Cameron Beaubier has the crown in the bag, but now he has a chance to show his stuff in front of the home crowd as the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike paddock heads to Laguna Seca for the season finale.
The AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. will be one final chance for the competitors to amend their 2013 record with a positive performance. The race will also be held on the international stage as support for the FIM Superbike World Championship, giving the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing riders a chance to shine before the international crowd.
The season has been a remarkable one for Cameron Beaubier (No. 6 Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6) and the Californian will have a chance to do it again in front of his home crowd. Beaubier has clinched the season's crown in a year that's seen him break the record for most wins in a season with 11 and he has also claimed pole position in all 12 races. While the races have been generally close in 2013, Beaubier has had the steam to pull away at the end, managing his resources for the late-race push that has become his trademark.
Beaubier's future is bright, and many feel this will be his last race in GoPro Daytona SportBike as he is expected to move up the rungs on the racing ladder. What better graduation present would a 12th win be? If he can manage another win, the goal for future riders wanting to top Beaubier will be perfection. And if he wins in California, Beaubier will have closed the season with 10 straight victories.
Beaubier will no doubt be motivated to finish the year with another victory, especially after winning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in July on the series' first stint out west this season.
The battle for second place in the points is still unfinished, with Jake Gagne (No. 32 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6) leading Garrett Gerloff (No. 8 Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6) by 19 markers. The wide margin may be narrowed by the shoulder injury Gagne suffered at New Jersey Motorsports Park earlier this month, but don't discount the Californian just yet. He recently had surgery to repair the broken collarbone and the young star heads to Monterey in recovery.
Gagne consolidated second in the points early in the season with a string of second-place results and a strong win at Road America, but the Californian had a tough time finding the ideal setting at Miller Motorsports Park and the New Jersey crash put him out of that race. Gerloff, on the other hand, is working from a position of strength, having finished second in four of the previous five races. Gerloff found his form at the first Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca race and has kept up the pressure ever since, watching the points gap shrink.
Gagne's points lead will be tough to top in the single race weekend, but Gerloff will no doubt be going for it in California. The race also serves as the last chance for Gerloff to top teammate Beaubier, one of his stated goals for the 2013 campaign.
JD Beach (No. 95 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6) is fourth in the points on the strength of a solid 2013 season. Beach had finished in the top five in every 2013 GoPro Daytona SportBike race until the New Jersey round. The Kentuckian had the save of the year during qualifying, but bruising forced him to miss Saturday's race. While running at the front in Sunday's final he unfortunately suffered machine troubles that put him out. A good result at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca would put a nice cap on his season.
The battle for fifth place in points is hot, with Jake Lewis (No. 85 Meen Motorsports Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) and James Rispoli (No. 43 National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki GSX-R600) tied at 172. It is also significant because both men are class rookies.
The back-and-forth battle between the two former AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport stars has been interesting. Lewis has shined brighter, earning the podium at Road America and New Jersey, where he pushed Beaubier hard throughout the weekend. The Kentucky resident also has a string of fourth place finishes to his credit. Rispoli, though, has been more consistent, finishing eighth or better in every race this year.
Three class veterans line up next in points. After finishing second in the GoPro Daytona SportBike championship last season, Dane Westby (No. 5 GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing Honda CBR600RR) hasn't been able to recapture that magic in 2013 as his team switched to new equipment. Westby has shown signs of breaking out and does have a bevy of solid finishes to his credit this year. The Oklahoman was able to run strong in New Jersey in a pack of riders fighting for fourth place in race two.
Two Triumph pilots will be battling for the next spot in the standings this weekend. Just a sole tally separates Jason DiSalvo (No. 40 Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675) and Bobby Fong (No. 50 D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph Daytona 675). DiSalvo was strong in the first Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca meeting, running at the front before the red flag. He'll need to find that form to hold off Fong, who earned the podium in New Jersey and will look to bookend his season on the box after earning third at the opener in the DAYTONA 200.
With the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport season wrapped up, some of the top riders in that class have been invited to give AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike a shot and have augmented the field to an impressive 41 riders. Those new faces include Overall and West champ Tomas Puerta (No. 12 RoadRace Factory Yamaha YZF-R6), who will race alongside RoadRace Factory teammates Gagne and Beach. East champ Corey Alexander (No. 23 National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki GSX-R600) will do the same alongside Rispoli. Second-place East finisher Hayden Gillim (No. 69 Meen Motorsports Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) was invited to race for Meen Motorsports following his strong season.
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