​MotoAmerica: More On Braeden Ortt Switching Supersport Teams For Remainder Of 2019

​MotoAmerica: More On Braeden Ortt Switching Supersport Teams For Remainder Of 2019

© 2019, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Recently, Tuned Racing announced that 19-year-old Canadian
rider Braeden Ortt is leaving the Graves Kawasaki team and joining Tuned Racing to
ride a Yamaha YZF-R6 for the final two rounds of the 2019 MotoAmerica
Supersport Championship. But that announcement doesn’t tell the whole story.

To get a better perspective of the situation,
Roadracingworld.com caught Ortt before he left his home in Calgary, Alberta,
Canada, to travel to New Jersey Motorsports Park for the penultimate round of
the 2019 season happening this coming weekend.

Asked why he was making this sudden change, Ortt said, “I’ve
been super thankful I could test with Graves and help develop the Kawasaki, but
not many people know this but I’m not entirely sure what my racing future looks
like. So we’re hoping to finish out the season on a bike I’m familiar with and
comfortable with. I’ve ridden the Yamaha for four years, and I’ve only ridden
the Kawasaki the first part of this season.”

Riding a Tuned Racing Yamaha, Ortt placed ninth in the 2017
MotoAmerica Supersport Championship with nine top-10 finishes and he placed
ninth again in the 2018 MotoAmerican Supersport Championship with two podiums
and 11 total top-10 finishes.

So far in 2019, Ortt’s best race finish is sixth, which he
has done twice, and he has finished in the top 10 in only five races. At post
time, he is 11th in the MotoAmerica Supersport Championship.

“It’s been a tough year on the Kawasaki,” said Ortt. “I’m
not holding anything against the Kawasaki. I think it’s a great bike. I think
it will be competitive in MotoAmerica. I have no doubt. But at this stage I
feel like I want to be on a bike I know how to ride and for me it’s a more
satisfying way to close out the season.

“I haven’t really been able to wrap my head around the
Kawasaki’s unique riding style. It’s tough to make that change during the
MotoAmerica season without much testing. In my experience, the Kawasaki is just
a more dynamic bike the way the chassis moves and the way it likes to be
ridden. The Yamaha is much more stiff and rigid chassis and suspension-wise. On
that note, the Kawasaki is kind of a polar opposite to the R6.”

Ortt said he had no formal agreement with the Graves
Kawasaki team for 2019, but he said he did speak to Team Owner Chuck Graves
prior to making this change.

Asked what factor is putting his future in racing in doubt,
Ortt said, “The sole kind of factor is my schooling. Earlier this year I was
missing full weeks of [college] going to tests and trying to get on the bike. I
just can’t afford to be doing that right now.

“I’ve declared my major as Chemistry. So I’m going to do my
undergraduate major in Chemistry with a minor in Spanish. After my undergrad, I’m
shooting for medical school, and the end game is plastic surgery, and all of
that stuff requires high marks.

“School is a full-time job, and racing is a full-time job,
as you know. So trying to manage both and be at the top of my game in both is a
little bit too much to handle. Right now I feel like I’m spread a little too
thin. I’m trying to do both and I’m being mediocre at both. I would like to
commit myself fully and make something of it, one way or the other, and I have
a gut feeling that my future isn’t in racing.

“It’s difficult because I’m very, very passionate about
racing. Talking about leaving the sport brings a tear to my eye. I think if I
dedicate myself to school and set myself up in the future I’d like to return to
racing later on. That may be racing for fun or if I’m in the financial position
I’d really like to own a team in MotoAmerica. I feel like if I commit myself to
school and set myself up that’s something I’d really like to do. If I have to
leave now I don’t want to say goodbye forever. I want to be involved, but I
feel like if I don’t commit myself to school now I may not get the chance to do
that in the future.”

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