The weekend of racing for the third round of the 2019 MotoAmerica championship kicks off in Virginia with Free Practice One & Two.
Free Practice One
As the riders prepared for Superpole, it was Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff of the Monster Yamaha team who led proceedings in Free Practice One.
Beaubier dominated the session with a sizable gap throughout, before a late time attack by team-mate Gerloff saw the gap reduced to +0.004s.
Beaubier’s early pace was unmatched while title rivals Toni Elias and Josh Herrin could only manage fifth and sixth respectively. With both Suzuki riders struggling to match the Yamaha’s pace, this could be the best opportunity for the 26-year-old to get a win at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR), which has eluded him in recent seasons.
Rounding out the top three was South African Mathew Scholtz of the Westby Racing Yamaha team. Scholtz, who is currently fourth in the championship, had an uncharacteristic showing at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) with a seventh and thirteenth place finish. But the Yamaha rider looks back to his best heading into Superpole.
Free Practice Two
Free Practice Two delivered much of the same, as Beaubier and Gerloff topped the standings once again. With track conditions improving from the early morning session, the lap times brought the field closer. This also allowed championship leader, Elias, making a much-needed jump up through the order.
The Spanish rider not only improved his lap time drastically, but also led for the majority of the session. He was able to improve his lap time by 1.317s compared to Free Practice One.
Struggles continued on the other side of the Suzuki garage, as Herrin lacked pace and feeling compared to team-mate Elias. The American rider once again finished Free Practice Two in sixth place. He was well over a second down on the fastest time.
With the Monster Yamaha team having a slight advantage over the rest of the field going into Superpole, Beaubier and Gerloff will be hoping to clinch the second pole position for the team this season, after Gerloff’s pole at round one at Road Atlanta.
Stay tuned as The Checkered Flag will have all the latest update as the weekend of racing continues.