As we reported in our coverage of the recent MotoAmerica round at VIR, Danilo Petrucci was far from impressed with the medical response given to him when he crashed after crossing the finishing line for third place in a MotoAmerica Superbike race on the weekend.
Danilo Petrucci posted the following images and statement on Instagram.
“Just to inform you, I crashed at 280 km/h under the finish line that’s on a sixth gear corner for avoid touching another rider. I hit three sponsors signs with my body, multiple burns, multiple hematomas and a deep cut on the ankle with five stitches. I rolled for over 100 metres, maybe one of the worst crash of my entire career. And I lying down for over two minutes with no assistance, hearing the bikes passes next to me, till I stand up by myself and went alone to the medical centre.”
MotoAmerica has issued the following statement regarding the single-bike incident at the completion of the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike race on Sunday, May 22, at VIRginia International Raceway, round three of the MotoAmerica Championship.
On Sunday afternoon at VIR, there was an accident at the end of the Medallia Superbike race in which Danilo Petrucci crashed after crossing the finish line in third place. Unfortunately, the crash itself occurred off camera. Race Direction witnessed the end of the crash and immediately acted. As appropriate, a yellow caution flag was deployed. By this time, eighth-place finisher Ashton Yates had crossed the finish line, 27 seconds behind Petrucci. Roughly 17 seconds later, race direction could see that Petrucci was on his feet and appeared to be not seriously injured. Although Petrucci’s crash occurred in a fast section of the racetrack, it’s also an area with the most run-off of any track at which MotoAmerica rounds are held. A sliding Petrucci also struck a single lightweight sponsor sign that consequently gave way as it is designed to do. Petrucci was up and continued walking and stood trackside until he deemed it was safe to walk across the track. He was then met by MotoAmerica staff and escorted in a vehicle to the trackside Medical Centre, which was some 200 yards from the site of the incident. At that point, roughly three minutes had passed, and Petrucci was treated for his injuries.
“Attention to detail is paramount when it comes to safety and the safety of our riders is our number-one priority,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “That’s where we start, and our process goes forward from there. In MotoAmerica’s eight years of racing, we have never neglected a rider who was injured. I have nothing but respect for Danilo (Petrucci) and his safety and the safety of all our riders is of the utmost importance. We will never minimise a rider’s injury nor their views of the incident that took place. We needed to get to Danilo more quickly and we will study the incident and will make changes where necessary. The situation was made even more difficult in that, although the crash was after the chequered flag, the track was still hot with riders still at speed and thus mobilising workers becomes more difficult. Additionally, Race Direction places a lot of emphasis on what they witness of a rider’s actions following an incident. Petrucci was standing and walking under his own power and that quickly lessens the severity of the response. We hope Danilo’s injuries are healing and he’s feeling better. And we look forward to seeing him at Road America.”
Jake Gagne’s domination of the MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike season continued at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, claiming his 12th straight victory on Saturday, to kick off the weekend in style, after qualifying on pole.
As is the norm for the runaway championship points leader, Gagne hit the front from pole position, was never headed, and ended up crossing the finish line 11.3 seconds over second place.
“It went really smooth for me,” Gagne said. “I could tell there was a bit of drama behind me. There were those laps where my pit board would grow all of a sudden. After yesterday, we had a lot of weird weather and I think we all were kind of caught by surprise at how hot the track was. When these Dunlops get that hot, they almost don’t last quite as long as you think. I had a couple moments there. I was trying everything I could to try to break that gap. If I got off the first lap in first, I had to try to go because I know these guys are coming. I knew they were going to be close in the race, looking at times. I had just a couple tenths here and there, really, but come race time anything can change. So, I had to be ready for these guys to be right on my neck. But it was a smooth race. I saw, like I said, there was some drama behind me, and I could kind of just inch away a little bit. Half second here, half second there. But this is the type of track, even though I had a nice lead right there, not too far in the beginning, you can’t lollygag around. You can’t let up, because that’s when something bad happens, especially this place. It is tricky. It can catch you out. So, I just tried to keep my zone and focus and at the same time kind of try to think what we can do a little bit better tomorrow, because these boys are going to be coming. They don’t want to finish second or third. Hopefully, we’ll keep the progress going. Hats off to this team because Yamaha 1, 2, 3 is amazing. It shows how awesome these boys are rolling.”
It takes a lot for someone to overshadow 12 wins in a row, but on a sunny Saturday at Pitt Race, Toni Elias came pretty close to doing just that. In just his second race of the year and his first-ever outing on a Yamaha YZF-R1, Elias came off the couch to finish second on Josh Herrin’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha. Elias, who first threw his leg over the Yamaha on Friday, slotted in behind his temporary teammate Gagne and finished there.
Elias ended up some three seconds ahead of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz. The South African had survived a hectic first lap with nemesis Loris Baz, the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York-backed Frenchman slamming into Scholtz at least twice in the first handful of corners. Baz would come under attack from M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen straight away with France clashing with South Africa for a third time in three corners. On the third lap, Baz was gone after crashing out of third place.
From there, Petersen held the spot for a few laps before being passed by Scholtz, who would hold on to third for the rest of the race with Petersen finishing fourth.
With Petersen fourth, fifth place went to a lonely Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera with the Spaniard 17.9 seconds behind Petersen and eight seconds ahead of Panera Bread Ducati’s Kyle Wyman in sixth. FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ Bradley Ward was seventh and M4 ECSTAR Bobby Fong was eighth after starting the race on pit lane and finishing lap one in 26th place.
Ninth place went to Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian winning the Superbike Cup race in the process as the top finishing Stock 1000. Hayden Gillim, in his first Superbike race of the year on the Franklin Armory/Disrupt Racing Suzuki, was 10th overall and second in the Superbike Cup.
Honos Superbike Race 2
Call it what you will: Lucky 13 or a baker’s dozen. It matters not. What matters is that Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne continued his complete and utter domination of the 2021 MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike Series with his 13th successive win today at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
But this one was closer. After besting his teammate-for-the-weekend Toni Elias on Saturday by 11.3 seconds, things got a bit tighter on Sunday for Gagne as Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz cut that gap in half, ending up 5.7 seconds behind the runaway championship leader.
