Petrucci, Scholtz And Gagne Tight At The Top As MotoAmerica Invades Road America
Danilo Petrucci, Mathew Scholtz And Jake Gagne Separated By Just 13 Points
As Series Lands In Wisconsin
IRVINE, CA (June 1, 2022) – Last year when the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship rolled into Road America for its third round, Jake Gagne was riding a three-race win streak and fighting to gain back what was lost with a mechanical failure in race one at Road Atlanta. He arrived in Wisconsin six points behind, but he left with two more victories, his fourth and fifth in a row, and an 18-point lead in the championship. From there, Gagne would march to 12 more wins, ending the season with 17 victories, and the 2021 MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike title.
This year, Gagne comes to the picturesque Road America racetrack again trailing in the championship and again riding a three-race win streak after three rounds (and six races) as he tries to overcome not only a first race mechanical DNF, but also a race-three crash.
The difference? This year Gagne trails two men: Italian Danilo Petrucci and South African Mathew Scholtz. And it is MotoAmerica first timer and former MotoGP race winner Petrucci who leads the championship after starting the season with three race wins in a row on his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V4 R. Petrucci is four points ahead of Scholtz and his Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 (and their five second-place finishes) and 13 points ahead of Gagne and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha YZF-R1.
Although no one knows which way this will go, the four-mile, high-speed Road America again promises to be a pivotal round in the title chase and again a possible turning point in the 10-round, 20-race championship.
But that’s why we race.
Championship leader Petrucci comes to Road America a bit beaten up after his post-race-two crash at VIRginia International Raceway. After finishing third in race two at VIR, Petrucci crashed in the high-speed turn one and suffered injuries that include a broken fibula (the non-weight-bearing bone) in his lower right leg. If you have to race injured, Road America isn’t a bad place to do it with its long straightaways providing a few places to rest.
Road America will also be the third new circuit for Petrucci to learn, but he’s proven a quick study and the track will allow the fast Ducati to stretch its legs.
Like Cal in “Talladega Nights,” Mathew Scholtz was already tired of finishing second to Gagne. Now he’s also tired of finishing second to Petrucci. Scholtz crossed the finish line behind Petrucci in his three wins and was second to Gagne in two of the defending champion’s three wins. In 2021, Scholtz had nine runner-up finishes.
Although Scholtz is starving for victory, consistency isn’t a bad thing and the only blemish on Scholtz’s 2022 scorecard is a crash in race two at Road Atlanta.
Another who would like to win soon is Gagne’s new-for-2022 teammate Cameron Petersen. With three podiums in six races, the South African is fourth in the championship, 13 behind third-placed Gagne and 26 behind Petrucci.
The points gap widens a bit after Petersen as the top four have distanced themselves a bit from the pack in the championship. Fifth place is held by Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera with the Spaniard 15 points behind Petersen and 41 behind Petrucci. Barbera’s season thus far has been one of consistency as he’s the only rider in the top five to have scored points in all six races on his BMW M 1000 RR
The Suzukis are next with Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis seven points behind Barbera and just four points ahead of his Superbike rookie teammate Richie Escalante. Both have a DNF each and Lewis has a podium finish to his credit.
Two others to score points in each and every race this year are Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates and Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Travis Wyman with those two tied for eighth in the championship.
Tytlers Cycle’s PJ Jacobsen round out the top 10 heading into Road America with the New Yorker missing two races after testing positive for COVID-19.
Pre-Road America Superbike Notes
Jake Gagne won both Superbike races at Road America in 2021, the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha rider besting Ducati-mounted Loris Baz by 5.9 seconds in race one and Suzuki-mounted Cameron Petersen by 6.7 seconds in race two. Both of those were margins of victory rarely seen at Road America, the site of more close races than any other venue the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike series visits.
In addition to winning both Superbike races a year ago, Gagne also qualified on pole position with a lap-record-setting 2:10.529. Gagne also has the fastest race lap with his best of 2:10.998 coming in race two last year.
Who has the most Superbike wins at Road America? That would be five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier with the current Moto2 World Championship racer chalking up 10 wins during his Superbike career in Wisconsin. Beaubier’s 10 wins is one better than Australian Mat Mladin and two more than Beaubier’s former teammate Josh Hayes.
Speaking of Hayes, with his victory in race on of the Supersport class at VIR a few weeks ago, the four-time AMA Superbike Champion moved to within two wins of Miguel Duhamel on the list of all-time AMA road race wins (across all classes). Duhamel has 86 wins and Hayes’ VIR victory moved him to 84. Hayes isn’t racing at Road America, but there’s a good chance we’ll see him in action again in 2022.
As far as manufacturers go, Yamaha has the most wins at Road America with 24 followed by Suzuki with 18, Honda (12), Ducati (eight) and Kawasaki (four). Yamaha had won seven of eight races until Suzuki swept both races in 2019 with Toni Elias and Josh Herrin. In 2020, however, Beaubier and Yamaha chalked up three more wins before Fong gave Suzuki another victory in race two in the June event. Last year, Jake Gagne gave Yamaha two more victories in America’s Dairyland.
