A Wild Weekend of Motorcycle Racing at the Famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway
For the first time all season, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier wasn’t the dominant force at Indy. With the weight of trying to put the championship on ice in the penultimate round, Beaubier had some struggles. He crashed out of Saturday’s race one and it put a visible dent in his confidence for Sunday’s two races. Even with the pressure, he persevered and finished on the podium in both races – third in race two and second in race three. With that, he takes an insurmountable 97-point lead rolling into WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks, where he hopes to return to his winning ways in an attempt to match Josh Hayes’ 16-win season from 2012.
“I just had pure fun this year,” stated the reigning champion, “It was so fun just ripping off those wins. I was just really enjoying riding my bike all year. I’ve never felt so comfortable on a bike and just at home with my guys. We really built a family together, Yamaha and me. It’s just such a privilege to ride for them. This is my eighth-year riding for them, and we’ve been able to rack up six championships together. I’m just so thankful for the opportunity and everything they’ve given me. Just going to enjoy this one and go have fun at Laguna.”
Italian Lorenzo Zanetti ended a winless drought for Ducati in AMA Superbike racing that dated back to 2010. He started Sunday morning off with a victory on his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York Panigale V4 R Superbike in the second of the three HONOS Superbike races following his first podium a day earlier.
But the Superbike star for the weekend would have to be Bobby Fong of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. After snatching the lead in race one on Saturday after Beaubier crashed out, Fong fought off Beaubier’s Attack Yamaha teammate Jake Gagne for the win. Then the Suzuki rider claimed the 2nd step in race two, and dominated race three after teammate Toni Elias crashed out in front of him, as did Jake Gagne behind him.
Escalante Sews Up Supersport Title
Richie Escalante became the first Mexican to win an AMA National Road Racing Championship when he wrapped up the 2020 MotoAmerica Supersport Championship on Sunday after another perfect weekend on his HONOS Kawasaki. The victory was his 13th of a near-perfect season for the 25-year-old. “Thanks to all my team to give me the best bike, and my crew chief, my mechanic,” said Escalante. “All the people who support me and my team. This is why we had an almost perfect year, 13 wins. I’m very happy. One more race (weekend) in Laguna, so keep working to try to finish the season on the top.”
On Sunday, Escalante withstood challenges from M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly, who crashed out of Saturday’s race, and MESA37 Racing Kawasaki rider Stefan Mesa, who this weekend added the Supersport class to his usual repertoire of competing in Stock 1000. Kelly and Mesa threw everything they had at Escalante, and Kelly even led the race in all but one of the opening five laps, but then, Escalante established himself at the front and took the win by a little more than a second over second-place finisher Kelly. Mesa worked his way into second place on lap four and five, then Kelly overtook him, and Mesa brought it home in third place to complete the all-Latino podium.
Rocco Landers- Dominant in Two Classes
After winning Saturday’s Twins Cup race, clinching the class championship, and winning Liqui Moly Junior Cup race one, Landers completed another perfect weekend on Sunday when he also won Liqui Moly Junior Cup race two. The Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr. Farr/Wonder CBD Kawasaki rider started from the pole, got the holeshot, and led all but the second-to-last lap to take the checkered flag by a scant .157 of a second over BARTCON Racing Kawasaki rider Dominic Doyle.
South African Doyle put in a strong performance and got even stronger in the final couple of laps when he took the lead on lap 10 of 11 and very nearly had the measure of Landers. Doyle came up just a little short and had to settle for second place. “Today’s race was pretty good,” Landers said. “I’m stoked for Dom (Doyle) to finally get back up there with me. Under the circumstances, I think it’s super awesome how fast he’s going right now. I was struggling with the edge grip and driving grip the whole race. So, I didn’t have the feel that I normally would. Yesterday, I felt a little bit better, could be the heat of the asphalt. But I’m happy with the win.”
Cameron Petersen Clinches Stock 1000 Title
Altus Motorsports Suzuki rider Cameron Petersen clinched the 2020 Stock 1000 Championship in a race that he appeared to win, but he was docked .4 of a second due to a sporting infraction, which dropped him from first to second in the final result. Meanwhile, Travis Wyman Racing BMW rider Travis Wyman, who had caught up to Petersen in the race, overtook him, and led the race briefly until Petersen passed him, inherited the win for his first Stock 1000 victory of the season. Third place went to Tango Racing Kawasaki rider Maximiliano Gerardo, the Uruguayan rider notching the first MotoAmerica podium of his career.
“I can’t even explain it,” South African Petersen stated when asked to describe his feelings about winning his first MotoAmerica Championship. “Even hearing you say that kind of brought a lump to my throat. It means so much to me. This is my life. Obviously, my goal is to be a Superbike champ and hopefully one day get in the World Championship. Just being able to hold this number one board is pretty special. It’s something I’ve dreamt of my whole life.”
MotoAmerica rolls into Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks, for the finale race weekend of the 2020 season. For tickets, race schedule, class standings, and where/how to watch, click here:
*Source material: Paul Carruthers and Sean Bice of MotoAmerica
*Photography: Dean Phelps, Steve Groth, and Brian J. Nelson