Red Bull RoadRace Factory: Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Water…

After a three-year hiatus from the fast and flowing Road Atlanta, MotoAmerica made a historic comeback to the storied circuit situated in Braselton, Georgia. The teams and transports arrived just three days after the season opener in Austin, Texas, where they shared the world stage with the MotoGP series. This round was the first of a dedicated MotoAmerica only stretch that will see the best in the nation returning to other fan and rider favorite tracks that have not seen the national series in some time. For now, the action is in Road Atlanta and coming off the opening round, all members of the RoadRace Factory were seeking to improve. Not a team to be content with being competitive, the goal is victory and everyone was eager to achieve that goal. A major player for the weekend was mother nature. She would literally rain havoc upon the entire paddock and cause problems for everyone!

Following his brilliant display at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA), where he scored two victories and showed the world what he could do on a Superstock bike, Jake Gagne was confident of a repeat performance at Road Atlanta. The weather forecast called for rain almost the entire weekend, but after COTA, he and the crew were prepared to pay no mind to the weather and just let Jake do his thing. The new weekend format was something of a blessing as on Friday there were two 50-minute sessions with enough of a break to allow the riders and crew to really dial in their settings. Since this was set to be a wet weekend, the focus would be a perfect wet setup and use as much of those 50 minutes as possible to achieve it.

The rain surely came, but then it stopped. The track was wet, then it was dry, then its was kind of wet and then it was a downpour. As stated earlier, mother nature was the wildcard this weekend. To further compound the frustration, the tire allotment this weekend was only three sets of rain tires per rider. Three sets! So, due to the changing conditions, Scotty, DA and Jake had to be ultra conservative on their tires. If the track was too dry for wets, then they would surely chew them up. If they went out on slicks, they ran the chance of crashing the second the rain started to fall again. Consequently, Jake would only turn a handful of laps all day and the pursuit of the perfect setup would be reduced to the chase for something workable.

Friday’s hurry up and wait would be nothing compared to Saturday’s calamities. Just as the day prior, the weather was making tire choice and set-up decisions nearly impossible. Again there would be longer track sessions followed by a World SuperBike style SuperPole. The early morning Qualifying session 1 would be almost a complete wash out. Most everyone on the Superbike/Superstock grid went out and turned laps, but only a few attempted any real race pace. Jake being Jake, went out for roughly three laps and managed P1 if only for a few moments. The factory Superbikes did manage to turn some fast laps and then Josh Day on the Westby Racing Yamaha charged through the pack to take P1 in Superstock. Jake would mount another charge but could only manage P2 in Superstock going into qualifying session 2.

Q2 was another waiting game. Most riders elected to sit out for the first few moments while the track dried from the downpour that occurred during the Supersport Qualifier. As the weather began to clear and the track conditions seemed to stabilize somewhere between “Fair” to “Sketchy,” the riders started trickling out of the paddock and onto the track. Still, not much was being gained, no track records were in danger of falling and as the session closed out to make way for SuperPole 1, Jake was sitting in a comfortable P5 Overall and P2 in his class. SuperPole session 2 was green flagged and Jake went out blazing quick. Again, he was circulating up near the top when he lost the front end coming into T10. This ended his Qualifying attempts and knocked him out off of the front row as the factory Superbikes and the SuperStock bikes of Josh Day and Tyler O’Hara placed in front of Jake’s quick time, relegating him to P6.

The new racing format had both Superbike and Superstock races on Sunday for a true double header. The conditions were less than ideal but still somewhat better than they had been at some points during the weekend. Scotty and Danny had their work cut out as they swapped setups to their B bike and sent Jake out for Race One. The bikes lined up, Jake took his spot outside of row two and waited for the lights to go out. Away they went and into the first corner, everyone fared well. It wasn’t until the tricky back “S” section that we saw the first of the riders go down. Jake was staying calm and running his pace. He was circulating around P8 when he decided to start making his move on the other Superstock machines and begin chasing down the factory Superbikes. Jake had just moved into P5 behind Suzuki rider Jake Lewis and just ahead of Josh Day when he had a crash. That’s how race one would end for Jake. A motorcycle full of Georgia red mud and zero points.

