Wheels In Motion/MotoSport.com/Meen Motorsports rider Joe Roberts won his ninth Superstock 600 race on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the inaugural MotoAmerica series and clinched the Championship with one round remaining.
Roberts, 18, didn't have an easy time of it but his primary competition on this day wasn't even in the Championship hunt. Richie Escalante, who trailed Roberts for much of the year in points but led the race early crashed out which in effect handed the title to Roberts who had his hands full with fifth-place Bryce Prince. Ultimately, Roberts went on for the win. If Escalante held on for the win or even a second-place result he would have forced Roberts to wait until the final round.
It seemed more or less a matter of when Roberts was going to win. He had nine wins of the 11 races including a second place but one DNF allowed Escalante to hang in for the title chase despite only having one win.
"It's been a really interesting year," Roberts said. "It's been filled with a bunch of wins, but I haven't had it handed to me. I've had Bryce (Prince) here with me and Michael (Gilbert) and Richie (Escalante) up there a lot. It's a bummer that he crashed out of this round, but it wasn't just handed to me. I had to dig deep sometimes and really push it in some of these sessions to get to be the top rider. It's been really cool."
Andy DiBrino, a MotoSport-sponsored privateer, finished eighth in the Superstock 600 race and is in eighth place in the standings. DiBrino is five points from Nick McFadden in seventh and 16 points from Michael Gilbert in sixth. The final round for the Superstock 600 series is in September but with two races so the points are there for DiBrino to move further up the standings to end his first year.
In the Supersport series, Josh Herrin, who also rides for the Wheels In Motion/MotoSport.com/Meen Motorsports team, took first in Qualifying 1 and second in Qualifying 2 both times ahead of series leaders JD Beach but wasn't able to push that success over to the race.
Herrin finished second to Beach for the fifth time this year and now trials by 49 points though he managed to put some distance from third-place Garrett Gerloff who took fourth.
The Supersport series has two rounds left in the season so Herrin will need some of the first-half magic that gave him three wins and the lead after the first race in Round 4 but Herrin bounced back and tied it up after the second race. Beach has now logged six straight wins. Herrin has kept it close with four runner-up finishes but the mechanical problems that prevented him from finishing the second race in Round 6 has hurt.
MotoAmerica is the new home for the AMA Superbike Series and is sanctioned by the AMA and FIM North America. Supersport races August 7-9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiananpolis, IN. A conflict with MotoGP keeps the Superstock 600 series from racing Indy (and the season opener in Austin). The 2015 MotoAmerica season wraps up in September at New Jersey Motosports Park.
MotoAmerica Laguna Seca Results
Superstock 600 Laguna Seca Results
- Joe Roberts - MotoSport rider
- Bryce Prince
- Michael Gilbert
- Jason Aquilar
- Travis Wyman
- Wyatt Farris
- Gage McAllister
- Andy DiBrino - MotoSport rider
- Ryan Matter
- Cody Wyman
Superstock 600 Championship Standings
- Joe Roberts (245) - 2015 Superstock 600 Champion
- Richie Escalante (183)
- Travis Wyman (162)
- Wyatt Farris (127)
- Bryce Prince (114)
- Michael Gilbert (97)
- Nick McFadden (86)
- Andy DiBrino (81) - MotoSport rider
- Jason Aguilar (70)
- JC Camacho (47)
Supersport Laguna Seca Results
- JD Beach
- Josh Herrin - MotoSport rider
- David Anthony
- Garrett Gerloff
- Tomas Puerta
- Bobby Fong
- Kyle Wyman
- Corey Alexander
- Hayden Gillim
- Ben Young
Supersport Championship Standings
- JD Beach (265)
- Josh Herrin (216) - MotoSport rider
- Garrett Gerloff (199)
- David Anthony (137)
- Tomas Puerta (128)
- Bobby Fong (108)
- Ben Young (92)
- Kyle Wyman (89)
- Cameron Peterson (83)
- Hayden Gillim (61)