Yamaha and Suzuki factory racing teams headlined MotoAmerica/Dunlop preseason testing this past week at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California. Two-time Superbike champion Cameron Beaubier posted the quickest lap time (1:44.8), the 25-year-old Roseville native still recovering from a shoulder injury—and subsequent surgery—that brought his title defense to an abrupt end with two rounds remaining in the 2017 campaign.

“The shoulder is good,” Beaubier confirmed. “I have been struggling a little bit with it at home and feel like it’s 85 percent. Riding myself back into shape is what’s helping me. I put in a lot of laps over the past three days and did good times. I thought I’d forgotten how to ride, but after that first session I felt good. I did the best times I’ve done around here, and I didn’t think that would be the case coming into this test.”

Cameron Beaubier, Yamaha, MotoAmerica, Superbike
Factory Yamaha star Cameron Beaubier was the quickest of the handful of MotoAmerica riders present at the preseason test held this past week at Thunderhill Raceway Park.|Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Newly crowned premier-class champ Toni Elias had the second-best lap time (1:45.1), despite crashing his GSX-R1000 in the final hour of the test, reportedly taking teammate Roger Hayden (1:46.0) with him. According to MotoAmerica Communications Manager Paul Carruthers, Hayden was on an “out” lap, saw Elias was already up to speed and gave him room to pass. Elias, however, crashed and slid into Hayden.

“We’ve found some things that are better with the bike, some worse,” Hayden said prior to the crash. “My speed has been pretty good. Yesterday, I was kind of stuck at one speed, but we moved past that. Tire testing is mentally draining because you have to remember how each tire felt—some were better and some felt the same. It’s also fun because every time you go out, you’re on a new tire.”

Garrett Gerloff, Yamaha, MotoAmerica, Superbike
Following back-to-back MotoAmerica Supersport titles, Garrett Gerloff has replaced four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes on the second factory Yamaha YZF-R1.Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Two-time Supersport champ Garrett Gerloff (1:45.2) continues to make his transition to Superbike. “I wasn’t last,” he said, laughing. “I’m super happy with the way everything has progressed, and being able to compare myself with the competition is a big part of learning what needs to change. We tried some new tires—different sizes, different compounds—and a few really stood out.”

The 10-round 2018 MotoAmerica Series season begins April 13–15 with the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta.