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More, from a press release issued by MotoAmerica:
Scholtz Takes HONOS Superbike Series Opener At Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
First Dry-Weather Superbike Win For South African; Gagne, Baz Fail To Finish
BRASELTON, GA (May 1, 2021) – Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz got the soaking-wet monkey off his back with his first dry-race HONOS Superbike victory today at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the South African leading 18 of the 19 laps for the perfect start to his 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
Scholtz, whose previous two Superbike wins came in wet conditions in 2017 (Circuit of The America) and 2018 (Barber Motorsports Park), won this one from the front and under bright sunshine in Georgia. The victory also came in Scholtz’s first race since he suffered serious leg injuries at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October.
Scholtz led every lap but the 14th when he was passed by Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz, the Frenchman fast in his MotoAmerica debut. Scholtz, however, struck straight back and dove under the Ducati rider going into the chicane that is turns 10-A and 10-B. Baz didn’t brake until well after Scholtz after the run down the backstraight, Scholtz let off the brakes and both were in hot and wide, with Baz tucking the front and crashing.
“I got off of the line good for once, which kind of gave me confidence there,” Scholtz said. “It is definitely harder than it has been through the Friday practice and the morning Q2. I was sliding more than I had been previously, so I kind of wanted somebody to actually pass me so I could kind of latch onto them and be able to ride decent, like I’m feeling a groove. Jake (Gagne) passed me and then, unfortunately, I think his engine popped. So, I kind of knew that the next guy should be (Loris) Baz. I looked back with a couple laps to go, and I saw Baz following, and that kind of scared me a little bit. So, I kind of knew I had to pick the pace up. I could see that Baz was catching me slowly. He actually caught me a couple of laps sooner than what I thought, and I just knew that I had to pass him back as soon as I could.”
As for Baz’s crash…
“He kind of saw me coming,” Scholtz said. “He let go of the brakes, and so did I. Unfortunately, the track turns up in corner 10, and I think he might have tried to brake slightly harder knowing that we were both running pretty wide there. Then he crashed and I kind of knew that (Bobby) Fong would be the next one back. Then I think he kind of closed in on me to .7 (of a second) or something. I kind of put my head down for two laps after that. I opened it up to 1.2 seconds. That kind of gave me confidence that I could hold on. I think the last two or so laps, both of us just kind of settled in and took what we could. I’m just really happy to be back up here. The off-season was really difficult for me, kind of seeing that the first two or three months that the injuries had been healing up pretty good. Then for a while it didn’t seem to be actually getting better. The last two or three months I’ve been cycling a lot. It’s still not fully there, but I don’t think that hinders me too much while I’m actually riding the bike. It’s more just training purposes. It’s just nice to be up here for the first race of the season and to kind of get that dry victory off my back. All of the past times that I’ve had really good races, whether it be in the Rookies Cup, Spanish Championship, Moto2, the World Supersport… they’ve all been wet races. So that kind of gives me a lot of confidence that I can actually do it in the dry, too.”
Scholtz raced to victory, 3.044 seconds ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, the Californian having fought through to third place and within striking distance of the top two. Fong was there to capitalize on Baz’s miscue to finish second.
“I had to catch up from probably a second or two back, but I felt pretty strong in the first sector and the last sector,” Fong said. “In the middle sector, I don’t know what I was doing. We need to work on the wheelie control, traction control going onto the back straightaway because I could come out with the guys, but I have too much intervention going on. So, we’re going to work on that for tomorrow, but it was good. The bike didn’t feel bad at all. I kind of settled in at the end after seeing (Loris) Baz crash. Besides the 600 (Supersport), I never really thought about the championship so early. Usually, I always just try to go for it and try to get the win, but it’s a long season and second place is decent money and a decent amount of points. It’s good bringing it into tomorrow because now we have something to work for tomorrow.”
Fresh N’ Easy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Josh Herrin completed the podium, almost 13 seconds behind Scholtz, but was pleased considering his rough start to the weekend with mechanical problems wrecking his Friday.
“I’m definitely happy to be up here just because of championship reasons,” Herrin said. “I’m no dummy. I know we’re super lucky and we wouldn’t be up here if it wasn’t for the two DNFs from the guys in front. Friday hurt really bad (with his mechanical troubles cutting his day short). Even this morning we were having problems with the wheelie control. It wasn’t on the whole session. I thought it was me the whole session, but it ended up being that. So, it’s just been an up-and-down weekend. But no better way to get the motivation for tomorrow than with a third-place finish today. Whether it’s lucky or not, we’re happy. We get to celebrate. We have a complete race of data to look at, so that’s the most important thing. That’s the most laps I’ve strung together the whole time I’ve been on this bike. The R1 to me feels like home, but the bike is a lot different than it was in 2018. It’s hard to tell Richard (Stanboli, his team owner and crew chief), ‘I want the bike to be like it was in ’18’ when Cam (Beaubier) was so dominant on it last year and (Jake) Gagne is doing so well on it this year. For me, and almost every other rider, it’s about how comfortable you are. Hopefully, we can keep working in a forward direction and get me comfortable like I was in ’18 to where I can just do whatever I want to do on this bike. That’s my goal. I think in ’18 we were struggling towards the end of the races because I had the bike set up to do one really fast lap, so if we can get it back to where it was in ’18 to do fast laps and then work on getting the consistency out of it, that would be great. So, hats off to the whole Fresh N’ Lean Attack Yamaha team for working hard all weekend. We had a lot of bad luck and they worked really hard to get the bike ready for today.”
M4 ECSTAR Racing’s Cameron Petersen’s debut with the team was a good one, the 2020 Stock 1000 Champion getting off to a good start and ultimately finishing fourth.
