Rocco Landers’ Yamaha YZF-R6 is legal.
That’s the ruling of MotoAmerica officials, who tore down the 17-year-old’s engine when the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC factory team’s Managing Partner Bobby Shekarabi protested the legality of the Yamaha following Landers’ dominant victory in Supersport Race One at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s rider Josh Herrin, who finished second in Race One, held a massive 71-point lead with only five races remaining when the protest was filed. A race win pays 25 points with 20 points for second place.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC specifically protested the legality of the Landers Racing Yamaha YZF-R6’s transmission bearings and camshafts.
According to MotoAmerica documentation, the transmission bearings were found to be legal OEM parts and the camshafts were found to be legal Yamaha GYTR race kit parts.
Asked for his initial reaction when he found out Rocco was being protested, Landers Racing Team Owner Stoney Landers, Rocco’s father and himself a former pro racer, said, “I wasn’t surprised. Rocco was taking thirds, and then all of a sudden he wins by four seconds in Race One at Brainerd and then he wins by 13 seconds in Race Two. And then we go to Pittsburgh, and he wins again. So, looking from the outside, I can imagine some people would question that.
“But I knew it (Rocco’s success) was coming. There are a lot of puzzle pieces that we were starting to get figured out, and I told (Rocco’s coach) Josh (Hayes) at The Ridge that Rocco was going to win soon. And he loves Brainerd. So, I wasn’t surprised when he won like that, and I wasn’t surprised when it got the attention of some other teams.
“I don’t know the owner of that team (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC) at all, so I don’t know what they were thinking. I know they have factory (Ducati Corse) support and all, and no one likes to get beat, especially by a little team like ours running on a bare-bones budget.”
Although Stoney Landers knew Rocco’s motorcycle was legal, complying with the protest and tearing down the engine hurt the Landers Racing effort.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC paid a $1,500 MotoAmerica fee to protest the Landers Racing Yamaha ($750 for each item protested), with $400 ($200 for each item) going to Landers Racing and the balance donated by MotoAmerica to the Roadracing World Action Fund.
“We were not planning on rebuilding that engine before the end of the season,” said Stoney Landers. “So, I’ve had to really pull out all the stops and make some things happen in order to get it rebuilt in time for New Jersey. When it’s all said and done, rebuilding that engine is going to cost us a solid $3,000-$5,000 that we weren’t planning on spending. But everything is in-process and on its way to New Jersey right now.”
Earlier this season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Managing Partner Bobby Shekarabi filed a formal protest against Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha’s Cameron Petersen after Petersen finished second, beating HSBK’s Danilo Petrucci in Medallia Superbike Race One.
The protest called for Petersen to be penalized for exceeding track limits by cutting the course at the Corkscrew on the final lap. That protest, however, left out the fact that Petrucci (who finished third in the race) hit Petersen while attempting a pass at the entrance to the Corkscrew, forcing Petersen off track.
MotoAmerica denied the HSBK protest filed by Shekarabi against Petersen.