“Yesterday, I know there was a lot of drama behind me, and I got through a lot faster than I should have compared to the pace that these guys had,” Gagne said after win number 13. “I knew it was going to be closer today. I got off to another good start. Put my head down for a couple laps. I think it was when Mat (Scholtz) finally got into second place, there were two laps or three laps where my pit board was dropping. I was like, ‘Oh, man. He’s pushing me. I got to go.’ I had to drop the times back and drop off a couple 10ths. When I had two or three seconds, it’s still enough to where I can’t do anything crazy, can’t make any mistakes, just hit my marks. I had fun. I love this track, so I’m happy we came out of here with some great results. I had a lot of fun. We had a good turnout. These boys don’t make it easy. We have a little bit of a cushion, and it looks easy, but it’s not easy. One little mishap and we could be off, and these boys could be right there with us. I know we’ve only got two rounds left, six races, so it will be battle royale. I know these guys want to win. I know we want to win, too. So, I’m looking forward to battling it out. I know we’ve been really fortunate this year to have a lot of wins. It’s pretty surreal. It will be a hard-fought last six races and these guys know. I know they’re ready for the fight. I think we’re all looking forward to it.”
Scholtz, who had made some tweaks to his Yamaha after Saturday’s third-place finish, started strong and was behind Elias until making a pass on the Spaniard and then doing his best to set off after the always fast-starting Gagne.
Third place went to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, the three-time HONOS Superbike winner a year ago earning just his third podium of what has been a difficult season for the Californian.
After finishing second in his Yamaha debut on Saturday, Elias slipped to fourth on Sunday, capping off a highly successful weekend in just his second weekend of racing in 2021. Elias ended up some nine seconds behind Fong and five seconds in front of Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz, the Frenchman rebounding from a crash in Saturday’s race to finish fifth.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen was a lonely sixth, well clear of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera with the Spaniard beating Panera Bread Ducati’s Kyle Wyman on the last lap dash to the flag by just .117 of a second.
Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis was ninth and the first of the Superbike Cup riders, the Kentuckian beating his neighbor Hayden Gillim by two seconds with Gillim rounding out the top 10 in his first Stock 1000 race of the year.
Gagne’s 13th career HONOS Superbike victory puts him in a tie for 15th on the all-time AMA Superbike win list with Blake Young and Doug Polen. The win also gives him a 93-point lead over Scholtz in the championship point standings, 325-232. Petersen is third with 184 points, 19 ahead of his teammate Fong. Baz rounds out the top five with 149, just four points more than the absent Josh Herrin.
Jake Gagne made history on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway, the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha man racing to his 11th straight MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike win to break a record set jointly by four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes and five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier.
The win was like most of Gagne’s other victories. Dominating. He shot off from pole position and was never headed, storming to a 5.2-second win over Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, who had his hands full for the duration with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz.
At the completion of 18 laps, Scholtz was just over a second ahead of the Frenchman with Baz making a mistake on the final lap that prevented him from making a run at the South African.
Gagne’s win streak dates back to race two at the season-opener at Road Atlanta in May, the Californian suffered an engine failure in race one, but he hasn’t lost since.
“This class is so stacked and there’s a lot of great teams. We were just fortunate. We started off the year really comfortable and we had a bike that worked really, really well everywhere. We still have a bike that works really well everywhere. I’m just so happy. Everything is gelling really good with the team. I’ve got a great crew, great crew chief, everybody. With Corndog (Jon Cornwell, his crew chief), with Richard (Stanboli, the team owner) with Darin (Marshall, his electronics man) at home, with Mike (Canfield) and Walker (Jemison) on the bike. We’re all in a good place. We’re all having fun racing motorcycles. We’re trying to enjoy it. We’ve had a lot of great days throughout this year, but we know anything can happen. These guys are coming. They’re getting closer and closer. Thursday and Friday we were still fast, but it wasn’t the bike that I had all year. So yesterday we kind of changed some stuff up and it felt more like my bike again. I was just fortunate I got off to a good start. I was spinning the rear tire all the way into turn one. It was weird having pole position on the inside, so you’re entering that turn one from the inside on the dirty stuff and that thing was just bucking me. I managed to get a good couple laps in there and was just keeping an eye on my pit board. Hats off to the Yamaha Fresh N’ Lean Attack team because this is awesome. I’m trying not to think about any streak or how many wins we got or whatever. This weekend is behind us. Now we’ve got to go to Pittsburgh and get to work because it’s going to get tougher and tougher.”
Scholtz closed out a successful weekend in AMA Superbike racing’s return to Brainerd International Raceway with his third- and second-place finishes in Minnesota.
“It’s always nice to be up on the podium, especially after struggling around three and four, four and five. Laguna Seca it was nice to kind of get up on the podium there. Then to come and get two really good podiums, fighting guys and actually showing that I have the pace to be back up here, that was awesome. I just need to try to work on the first couple laps because I’m just struggling. I kind of suck in the first four or five laps. I have no feeling. I’m slipping and sliding everywhere. I feel like the front is just pushing. I think that Bobby (Fong) was following Jake (Gagne). He pulled away big time. Cameron (Beaubier) passed me. I was struggling, and then (Loris) Baz passed me and I kind of thought, ‘this guy started in 10th and he’s passing me. I’ve got to do something.’ So, I started kind of pushing a little bit harder than I should have. Took one or two chances, but then kind of settled into a decent rhythm from there. I could see when I was fighting Baz, like he said, there were a couple corners that I would catch him a lot and there were a couple corners where he was pulling me a lot, too. So, we were kind of going backwards and forwards lots. Then one of the laps, out of corner six we got a pretty decent drive and got within a bike length of two of Loris going into the carousel corner. He went a little bit wider than he usually did, so I kind of thought this was my chance and I dove up there. In corner three, maybe corner six, 12, all the corners where you would normally think about passing someone, Loris was an absolute animal braking late. He would pull four or five bikes every single time. So, I kind of knew that I had to figure out something somewhere else. Just happy to be back up here in second place kind of where we should be. I think the last couple laps I was with the same pace as what Jake was. Just need to figure out those first couple laps and work on those two, three, four outright laps of just pushing.”
Baz rebounded from a bad day at the office on Saturday in race one, the Frenchman crashing out on the second lap of the race and destroying his Ducati Panigale V4 R. Baz had to go to the backup bike for Sunday and he came through from 10th on the grid to finish third.
