Excelsus Solutions/KWR Ducati Team powers through a tough weekend for a top-5 in Indianapolis
TUCSON, Ariz. — The KWR Ducati Team competed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend for the eighth round of the 2020 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship. Rider Kyle Wyman scored a DNF, 9th and 5th place finishes in three races respectively for a triple-header weekend.
With three races on the weekend, the grid was set on Friday during QP1 and QP2 sessions. Wyman was able to qualify 7th overall on the day, despite facing engine troubles with the factory-spec engine from Ducati Corse. The team had to swap engines for Saturday and operate with a lesser powered engine on the high speed track of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Friday was a bit of a struggle, just with me and my feeling with the bike,” Wyman said. “We made a lot of changes over the course of the day but we weren’t really seeing improvements in the lap time. I was feeling really rushed to get up to speed and with my confidence low was hard to put laps together and keep knocking out good segments.”
Race one on Saturday ended early for Wyman, when he crashed on the opening lap coming out onto the front straightaway, suffering a big highside get-off while battling rear grip on his Panigale V4 R. The race was red-flagged and Wyman was unable to restart the race due to damage with the motorcycle and to himself.
“Race one I got a decent start but I kind of got pinched off in the second corner,” Wyman said. “I was trying to get back some kind of rhythm and hang with the front group, and I was maybe getting a little flustered watching the gap build so quickly. I ended up losing the rear in a big way out of the last corner, even on a new tire and was bucked off once, then when I came down the bike bucked again and I got slammed into the tank and fairing. I broke the windscreen with my neck and dented the tank with my pelvis. Both were a big hit and I was lucky to walk away with nothing worse.”
Sunday would host two more Superbike races, and Wyman got off to a very strong starting the 11:00am Race 2, sitting in 3rd place into turn one. Wyman dropped quickly from that spot, battling confidence and front-end feeling, ultimately finishing 9th place after running off the track on lap 7. The KWR team would make more changes to the front end of the bike to try to get Wyman more comfortable for a fight in race three.
“Race two Sunday morning was a mess,” Wyman said. “I just was all over the place, super uncomfortable and struggling to be consistent. Sometimes when you are struggling its more a battle with yourself than it is with the bike. I just had zero confidence to push like I know how, and it showed. I made a mistake half way through the race which cost me spots, but I was able to work my way back from 14th to finish 9th.”
Race three was red-flagged early on and restarted for 12-laps race distance. Wyman got off to a good start and settled into a 7th place position, then started clicking off laps. One rider’s crashed moved him up to 6th with a 3 second gap to the 5th place rider. Wyman was able to run his fastest laps of the weekend, including a best of 1:38.218 on his last lap to finish 5th, just .014 seconds ahead of Cameron Peterson.
“For sure I’m glad we were able to find some success after all,” Wyman said. “In the middle of that third race I just flipped a switch and said to myself ‘you’ve got to pull something together’ and with Cam (Peterson) up the road from me I had some extra motivation to figure things out. I just worked on myself, my inputs into the bike and kind of got back to myself. I did my fastest lap of the weekend on my last lap of that race, even faster than I qualified, and that is something to be happy about.”
“It was a long weekend,” Wyman added. “My body is sore so it’s good to have gone through the struggle and still come out with a top-5. It bodes well for our last round coming up at Laguna Seca in just another week or so. Its a track that we have some data from last year to go off of, so this should help us get up to speed, and my renewed confidence from the last race at Indy will help me ride free a bit. I’m really glad we have another round to show the strength of our whole program.”
The series heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California October 23-25, 2020 for the 9th round of the MotoAmerica Championship, and another triple-header race weekend to finish the year.
Visit www.kylewyman.com for more news and updates.
More, from a press release issued by Dunlop:
MotoAmerica Riders Crowned at Indy
Rancho Cucamonga, CA: Dunlop has been the AMA MotoAmerica spec tire for all classes since the series began in 2015, and has provided an unbroken record of support for professional American road racing dating back decades. Like so many sports today, this year’s MotoAmerica championships saw its share of challenges due to Covid, and the compressed season yielded familiar and surprising results.
Superbike: Cameron Beaubier
The 2020 MotoAmerica championships wrapped up this past weekend at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the penultimate round, and it was Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier who won the Superbike championship for the fifth time. He entered the season finale with 13 victories in 14 races, but Indy was no cake-walk for Beaubier: the three-race weekend saw a surprise winner—Italian Lorenzo Zanetti took his first MotoAmerica win when Beaubier crashed out—and Bobby Fong won the second race. Beaubier finished on the podium in the two weekend races he finished to lock up the superbike championship with a 97-point cushion over teammate Jake Gagne.
Superstock: Cameron Petersen
Like Beaubier, the other Cameron had a dominant season, winning all but three Superstock 1000 rounds, and taking second after an infraction cost him the post-race win at Indy. Petersen’s championship was his first in MotoAmerica competition, and something he had dreamed of accomplishing his whole life. It was by far his best season to date, and he hopes the momentum will carry him to a Superbike career in 2021.
Supersport: Richie Escalante
Richie Escalante made history at Indy, becoming the first Mexican to win an AMA National Road Racing Championship when he wrapped up the Supersport title on Sunday with another perfect weekend. He won thirteen times, often by wide margins, to take the championship by 70 points over Sean Dylan Kelly, the only rider to beat Escalante all year long.
Twins Cup and Junior Cup: Rocco Landers
Though other riders dominated classes this year, no championship run was quite like that of Rocco Landers. He clinched his second consecutive Junior Cup title early in Alabama, then scored another perfect weekend at The Brickyard to make it 13 race wins in a row. By also taking the Twins Cup championship, Landers became the only double-title winner of 2020, putting together another undefeated weekend at Indy to boost his win record to eight in the class, including the last seven races in a row.
“MotoAmerica continued to evolve in 2020 with more participants and greater prestige, attracting top riders from outside the U.S. to compete in the series,” said Mike Buckley, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires. “Despite the challenges of putting on a racing series in today’s environment, MotoAmerica staff, our Dunlop technical staff, and all the racers and teams deserve a big thanks for their commitment to making the 2020 championship chase a memorable one.”