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Old 02-20-2016, 01:30 AM   #1
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MotoAmerica Teams Get Ready For 2016 At Thunderhill

Photo Courtesy of MotoAmerica/Brian J. Nelson

Reigning MotoAmerica Superbike champ Cameron Beaubier is ready to defend his title.

It’s crunch time. In less than 50 days, the MotoAmerica season kicks off its sophomore season at Circuit of The Americas (CoTA). Before heading to the official pre-season test at CoTA next month, March 23-24, several of MotoAmerica’s teams tested at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Northern California on February 17-18.

Those present were Yoshimura Suzuki's Roger Hayden and Jake Lewis; Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha Factory Racing's Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes; Meen Motorsports' Josh Herrin, Joe Roberts, Dakota Mamola and Richie Escalante; Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha's JD Beach and Garrett Gerloff; and the Latus Motors Kawasaki team of Bobby Fong and David Anthony..

Unfortunately Mother Nature wasn’t cooperative and the conditions at the test were not ideal with both days hampered by cold and windy conditions, and rain on the morning of the second day. Although it was less than ideal conditions, it was still considered a success by the majority of the teams involved.

Photo Courtesy of MotoAmerica/Brian J. Nelson

Roger Hayden was on the mend, fighting a cold and shifting focus to the official pre-season test at CoTA.

"We had a couple of new parts to try, a couple of different shocks and stuff, and I feel like we definitely made forward progress," said reigning MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier. "Our lap times weren't as good as in previous tests here, but I definitely think we made a step in the right direction and it's always good to ride. It set us up good for the CoTA test and by that time we'll be thinking about going racing."

The test saw the debut of the Latus Motors team's new Superstock 1000-spec Kawasaki ZX-10Rs that Bobby Fong and David Anthony will race in the 2016 championship. The duo were busy turning laps on the new bike that was the true definition of stock (very little additions, including a stock-rear seat) in an effort to get it close to race ready for the CoTA test. Considering it was nearly straight out of the box, both riders were impressed with how good the new bike is and their odds of going up against the more battle tested competition (i.e. Yamaha).

Photo Courtesy of MotoAmerica/Brian J. Nelson

Bobby Fong was happy with his Latus Motors Kawasaki straight out of the box.

"I like it; the Kawasaki is good," said Anthony near the end of day two. "For coming straight out of the box, it's really good. We made a lot of changes, but we pretty much went back to where we started; back to how we turned up here with it. We've got one more test, the CoTA test, and that's it, so it's hard to judge where we stand. We're still a few seconds off the Superbikes, but it's hard to tell. Superstock-wise, we're all about the same speed. I think we'll be close right away."

The test also saw the debut of HB Racing/Meen Motorsports' Dakota Mamola on American soil. Mamola, who is coming off a year and a half sabbatical from racing, spent his two days getting the rust off. Mamola, the son of Grand Prix legend Randy Mamola, also had former AMA star Kurtis Roberts offering assistance at the test.

Photo Courtesy of MotoAmerica/Brian J. Nelson

Dakota Mamola made his MotoAmerica debut at the pre-season test at Thunderhill.

"I've ridden dirt track, Supermotard and motocross, but I haven't ridden an actual road racer like this in a long time," Mamola said. "I did an hour at the Leon Haslam school and that's it. Yesterday was tough. Just because I had to learn the track, get back on a bike... and the wind didn't really help. It was a lot at one time, but now on day two we are starting to get there and now is where things start getting complicated when you have to change shocks and get the set-up. I'm enjoying it and I want to thank Ameen [Sajjadi - the team owner] and the whole HB Racing team for giving me this chance and hopefully we can do something good. It's good to be back here in the U.S."

Two riders were injured at the test with HB Racing/Meen Motorsports Richie Escalante suffering a fractured knee and broken finger and Graves Y.E.S. Yamaha's JD Beach escaping with a bruised pelvis from his crash on the afternoon of day two.

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