The following is from Celtic HSBK Racing…
Celtic HSBK Racing had a successful weekend with Rider PJ Jacobsen at the MotoAmerica Cycle Gear Championship of Sonoma. Landing on the box twice and finishing the weekend on the top step the team walks away ready for their next round in Pittsburgh.
It was a two day event making for a fast and furious weekend. Saturday during practice 1, PJ ran the fastest times in the SuperSport class. Later that day during qualifying, PJ continued to improve his lap times. While on his last flying lap he encountered lap traffic and ultimately earned the fourth spot on the grid putting him on the second row. That afternoon in Race 1, there was a red flag early in the race and the race went from 19 to 12 laps. PJ ran a good clean race, but didn’t have the pace to keep up with the race leaders and finished in 3rd.
The team went into Sunday with changes to the bike setup and race strategy. During race 2, PJ worked his way to the front of the pack passing at the most difficult corner of the track repeatedly picking off opponents one by one. By the end of the race he had built over an 8 second lead on second place finisher Bobby Fong. The team was ecstatic to see the bike and rider run such an impressive race.
The team looks forward to the next supersport round at Pittsburgh International Race Complex later this month. It is a track PJ has tested at and will be able to show the full potential of rider and bike.
The following is from Aguilar Racing…
Jason Aguilar had 4 weeks to focus on recovery from injuries and illness in between MotoAmerica rounds at Laguna Seca and Sonoma Raceway. The time off allowed Jason to get better and put in a little training time with some mountain biking. However, the new 2-Day format at Sonoma was going to be difficult as Jason did not have any data for Sonoma with his new team. Without the additional day and less track time, it was going to be a challenge to get up to speed and get a good setup and qualifying result.
Jason finished the first practice session in 10th place, putting in 3 more laps on his Yamaha R6 than any other rider. The team used the data from that first session to make adjustments for the only qualifying session. In qualifying, Jason ended the session in 9th place securing a third row starting position. While not satisfied with his qualifying position, Jason was getting closer to the leader’s pace than he had been all season.
Jason got a good start in Saturday’s race, but it was nullified by another rider’s crash causing a restart after they tended to the downed rider. The red flag incident caused the race to be shortened from 19 laps to 12. On the restart, Jason did not get a good start and dropped back to 10th place. Jason methodically utilized the chicane to pass riders and worked his way up to 6th place where he finished the shortened race. It was RiderzLaw/Aguilar Racing’s best finish since Virginia.
With MotoAmerica’s 2-Day format, rider’s grid positions for Race 2 are determined by their best lap time in Race 1. This allowed Jason to improve his grid position from 9th to 6th, moving him up to the second row for Sunday’s race. Race 2 saw Jason get pushed out wide in turn one at the start, causing him to drop back to 8th place. Jason lost contact with the lead group, but he pushed hard to catch up and finally joined the lead group by midrace. The eight-rider group was battling each other for the win. Jason advanced to 7th place with a nice pass in the chicane, but had to do it all over again when a missed shift on the front straightaway caused him to lose the position. He made the same pass two laps later and then advanced to 6th when one of the leaders crashed. Jason was closing in on 5th place, and looked like he was going to battle for the position. The riders came upon a 4-rider group of slower riders and Jason got held up in the esses causing him to lose a full second to the rider that he worked so hard to catch. Then, at the start of the next lap, Jason missed a shift in turn one allowing another rider to pass him and drop him back to his final finishing position of 7th place.
Jason Aguilar: “It was frustrating to have a couple of mistakes and a little bad luck cost me a shot at 5th place in Race 2, but I was finally able to get back to the lead group and battle with the leaders. That felt really good. The team gave me a great bike, and we are getting closer to fighting for a podium finish. I am looking forward to our next race at Pittsburg International Raceway.”
The following is from Attack Performance Estenson Racing…
JD Beach ended his weekend at Sonoma Raceway with another top-five finish aboard the Attack Performance Estenson Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 at the seventh round of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
It was another day of challenging conditions on the 2.2-mile track in Northern California. His fifth race in a week (Buffalo Chip TT, Black Hills Half-Mile and Sonoma), the dirt track/road racer got off to a decent start from the third row of the grid. Beach was quickly in the four-way battle for a spot just outside of the podium. He eventually found himself in fifth and held that position until the finish. The weekend’s performance was a good-points haul in the championship as he currently sits fourth in the standings in his debut MotoAmerica Superbike season.
