He Said, He Said: Team Releases From Barber

The following is from KWR…

Kyle Wyman came home with two top-ten finishes this past weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in a trying weekend, posting 7th and 10th places in races one and two, respectively. The KATO Fastening/KWR Ducati Team maintained 6th in series standings with points scoring finishes in both Superbike races. 

The weekend started off strong with the KWR team adapting to a new bike setup during a welcomed full dry day on the Alabama circuit. Wyman posted the 6th fastest time overall on Friday with a 1:25.121, locking him solidly in place for Superpole on Saturday morning, and only .431 seconds off of 3rd place. 

“It’s been good, we’ve made some steady progress today,” Wyman said after Friday’s action. “It’s really tight to third place, so we’re right there. The bike’s coming along nicely, but what we’re after is to settle the back down a little, just to make it a little more compliant. And I’m working on my consistency. We’re close to being in it. It’s not baking hot, so it’s nicer than riding here in July.”

Wyman continued his form for 6th place in Superpole qualifying, with a 1:24.572 and his fastest lap to date around the Barber circuit, earning a second-row start for both races Saturday and Sunday. 

Race one was a battle of tire conservation, and one that Wyman lost. With a strong start and running in 5th spot early on, the Ducati rider was looking to be in good position until a drastic drop in rear grip caused him to fall off the pace and settle for a 7th place result. 

“Race one in the opening laps the bike was feeling better than it had most of the weekend,” Wyman said. “I felt like we were going to have the pace to fight with some of the boys and on lap 8 or 9 the rear tire just completely gave up on me. The bike became so hard to ride, and I dropped from doing 25.0’s to high 26’s in the lap times, and I felt like I was still pushing just as hard. I just had no grip, we really missed the mark.” 

With plenty of data and feedback to analyze from race one, the KATO Fastening/KWR team went back to work and made changes to the rear shock to make progress on the Panigale V4 R with tire conservation. Wyman made a forward step in Sunday’s morning warmup and then got prepared for another fight in race two. 

Wyman got another good start in race two and fought up to 5th place once again. The rear end of the bike was working better than on Saturday, but developed a chatter issue in the front end that inhibited Wyman from maximizing the potential of the bike. A weekend best lap time (on a non-Superpole tire) came on lap 3, a 1:24.682, which was nearly as fast as he qualified on Saturday. 

On lap 15, Wyman overcooked the corner entry into turn 5, also known as “Charlottes Web,” ran off the track, and could not stop the bike in time for the wall, and nosed into the foam barrier at slow speed, but enough to crash the bike. He was able to remount the bike as it was only mildly damaged, and got back on the race track in 14th position. With 5 laps remaining, Wyman was able to fight back to 10th with a last lap pass for another top 10. Lap 15 was a 2:04.747, losing only 40 seconds with a run-off and crash. 

“We were a little bit quicker in the beginning of the race than yesterday and I felt like we were in a good spot, a bit faster than yesterday in the first laps, but then we ran into some chatter issues,” Wyman said after race two. “We were running fifth but I ended up running off the track at the Charlotte’s Web hairpin. I actually crashed. I got in the wall as I couldn’t slow it down enough in the gravel, so I ended up doing the rest of the race with a busted windscreen. But I came back on in 14th and worked back up to 10th, which I was happy about. 

“We made some headway with the rear as that’s been a problem for us, but it created a problem with the front. We just need to be a little closer to the front. More than anything, we need to test. At this point, we’re testing during the races, so we need to get some private laps down to throw some different settings at the bike and see what works.”

The series heads to the Racing Capital of the World, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, October 9-11, 2020 for the 8th round of the MotoAmerica Championship.

“Indianapolis should be a great track for our bike. It’s got some long straights so we’ll be able to really let it stretch its legs, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Sean Dylan Kelly had. pair of podium finishes on his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.

The following is from Team Hammer…

Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. and Team Hammer racked up multiple wins and numerous podium finishes in yet another spectacular MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly put together another standout showing, racking up his 12th and 13th MotoAmerica Supersport podium results in succession on the weekend while adding to his season’s highlight film with more eye-opening outbraking maneuvers.

Twice the young Floridian battled hard for the lead aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600 en route to runner-up finishes.

Kelly said, “We did what we could today, and I’m really happy with the progress we made all weekend long. We started off at a good spot and built from there. I’m satisfied with the work we did and we all gave our absolute best. This is the fastest I’ve ever been here and our pace was good the whole race.

“We need to keep on working and keep on fighting. The championship is still open. There are still points on the line and there are still four races to go. A huge thank you to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki crew for all their hard work.”

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike teammates Bobby Fong and Toni Elias combined for another strong outing in premier-class action. 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike champ Elias successfully built upon his first podium of  ’20 at the prior round by pulling in a pair of fourth-place finishes in Alabama.

