Fong, Zanetti Win Superbike Races at IMS; Beaubier Locks Up MotoAmerica Title

Bobby Fong (No. 50) and Lorenzo Zanetti (No. 87) split wins in MotoAmerica Superbike action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 – Bobby Fong and Lorenzo Zanetti won Superbike races Sunday in the Superbikes at the Brickyard, while Cameron Beaubier rode away from Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his fifth MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike championship.

Zanetti, from Italy, won the first of two races Sunday on the No. 87 Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York Ducati after a taut race. Fong, from Stockton, California, dominated the second race on his No. 50 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. It was Fong’s second victory in three races this weekend, as he also captured the Superbike race Saturday on the 16-turn, 2.591-mile road course.

Beaubier, from Roseville, California, clinched his fifth overall MotoAmerica Superbike title and his third in a row despite an uncharacteristically quiet weekend. Beaubier entered this race with 13 victories in 14 races this season on his No. 1 Monster Energy Attack Performance, but finishes of third in Race One and second in Race Two today were enough to seal the title after crashing out of Saturday’s race.

“It’s been amazing,” Beaubier said. “I owe so much to my entire Monster Attack Yamaha crew. It was purely such a fun year being able to rack up as many wins as we did. This whole weekend definitely wasn’t easy on us. They were up at midnight fixing my bike after a few crashes. I went pretty much all year with one crash and threw the bike down three times this weekend. It was definitely testing us.”

HONOS Superbike Sunday Race Two

Fong cruised to a 9.831-second victory over Beaubier in a race shortened to just 12 laps due to an early red flag. It was Fong’s third victory of the season.

The margin of victory deceived, as Fong was under pressure from Jake Gagne’s No. 32 Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha until Gagne crashed on Lap 8.

“It’s good to be back up here,” Fong said. “It’s been a long year. I didn’t really have a game plan coming into the race. I talked to my coach, Josh Hayes, and he was like, ‘Man, you’ve just got to be relentless out there.’ I didn’t want to lead the whole thing again, but I just plugged away and put in my laps. The bike felt good. Kudos to everybody on the team.”

Pole sitter Toni Elias lost the front end of his No. 24 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki exiting Turn 15 on Lap 2. Fong, running second, just missed hitting the sliding Suzuki, which leaked oil on the track during the crash and triggered a red flag.

Elias wasn’t able to restart, so Fong led the field into Turn 1 from his second starting spot and never trailed. Gagne bumped past Zanetti for second with an aggressive Turn 2 pass on Lap 2 and set sail for Fong.

Zanetti’s chances for a podium finish looked dashed two laps later when he ran straight past Turn 1 and rejoined the course in fifth, behind Fong, Gagne, Josh Herrin and Beaubier.

Beaubier passed Herrin for third on Lap 7, with Zanetti later passing Herrin for fourth.

Meanwhile, Gagne pulled to within eight-tenths of a second of leader Fong on Lap 8 – his closest gap since early in the race – when disaster struck in Turn 10. Gagne lost grip from his front tire and slid into the gravel trip. He climbed back on the bike and resumed, finishing seventh.

Gagne’s fall deflated the pressure on Fong, who cruised to the checkered flag. Zanetti closed to the rear wheel of Beaubier on the last lap, but Beaubier held him off to keep second by just .068 of a second at the finish.

“I was just riding so timid,” Beaubier said. “I just wanted to bring this thing home for the crew. Hat’s off to Bobby – he was riding his butt off. And Zanetti, he caught me pretty good there at the end.”

HONOS Superbike Sunday Race One

Zanetti earned his first career MotoAmerica Superbike victory by .196 of a second over Fong in a tense, 17-lap race. Former World Superbike racer Zanetti came to the series in August as a replacement rider for the injured PJ Jacobsen at Ridge Motorsports Park.

Ducati Corse test rider Zanetti became the first Ducati rider to win an AMA/MotoAmerica Superbike race since Larry Pegram in 2010. Zanetti finished third Saturday.

“Compared to yesterday, I just tried to keep calm,” Zanetti said. “I managed the tire well, but in the end, I just compared to Bobby, so I just tried to go in front and get my rhythm because I struggled a bit in some corners. But that’s all right. I’m so happy for all.”

Beaubier finished third after overcoming an electrical gremlin during the morning warm-up, which came after his team worked after midnight to rebuild his Yamaha after it was heavily damaged in two crashes Saturday.

Fong, who started third, got a strong drive off the line at the start and wasted no time passing teammate and pole sitter Elias for the lead, riding around Elias in Turn 10 on Lap 1.

Zanetti dove under Elias in Turn 1 on Lap 3 to set up a head-to-head duel with Fong. Within two laps, Zanetti had pulled on the rear wheel of Fong and applied constant pressure.

But Zanetti went a bit wide in Turn 1 on Lap 7, letting Elias slip under for second. But Zanetti returned the favor two laps later in Turn 2, passing Elias to regain second.

Then Zanetti clawed his way back to Fong’s rear wheel, and the tandem started to pull away from Elias, Gagne, Herrin and Beaubier.

Zanetti continued to develop his rhythm on the fly and used setup changes on his bike after Saturday’s race to post a race-record lap of 1:36.825 on Lap 13 – a quicker lap than Elias’ pole time of 1:36.929 Friday.

That pace helped Zanetti pull to within one-tenth of a second of Fong at the start of Lap 15. Then Zanetti pounced for the top spot, diving under Fong in Turn 10 on Lap 15 for a lead he would not surrender.

Beaubier, who dropped back to seventh at the start, completed his climb to the podium by passing teammate Gagne in Turn 1 on the final lap. He tried to close on Zanetti and Fong to create a three-bike train to the finish, but a bobble midway through the last lap ended any hope of racing for the victory.

Support Classes

Richie Escalante swept both Supersport races this weekend with another victory Sunday on his No. 54 HONOS Kawasaki, winning by 1.198 seconds over the No. 40 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki of Sean Dylan Kelly.

It was the 13th victory of the season for 2020 Supersport champion Escalante.

Rocco Landers earned his third victory of the weekend, completing a sweep of the two Liqui Moly Junior Cup races with another win Sunday. Landers rode his No. 1 Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr. Farr/Wonder CBD Kawasaki to victory by .157 of a second over the No. 25 BARTCON Racing Kawasaki of Dominic Doyle. Landers also won the Twins Cup race Saturday.

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