After a tough qualifying which saw Beaubier line up fourth ahead of Gagne in sixth, the four-time Superbike Champion got a rapid start and moved up to second by the third corner. Gagne held steady in sixth, while Beaubier wasted no time in his charge and dived past into the lead before the end of the lap. However, before he could stretch his legs, the race was stopped on the second lap after a rider crashed coming out of the final turn. The red flags were brought out to clear debris, and the field went into the pits.
More drama followed just before the restart when Beaubier had an issue and narrowly missed the restart warm-up lap. He had to start at the back of the field, with Gagne starting from his sixth place. Undeterred, Beaubier charged through the pack immediately after the restart, his supreme pace taking him up to seventh by Turn 4 on the first lap. Gagne made a strong restart also, moving up to fifth by the second lap with Beaubier just behind after making the pass for sixth. By the third lap, the champion-elect was up to fourth and hounding the leaders, but the red flags came out again after he and Mathew Scholtz both went down after hitting oil on the track dropped by another rider’s bike. Beaubier was able to return to the pits, and his mechanics worked hard to carry out quick repairs to enable him to return for the second restart.
As the lights went out, Beaubier was on fire again and took over the lead on the first lap. Gagne made progress of his own and was up to fourth, engaged in a tight battle with two riders for those final podium spots. Out front, Beaubier was controlling his pace and looked set to continue lead before an unfortunate crash out of the last corner damaged his bike and forced him to retire from the race.
Gagne meanwhile began to reel in the leaders and light up the timing screens. After the race leader went wide and off track, Gagne moved up a spot and pushed all the way to finish, just 0.228 behind in a hard-fought second place for twenty points with five races left in 2020.
The Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha team return to action for Sunday’s doubleheader at The Brickyard, looking for a strong result for both riders.