Team Hammer had the pace to finish on the podium at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, but luck simply wasn’t on the team’s side at Round 2 of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout.
M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Racing’s Joe Roberts opened today’s 20-lap Dynojet Pro Sportbike final from the front row, having qualified fourth fastest aboard his Honda CBR600RR. The 16-year-old backed up his qualifying performance by running in that same position over the race’s opening half, deeply embroiled in a five-rider brawl for the lead.
As the contest entered its second half, Roberts ratcheted up the pressure and actively looked for a way around GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing’s Jake Zemke, who had controlled third to that point in the race.
The two Honda-mounted riders waged an intense battle for the spot over the next two laps. Unfortunately, Zemke highsided in Turn 3a on lap 13 while attempting to maintain his podium position. Roberts took evasive action to avoid hitting his teammate and crashed in the process. A third rider was collected in the fray as well, but all escaped relatively unscathed.
“I’m just a little bruised,” said Roberts. “I was running a good race and I thought I had a better pace than some of the guys in front of me and I was looking for someone to make a mistake and then take advantage. Coming out of Turn 3A, Jake Zemke got on the gas too hard and had a high-side. I checked up and lost the front trying to avoid him and another rider ran into me. It’s a big bummer because it is the closest we’ve been to the front yet. To crash isn’t great but we’re getting closer and battling for the lead and so there’s some positive, too.”
Roberts and Team Hammer will get their next shot later this month as the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout completes its inaugural season at the world-class Miller Motorsports Park facility on May 24-25 with the Arai Mountain Nationals.