Just a few turns from the end, the race dominator crashed out, leaving space and some limelight for other names that have been in the shadows until now, but they are shining once again in Wisconsin.
At Road America, the trio battling for the win was made up of Elias, Beaubier and Herrin; a Suzuki and two Yamahas, who battled from start to finish on a difficult and selective track where experience represents an added value.
The protagonist of various passes and other episodes where he was forced to fend off attacks, defending champion Elias went down right at the decisive moment, his GSX-R tumbling into the gravel trap along with him as he watched season win number six go up in smoke, only to fall into the clutches of number 6, Cameron Beaubier, astride the factory R1.
This is the first win of the 2018 season for the Californian and his twenty-fifth in MotoAmerica; the collision between his Yamaha and the Spaniard’s Suzuki at Canada Corner knocked the number 1 driver off the track and now the championship standings have taken a sudden turn: “I knew as the laps were winding down I needed to get aggressive if I wanted to win the thing – Cameron said – I gave it everything I had on the last lap just to do something. I lined him up going into Canada. I went in there not thinking we were going to hit or anything. I didn’t even realize he went down until I came around the next lap and his bike was sitting by the air fence. I’m not saying it’s my fault or his fault, maybe it was a racing incident. I still wanted him to finish the race, so that was a bummer.” Now the gap between the American and the European is down to just 10 points in the overall standings.
After having to reckon with Elias, Beaubier then had to chase down Josh Herrin, who finished second by just two thousandths of a second, a thrilling photo finish.
Rounding out the podium was Texan Garrett Gerloff, coming back from an injury. This is his third podium finish in his rookie season astride the team Monster Energy factory Yamaha.
Fourth place went to South African rider Mathew Scholtz and fifth ended up being a battle of Kentucky with Lewis besting Roger Lee Hayden right at the end. BMW had an outstanding performance, sixth with Danny Eslick, whereas Honda and Kawasaki finished in the top ten thanks to Cameron Petersen and David Anthony.
There was news in Supersport as well, with the race being won by Frenchman Valentine Debise astride his Suzuki GSX-R 600. The European was returning from the bad accident in Daytona and, after taking pole position, he went on to win the race too. Also on the podium was JD Beach second, with Hayden Gillim finishing fourth. Capitalizing was Richie Escalante, taking his place on the third step of the podium for the first time in 2018.