Team Talk From Saturday At Road America

Mathew Scholtz (11) ended up fifth in the HONOS Superbike race on Saturday at Road America.

The following is from Westby Racing…

On Saturday at Road America, MotoAmerica’s first race day of the 2020 season with spectators, Westby Racing’s Superbike rider Mathew Scholtz finished fifth and, in Junior Cup, Cody Wyman was seventh. The results weren’t what either rider had hoped for, but Mathew, Cody, and the team gained valuable information that should help them improve on their results in Sunday’s races.

At the start of the Superbike race, Mathew struggled to get a clean launch off the line, and that setback put him at a deficit from the beginning. He had an exciting battle with Josh Herrin and was able to finish ahead of him, but the time spent in that battle enabled the frontrunners to pull away, and Mathew was just not able to catch them. A technical issue also cropped up with the bike, but the team fixed the problem and they are ready to go for tomorrow.

“My starts are just not helping me,” Mathew said. “Today, it put me too far back in the pack, and I had to fight my way to the front. And, then, I had to contend with (Josh) Herrin for a few laps. Also, we had a small problem with the bike, which the crew were able to find and fix. Tomorrow should be a better day for us.”

Cody, who is racing the only Yamaha against virtually an entire grid of Kawasaki’s with engines of larger displacement, knows that he has his work cut out for him at tracks like Road America that place a premium on top speed. He has to fully exploit the corner speed of his bike in order to counter the straight-line speed advantage of the other bikes on track.

For Cody, it’s a challenge that he absolutely does not shy away from, but on Saturday, finishing seventh was the reality of the situation.

“It was a decent day at Road America, and it was awesome to see the turnout and the number of fans at the track,” commented Cody. “In the race, it was tough coming from the fourth row, but I did my best to ride through the field and put myself in the best spot for a solid result. I knew in the opening laps, when I was getting held up, that it would be a big ask to challenge for a top-five finish. So, I settled in with our group and strategized to win that battle. It worked out to plan, and I ended up winning the battle and finishing seventh. It’s not where I want to be, but we’ll get another shot at it tomorrow.”

Sunday’s Superbike Race 2 is at 1:30 PM Central and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and Eurosport, as well as streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.

Junior Cup Race 2 is at 2:30 PM Central and will be broadcast via tape-delay on FS2 (check your local listings for FS2 airtimes), in addition to being live-streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.

Bobby Fong (50) finished second in MotoAmerica Superbike Race 1 at Road America 2. Photo by Brian J Nelson.

The following is from M4 ECSTAR Suzuki…

A highly motivated M4 ECSTAR Suzuki squad returned to Road America for Round 2 of the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing season and finished Saturday with a pair of trophies and two pole positions for its efforts.

Eager to set things right after a difficult opener at the same venue one month ago, Bobby Fong and Toni Elias showcased podium form in Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike Race 1. Fong in particular was impressive, the 2019 Supersport Champion continuing to rapidly adapt to the fire-breathing M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R Superbike and qualifying second in Superpole. 

Fong got a good start and put himself in second place on the opening lap of the premier-class contest. Lap-after-lap, the Californian skillfully hustled his machine down the long straights and through the varied corners of the four-mile-long circuit to hold his position and ultimately score an unchallenged runner-up finish. 

The podium result signals many more in the future as Fong expects to get stronger with more experience on the bike. “It was definitely greasy out there today,” Fong said. “It wasn’t the same as the last time we were here when the conditions were more ideal. But still, we did the best we could and I’m happy with second. We’re chipping away and getting closer to a race-winning pace.

“My team has been doing a lot of homework, and I’ve been adapting to the motorcycle. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s race and hoping to close the gap even more.”

Elias, the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike champion, engaged in a spirited battle for third a few seconds back. An adversary slipped underneath the Spaniard on the race’s final lap, but Elias immediately responded with a superior drive off the corner heading down the back straightaway. Elias successfully retook third position and held the spot to the checkered flag.
However, he was later assessed to have completed the pass under yellow-flag conditions and was given a 2-second penalty, relegating him to fourth in the official results.

Meanwhile, Sean Dylan Kelly, popularly known as “SDK,” backed up Fong’s result with a second-place finish of his own in Supersport Race 1.
SDK twice leapt out from pole position to grab an early lead on his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600 in the red-flagged and restarted affair, setting the stage for a back-and-forth dogfight over the race’s first half.

The 18-year-old eventually settled into a clear second and scored his second consecutive runner-up finish of the season.

“It was definitely a nice race,” Kelly said. “It’s good to get 20 points, although as a rider, you always want the win, right? But we take the positives, and we gave a better fight today compared with the two races here during the opener. 

“I’m just happy we showed a little more potential. And earlier today, I got my first pole position in MotoAmerica, so that’s also something positive. We took a step forward today. We still have some more things to work on, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Teammate Lucas Silva added a solid seventh-place finish in the Supersport race. 

Young Rocco Landers will start Sunday morning’s Twins Cup race from pole after topping qualifying with a new class record lap of 2:27.452 aboard the Roadracing World Young Guns/Sportbiketrackgear.com Suzuki SV650 built by Team Hammer. Landers is out for revenge this weekend after missing out on two victories at the opener by a combined 0.084-second

Alex Dumas, who raced another Team Hammer-built SV650 to the MotoAmerica Twins Cup title last season, continued to flash major-league talent with an impressive performance in Stock 1000 qualifying. After qualifying and finishing seventh in his class debut on the Team M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000, Dumas qualified fourth on Saturday with a lap nearly two seconds quicker than his qualifying best from the opener.
Team Hammer will round out the Road America weekend on Sunday, looking to continue the momentum.