“Yeah, not so bad, especially after the disaster yesterday. I’m still very angry with what happened yesterday. It was completely unprofessional. I’m just happy that we are alive with Jake (Gagne), because it was really scary the first laps. Then as you said, you try to put it behind. You go on your backup bike. We had some issue in the warmup. Some sensors were not working, so we could not make everything we wanted. So, I was just crossing the fingers that everything worked for the race. The mechanics from the Warhorse HSBK Racing team did an amazing job. Like you said, the frame was cut in two parts, the swingarm broken, everything was dead. So, they had to put another bike together. I did a pretty good start. I wanted to try to get to P2 as soon as possible. As I expected, when I was P2, Jake was already far away. Then I just tried to save a little bit my tires. We had a battle with Mathew (Scholtz), which was really nice. I was behind him. He was stronger in a couple of places, like Mathew said, then I was stronger in all the second section. I think two laps to go I found the place where I wanted to try something in the last lap but going into the carousel, I had a neutral, and if you go straight here you get a five-second penalty so I did everything I could just to stay on the track. I lost much but hats off to them. They did an amazing job. I just want to thank my team a lot and the Ducati guys, Paolo Ciabatti who came this weekend. We did a really good job to make the V4 working better and better over those kind of tracks, really bumpy. We were much stronger than we were at the test. So, we go on again for the next one. Try to improve again.”
Next up was M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, the Californian looking like he would repeat Saturday’s second-place finish until an off-track excursion pushed him down the order. He fought back, however, passing his teammate Cameron Petersen in the closing laps for fourth place.
Petersen was fifth, some three seconds clear of Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s fill-in rider JD Beach with the full-time flat track racer impressing everyone in the paddock with his weekend after not racing a Superbike in two years. Beach was faster in Sunday’s race than he was in Saturday’s as he improved in every session and every race as his comfort level increased.
Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera finished behind Beach, the Spaniard suffering early on with an off-track excursion.
As he was on Saturday, Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis was the top Superbike Cup racer, finishing eighth on his Stock 1000-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000.
FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ Bradley Ward completed his return-from-injury weekend to finish ninth with HONOS HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander rounding out the top 10.
Jake Gagne made it 10 race wins in a row in the 2021 MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike Championship on Saturday, but this one was different. Gagne crashed and still managed to win the first AMA Superbike race held at BIR in 17 years.
Leading the race on the second lap, Gagne crashed in front of the pack and was stuck in the middle of the track as the field motored by on both sides. He finally ran to safety and, with his bike still on track, a red flag was thrown, stopping the race. Fortunately for Gagne, his Yamaha suffered only minor damage and he was able to ride back to the hot pit for repairs prior to the restart.
From there it was typical Gagne as he grabbed the lead and pulled away, ultimately besting M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong by 4.675 seconds to win his 10th race of the year and extending his championship points lead to 74 points. The win, which was also the 10th of his career, moves him into a tie with Mike Baldwin for 19th on the all-time AMA Superbike win list.
Jake Gagne – P1
“That was the highest my heart rate has probably been in a while. We sat on the grid for a long time both times. I know we were all kind of wondering what was going on. I know there was a crash on the warmup lap or the sighting lap. I saw the guy right next to me in the grass go flying by. So, that was just a weird start. I know all our tires were a little cold there at the beginning. I think with that quick of a heat fluctuation, you put so much heat in these tires in turn one and two especially, so from going that cool… I even spun the tire off the line, which I’ve never done in my life. I just lit it up. So, it was just weird. It caught me by surprise. I went into turn three and was barely on the gas. The thing came around on me and I just kept going. I was wondering if it was going to highside me. Luckily, it didn’t. I just kind of lowsided and then I’m sitting there in the middle of the track watching Superbikes fly at me. Luckily, everybody is looking ahead. We can see something is going on, so nothing bad happened. I’m just fortunate that that Yamaha slid. We bent a little lever. We had to mess around with the bars. The only thing that was wrong, we were just a little tweaked during the race, but it was totally fine. Hats off to the team because they hustled. We got that bike together right in the nick of time to get back out for pit lane. Again, thanks to Alpinestars for protecting me. I had a long slide, and the bike was really just sliding on top of me, so it was like digging my butt in the ground. We got a new suit on and went out there and did it again. So, I’m pumped I got another good start. I knew these guys were coming. Tomorrow will be another show. I know it’s tightening up every time. We’ve just got to keep doing our thing and focusing on our part.”
For Fong the race ended a podium drought that dates back to the very first race of the year at Road Atlanta in May. The battle for third was fought out between the two South Africans – Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen.
At the completion of the 15-lap race it was Scholtz grabbing third for his seventh podium of the year, though it still allowed Gagne to pull farther away in the title chase. Gagne now leads Scholtz by a whopping 74 points, 250-176. Petersen, meanwhile, made a big move to third in the championship, moving past Josh Herrin, who missed the race after testing positive for COVID-19.
Petersen held on for fourth, some 2.5 seconds behind Scholtz and 14.2 seconds ahead of fifth-placed Hector Barbera on the Scheibe Racing BMW.
JD Beach battled early in the race with Barbera but ended up sixth on the second Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha in his replacement ride for Herrin.
Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis was seventh and that put him at the top of the Superbike Cup, a class within a class for those riding Stock 1000-spec motorcycles in the HONOS Superbike race.
Franklin Armory/Andrew Lee Racing’s Andrew Lee was eighth on his Stock 1000-spec Kawasaki ZX-10R ahead of FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony and his teammate Bradley Ward with the Suzuki-mounted pair finishing ninth and 10th, respectively.
Notable among the non-finishers was Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz with the Frenchman crashing out of the race on the second lap with his Ducati Panigale V4 R too damaged to repair for the restart.
Our guest for Episode 16 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast is Wayne Rainey, president of MotoAmerica and a motorcycle racing legend. Rainey is a 2-time AMA Superbike champion (1983, 1987) and 3-time Grand Prix World Champion (1990-1992) in the premier 500cc class. In 1999 he was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and in 2000 FIM named Rainey a Grand Prix Legend. Rainey is the president of MotoAmerica, which has managed and promoted the AMA Superbike series since 2015. We discuss Rainey’s racing career, MotoAmerica’s efforts to grow U.S. motorcycle racing, and MotoAmerica’s different classes, including Honos Superbike and Mission King of the Baggers. The GEICO MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest will be July 9-11 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Tickets are available online, and racing coverage can be streamed on MotoAmerica Live+ or watched on Fox Sports FS2 and MAVTV. Check out the MotoAmerica website for details.
The three-round Mission King Of The Baggers Championship wrapped up on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, making up Round 5 of the MotoAmerica series where Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle’s rider Kyle Wyman left no doubt why he was the favourite. When the lights went out he took the lead, with a dominant performance that saw him clinch the title in the same fashion that he dominated the championship.
Wyman started from the pole and was never headed in the eight-lap race. He gained more than a full second on second-place finisher and Mission Foods S&S Cycle Indian rider Tyler O’Hara on almost every lap of the race until he decided to slow his pace just a bit towards the end, with victory well within reach.
