Reigning MotoAmerica Superbike champion Cameron Beaubier took victory in the first top-level motorcycle race to be held since MotoGP support classes at Losail.
Beaubier started from pole at Road America after marmalising the outright lap record yesterday and was never headed as he opened a gap of four seconds in six laps and cruised to the flag.
New Monster Attack Performance Yamaha team-mate Jake Gagne had a fight on his hands for the podium spots with Bobby Fong and Matthew Scholtz with the South African taking runner-up spot and Gagne in third for a Yamaha rostrum sweep.
Former champion and MotoGP front runner Toni Elias retired on lap nine.
At the front Beaubier’s lead grew, his first flying lap time of 2’11 on race tires surpassing his own pole time and laying down a serious marker for his rivals. Leading by 2.4 seconds at the start of lap four, his position at the top went unchallenged for the remaining eight laps.
Behind him, a fierce battle for second and third place was heating up between Gagne, Fong and Mathew Scholtz. Holding his rivals off well, Gagne ran slightly wide at Turn 7, dropping him to fourth. On lap 10 he forced his way back into third and hounded Scholtz in second, coming home just 0.7 of a second behind him to take the third step on the podium.
Lapping consistently in the low 2’12s for most of the race, Beaubier took the first chequered flag of the year 7.8 seconds ahead of second place.
“It feels so good just to be at the racetrack. I keep saying it, but I really am just so pumped to be back at the races. We were pretty much ready to go racing right after the Barber test, and then everything hit with COVID-19. So it’s been a long time waiting to get back racing,” said Beaubier.
“As soon as I got on the bike, I just felt so good this weekend. I was able to beat the track record yesterday, I’ve just been feeling so strong on this thing. Yamaha and Attack Performance put their heads together and came up with a great package.
“I think at first everyone wasn’t sure how the new team would measure up, but we came out swinging. It feels so good to get this win for them. They’ve been working really, really hard. I don’t want to get too excited, I just want to keep the ball rolling.”