It’s Game On In MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship As Pitt Race Beckons
Looks Like A Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) Vs. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) Battle To The End
IRVINE, CA (August 17, 2022) – While last year’s MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship was predictable, the 2022 series is predictable only in its unpredictability as the series heads to Pittsburgh International Race Complex for the Superbikes At Pittsburgh, Presented by LaRoche Aviation Services, round, August 19-21.
Last year Jake Gagne won 17 races, including 16 in a row. The only hiccups in his championship-winning season were a blown motor in the opener at Road Atlanta and a crash and remount to 12th place in the pouring rain at Barber Motorsports Park after he’d already wrapped up the title. When you watched a MotoAmerica race, you assumed Gagne was going to win and 85 percent of the time he did. That’s predictability.
Fast forward to 2022.
Gagne and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing YZF-R1 have won eight of the 14 races, or 57 percent. He’s crashed out of the lead in two races and suffered a mechanical issue that knocked him out of the first race of the year, for the second year in a row. Gagne looked to be on a roll heading into race two at Brainerd International Raceway with five wins in a row and a lead in the championship for the first time all season. With his high-speed race-two crash in Minnesota, all that was gone. The win streak and the points lead. Goodbye, predictability.
Hello, Mr. Petrucci.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci led the point standings all the way up to the 13th race of the year when he lost it to Gagne by three points after the latter’s race-one win at Brainerd. With Gagne crashing at high speed and making his Yamaha look like it went through a woodchipper in race two, Petrucci was there to capitalize with his fourth win of the year and his first since April. And the points lead went back to the Italian. Predictable? Hardly.
Which brings us to the Superbikes At Pittsburgh, Presented by LaRoche Aviation Services, round at Pittsburgh International Race Complex this coming weekend, August 19-21. The bottom line: 13 points now separate the two at the top of the standings in the Petrucci vs. Gagne, Ducati vs. Yamaha showdown with six Medallia Superbike races still to run.
Petrucci’s and Gagne’s seasons have been polar opposites. While Gagne has been dominant in the races that he’s won and has earned pole position in every race but one, his major flaw has been the two crashes (Road Atlanta and Brainerd). Petrucci, on the other hand, with the exception being the series opener at COTA, hasn’t shown the pace yet to beat Gagne in a straight fight, but he’s been there in nearly every race and has picked up the pieces whenever Gagne has left them on the table.
Petrucci hasn’t made any race-ending mistakes thus far, which is impressive given that he has next to no knowledge of the tracks. His only non-points score was his DNF at Road Atlanta when the Ducati failed him. Otherwise, he’s scored gobs of points in every round with four wins and eight podium finishes in the 14 races. That translates to the former MotoGP star standing on the podium in 85 percent of the races thus far.
Although he’s had the best year of his career with his new team and as Gagne’s teammate, Cameron Petersen is on the outside looking in when it comes to his championship chances. Mathematically, he’s still in the hunt but making up 38 points on Petrucci and 25 on Gagne is imaginable, but not probable.
Petersen has been on a roll of late with seven podiums in a row a streak that started with his victory in iffy conditions at Road America. While Petersen is 38 points behind Petrucci, he has pulled clear of fellow South African Mathew Scholtz.
While Petersen is on a good roll, Scholtz’s is the opposite. With six podiums (including a victory) in the first seven races, Scholtz’s season started strong. But since that victory, also at Road America, his season has unraveled a bit and he’s gone the past seven races without a podium. All that has left him 70 points behind Petrucci and 32 points behind Petersen in the battle for third.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera is fifth in the championship as he has been for the entire season and is 14 points ahead of his teammate PJ Jacobsen, the latter coming off a second podium of the year at Brainerd.
Vision Wheel M4 Suzuki’s Richie Escalante’s first Superbike season was picking up speed heading into the Brainerd round, but a crash and the concussion that went with it, put him out of the points in both races. He is seventh, 15 points behind Jacobsen and 13 points ahead of his teammate Jake Lewis, who returned from injury to finish ninth and seventh in the two races at BIR.
Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates is ninth, three points behind Lewis and 11 points ahead of Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim, who rounds out the top 10 heading to Pitt Race.
The two MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike races at Pitt Race will take place at 3:10 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday and Sunday.
Pitt Race Superbike Notes…
Seems like only yesterday: MotoAmerica will hold a round at Pittsburgh International Race Complex for the sixth straight year after making its debut at the circuit in 2017. The 2.78-mile, 19-turn track, which was built in 2002, has become a favorite of the riders, teams, and fans.
Six riders have won the 10 MotoAmerica Superbike races held at Pitt Race: Cameron Beaubier (3), Toni Elias (2), Jake Gagne (2), Roger Hayden (1), Josh Herrin (1) and Garrett Gerloff (1).
