After practice and qualifiers conditions by rain and slippery, treacherous asphalt, the first race at VIRginia International Raceway was dry and a fiercely fought battle.
Beaubier, Elias and Gerloff engaged in a true dog fight, finishing in exactly that order. The team Monster Yamaha Californian reacted, digging deep. His crash in Superpole did not discourage the number 1 rider who, in the crucial stages of the race, changed his pace after Scholtz's crash.
However, don't be fooled by the three-second plus gap at the finish ahead of Elias,: Cameron worked hard for this win on a track where he has struggled more than once: “Just started off today feeling pretty good - the MotoAmerica champ explained - I felt pretty comfortable on the R1 out there. I know how fast these guys are at this track and this year. It felt really good to be able to win with a little bit of a margin. I’m sure tomorrow is going to be tougher so I've got a couple things I might try in the morning depending on wet or dry. It’s going to be tough but looking forward to racing.” Tomorrow things could be different - who knows?. In the meantime, Beaubier can enjoy his thirty-fourth career win.
Toni took the blows on a less-than-perfect Suzuki after some troubled practice sessions. The Spaniard started from the eighth spot on the grid and made a comeback from behind that subjected his Dunlops to some intense labor: “My GSX-R stopped and then it stopped again (in Superpole) - Elas explained - but today I started good. I think one of my best starts ever. In the first corner I was too cautious, and I gave up everything in the first two corners. Cameron's pace was faster than mine. He did an amazing job, so I'll take these 20 points.”
Third place went to Texan Gerloff, with the R1 twin to Beaubier's. Garrett's season is starting to take off after some initial misfortune: “Just kind of not my cleanest performance, but it’s a lot better than it was last year - when Gerloff ended up in the hospital after a crash - so It’s just good to finish the race." A good philosophy and a well-deserved podium for him.
From Beach in fourth to Wyman in ninth, the gaps behind the leader widen considerably. This group includes two Yamahas, a Suzuki, a BMW, a Kawasaki and a gorgeous Panigale V4 R, Kyle's number 33 bike with a brand new livery in Virginia that includes some Ducati red.