Joe Roberts and Team Hammer showcased podium potential today at Sonoma Raceway, as the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented By Yamaha resumed action in Northern California for this weekend’s Arai Pacific Nationals.
The M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Racing star entered this weekend’s event ranked seventh in the Dynojet Pro Sportbike points following last weekend’s opening round performance in Southern California. The 16-year-old looks more than capable of improving upon that position this weekend in Sonoma, as he ranked near the top of the charts in Saturday’s short free practice and qualifying sessions.
Roberts came out swinging Saturday morning, hustling his M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Honda CBR600RR around the undulating 2.32-mile, 12-turn circuit with a quick time of 1:42.326, which put him third in the order even though he was still learning the track.
The young gun proceeded to blitz that time in the afternoon, clocking a 1:40.446 in qualifying to earn the fourth slot on the grid for Sunday’s race, on the front row of the Sonoma grid.
“We’re a lot closer to the front and I am loving this track. It really suits my style and I got the flow of it,” said Roberts. “The bike is handling great but I think we can improve it even more. In the first session we were third and it was a real confidence booster to start out fast. In qualifying, I was able to put it together for a good lap on the last lap of my session. We’re looking forward to a good race tomorrow and we’ll try to keep improving.”
The outcome of Sunday’s race will set the stage for the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout finale, the Arai Mountain Nationals, to be held at Miller Motorsports Park on May 24-25. Roberts and Team Hammer are determined to turn today’s promising qualifying into a good finish at Sonoma, and build momentum heading into final round at Miller.