rather dismal season of flat track racing.

Understatement of the week: Expect a complete and utter barn burner for the series finale in the Supersport class.

The same can be said for the Twins Cup and Liqui Moly Junior Cup classes with both series being dominated by one rider: Rocco Landers.

In the Twins Cup Series, SportbikeTrackGear.com Roadracingworld.com Suzuki’s Landers beat out 1-833-CJKNOWS Accident & Injury Law’s Kaleb De Keyrel, reeling the Minnesotan in after getting beaten in three of the first four races. Once he started winning, De Keyrel never countered and Landers ended up winning seven in a row. A year ago, De Keyrel won his first-ever Twins Cup race and that win came at… WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. De Keyrel will roll into Laguna full of confidence from last year’s win and hungry to stop the Landers freight train. Again, expect a good battle from this one.

The story in Liqui Moly Junior Cup is eerily similar. BARTCON Racing’s Dominic Doyle won the first three races of the season, besting Landers in each of those three in ultra-close finishes. Then Landers turned the tables again and he hasn’t been beaten since, with the Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr. Farr/WonderCBD-backed Oregonian reeling off 13 wins in a row. If you don’t think Doyle would like to stop that streak in the series finale, then you haven’t been paying attention.

The two Liqui Moly Junior Cup races at Laguna will also determine who finishes second in the championship. Heading into Monterey, Doyle leads that battle over Celtic HSBK Racing’s Samuel Lochoff, but the margin is just two points. So that will bring a bit more intrigue to the finale.

The Stock 1000 Championship again proved that it’s not how you start but how you finish. Celtic HSBK Ducati’s PJ Jacobsen started out like gangbusters and won the first race of the season before a crash in round two at Road America 2 left him injured and out of contention for the rest of the season. At that point, it became a back-and-forth battle between Altus Motorsports’ Cameron Petersen and Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander for the next three races. Then it became all Petersen with his six wins in the last seven races earning him the title. The only other rider to win a Stock 1000 race was Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after Petersen was given a time penalty for exceeding track limits. Those two bring a bit of bad blood between them to Laguna, so watch for potential fireworks there as well.

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Notes…

Twenty-three racers have entered the MotoAmerica Heritage Cup at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with 21 of the 23 from California. The two non-Californians in the field are from Montana and Wyoming. The oldest bike entered is a 1974 Kawasaki Z1 900.

Bobby Fong beat PJ Jacobsen by 1.6 seconds last year to win the lone Supersport race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with Richie Escalante finishing third. The fastest lap of the race was set by Fong with his 1:27.142.

The Twins Cup race last year at Laguna was won by Kaleb De Keyrel by .683 of a second over Michael Barnes with Alex Dumas finishing third.

Rocco Landers beat Dallas Daniels by over nine seconds to win the Liqui Moly Junior Cup race with Kevin Olmedo nipping at Daniels heels in third place last year.

Andrew Lee beat Geoff May to the line by less than a second in the Stock 1000 race in 2019 with Stefano Mesa rounding out the podium in third

How To Watch MotoAmerica Round 9

Fri, Oct 23:
1:40 PM HONOS Superbike Qualifying Practice MotoAmerica Live+ Begins
7:40 PM Drag Specialties King of the Baggers Practice Facebook Live
Sat, Oct 24:
12:50 PM HONOS Superbike Free Practice MotoAmerica Live+ Begins
3:30 PM Stock 1000 Facebook Live
5:00 PM Supersport Race 1 Live on Eurosport and MAVTV
6:00 PM HONOS Superbike Race 1 Live on FS2, Eurosport & Fox Sports Asia
Sun, Oct 25:
11:55 AM HONOS Superbike Warm Up MotoAmerica Live+ Begins
2:00 PM HONOS Superbike Race 2 Live on FS2, Eurosport & Fox Sports Asia
3:15 PM Twins Cup Race Facebook Live
4:00 PM Supersport Race 2 Live on Eurosport and MAVTV
6:00 PM HONOS Superbike Race 3 Live on FS2, Eurosport & Fox Sports Asia
Tues, Oct 27:
12:30 PM MA Rewind SuperSport South Africa
8:00 PM MA Rewind Fox Sports FS2
9:00 PM Liqui Moly Junior Cup 1 Fox Sports FS2
9:30 PM Liqui Moly Junior Cup 2 Fox Sports FS2
Sun, Nov 1:
2:30 PM Inside MA NBC Sports Network

For more information on MotoAmerica, visit www.MotoAmerica.com

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