Kyle Wyman rode his Panera Bread Ducati Panigale V4 R to fifth well clear of Scheibe BMW’s Hector Barbera, the Spaniard making his MotoAmerica debut. Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman rode his Stock 1000-spec BMW S 1000 RR to seventh and was the top finishing Superbike Cup rider.
Tecfil Racing’s Danilo Lewis, Geoff May Racing/VisionWheel.com’s Geoff May and Michael Gilbert Racing’s Michael Gilbert, who won the Stock 1000 race held earlier in the day, rounded out the top 10.
The unluckiest rider in the race was fast qualifier Jake Gagne on the Fresh N’ Easy Attack Performance Yamaha. Gagne was at the front of the pack on the opening lap when his YZF-R1 imploded on the front straight ending his day and putting him in the same boat as Baz with 0 championship points to start the season.
More, from a press release issued by Westby Racing:
Scholtz Strikes Gold, Wins Saturday’s Superbike Race At Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta; Roach Finishes Eighth In Junior Cup
Braselton, GA – May 1, 2021 – Just a little more than six months after suffering serious injuries to his right leg in a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz notched the victory in Saturday’s Superbike race one at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Mathew, who is from South Africa but now lives in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, considers Road Atlanta to be his home track. The proximity may have helped, but his and the team’s off-season training and testing program were the biggest factors in getting the win, which the third Superbike victory of his MotoAmerica career.
After getting the holeshot at the start, Mathew led every lap of the race except one. On lap 14, he was overtaken by Loris Baz, but “The Scholtz Kid” was determined to regain his position at the front. On Lap 15, he dove under Baz going into the turn 10A/10B chicane. Baz didn’t brake until well after Mathew on the run down the back straight, then Mathew let off the brakes and both were in hot and wide, with Baz tucking the front and crashing. After Baz’s unsuccessful challenge, Mathew managed his gap to the rest of the frontrunners and took the checkered flag by more than three seconds over second-place finisher Bobby Fong.
“I got off the (starting) line good for once, which kind of gave me confidence there,” Mathew commented. “It is definitely harder than it has been through the Friday practice and the morning Q2. I was sliding more than I had been previously, so I kind of wanted somebody to actually pass me so I could latch onto them. Jake (Gagne) passed me and then, unfortunately, I think his engine popped. So, I kind of knew that the next guy would be (Loris) Baz. I looked back with a couple laps to go, and I saw Baz following, and that kind of scared me a little bit. So, I knew I had to pick up the pace. I could see that Baz was catching me slowly. He actually caught me a couple of laps sooner than what I thought, and I just knew that I had to pass him back as soon as I could.”
Sunday’s Superbike race two is at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2 (FS2), as well as streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.
In Junior Cup, Jack Roach’s first event in Westby Racing colors netted him a fourth-row starting position and an eighth-place finish in Saturday’s race. The results were certainly not what Jack had hoped for, and he is determined to get a higher finish in Sunday’s race two.
“My race was not what I wanted,” Jack said. “But I scored points, which was the main goal. Starting from 11th on the grid was not ideal, but I made it work to the best of my ability. For race two, I’m really nervous and excited, but I know that I’ve got the pace to contend for the podium.”
Junior Cup race two is at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast via tape-delay on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) this Tuesday, May 4, beginning at 9 p.m. ET., in addition to being live-streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.
For more updates about Westby Racing, including news, photos, and videos, visit http://www.WestbyRacing.com
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More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Herrin Hits the Podium at MotoAmerica Season Opener
Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing’s Josh Herrin started his 2021 season in style, grabbing the final podium spot on Saturday, May 1, at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. His teammate Jake Gagne was battling up front, but unfortunately, a technical issue ended his race early.
Gagne got the weekend off to a great start, breaking the track record in Friday’s first qualifying session and went unchallenged to earn the first Superbike pole of the season. He got off to a good start in second behind fellow Yamaha rider Mathew Scholtz and then surged into the lead on the second lap. Before the prospect of a thrilling race-long battle could begin, Gagne had a technical issue before the start of Lap 3, forcing the Californian to withdraw early.
It was a tough start to the weekend for Herrin with only one session on track on the Friday. The 2013 Superbike Champion bounced back to qualify fifth and got a decent start inside the top five. He made his move to fourth after the halfway mark, but the leaders had already amassed a comfortable gap. With five laps to go, the frontrunner made an error and crashed out of the race, enabling Herrin to advance to third and hold his position to the checkered flag for a solid first race back on the Yamaha R1.
The Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team returns to action tomorrow for Race Two at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Sunday, May 2.
Richard Stanboli – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team Manager
“We are really happy with Jake’s speed, getting the new track record, and also how fast Josh is getting back in the groove with his Yamaha R1. Unfortunately, we did not show our full potential in today’s race. We will be back at it tomorrow and look to bring home a win.”
Josh Herrin – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing
“It’s been an up-and-down weekend so far. Looking at the big picture, I’m happy with the points today, but it’s not acceptable to finish 12 seconds behind the leader. That’s the most laps I’ve had on the bike so far. Now we have an entire race of data to look at, so that’s the most important thing. Hopefully, we can keep working in a forward direction and get me more comfortable on the bike like I was in 2018. Hats off to the whole Fresh N’ Lean Attack Yamaha team for working hard all weekend. We had a lot of bad luck, and they worked really hard to get the bike ready for today.”
Jake Gagne – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing
“We had a great weekend going, with practice and qualifying on pole, but unfortunately had a technical issue on the second lap. It’s never fun to get a DNF the first race of the year, but our crew is awesome, and we’ll come out swinging tomorrow!”