Cautiously optimistic is the best way to describe Toni Elias’ mindset after the Spaniard earned pole position for this weekend’s three HONOS Superbike races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the first pole position of the 2020 MotoAmerica season for the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider.
Elias knew that luck was on his side with runaway championship points leader Cameron Beaubier crashing out of the final qualifying session in the closing stages. Beaubier had led until that point, but the four-time series champion didn’t get the chance to go back out and better his best. That left Elias and the rest to a ferocious battle for the pole and the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion took full advantage of having a carrot dangling in front of him in the form of Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne. However he did it, he did it, and you could tell a rather large monkey had been removed from Elias’ back.
“Yes, of course I am happy because a pole is always welcomed, especially after all this difficult season,” Elias said. “I have my feet on the ground, and I have to be honest – I had two helps, one from Cameron’s (Beaubier) crash, and if not, he was on the pole, and then (Jake) Gagne helped me. I was right behind him (Gagne) and he didn’t want to go, and I said, ‘Man, I am going to wait until you go.’ I waited and I had him as a reference and on the first lap I got lucky because I make a mistake a lot and I lost him, but he made a mistake too so at the end we start another lap and I learn from the mistakes and it was a perfect lap. I didn’t make even one mistake and all braking areas were late and perfect. The last bit was a slipstream like the Moto3 World Championship and the bike took a lot of speed and it was perfect. I knew with a lap like this it would be difficult to not be on the pole, but there are always super strong riders and you never know. We did it.”
As for tomorrow’s first race… can Elias turn his first pole into his first win?
“Tomorrow I feel we have to improve front (tire) contact more and we have to find a little bit more of traction,” Elias said. “If we have more of that and we improve two or three tenths of rhythm, we have a chance to fight for the first time this year. Honestly, I’m really excited and pumped and if I have the opportunity, I will give everything.”
With Superpole removed from the MotoAmerica schedule for the Indy round due to the fact that three HONOS Superbike races will be held this weekend, qualifying came down to the 45-minute session on Friday afternoon.
Elias not only put his GSX-R1000 on pole, but he broke the Superbike lap record (set by Beaubier the last time MotoAmerica competed at The Brickyard in 2015) in the process with his 1:36.929 putting him .126 of a second ahead of Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Lorenzo Zanetti, the Italian in his second MotoAmerica weekend and on a new Ducati Panigale V4 R that was more to his liking than the one he rode at the Ridge last month.
Elias’ teammate Bobby Fong will complete the front row for the three races, the Californian just .386 of a second behind Elias and just a tick faster than Beaubier, whose session ended early after his tip-over. Beaubier will be joined on row two by Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Gagne, with the top six separated by just .688 of a second.
Excelsus Solutions/KWR Ducati Team’s Kyle Wyman, FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony, Scheibe Racing BMW’s Josh Herrin and Superbike Unlimited Franklin Armory Racing’s Andrew Lee round out the top 10 qualifiers.
A single HONOS Superbike race will be held on Saturday with two HONOS Superbike races scheduled for Sunday.
In Support class action from Indy on Friday, it was SportbikeTrackGear.com Roadracingworld.com Suzuki’s Rocco Landers leading the way in Twins Cup, the champion-elect .816 of a second clear of Hobbs Racing/Trackworx Motorsports’ Teagg Hobbs and 1.5 seconds ahead of Hayden Schultz Racing’s Hayden Schultz. Landers also led the Liqui Moly Junior Cup Q1 session by .856 of a second over BARTCON Racing’s Dominic Doyle. Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Benjamin Gloddy was third fastest.
The Stock 1000 Q2 session was led by Cameron Petersen on the Altus Motorsports Suzuki, the South African 1.3 seconds ahead of Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman and 1.5 faster than Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander.
HONOS Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante led the Supersport field, the championship points leader just .269 of a second faster than his series rival Sean Dylan Kelly on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. MESA37 Racing’s Stefano Mesa ended the day third quickest in his 2020 Supersport class debut.
- Toni Elias (Suzuki) 1:36.929
- Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1:37.055
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki) 1:37.315
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:37.365
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) 1:36.484
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 1:37.617
- Kyle Wyman (Ducati) 1:38.927
- David Anthony (Suzuki) 1:39.654
- Josh Herrin (BMW) 1:39.750
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki) 1:39.787