At the checkers, he took the win by just under four-and-a-half seconds over O’Hara. Third place went to DTF Performance/Hoban Brothers Performance Racing Harley-Davidson’s Michael Barnes, who added yet another podium finish in yet another motorcycle road race class on yet another brand of motorcycle to his record.
Wyman, who had broken his elbow in a crash last month at Road America, made a miraculous recovery from his injury, and he talked about it after the race.
“Those guys are world-class doctors and surgeons, putting me back together, knowing exactly the timeline and how he needed to fix everything for me to be able to get what I needed to get done. Honestly, we didn’t make any changes to the bike ergonomically for me to ride it. It was just a matter of Friday it was like, okay, this is the lap time I can do without braking so hard that I’m screaming in my helmet. Then here’s a lap I can do when it really sucks. Then just decided from there how hard I wanted to push. I pushed pretty hard in the beginning of the race and saw the board grow pretty quickly, so I was pretty happy with that. I could kind of keep a steady rhythm from there and not have to brake too hard. That’s all it was. It was just more brake force and the more I have to hold my body weight, especially these downhill left-handers in 2 and 11 and stuff like that. Structurally it’s been good. It’s been a very fast recovery. If I was only racing Superbike this year, I probably would have ridden the Superbike, but both would have been a lot. I would have jeopardized both. So, my plan was just to focus on this. Pretty minimal laps for a race weekend. After doing double duty riding on the Harley only is like a vacation, so it was pretty awesome. Got it done.”
Travis Wyman and Ben Bostrom completed the top five respectively, ahead of Hayden Gillim, Frankie Garcia, Patricia Fernandez, Zack Nation and Eric Stahl. Five of the top six on the day were Harley mounted, with three Indians in the top-ten.
Kyle Wyman’s title win was a dominant one, finishing the season on 70-points, to runner up Tyler O’Hara’s 45-points. Hayden Gillim was third on 39-points, ahead of Frankie Garcia (36) and Travis Wyman (33).
Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne won his eighth straight MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, but this one was different. This one was close.
How close? Just a tick over a second and that was the biggest lead of the race as Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz finished just 1.173 seconds behind Gagne after applying relentless pressure for the duration of the red-flag interrupted race. Baz was all smiles after having his best race of the season thus far.
Third place went to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen, 3.6 seconds behind Baz, and that meant the podium consisted of three different manufacturers (Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki) and three different nationalities (American, French and South African).
Fourth went to another South African in the form of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the Yamaha rider ending up 1.3 seconds adrift of his countryman Petersen and over 12 seconds ahead of Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Josh Herrin.
Some four seconds behind Herrin came Scheibe Racing’s Hector Barbera, the Spaniard beating M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong. The returning Toni Elias ended up eighth on Kyle Wyman’s Panera Bread Ducati.
Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis finished ninth over Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman and won the Superbike Cup in the process.
Honos Superbike Race 2
Jake Gagne actually got passed at Laguna Seca in Race 2, but it only lasted two corners. Gagne ran off the track on the run from turn five to turn six on the opening lap and the mistake allowed Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz to pass him.
What followed was a frenzied 20 or so seconds as Gagne, Baz and Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz rubbed elbows and motorcycles through the Corkscrew and Rainey Curve. When the dust settled, Gagne was back in front.
And that was all she wrote. Despite constant pressure from Baz for the duration, Gagne was able to maintain his composure to beat the Frenchman by 1.789 seconds and win his ninth straight HONOS Superbike race. The win also increased his championship points lead to 65 points over Scholtz, 225-160.
“That turn five, when you get out there on a Superbike you start sliding,” Gagne explained when asked about his off-track excursion. “That curb comes back. If you get out on the curb, it’s almost tough to get back off it. I just slid out there a little too much. It was one of those things. I thought I was going to save it, and then the rear tire kind of hopped back off. Then all of a sudden, I was in the dirt. But I kind of dropped the throttle. The Yamaha still hooked up good in the dirt with the slicks on, so I just got back up on the curb. Loris (Baz) came by, then Mat (Scholtz) came by the Corkscrew. They both kind of ran wide in the Corkscrew, so I was able to just dive up tight on the Corkscrew and around the side of Rainey (Curve). I managed to kind of get that back and I knew I got to go. Obviously, I was keeping an eye on my pit board. I knew Loris was there. I knew Mat was there. They didn’t give me any issues to go. I saw a couple .2, .3, and then they’d pull a tenth back, they’d grab a 10th, they’d pull a couple tenths back… So, it was kind of back and forth.”
Gagne had been challenged all weekend by Baz and admitted that Sunday was the biggest challenge he’d faced all year. For Baz and his Ducati team it was a solid weekend where they made big improvements to the Panigale V4 R.
With Gagne beating Baz for the second straight day, it was Scholtz finishing third on Sunday. The South African ended up 7.8 seconds behind Baz after keeping the two in front of him in sight for most of the race.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen was fourth on Sunday, a day after finishing third. He ended up some six seconds ahead of Gagne’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s teammate Josh Herrin, who in turn was seven seconds ahead of Petersen’s teammate Bobby Fong.
Panera Bread Ducati’s Toni Elias got the better of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera after a race-long duel to finish seventh. Elias was riding the Ducati in place of the injured Kyle Wyman at Laguna Seca, but Wyman will return to the HONOS Superbike class in three weeks at Brainerd International Raceway.
Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman and BPR Tuning’s Bryce Prince rounded out the top 10 finishers while also finishing first and second in the Superbike Cup.
I’m just going to come out and say it – the motorcycle community is (mostly) full of lads with a love for bikes and a passion for tweaking things that they broke.
So what happens when the world’s fastest female racer gets on a Bagger for the track?
I’m chewing a bit on the tip of my pencil as I contemplate this.
Patricia Fernandez is no joke – the 36-year old Oklahoman has been racing professionally since 2012, and has ridden everywhere, on pretty much anything you can think of.
She’s hopped from superbikes to sidecars, dirt bikes, even competing in the newer racing Bagger classes like the Bagger Racing League(BRL) and King Of The Baggers(KOTB).
Most importantly, she’s done it all in a world where most pro racers (if not all) are guys.
There was so much to ask her, so I decided to go with a little of everything.
Tell us about your inspiration for motorcycles, how that all started.
I always loved motorcycles – can’t remember a time when I didn’t.
When I was younger, I just thought motorcycles were cool, and I always asked for a motorcycle or a dirt bike, and obviously, it was a hard no.
The first time I recall seeing a girl on a sportbike was in the Matrix movie. Neo’s little girlfriend was on a semi-truck, then got on a Ducati and ended up riding it off on the highway or whatever.
To me, that was the first time I remember seeing a female on a motorcycle. I thought it was so bad-ass.
When that scene came in the Matrix, I was like, ‘Oh my God. There’s a bad-ass, hot chick on a bad-ass bike, and she’s riding the wheels off it and stuff’. And I just thought it was so awesome.
Now, Black Widow has just come out – and looking at the difference between my past and the present? Huge difference. Now you see women on bikes everywhere.
Later down the road, I had left my parent’s house – I wasn’t allowed a motorcycle as long as I was under that roof, so I left – and I signed up with The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Class.
I went into a big parking lot with a little Rebel 125, and I did the course.
It was funny because they say that women have a lower center of gravity, and for the sportbikes, we have naturally stronger legs and core, where men have a naturally stronger upper body.
I didn’t really use my own upper body until I went to the big bike after the course – and then the upper body became an issue, and I started to change training and stuff.
When I started to get into the world of pro racing, I had problems with my starts, and we went to a drag strip where a multi-time champ was coaching the classes.
He said, ‘Women are actually better at starts because they have better reaction times.’
Ha! I knew I was meant to ride, but that little tip was great!
No one ever really talks about that stuff.
I’ll tell you this: To any woman that gets on the back with a man – I think you’re braver than someone that rides solo, to be honest.
Riding on the back like that, you have less control. So I think it’s cool that solo female riders are more common now, that women are perceived as stronger characters and capable of handling a bike.
How did you find the world of pro racing?
When I started pro racing, there weren’t very many girls, and it was nasty. Pro Racing was a whole different level of competition.
It’s interesting – at first, when I got into the world of racing, everyone wanted to help me. I was the only girl on the track; they would offer their aid, I wasn’t a threat to them.
But then I felt as I progressed and as I became faster, they didn’t want to help me. And then I became their competition – and that’s when it started becoming ugly.
I remember I first wanted pink rims and all this other stuff, but we had to end up hiding it.
I got to the point where I had to tuck my hair in my leathers, make the bike black, had to make it super incognito because guys would tell me they’d target or fixate on me, or they’d hit me.
I’ve had my own teammates tell me they would take me out before they’d ever let me beat them.
In the last 10 years that I’ve been around, that’s gone downhill a lot more, but I think that’s also because there are more women, and we’re around more.
I’m also more established now, so I think it’s harder to bully me around versus a newbie that just started. I really took it for a while, though.
I remember a guy would bump you or push you on the track, kind of intimidate you. And then I got tired of it – I got to the point where someone did that to me, and I pushed him right back.
The racer came in after the round was over, and he literally said to me, ‘I wanted to push you and thought that you would lean back…and when you pushed right back, I didn’t mess with you.’
And it was a light bulb moment to me – that if I stand my ground and don’t let them bully me, then I won’t get bullied.
Funny thing – I have found (in the world of motorcycle racing at least) women aren’t necessarily competitive against men. But I did an all-female race down in Mexico…and let me tell you, that was just about the nastiest race I’ve ever been in.
We women might not feel like we need to compete against other guys but put 20 girls together at one time in a room…there’s going to be some hair pulling, haha.
Groups of women competing like that terrify me.
One thing to note – overseas, I never experienced any of that underhanded competition there. There’s a lot more community, and everyone just likes each other a lot. It’s more so the really competitive sport of racing on a pro-level – that is where I’ve experienced the most of that stupidity.
You competed in road racing overseas. Besides the camaraderie, how did you find the differences between racing in the Western and Central hemispheres?
Well…they refer to it as ‘proper road racing’ there… they don’t like when we call it road racing, haha.
100%, night and day difference.
They do everything they can to make it as safe as possible, and it’s impressive to see – and when I’d fly out there a couple of weeks early, I’d be impressed at how much maintenance work they do on a daily basis.
But at the end of the day, you’re on roads – it’s hard to wrap your mind around like, ‘Okay, apex the tree, hit the wall.’
There are so many uncontrollable factors. Either you want to do it, or you don’t. Other pro-racers have gone with me, and they’re like, ‘Absolutely not’ because there’s such a tiny margin for error.
I remember the first couple of times I went to the Ulster Grand Prix, I was like, ‘What’s on the ground?’ It looked almost like markers when you saw them from far away – but they were actually PEOPLE that lay on the ground for a better view. You’re not allowed to be on the road surface, but they’d want to get as close as they could.
The first few laps out, I had to get stuff like that out of my head – it was so different compared to what I was used to.
There was one incident, maybe 2018, 2017, I can’t remember. I DO remember commenting on it right before it happened, though…people would take selfie sticks, and they’d stand behind the hedges and stick the selfie stick out over the hedge on the road to get a good view or whatever.
And there was actually an incident where a selfie stick ended up hitting a racer’s shoulder, and it knocked him off the bike and broke his collarbone and stuff…all because some dude stuck his stick outside the hedge to get a better view.
And so now they have to make announcements about it, warning people off.
And I’m like, ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous that they even have to do that – that would never happen here,’ haha.
I think the way I approach proper road racing mentally is a lot different as well.
For proper road racing, my team – my boyfriend Cory West, and everyone else – knows that they can’t bring up anything negative in any way, shape, or form for the whole week.
I’ve been involved with incidents where a rider goes down or does whatever, and you just don’t talk about it. Don’t bring it up because you can’t think about it. It’s just, ‘Have fun.’ You don’t bring up anything that will unbalance you. You can do it on a circuit but not racing on the road with so many uncontrollable variables.
So literally all my crew, my boyfriend, everyone knows, there’s a big mental thing because it’s hard to go out and race with the realization of some of the things that can go wrong.
What’s the saying, ‘The faster you go’? Haha.
As the ‘world’s fastest female racer’, you’re getting some amazing times clocked. Would you say that the promotion of your female presence interferes at all with your career?
When I have to get ready for photoshoots that show my body off, I’m sweating, freaking out. I would rather do a run any day of the week if I could be completely honest. And I hate cardio. It’s the devil.
Funny how the photoshoots came about, actually – when I first started riding and stuff, I was just a short cute girl, and I felt I was really dismissed. No one ever thought I was going to amount the anything. And to be honest, I didn’t intend to be a pro-racer, but I liked riding and stuff, and it took me where it was.
On the track, there were a few girls that were around, and they had really bad reputations of sleeping around. They weren’t necessarily there to go racing.
I had a really good coach at the time, Jason Pridmore, who’s now an announcer for MotoAmerica.
