Cameron Beaubier swapped his MotoAmerica R1 ride for the official WorldSBK seat vacated by the injured Sylvain Guintoli at Donington – and impressed all with his instant pace in going ninth after combined qualifying. He even entered Superpole 2 at the first time of asking.
Beaubier was only just a second slower than the fastest man of all, Tom Sykes, as he rode a full Superbike at Donington for the first time. He even beat Honda rider Nicky Hayden, who was 11th, much to his surprise.
“I did not expect that,” said Beaubier, who understood that Hayden has been unlucky at a key time. “I was talking to my manager Jake Zemke and I think Nicky had a little mistake on his fast lap right at the end of that session. I mean, it’s Nicky Hayden! I am sure he will be riding in the next Superpole. It was pretty cool, honestly, riding around with him at the beginning of second practice. I have looked up to him my whole life, and American World Champion and a really good guy so just to be on track with those guys is pretty cool.”
Even if Hayden had got ahead of him, Beaubier would still have been tenth, and still have got into Superpole 2.
The most impressive aspect of Beaubier’s top ten day one at a warm and dry Donington was that so many things on the official Yamaha WorldSBK machine are different from his more stock American bike. “We run conventional forks with Öhlins inners,” said Beaubier of his American machine. “The oversize fork in WorldSBK – it is surprising – makes the whole chassis of the bike feel a lot stiffer. Also, they run a different swingarm here, tank, electronics, everything. The bike is a lot different. A lot.”
Beaubier will now face Superpole 2, then race one on Saturday afternoon, and race two on Sunday afternoon.