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Veteran Elias Claims MotoAmerica Superbike Poles at IMS after Beaubier’s Spill

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Toni Elias has more experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway than any other rider in the MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike field, and he used that advantage Friday afternoon to claim the pole position for all three races this weekend in Superbikes at the Brickyard.

Spanish rider Elias, who competed in MotoGP and Moto2 from 2008-13 and 2015 during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at IMS, earned the pole with a Superbike track-record lap of 1 minute, 36.929 seconds during the second qualifying session on the No. 24 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. It was the first pole of the season for 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike champion Elias.

“Yes, of course I am happy because a pole is always welcomed, especially after all this difficult season,” Elias said. “I have my feet on the ground, and I have to be honest – I had two helps, one from Cameron’s (Beaubier) crash, and if not, he was on the pole, and then (Jake) Gagne helped me.”

Runaway championship leader Beaubier, who has won 13 of 14 races this season, appeared to be headed toward the pole when he crashed late in the session on the No. 1 Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha. He didn’t get a chance to return to the track before the end of the session and will start fourth in all three races – outside of the front row – after posting a best time of 1:37.365 before his crash.

Still, Beaubier should be in good shape to claim his third consecutive and fifth overall MotoAmerica Superbike title this weekend. He leads teammate Jake Gagne by 103 points and needs to only lead by 75 points after this event, as there are only three races remaining after this weekend.

Beaubier’s crash set up a fierce duel between Elias and Gagne for the pole. Elias waited for Gagne to make his final qualifying laps first and followed on the 16-turn, 2.591-mile course.

“I was right behind him (Gagne) and he didn’t want to go, and I said, ‘Man, I am going to wait until you go,’ Elias said. “I waited and I had him as a reference, and on the first lap I got lucky because I make a mistake a lot and I lost him, but he made a mistake, too, so at the end we start another lap and I learn from the mistakes and it was a perfect lap. I didn’t make even one mistake and all braking areas were late and perfect.

“The last bit was a slipstream like the Moto3 World Championship and the bike took a lot of speed and it was perfect. I knew with a lap like this it would be difficult to not be on the pole, but there are always super strong riders and you never know. We did it.”

Lorenzo Zanetti qualified second at 1:37.055 on the No. 87 Warhorse HSBK Racing New York Ducati. Bobby Fong – the only other Superbike rider to win this year besides Beaubier – will round out the front row at 1:37.315 on the No. 50 M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.

The second row will be comprised of Beaubier, Mathew Scholtz on the No. 11 Westby Racing Yamaha (1:37.484) and Gagne on the No. 32 Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha (1:37.617).

Race One for the Superbikes starts at 3:10 p.m. (ET) Saturday. Race Two is at 11:10 a.m. Sunday, with Race Three at 3:10 p.m. Sunday. Each race is 17 laps.

In support class action, Rocco Landers led the way on his Suzuki in Twins Cup, the champion-elect .816 of a second ahead of Hobbs Racing/Trackworx Motorsports’ Teagg Hobbs. Landers also led the Liqui Moly Junior Cup Q1 session by .856 of a second over BARTCON Racing’s Dominic Doyle.

The Stock 1000 Q2 session was led by Cameron Petersen on the Altus Motorsports Suzuki, the South African 1.3 seconds ahead of Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman.

HONOS Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante led the Supersport field, the championship points leader just .269 of a second faster than his series rival Sean Dylan Kelly on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.

Visit IMS.com for ticket information. Fans 15 and younger are admitted free all weekend to general admission areas when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.

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