Now Scott and Danny really had to hustle. Race Two was set to be a little over an hour away and now they had to salvage both bikes to make one good one for Jake. Mother nature, for the first time the in the weekend had come to the rescue. She opened up her flood gates and a deluge began. The track became flooded as areas were reporting standing water at least ankle deep on the track. This delay gave Jake and his crew all they needed to get their original bike back into race trim. Would it be ok? Would Jake be able to shake it off and run a smooth race? Well, as soon as the lights went out and the grid launched towards T1, all questions were answered. Jake got a flying start and just put his head down. He was P4 overall in the early stages then dropped back to P7. The leader Roger Hayden had a nasty spill and and after some jockeying around, Jake was now P5 Overall and P2 in his class, just behind Josh Day. Jake would find a path around Josh Day and soon he was making inroads towards Jake Lewis in P2 overall with Beaubier leading. As the laps counted down, Jake was catching the factory Superbikes, but in the closing stages, thought the better of it and decided the points were worth more than trying a move and possibly ending another race early. As he crossed the line, he was P3 overall and P1 in Superstock.

Jake Gagne – first in series points: “What a crazy weekend, I think all the rain we dodged at COTA caught up to us this weekend. We definitely got some good rain riding in and I was surprised how good the Road Atlanta track stayed even with all the moisture. Sunday morning was rough and I was’t happy with crashing out of the first race, but I learned a lot from my mistakes and we made up for it with the Superstock win in race 2. I’m really looking forward to VIR in a couple weeks and hopefully getting some dry races in!”

Danny Walker: “Gagne got quite a bit of an education on the big bike this weekend! (Laughing) You know, he made a small mistake just clipping the paint and crashing in Sunday morning warm-up and that caused him to be a little behind a few of the top riders.

“I knew keeping him happy with anybody being in front of him, even if they aren’t in the same class, was going to be my biggest challenge this year. He has learned that trying to run down the Superbikes and the top guys in that class when he is on a Superstock is a bit more of a risk than maybe he anticipated. So, that’s the big challenge for me there, keeping him calm and cool when he clearly just wants to chase them all down.

“He did an outstanding job in those mixed conditions during the second race and I’m proud of his victory. He’s going to be fun to watch this season for sure. I have a feeling he will beat a factory Superbike or two along the way.

After a three-year hiatus from the fast and flowing Road Atlanta, MotoAmerica made a historic comeback to the storied circuit situated in Braselton, Georgia. The teams and transports arrived just three days after the season opener in Austin, Texas, where they shared the world stage with the MotoGP series. This round was the first of a dedicated MotoAmerica only stretch that will see the best in the nation returning to other fan and rider favorite tracks that have not seen the national series in some time. For now, the action is in Road Atlanta and coming off the opening round, all members of the RoadRace Factory were seeking to improve. Not a team to be content with being competitive, the goal is victory and everyone was eager to achieve that goal. A major player for the weekend was mother nature. She would literally rain havoc upon the entire paddock and cause problems for everyone!

Following his brilliant display at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA), where he scored two victories and showed the world what he could do on a Superstock bike, Jake Gagne was confident of a repeat performance at Road Atlanta. The weather forecast called for rain almost the entire weekend, but after COTA, he and the crew were prepared to pay no mind to the weather and just let Jake do his thing. The new weekend format was something of a blessing as on Friday there were two 50-minute sessions with enough of a break to allow the riders and crew to really dial in their settings. Since this was set to be a wet weekend, the focus would be a perfect wet setup and use as much of those 50 minutes as possible to achieve it.

The rain surely came, but then it stopped. The track was wet, then it was dry, then its was kind of wet and then it was a downpour. As stated earlier, mother nature was the wildcard this weekend. To further compound the frustration, the tire allotment this weekend was only three sets of rain tires per rider. Three sets! So, due to the changing conditions, Scotty, DA and Jake had to be ultra conservative on their tires. If the track was too dry for wets, then they would surely chew them up. If they went out on slicks, they ran the chance of crashing the second the rain started to fall again. Consequently, Jake would only turn a handful of laps all day and the pursuit of the perfect setup would be reduced to the chase for something workable.

Friday’s hurry up and wait would be nothing compared to Saturday’s calamities. Just as the day prior, the weather was making tire choice and set-up decisions nearly impossible. Again there would be longer track sessions followed by a World SuperBike style SuperPole. The early morning Qualifying session 1 would be almost a complete wash out. Most everyone on the Superbike/Superstock grid went out and turned laps, but only a few attempted any real race pace. Jake being Jake, went out for roughly three laps and managed P1 if only for a few moments. The factory Superbikes did manage to turn some fast laps and then Josh Day on the Westby Racing Yamaha charged through the pack to take P1 in Superstock. Jake would mount another charge but could only manage P2 in Superstock going into qualifying session 2.

Q2 was another waiting game. Most riders elected to sit out for the first few moments while the track dried from the downpour that occurred during the Supersport Qualifier. As the weather began to clear and the track conditions seemed to stabilize somewhere between “Fair” to “Sketchy,” the riders started trickling out of the paddock and onto the track. Still, not much was being gained, no track records were in danger of falling and as the session closed out to make way for SuperPole 1, Jake was sitting in a comfortable P5 Overall and P2 in his class. SuperPole session 2 was green flagged and Jake went out blazing quick. Again, he was circulating up near the top when he lost the front end coming into T10. This ended his Qualifying attempts and knocked him out off of the front row as the factory Superbikes and the SuperStock bikes of Josh Day and Tyler O’Hara placed in front of Jake’s quick time, relegating him to P6.

The new racing format had both Superbike and Superstock races on Sunday for a true double header. The conditions were less than ideal but still somewhat better than they had been at some points during the weekend. Scotty and Danny had their work cut out as they swapped setups to their B bike and sent Jake out for Race One. The bikes lined up, Jake took his spot outside of row two and waited for the lights to go out. Away they went and into the first corner, everyone fared well. It wasn’t until the tricky back “S” section that we saw the first of the riders go down. Jake was staying calm and running his pace. He was circulating around P8 when he decided to start making his move on the other Superstock machines and begin chasing down the factory Superbikes. Jake had just moved into P5 behind Suzuki rider Jake Lewis and just ahead of Josh Day when he had a crash. That’s how race one would end for Jake. A motorcycle full of Georgia red mud and zero points.

Now Scott and Danny really had to hustle. Race Two was set to be a little over an hour away and now they had to salvage both bikes to make one good one for Jake. Mother nature, for the first time the in the weekend had come to the rescue. She opened up her flood gates and a deluge began. The track became flooded as areas were reporting standing water at least ankle deep on the track. This delay gave Jake and his crew all they needed to get their original bike back into race trim. Would it be ok? Would Jake be able to shake it off and run a smooth race? Well, as soon as the lights went out and the grid launched towards T1, all questions were answered. Jake got a flying start and just put his head down. He was P4 overall in the early stages then dropped back to P7. The leader Roger Hayden had a nasty spill and and after some jockeying around, Jake was now P5 Overall and P2 in his class, just behind Josh Day. Jake would find a path around Josh Day and soon he was making inroads towards Jake Lewis in P2 overall with Beaubier leading. As the laps counted down, Jake was catching the factory Superbikes, but in the closing stages, thought the better of it and decided the points were worth more than trying a move and possibly ending another race early. As he crossed the line, he was P3 overall and P1 in Superstock.

Jake Gagne – first in series points: “What a crazy weekend, I think all the rain we dodged at COTA caught up to us this weekend. We definitely got some good rain riding in and I was surprised how good the Road Atlanta track stayed even with all the moisture. Sunday morning was rough and I was’t happy with crashing out of the first race, but I learned a lot from my mistakes and we made up for it with the Superstock win in race 2. I’m really looking forward to VIR in a couple weeks and hopefully getting some dry races in!”

Danny Walker: “Gagne got quite a bit of an education on the big bike this weekend! (Laughing) You know, he made a small mistake just clipping the paint and crashing in Sunday morning warm-up and that caused him to be a little behind a few of the top riders.

“I knew keeping him happy with anybody being in front of him, even if they aren’t in the same class, was going to be my biggest challenge this year. He has learned that trying to run down the Superbikes and the top guys in that class when he is on a Superstock is a bit more of a risk than maybe he anticipated. So, that’s the big challenge for me there, keeping him calm and cool when he clearly just wants to chase them all down.

“He did an outstanding job in those mixed conditions during the second race and I’m proud of his victory. He’s going to be fun to watch this season for sure. I have a feeling he will beat a factory Superbike or two along the way.

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