Fong, meanwhile, rebounded from a sixth-place run on Saturday with a podium performance on Sunday. The Californian made a late-race push to close to within one second a runner-up result on his way to third.

“It was a combination of everything,” Fong said of his overnight improvement. “My M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000 certainly runs strong at the end of a race. We’re going to go into Indianapolis with a little better of a game plan and hopefully be there to take advantage of our late speed in a race for the win. We’re going to give it our all next round.”

The round proved to be a historic one for Suzuki’s official team in MotoAmerica competition. When he crossed the line to claim the checkered flag in Sunday’s Stock 1000 race aboard his Team Hammer-built GSX-R1000, Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Cam Petersen registered the 100th all-time AMA Pro/MotoAmerica National race victory for racebikes fielded or built by Team Hammer.

South African Petersen did so in an appropriately dominant fashion, storming away with his sixth consecutive class victory. He later admitted that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looked. “Two laps in a row, I completely washed the front in Turn 5, but luckily I saved it on my elbow.

“It was another fun race and another great day. I can’t thank the Altus Motorsports team enough. They’ve given me such a machine and it seems like every weekend we keep getting better and better. My whole family is here other than my mom, who is back home watching. This one is pretty sweet.”

Lucas Silva (#23) stormed back from 15th to finish eighth on Sunday with his GSX-R600M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Lucas Silva kept his season’s long run of Supersport top tens alive, despite fate attempting to intervene. Silva backed up his Saturday 10th with an eighth on Sunday — an eighth that only came after being run off track in a multi-rider incident that dropped him down to 15th position.

Silva spent the remainder of his race slashing his way up through the field, not making his final pass for position until the very final lap.

Finally, SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki’s Rocco Landers — who gave Team Hammer its 99th win on Saturday — rounded out the weekend by earning its 101st on Sunday. 

Landers continued his crushing Twins Cup form all weekend long. He escaped to a pair of lopsided victories to up his victory streak aboard his Suzuki SV650 to six.

He said, “I just tried to get as good of a start as possible and open up a big gap on the first lap. I’m so stoked. I’ve got to give the biggest shout out to SportbikeTrackGear.com and to John Ulrich and Chris Ulrich with Roadracingworld.com. They’ve helped me out so much this year, and it’s an honor to work with them.”

The 2020 MotoAmerica season will resume for its penultimate round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 9-11.

The following is from Jason Aguilar Racing…

Jason Aguilar put the disappointment of the previous round of the 2020 MotoAmerica Supersport series behind him, bouncing back at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama with a superb third and fourth place finish on Saturday and Sunday.

Front running from the off, Aguilar qualified a solid fourth, before racing to his third podium finish of the season in the weekend’s opening encounter. He rounded off the event, that saw him return to form, with a hard fought fourth yesterday to consolidate his P4 in the overall championship standings with just two rounds, Indianapolis, and Laguna Seca, remaining.

Jason Aguilar: “The opening Qualifying session went well. I was sitting P1/P2 for most of it, but I just got pipped by Richie and Sean at the end, so I ended third. We were making good progress every time we went out, not really changing much on the bike and I was feeling really comfortable. The bike has been great all year, it’s been a lack of seat time, so this weekend the plan was to let me ride and do my thing. It seemed to work. I felt that we had pace and I was looking forward to final qualifying and the two races. Qualifying 2 didn’t really go my way. I didn’t execute our planned strategy correctly and it definitely hurt us. Fortunately, our time from Q1 stood to put me 4th but we lost our front row start which I was really pissed about. I just worked to channel that energy into the race later in the day though. Race 1 went pretty well for us. I got off to a good start but made a mistake in Turn 2 and let another rider get around me. I made my way back around him at the end of the first lap and had my sights set on Brandon (Paasch). I was able to pass him in the last corner on lap 6 and slowly pulled a gap on him. I was pushing really hard to see if I could catch Sean (Dylan Kelly) but on lap 13 I really felt my rear tyre starting to go off. It was getting really sketchy out there, but I saw I had a good gap to Brandon behind me, so I eased the pace and brought it home in third. Race 2 was disappointing to say the least. We just didn’t have some things go our way, but that’s racing. I got a great start but wasn’t aggressive enough at the start and got shuffled back early on. Once I made my way into 4th it was too late to catch anyone for the podium. Definitely not how I wanted race 2 but we just gotta keep on working and we’ll get there. I’m happy to be up on podium again but I want more. See you all at Indianapolis.”

The following is from Westby Racing…

The fate of Westby Racing’s two-rider team went in opposite directions on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park as Superbike rider Mathew Scholtz rode his #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 to a runner-up result after finishing third on Saturday. Meanwhile, the team’s Junior Cup rider Cody Wyman had a tipover aboard his #34 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R3 on lap one of Sunday’s race, which unfortunately ended his day.

