Fifty-one wins and five MotoAmerica Superbike Championships later and it’s difficult to believe that Cameron Beaubier had some apprehension when he moved up to the Superbike class as a teammate to then three-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes in 2014.
Beaubier struggled a bit in his first season, though he did win three races – including his second-ever race in the class at Daytona International Speedway – but it was Hayes who captured his fourth title.
Beaubier, however, hit his stride the same year that MotoAmerica took over the AMA Superbike Series: 2015. He won eight races and earned the first of his now five MotoAmerica Superbike crowns. In 2016, Beaubier again won eight races and again won the crown. In 2017, he only won five times and the title went to Toni Elias and the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000.
In 2018, Beaubier was back on top and he hasn’t conceded the championship since Elias took it from him in 2017. On Sunday at The Brickyard, he wrapped up his fifth title, passing his former teammate Hayes in the process.
When asked if he thought the prospect of winning more titles than Hayes back then was a possibility, Beaubier admitted his apprehension.
“When I first jumped on the Yamaha with him (Hayes), with the previous edition R1, previous gen… no way. I was like, ‘How do you ride this thing?’ It was stiff as a brick. I found myself
on my head a lot that year. I was like, ‘Man, Josh is unbelievable.’ And obviously he was, the amount of times he’s won throughout his career. Four championships, 10 years ago or something like that. He obviously had an incredible career.
“But once we switched to the new-gen R1 in ’15, I just felt so comfortable on that thing. That’s all I’ve been riding for the past five years. It’s been amazing. It’s been an amazing journey with Yamaha. It’s definitely something in the future I’ll look back on, maybe as the best moments of my life. Who knows?”
Beaubier was understandably on edge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he tried to put the championship away, and there was a collective sigh of relief when the task was completed on Sunday afternoon. Now it’s a weekend off before the series finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Beaubier is looking forward to just being able to go out and race again.
“I think going into Laguna it’s going to be pretty tough,” Beaubier said at The Brickyard on Sunday. “Bobby (Fong) has been really fast there in the past. He’s really quick with that Suzuki now. The speed he’s been able to come out with this year, after not really riding the thing so much, is really impressive. So, he’s definitely going to be tough next year and also at Laguna. Same with Lorenzo (Zanetti). It’s been great having another manufacturer up there and another really, really good bike – factory equipment – racing with us. I’m looking forward to it.”
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