And I remember him telling me, ‘I’m not going to help you unless you’re serious about racing. If you are just trying to come to the paddock to meet guys or do whatever, I don’t want to help you.’
And I was like, ‘No, I’m 100% serious and dedicated.’
And so, for a very long time, I didn’t post or do a lot of feminine things or anything because I really wanted to be taken seriously as a racer.
Later, I was working for Motul, and the lady who was in charge of marketing at Motul approached me and was like, ‘Why don’t you ever think about doing some glamorous stuff? You’re a pretty girl.’
And I was like, ‘No, no, no. I’m serious. I want to be taken seriously.’
And she goes, ‘Think about your name.’
My name tag on social media is Lady_Racer926.
She goes, ‘You’re a lady first, and you’re also a racer. You’re already accredited. You need to market yourself. You have something no one else has.”
This was after I was already pro and was racing overseas – and it was a light bulb moment to me. Then I was like, man, maybe I should start utilizing that.
Now, I’ll have a world record photo of me racing overseas or doing something huge, and social media is like, man, whatever. But if you have a photo of me in a bikini, it’s 10,000 likes.
I’m like, ‘What’s wrong with these people?’, haha.
But that’s the way the world works.
One racer could be a second faster, but if this other racer has 100,000 followers on social media, that guy will most likely get the sponsorship before the other rider.
You’ve done sidecar racing. You’ve done dirt biking. You’ve taste-tested so many different, diverse niches of the motorcycle industry. Is all of this a conscious decision to give something a try, or is it just, ‘hop in my sidecar and don’t die’?
So, it’s 100% ‘hop in my sidecar and don’t die’, haha!
So, with the sidecar, I was at a club race meeting to race my motorcycle, and they called me to the registration office. A guy shows up, and they’re talking about a monkey (I figured out later that the passenger in a sidecar is called a monkey).
It happened to be a race weekend where they were doing an exhibition thing, and they had the sidecar races. I guess the guy came to the registration office and asked if there was anybody that could be the monkey for his sidecar (his guy didn’t show up).
And the office was like, ‘We know someone crazy enough to do that.’
I told him that I had never done sidecar racing before and asked him if it was hard, and he was like, ‘Oh, we’ll practice in the parking lot.’
No joke! We did a couple of laps, and I was like, ‘Ok, let’s do this.’
I always joke around and say I’ll try anything twice. Surprisingly enough, this was also the same thing with the Bagger.
When they recommended me, when Cory approached me and asked if I’d like to race a Bagger, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ I’m super short’.
That was my biggest concern. I like to lie and say I’m 5’3′- it rounds up, right?
My whole thing is, I’ll try it. And that’s what I said to Cory. ‘I don’t know if I’ll be good, but I’m willing to try it.’
But it’s cool because everything correlates in a certain type of way. When you do the dirt bike stuff, you’re on smaller bikes, but getting control of the rear end breaking loose and learning how to control that, actually makes you a better rider in the rain on the sportbikes.
And when you’re on a sportbike, and you’re in the rain, and it gets loose, it’s almost the same thing as being on a dirt bike.
If you just talk about controls and skills, it may look different, but it all relates.
How did you find the bagger as a race bike?
It doesn’t matter what you put me on – if I’m riding solo, I’ll just ride around. But put ONE PERSON next to me, and then I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s on. I have to win.’
I always joke around and say, ‘I’d race an ostrich, a unicycle, whatever – just let me race.’
With the Bagger, I went out, and I was like, ‘Oh, let me try it.’
And every lap, I told them not to clock me because I was nervous, but they did anyway.
My first lap was 210. My second lap was 209, 208 – every lap was just dropping.
And then I came in, and I was like, ‘I think I CAN ride one of these.’
And they’re like, ‘Ohh, you’re riding one all right.’
They already knew – it’s just about getting comfortable and adapting to something that’s a little different.
It is a little difficult because you don’t get a lot of seat time on the Baggers like you do a sportbike. These motors really aren’t made for what we’re doing. So you actually want to keep your seat time down.
I was used to hour-long sessions on the sportbikes. On those, if I run out of gas, I can come in, splash a bit of gas in or change tires and go right back out and ride for an hour straight. You can’t really do that on these baggers. Not at this performance level, considering how fast and hard we’re riding them.
It was definitely weird hearing, ‘Take a break, don’t ride.’
I’m like, ‘I want to ride….’
There’s, of course, the King Of The Baggers (where you made your debut), and then there’s the Bagger Racing League. Do you prefer to promote one or the other?
I will promote anything that I do.
So when I race in the Bagger Racing League, I promote the Bagger Racing League. When I race King Of the Baggers, I’m going to promote King Of the Baggers.
As a racer, I’m not an organizer, and I’m not an owner.
For me, what’s best is to race. I want to race everywhere. Every day, every week, every chance I get.
When they first did that Bagger race last year at Laguna Seca, I think everyone thought it was going to be a one-time exhibition thing. And when it got four and a half million views in 10 days (or whatever it was), they were like, ‘Holy cow, this is a big deal.’
Now, it’s such a big deal that there’s competition – obviously, whenever something becomes really popular, multiple people want to capitalize on it.
Do you see yourself doing anything else, going into any other niches of the motorcycle industry?
I’ll never NOT ride a motorcycle, but it’s a sport like any other, so usually, the older you get, it does become a little more difficult – and we’re in a sport where age, unfortunately, takes its toll.
I guess it’s one of those things where the future is kind of bittersweet. As a racer, you know you won’t be able to race as much later on.
For me, I’ll do anything – race a Bagger, be involved in user test or development, coach, advocate for women or rallies – anything that keeps me close to the world of riding and racing.
Stuff like that, it’s always going to be a part of me.
I definitely don’t think I have the engineering brain for the designing part of things, though it’s cool to be a part of the customization of my Indian Bagger. I mean, everything we’re doing now is basically testing and development for these motorcycles. The parts that we’re developing now, in a couple of years, people will be able to buy, to build their race Bagger.
Also…I actually would really like to go back to paramedic school.
One of the sides of being a motorcycle racer is you meet a lot of really nice paramedics and nurses, haha! Every other race, you’re like, ‘Hey, it’s me again,’ haha.
It would be cool to maybe be a paramedic at a racetrack once in a while to be able to help out.
I can also see myself at 80 years old with all-gray hair, still on a motorcycle, and going to a rally being all like, ‘I was the first woman to race a Bagger,’ trying to help other girls be a part of it.
That would be something really neat to do if I stopped racing – maybe marketing or organizing for an event.