Three-time World Champion Freddie Spencer won the first-ever AMA Superbike race at Road America in 1980.
Thirteen years ago, Larry Pegram won the Superbike race at Road America, giving Ducati its last Wisconsin win in the class. Pegram won a race-long battle with Mat Mladin in 2009 to take that victory. Pegram will be back in action this weekend, but he won’t be Ducati mounted. Pegram will race a Tytlers Cycle BMW M 1000 RR Superbike at Road America and later in the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
If Danilo Petrucci scores a victory at Road America this weekend, he won’t be the first Italian to do so. Nor will he be the first Italian on an Italian motorcycle to do so. Nor will he be the first to win his debut Superbike race at Road America. All of those honors go to Alessandro Gramigni, who raced a Fast By Ferracci Ducati to the Superbike win at Road America in 1996.
With his two wins at VIRginia International Raceway two weeks ago, Jake Gagne now has 20 career AMA Superbike victories which puts him into a tie for seventh with former AMA Superbike and World Superbike Champion Fred Merkel. Eight more victories will put him in a tie for sixth with former World Superbike Champion and MotoGP race winner Ben Spies.
Superbike Cup Update: Ezra Beaubier earned his fourth Superbike Cup win of the season at VIR and now leads Jeremy Coffey by 22 points, 100-78, in the class within a class that competes in the same races as the Medallia Superbikes.
MotoAmerica is the North American road racing series created in 2014 that is home to the AMA Superbike Championship. MotoAmerica is an affiliate of KRAVE Group LLC, a partnership that includes three-time 500cc World Champion, two-time AMA Superbike Champion, and AMA Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey, ex-racer and former manager of Team Roberts Chuck Aksland, motorsports marketing executive Terry Karges, and businessman Richard Varner. For more information on MotoAmerica, visit www.MotoAmerica.com. Also make sure to follow MotoAmerica on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
More, from a press release issued by Westby Racing:
Mathew Scholtz And Westby Racing Look To Take Over MotoAmerica Superbike Points Lead At Road America
Tulsa, OK – June 1, 2022 – Round four of the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship starts this Friday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Westby Racing’s ace Superbike rider Mathew Scholtz comes into the weekend just four points out of the championship lead, and he and his highly experienced crew know they have the talent, the skill, and the ultra-high performance of their #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 to help them notch a couple of wins in Wisconsin and take over the point lead.
Mathew had two strong, runner-up results at VIR a couple of weekends ago, and he and the team are hoping to build on that momentum this weekend at “America’s National Park of Speed.”
“Road America is an amazing track,” Mathew said. “It always brings back memories because it was my very first race in the U.S. back in 2016. It’s a really fast track, with hard braking zones, and just a beautiful place all-around to go to in a great part of the country. I struggled there last year, but it seems to be an entirely different ball game for me and the Westby Racing team this year. Our overall package is a lot better, the engine is a lot stronger, and I just feel like I’m riding better overall. So, I think we can take advantage of all that and continue our push towards fighting at the front. (Defending Superbike Champion) Jake (Gagne) obviously rebounded at VIR. We managed to beat (current point leader Danilo) Petrucci twice in head-to-head battles there, which has given me a lot of confidence. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be challenging Jake at Road America. The weather looks like it’s going to be comfortably cool, which always plays more in our favor when the track has more grip. Overall, I’m looking forward to the weekend.
“(My wife) Kiara arrived in the country this past Saturday, and that will give me a little bit of an extra boost and a push to perform well. I know the team worked hard from the Virginia round. I crashed in the morning warmup on Sunday and gave them a lot to do, and I’m very thankful to them. I know I put a lot of hard work on them, and I’m sorry. I’m going to try my best to make up for it this weekend. I’m really happy to be going back to another MotoAmerica race weekend. I’ve been in the series for about six years now. It’s been really positive for me, with everything that the championship has done for me and my racing career. Hopefully, I’ll continue to be around racing here in the U.S. for a long time. I’m really looking forward to getting back with my team this weekend.”
Superbike final qualifying is on Saturday morning at 9:50 a.m. CT, Superbike race one will go green on Saturday afternoon at 3:10 p.m. CT, and Superbike Race 2 is on Sunday afternoon also at 3:10 p.m. CT. Both races will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) this weekend, with race one airing Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET and race two airing on Sunday night also at 7 p.m. ET.
For all the action from Road America, as it happens, subscribe to MotoAmerica Live+, which is MotoAmerica’s live streaming and on-demand service. To find out more about how to watch MotoAmerica, click HERE
Meet Mathew, Get An Autographed Poster, And More
Mathew will be available for autographs during the Dunlop Hot Pit Walk & Autograph Session, scheduled for 11 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday on pit lane at Road America. He and the team will be handing out free posters and T-shirts, so don’t miss it.
Check Out The Westby Racing Sponsor Showcase
BrakeTech USA and Renthal are the featured team sponsors on display in the Westby Racing paddock area this race weekend, so be sure to stop by to say hello and learn about some of the companies that support the team.
For more updates about Westby Racing, including news, photos, and videos, visit https://www.WestbyRacing.com
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