“I think it was a good day. We finished fifth again, which is not what we were hoping for, but we had a lot better race than we did the first day. From yesterday to this morning we made big changes to the bike. I think it helped a lot. Then we took another smaller step for the race, which I think was better. Cramming three-days into two days, I think that kind of hurt us a bit, but we ended the weekend strong. We were quick the whole race. I think we also learned some stuff for the next round. There are things that I need to work on back home. I’ve got a little bit of time to rest, which is good because this week has been crazy. I could definitely feel it at the end of the race today. The team worked hard this weekend. I think we have something to start with at Pittsburgh.”
The following is from Yoshimura Suzuki…
It was an up and down weekend for both riders. Elias finished second in Saturday’s race, then crashed while running second early in Sunday’s round. Herrin crashed out early Saturday, but then rallied to finish third on Sunday. Both were uninjured in their falls.
In spite of Sunday’s tumble, Elias’ MotoAmerica Superbike lead didn’t take much of a hit. He was 39-points ahead coming into Sonoma and finished the weekend in Wine Country still holding a 34-point advantage in the title chase.
Elias capitalized on the power of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike, blasting off the start from the outside of the front row to lead race one in the early going. At the checkered flag Elias came home second. It marked his 12th podium in 13 races. In Sunday’s race, Elias was comfortably in second, set to make a charge later in the race, when he lost the front end in turn seven on the third lap and crashed.
Elias had the suspension on his bike stiffened Sunday, and even though it helped him earn P1 in morning warm-up, he speculates the firmer settings ultimately may have been too stiff to comfortably handle Sonoma’s bumpier sections.
“I didn’t feel like I was pushing,” Elias said of his Sunday tumble. “I didn’t feel like I made a mistake or braked too late, but maybe with the change I did in the front [suspension], it was too hard and I just lost the front on one of the bumps. I’m sorry for the team, but I want to look in a positive way. We still have a 34-point lead. It’s not 59 like it was yesterday, but it’s still 34. We have six races and we’ll see what happens.”
Elias went on to say he was looking forward to continuing the championship battle in Pittsburgh in two weeks.
Herrin was quick to thank the entire Yoshimura Suzuki crew for rebuilding his bike after Saturday’s race crash. Herrin ran a solid race on Sunday, making a strong pass in the closing stages of the 22-lap event enabling him to earn his third rostrum of the season.
“It feels great to get back up here on the podium,” Herrin said. “I especially want to thank my team for going the extra mile in getting my bike ready for today’s race. Hopefully, I can build on this result and keep turning in strong finishes in the final races of the year.”
There are three race weekends, six races, remaining in the 2019 MotoAmerica season. The championship enters the home stretch in two weeks at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, PA, on Aug. 23-25. The Pittsburgh races will be nationally televised, with primetime, same-day coverage on Fox Sports 2.
The following is from Team Hammer…
The following is from Westby Racing…
The MotoAmerica Championship of Sonoma was a two-day race weekend, but for the Westby Racing team, it felt like they experienced a week’s worth of emotions in those 48 hours.
On Saturday, the disappointment of Mathew Scholtz’s morning crash during qualifying practice was countered by the excitement of his triumphant podium finish aboard the team’s backup #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 in the afternoon’s Superbike race one. And, like déjà vu, Mathew unfortunately crashed the backup motorcycle in the Sunday morning warmup. The team went to work quickly and rebuilt the bike with a full three hours to spare before the afternoon’s Superbike race two.
Then, just like on Saturday, it all came good in the race as Mathew was vying for a repeat podium result. He ultimately finished fourth in the 22-lap feature event, but considering the crashfest that the two mornings at Sonoma Raceway were for the team, to end the weekend with a third- and a fourth-place result–and the Championship points that accompany those finishes, which moved Mathew from seventh in the points standings up to sixth–it was a productive weekend for the Westby Racing team. In fact, in both races, Mathew was the top-finishing non-factory rider.
Commenting on his Sunday, Mathew said, “First of all, I have to give a huge thanks to the team for getting the bike ready for today’s race after I had another crash this morning. I crashed both of our bikes this weekend, which resulted in a lot of extra work for the Westby boys, and I’m sorry to (team owner) Tryg (Westby) for ruining some very expensive parts. Even with the podium yesterday and the fourth-place finish in today’s race, it doesn’t feel like I made up for my mistakes. We were able to collect some points and move up a position in the Championship, which is good, but I wish I could have done even better. Sonoma is a tough track, and it caught a lot of riders out, but I’m not making excuses. I’ve got to put this weekend behind me and two better in the next round.”
After a week off, Mathew and the Westby Racing team will be back in action for round eight of the 2019 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, which will be take place at Pittsburgh International Race Complex on August 23rd through 25th in Wampum, Pennsylvania.
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