One Wet, One Dry, Toni Elias Wins Both MotoAmerica Superbike Races at Road Atlanta
The opening round of the MotoAmerica Motorcycle Road Racing Series gave Suzuki’s Elias two wins.
At the superfast Road Atlanta road racing circuit in Braselton, Georgia, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing took the wins in Saturday’s dry Superbike race and Sunday’s wet Superbike race, with Moto2 world champion Tony Elias scoring the top spot in each race. On Saturday, Elias schooled the field to finish a cool five seconds in front if second-place finisher Yamaha Westby Racing’s Matthew Scholtz, with third-place going to Monster Energy Yamalube Factory Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff, crossing the finish line another seven seconds back.
Sunday’s race was run in treacherously wets conditions and was a tight race-long three-way battle for the win between defending MotoAmerica Superbike champion Tony Elias, teammate Roger Hayden, and Factory Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier, with multiple passes throughout the race and each taking turns leading across the finish line.
The battle for the win was reduced to two riders when Hayden crashed out of the lead, though he was able to remount and finish on the same lap in fifth place. Beaubier and Elias continued to trade the lead with Elias making a late pass with just a couple laps remaining in the 18-lap race, taking the win by a scant 1.639 seconds, after running his fastest lap of the race on the last lap.
After Sunday’s race, Spanish rider Elias said; “I didn’t expect to win a wet race. Since 2001, I have not won a wet race. This was really important for us. It is good. I was trying to use my brain during the race but a wet race is difficult. The bike was good, I gained confidence and found the pace. At the end I was able to go a little bit more. I am happy. We will have to fight a lot this year, but I will try to be consistent.
Finishing in third place was Matthew Scholtz, who did it the hard way. Scholtz, riding for Yamalube Westby Racing, ran off track to avoid running over a crashed rider and motorcycle in turn one on the first lap, rejoining the race in 12th -place. From there to the end Schultz put his head down, as they say in motorcycle racing, and, after some hard riding and the help of a few more riders hitting the pavement, Scholtz earned the last spot on the podium and second place in the MotoAmerica Superbike championship, behind Elias.