Team Hammer is battling for position in the final round of the inaugural GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented By Yamaha this weekend at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole Valley, UT.
M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Racing’s Joe Roberts comes into the Arai Mountain Nationals full of motivation after showing podium potential but ultimately being knocked out of contention last time out in Sonoma, California.
The 16-year-old Roberts is in impressive form again this weekend. He circulated the world-class facility with a best time of 1:31.506 aboard his Honda CBR600RR Sportbike machine during Saturday’s qualifying session.
That effort was good enough to put him fifth on the grid, where he’ll head the second row.
Roberts might have been able to fight his way onto the front row, but he was crashed during the session when another competitor re-entered the track from pitlane and swung out directly in front of him.
“With the crash, it was a little disappointing with how today went,” said Roberts, who won at Miller in 2013. “I didn’t quite get the track time I wanted and I thought we were a little behind on setup going into qualifying. We made one change and put on some fresh tires for the session and I had gotten down into the 1:31-range. It was going well and I thought I could improve my time with the same settings on the bike. I saw another rider exiting the pit lane and it was clear he saw me as he pulled on to the track. I ran my normal line and then saw he was turning in on me. I had to grab more brake than I wanted to so I wouldn’t hit him and I tucked the front. I’m in some pain with my finger but I still think we have a shot at doing well in the race tomorrow.”
Roberts thinks he is capable of improving his pace for Sunday if his hand holds up. “I love coming out to Miller and had the success last year,” he said. “I think it is a real riders track and the best really show well here.”
On Sunday, Roberts and Team Hammer will have one final opportunity to claim victory in the 2014 GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout as the new series will complete its three-round tour of the West.