Mathew, who’s had a series of really good starts over the past few rounds, did not get off the line as quickly as he hoped on Sunday, but he fought his way forward in the early going and worked his way into second. After things settled down a bit, Mathew got passed by Jake Gagne, who then had a technical problem with his Superbike, which enabled Mathew to get back around him and secure second place behind Sunday’s race winner and championship leader Cameron Beaubier.

It was Mathew’s 10th podium of the season, which moved him to just one single championship point behind Jake Gagne in the battle for second in the MotoAmerica Superbike title chase.

Evaluating his race, Mathew said, “It was pretty good. I don’t really know what happened with the start. I got shuffled back to fourth or fifth place and I had to make a sketchy move to get up to second. I knew that Cam (Beaubier) had a really good pace. Jake (Gagne) passed me and, with his (morning) warm up time, I knew he would be quick, too. So, I didn’t really try to fight him too much. I was hoping I would go with him and try to maybe get up to Cam. But then, I saw something happen to Jake’s bike, which was unfortunate. Then I kind of put in a few decent laps. I saw that the gap back to third was actually getting bigger so I kind of started chilling out. Then I noticed that Bobby (Fong) was sort of catching me at a pretty drastic pace, so I had to stir things back up. I will definitely take the second place. I think we have our work cut out for us, but we made pretty decent steps forward today.”

Cody, who qualified 12th and on the outside of the fourth row, knew that he needed to get a good start in Sunday’s race and move forward in the pack as quickly as possible to not lose sight of the frontrunners. He went into turn five (also known as “Charlotte’s Web”) on the opening lap amongst a pack of riders who were closely bunched together, and he was struck by another rider, which put him on the ground. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured, but he was unable to rejoin the race.

“I felt really good this morning and was within a second of the leaders for almost all of the session. It was the most comfortable I’ve been all year, so I was confident going into the race. Unfortunately, on the first lap, I got collected in a wreck in turn five and got hit by another rider. I’m pretty sore, but no serious injuries. It’s a real bummer because I thought we’d have had solid pace today.

“Now, on to Indianapolis. Luckily, I’ve been there in the past, and I’ve actually given riding instruction on that track configuration before. I’m really looking forward to getting to the racing capital of the world and building off the momentum from this morning.”

Next up for Westby Racing is round eight of the MotoAmerica Championship, which will take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 9 through 11.

The following is from Yamaha…

Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha Racing’s Cameron Beaubier went unchallenged in Sunday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race two to complete a perfect weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama. Teammate Jake Gagne had a technical issue early but fought back to finish fifth and hold on to his runner-up position in the championship. 

Beaubier rode a flawless race. He grabbed the holeshot and then laid down some fast times to ride his Yamaha R1 off into the distance and cross the finish line with a comfortable five-second gap. The four-time Superbike Champion’s 13th win of the season capped off another stellar weekend as he continued to break more track records, topped Superpole, and took two commanding victories. Beaubier heads into The Brickyard triple-header in Indianapolis with a 103 point advantage over his teammate with 150 points available, moving him closer to clinching his fifth premier class title.

Gagne got off to a good start from the front row and quickly moved into third. He moved his way to second in the right-hander before the final corner and set after his teammate. Unfortunately, a technical issue on the second lap had him dropping back to fourth. He tried to maintain the position but found himself back in eighth a lap later. Not willing to throw in the towel, Gagne was able to fight his way back to fifth. Although not what he was hoping for, his efforts maintained his second-place position in the standings by a point over fellow Yamaha rider, Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz. 

The Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha Racing team gets a break before heading to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the penultimate round of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship on October 9-11.

Richard Stanboli – Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team Manager

“Today was a mix of results. Cameron rode a flawless race and secured yet another victory. His R1 was the best as it has been all weekend. Jake also showed very good pace but unfortunately, a technical issue caused him to slow and he had to make some rider adjustments to regain his momentum. We were very happy to see our fans at Barber and are looking forward to seeing them again at Indy.”

Cameron Beaubier – Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha Racing

“I can’t even believe it. We’ve been on such a roll this season. I’m so grateful for the team that I have. My bike has been working awesome all year. It’s been on rails around this place. I’ve been having so much fun this weekend riding this thing around here in front of all of the fans. It’s been great weather all weekend. Normally when we come here it’s not like that, it’s 100 degrees and 100% humidity. So it’s been such an amazing weekend. Hats off to all my Monster Attack Yamaha guys. They’ve been working so hard and I’m having a lot of fun with them this year. I’m ready to move onto Indianapolis. It’s definitely time to start thinking about the championship.”

Jake Gagne – Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha Racing

“We made some great improvements to the bike in morning warm-up so I was really excited for race two today. Unfortunately, I messed up my start and it caused us to fall back, but I kept at it to make sure I brought it home. I’m bummed for the whole crew because they’ve really worked hard to get a great bike underneath me and today would have been a killer race for us. On to Indy!”