Bottom line, as long I can still ride, I’ll be happy.
Do you have any parting words that you could offer to any females wanting to start motorcycle riding or racing? Any advice you can give?
Just do it.
I’m serious, haha, that’s all I got.
Just. Do. It.
They asked me that question on TV this past weekend, and it was funny – they’re like, ‘What advice do you have?’.
I’m like, ‘Do it. Go out there, take a class, get your license, buy a motorcycle.’
The best thing you can do in this industry is buy a motorcycle and promote it.
I mean, if you think about it, I wouldn’t have even been allowed to buy a motorcycle however many years ago. Crazy thought, but true. If I came in with cash to a dealership a couple of generations ago, they would refuse to sell me a bike because I was a woman.
Now, women are racing and doing everything they couldn’t in the past.
My biggest advice is if you want to do it, do it.
Never let anyone push you beyond your limits – because that’s the biggest risk to feeling safe and comfortable.
Whatever your speed is, whatever your pace – whatever makes you feel comfortable, you do that.
Don’t ever let someone make you do something that makes you uncomfortable because that’s when dangerous situations happen, whether it’s on the street or a race track. That’s what I tell ladies.
This past weekend, I met a lot of ladies that were interested in riding, and I’m like, ‘Well, tell me this, has your husband or your boyfriend ever scared you when you were on the back?’
And they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah.’
I’m like, ‘You need to ride then. You need to get your own license – because, at the end of the day, no one can steer you but you. If you want to go 15 miles an hour, you go 15 miles an hour. If you want to go 50, go 50.’
But that’s the biggest thing when I try advocating for people – especially women. And even if you try riding and it’s not good for you, you’ll end up a better passenger anyways.
This is for any ladies that are nervous or scared about the concept of riding:
2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship Round 4 – The Ridge
Images by Brian J. Nelson
Honos Superbike Race 1
Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne’s plan doesn’t seem to change from race to race, and it’s a strategy that is paying dividends. Qualify on pole position, get the jump on everyone off the start and put the race out of reach in the first handful of laps.
Such was the case again on a scorching hot Saturday at Ridge Motorsports Park, the Californian winning his sixth-straight MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike race after leading from start to finish.
Gagne, who broke the track record during Q2 on Saturday morning, was unstoppable again. He led every lap and if it wasn’t for the oppressive heat, it could have been classified as a walk in the park.
Second place went to Gagne’s teammate Josh Herrin, the 2013 AMA Superbike Champion finding something in his setup that made him faster and more comfortable than in previous races. The second-place finish was Herrin’s best thus far in 2021 and he was 4.49 seconds behind Gagne after 17 laps.
Herrin’s first few laps were a bit daunting, and he came very close to crashing after losing the front at one point.
Herrin had his hands full for the majority of the race with M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen with the South African hounding Herrin until giving up the chase after running wide in the turn one chicane. He ended up some four seconds behind in third place.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz ended up fourth and 14 seconds behind Gagne after qualifying second and looking like he might have a challenge for Gagne in the race.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz crossed the finish line some five seconds behind Baz in fifth place, well clear of HONOS HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander. Alexander put in a solid ride to finish a career-best sixth in the HONOS Superbike class while winning the Superbike Cup for racers riding Stock 1000-spec motorcycles.
FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony finished seventh, which matched his best of the season. Then came M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, who managed to finish eighth despite a mechanical problem. Anthony’s FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ teammate Jayson Uribe and Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis rounded out the top 10.
Honos Superbike Race 2
Gagne followed this up by winning his seventh straight HONOS Superbike race on a flaming hot Sunday in the Pacific Northwest as record, triple-digit temperatures scorched the area, making the racing a survival of the fittest.
At least on track, Gagne (“the gnarlier the better”) was definitely the fittest and he led into turn one only to find his teammate Herrin too close for comfort as the two very nearly came together.
Once the turn-one melee sorted itself out, it was clear sailing for Gagne as he established his normal lead and then maintained it to the finish.
“I didn’t get the best jump. I didn’t get a jump like I did yesterday. I saw his (Josh Herrin’s) wheel coming up around the outside of me. He threw it in one, and I threw it in there, too. It was good to see a wheel and do some racing, because it was kind of a lonely one yesterday. I knew these boys would step it up today. We made a couple changes today. Made the bike a little bit easier to ride. With how hot it is, you can’t just go down there and try to throw down the first couple laps. You just got to ride and just put the bike in a place where it’s comfortable and not use up these tyres too much. Once on my pit board I see just a (plus) .5 or something, I know probably Josh (Herrin) can’t stick it in from a half a second away, so that just allows me to kind of run my lines, relax. So, it was nice. I enjoyed the heat out there. It was hot. It was probably one of the hottest races I ever remember, but I feel really good. The gnarlier the better. I like it. Again, hats off to the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Yamaha. The boys work hard and no matter how much we win by or if we barely win, we’re going to keep working harder to try to do what we know we can do, so hats off to those guys and all the fans. It was good to have fans back here in Washington after being alone here last year, especially in this heat. They stuck it out in record-breaking heat up here. Roll on to Laguna. I love that track. Let’s do it.”
Herrin gave it his all and ended up second for the second straight day, giving a lot of the credit for his newfound speed to new riding coach Josh Hayes.
“It’s been such a great weekend! This season’s been really tough, but we’ve been putting in a lot of work, and we finally got our mojo back, and I’m riding like myself again. I have to give a huge thanks to the entire team for all of their hard work and also to Josh Hayes for helping turn my year around with the amazing coaching! I’m so appreciative of everybody on the team. They’ve stuck behind me when I was bummed out. We’ve just got to get to the level that Jake’s at right now. He’s just got that little bit at the beginning of the race, and today, I struggled in the middle of the race with the heat. I need to figure out how to get that one-lap pace back that I used to have at the beginning of the race, and I’ll be right there. I’m really looking forward to Laguna!”
Third place went to Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz, the Frenchman struggling to ride a difficult Ducati Panigale V4 R in the heat around the 2.47-mile racetrack. It was Baz’s third podium finish of the season.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz improved to fourth from his fifth-place finish on Saturday, the South African just two seconds clear of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera. It was the Spaniard’s best finish thus far in his debut season of racing in the MotoAmerica Series.
Yesterday’s third-place finisher Cameron Petersen was fighting with Baz for third again when he was slowed by a technical issue that pushed him down the order to sixth. He ended up some 20 seconds ahead of his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Bobby Fong.
FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ owner/racer David Anthony got the better of HONOS HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander and Anthony’s teammate Jayson Uribe to finish eighth. Alexander and Uribe rounded out the top 10 finishers with Alexander winning the Superbike Cup for racers armed with Stock 1000-spec motorcycles.
2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship Round Two – Virginia
Images by Brian J. Nelson
Jake Gagne turned in a very Cameron Beaubier-esque performance in the first of two MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike races at VIRginia International Raceway, the rider leading from start to finish to earn his second win of the season and his second in a row.
Gagne, who broke five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Beaubier’s lap record earlier in the day during final qualifying, shot from pole position to the lead and was never headed, topping Mathew Scholtz by 11.8 seconds.
Third place for the third race in a row was Herrin on the second Fresh N’ Easy Attack Performance Yamaha – 15.478 seconds behind his teammate. Although he was third again, Herrin was happier with this one than the previous two at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The battle for third was a good one with Herrin, Loris Baz and Cameron Petersen swapping the spot for the majority of the race. It came down to the final laps with Baz pushing Petersen wide in turn one and Herrin ultimately taking full advantage. The trio crossed the line in formation and with just .8 of a second separating Herrin from Petersen with Petersen just .006 of a second behind Baz.
Hector Barbera continued to show progress, the Spaniard having his best result of the young season with a sixth-place finish. Barbera led Kyle Wyman across the line by some five seconds.
Jayson Uribe, Jake Lewis and Travis Wyman rounded out the top-10 finishers. Lewis, who earlier won the Stock 1000 race, earned full Superbike Cup points for his top finish among those riding Stock 1000-spec motorcycles.
Bobby Fong, meanwhile, was knocked out of third place early on with a mechanical issue but managed to salvage 12th (and four championship points) at the conclusion of the 20-lap race.
HONOS Superbikes Race 2
Three races a championship does not make, but the performance of Yamaha’s Jake Gagne certainly makes sleeping a little rough for those who are racing against him.
Gagne won his third straight MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike race on Sunday and he did so in impressive fashion. Again. As he did Saturday, Gagne led into turn one and proceeded to lead every lap thereafter, crossing the finish line well clear of Loris Baz, the Frenchman earning his first career MotoAmerica podium.
Jake Gagne – P1
“Today was a little more comfortable for us. I think it was a little hotter today. I think the track temp was maybe a little hotter. So, I knew I needed to be a little easier on the tires because yesterday we roasted out here pretty good. After yesterday’s race, we really learned a lot, when you get a whole 20 laps underneath you in race conditions. So, we just made a couple minor tweaks, and the bike just came a lot easier for me to ride today. I was just having fun sliding around out there. It’s nice when you’ve got a little bit of a gap. I was keeping an eye on my pit board. But you can’t let up. These guys, I know they’re going to keep rolling and if you just back off a couple percent that’s when something can happen. So, I just kept riding and having fun. Hats off to the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance crew. Even after a great day yesterday, they went back and worked hard last night to get a couple little improvements coming into today. This Yamaha came off the truck good on Friday. We changed the gearing for Atlanta, and she was rolling good. I’m really looking forward to Road America. I think that will be kind of a whole different track than these first two we dealt with, so it will be cool to switch it up a little bit. It’s good to get a win.”
Baz’s race was eventful early as he battled with a pack of four for second place, but once he got to the spot, he was able to pull clear and monitor his gap to third place. He knew there was no catching Gagne. In fact, he knew that before the race started based on Gagne’s race pace from Saturday.
Loris Baz – P2
“I’m enjoying it a lot since three months. We’ve been working so hard with the team to do good work. We knew that the test in Austin we were fast, but we knew we were coming to tracks where we struggle a bit more. I was surprised we struggled so much. Race one (at Road Atlanta where he crashed) we were able to win and race two the bike broke. It was hard to swallow that for three weeks. We came here with the same goal as Atlanta, but we just struggled more all weekend. We were so far off on Friday. We didn’t expect to put the bike in the top five. We were so far away. It was so hard to ride. The crew did an amazing job this Friday to improve the electronics and we made a decent qualifying. Unfortunately, we had trouble on the tire. I knew the track was killing the tread. It was a tough race yesterday before and today. I knew that the best we could do with our pace was P2. The target was to try to go behind Jake (Gagne) and follow him. I gave everything that I had and still could not do it. So, it was a lonely race, trying to increase the gap to the guys behind and just manage my tires because I didn’t know what to expect at the end. I was just managing the gap and had a couple of tenths. Just trying to bring it to the end because I was struggling with my rear tire. I’m really happy. I think one of the hardest parts of the Ducati we improved a lot. The target is still exactly the same as when I came. I know these guys are fast and I’m just ready to battle with them.”
Mathew Scholtz was roughed up in turn one off the start and finished the opening lap in 14th, but the South African didn’t give up and pushed his way through the pack, eventually making his way to the heels of those battling for third. When all was said and done, Scholtz had worked his to third to maintain his perfect season of podium finishes.
Mathew Scholtz – P3
“I just saw one of the M4 Suzuki bikes coming up the inside, so I gave him space,” Scholtz said. “I could have followed him, but I don’t know what happened from there. I think Cam (Petersen) ran off the track. I’m not sure if he got touched. It’s just one of those unfortunate things. I’m trying to get aggressive in the first corner trying to hang onto Jake (Gagne) because I knew if I could slot in behind Jake, he would pull me and I kind of had the pace over everyone else after about lap eight or 10.”
Scholtz’s fourth podium, including his win in race one at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, keeps him in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship lead with his 81 points, six more than the fast-closing Gagne. Josh Herrin is third with 61 points, the 2013 AMA Superbike Champion finishing off the podium for first time this season on Sunday at VIR.
Herrin, meanwhile, managed to hold off the advances of Bobby Fong for fourth with the latter bouncing back from mechanical issues that thwarted his progress on Saturday. Kyle Wyman had his strongest race of the 2021 season, the Ducati rider in the fight for second/third early on before slipping back to finish sixth.
Cameron Petersen was some two seconds adrift of Wyman and in seventh after having to fight through from well back after being involved in the melee in turn one. Hector Barbera was eighth, but he really deserved more. An off-track excursion cost him a shot at the podium as he was fighting for third when he couldn’t get the BMW stopped for turn one in the heat of battle and was forced to take to the grass.
Ninth went to Corey Alexander, the Stock 1000-spec Kawasaki ZX-10R mounted New Yorker ending the race as the top finishing Superbike Cup entry. Andrew Lee had his best result of the season thus far in 10th, some four seconds adrift of Alexander and only .001 of a second ahead of Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman.