Six of the Medallia Superbike riders are within a second of provisional pole man Cameron Beaubier after the first of two qualifying sessions at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday afternoon, throwing doubt into tomorrow’s first of three races on the newly repaved racetrack on the Monterey Peninsula.
Beaubier’s best lap was his eighth on a chilly and breezy Friday afternoon, the five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion lapping at 1:23.489 to top his Tytlers Cycle Racing teammate PJ Jacobsen by .344 of a second. Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante was fast all day and that didn’t stop in Q1 as he sped to a 1:23.856 to land on the provisional front row. Escalante was the final rider to circulate in the 1:23s.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz was fourth fastest, .682 of a second off Beaubier’s best and just .012 of a second ahead of Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati Racing’s Josh Herrin.
Championship leader Jake Gagne not on the provisional front row is a surprise. Gagne barely making it on the second row is downright shocking, but that’s where he ended up on the session that was shortened by some five minutes with a red flag.
Gagne’s Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing teammate Cameron Petersen ended the session in seventh and the last rider on the same second as Beaubier.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch completed his first Q1 session on the team’s second GSX-R1000R in eighth, the youngster adapting quickly to the Superbike left vacated by Toni Elias’ surprise retirement.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Corey Alexander and Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim rounded out the top 10.
Supersport – La Mesa
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Stefano Mesa led Friday’s Supersport Q1 session with his 1:27.577 lap besting Squid Hunter Racing’s Josh Hayes by just .240 of a second to earn the Floridian provisional pole position.
The provisional front row was completed by Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott with the youngster lapping at 1:28.053, which was just a tick quicker than North East Cycle Outlet Racing’s Anthony Mazziotto.
Scott’s teammate Teagg Hobbs ended the session fifth-fastest with Xavi Fores sixth, the championship leader (with seven straight wins) just over a second off Mesa. Fores had the first crash of his rookie MotoAmerica season on Thursday and was struggling with front-end grip and a lack of confidence.
REV’IT! Twins Cup – Landers Time
Robem Engineering’s Rocco Landers led the way in the REV’IT! Twins Cup Q1 session at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday with the 2021 Twins Cup Champion lapping at 1:30.741 to better Rodio Racing – Powered By Robem Engineering’s Gus Rodio by half a second.
The WagBar MP13 Racing Team’s Kayla Yaakov ended the day third fastest, 1.8 seconds behind Landers’ best and just .005 of a second ahead of Cycle Tech’s Hayden Schultz. Trackday Winner/Blackmon Racing’s Jackson Blackmon rounded out the top five.
Mission King Of The Baggers – Wyman On Top
H-D Screamin’ Eagle’s Kyle Wyman was the King of Friday’s Q1 session in the Mission King Of The Baggers class as the 2021 class champion lapped at 1:28.586 to top the timesheets.
Vance & Hines/Mission/Harley-Davidson’s Hayden Gillim was second fastest and just .423 of a second slower than Wyman. The provisional front row was filled by Indian Motorcycle/Progressive/Mission Foods-backed Tyler O’Hara with the defending Mission King Of The Baggers Champion .616 of a second off Wyman’s best.
Gillim’s teammate James Rispoli, meanwhile, was fourth with Roland Sands Design/Indian Motorcycle’s Kyle Ohnsorg rounding out the top five.
Mission Super Hooligan National Championship – McWilliams!
Indian Motorcycle/Progressive/Mission Foods’ Jeremy McWiliams had his first Mission Super Hooligan National Championship win taken away from him two weeks ago at Ridge Motorsports Park when he and teammate Tyler O’Hara were protested and ultimately DQ’d for a technical infraction.
Judging by his performance in Friday’s Q1 session, it might not be a good idea to make McWilliams angry as the Northern Irelander put a whuppin’ on the rest of the field with his 1:29.298 almost a second quicker than DiBrino Racing KTM’s Andy DiBrino.
O’Hara ended the session third fastest and 1.3 seconds slower than his teammate McWiliams.
Former Superbike race winner Larry Pegram made his Super Hooligan debut a good one as he rode his Roland Sands Design/Indian Motorcycle FTR1200 to the fourth fastest time in his first race of any kind in 2023. Team Saddlemen’s Cory West was fifth fastest on his Harley-Davidson Pan America.