Cameron Beaubier, who now competes in the Moto2 World Championship, still holds the lap record at Pitt Race with the Californian setting the outright lap record during Superpole in 2019 – a 1:39.472. Beaubier also holds the race lap record with his 1:40.550 set during his race-two victory in 2020.
Jake Gagne earned pole position for last year’s two Medallia Superbike races with his 1:39.921 set in Qualifying 2. Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Loris Baz joined Gagne on the front row.
Gagne topped his temporary teammate Toni Elias and Westby’s Scholtz in race one last year the day prior to besting Scholtz and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong in race two.
Four riders have won Medallia Superbike races thus far in 2022. Jake Gagne leads the way with eight wins, Danilo Petrucci has four and both Cameron Petersen and Mathew Scholtz have a win apiece. Eight riders, meanwhile, have stood on the podium in 2022: Petrucci, Gagne, Petersen, Scholtz, Hector Barbera, PJ Jacobsen, Jake Lewis and Kyle Wyman.
Jake Gagne’s victory in race one at Brainerd International Raceway three weeks ago was the 25th of his AMA Superbike career. Gagne is seventh on the all-time AMA Superbike win list, three victories behind former AMA and World Superbike Champion Ben Spies.
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:
Westby Racing Ready To Invoke Their Iron Will In The Steel City This Weekend
Tulsa, OK – August 17, 2022 – Round eight of the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship starts this Friday at Pittsburgh International Race Complex (PittRace) in Wampum, Pennsylvania.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz has effectively recovered from the injuries he suffered at Brainerd International Raceway during the previous round of the championship. Specifically, a bruised shoulder and fractures to his left wrist, which prevented him from lining up for Sunday’s race two at Brainerd.
The past couple of weeks of rest and rehabilitation have done wonders for Mathew’s fitness, however, and he and the team are ready to fight for strong results this weekend. Mathew notched two podium finishes, including a runner-up result, last year at PittRace, and the 2.78-mile, 19-turn road course suits him well.
“Pittsburgh has always been a good track for me and the Westby Racing team,” Mathew said. “It just seems to suit me and the bike really well. We’ve always seemed to be very dialed-in up there. It’s been a difficult past few race weekends for me and the team, but I know we can bounce back from it. We are more than capable of running up front, and the team has a really good package for this round with the engine and suspension. I’m looking forward to fighting up at the front. It’s going to be a challenging weekend for me with my injuries from Brainerd, but I feel strong and feel that I am able to push and be up front where we should be. I want to show that we are still one of the best teams out there.”
Superbike final qualifying is on Saturday morning at 10:15 a.m. ET. Superbike race one will go green on Saturday afternoon at 3:10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast via tape delay on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) at 8:30 p.m. ET. Superbike race two is on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast LIVE on FS2.
For all the action from PittRace, as it happens, subscribe to MotoAmerica Live+, which is MotoAmerica’s live streaming and on-demand service.
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 11:40 a.m. Sunday on pit lane at Pitt Race. 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
Eazi-Grip Racing Products and MWR Air Filters 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
Also, follow “Westby Racing” on your favorite social media sites.
More, from a press release issued by Ducati North America:
Danilo Petrucci and Ducati Head to PittRace Leading The Championship With Three Rounds to Go
The Pittsburgh International Race Complex hosts round eight as Petrucci and Gagne square off
Sunnyvale, Calif., August 17, 2022 — In a season that has seen more twists and turns than the undulating PittRace venue that will play host to round eight of the 2022 Medallia MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, Danilo Petrucci will once again head the points standings with three crucial rounds still to play for.
The Italian and the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC team hold a 13-point advantage over current champion Yamaha’s Jake Gagne after claiming the race two win at the previous round at Brainerd in Minnesota.
Petrucci spent the previous weekend getting well-acquainted with the 2.78-mile venue where Superbike speeds are expected to hit 190 mph on the front and back straights.
This will be a crucial venue for Petrucci and the team as they close in on the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship crown with just two rounds after PittRace remaining.
Danilo Petrucci (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC – Ducati #9): “I’m very motivated to race in Pittsburgh because we got the chance to race at the track on the Ducati Panigale V2 in an endurance race,” Petrucci said. “This information was helpful because the track is very narrow with many blind corners like many American tracks. But, for sure, I want to win again this weekend as we did in Brainerd’s second race. The title fight has swung back in our favor, but there is still a long way to go, so all that matters now is winning races.”
The Medallia MotoAmerica Superbike action from PittRace will kick off with practice at 10:35 am EDT on Friday, August 19. Race one is scheduled for Saturday, August 20 at 3:10 pm, and race two kicks off on Sunday, August 21 at 3:10 pm.