There are perfect weekends and then there are perfect weekends. Jake Gagne’s weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex was as immaculate at it could be. The defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing Superbike didn’t put a wheel wrong at Pitt Race and the result was pole position, a new lap record, two victories and the points lead in the championship.
After snatching everything he could on Saturday, Gagne came back on Sunday and did the same thing. This time, however, the big bonus that came with his 10th win of the season and 27th of his career was a one-point lead in the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship.
Gagne stormed away at the start, built a lead, and maintained it to the end of the 17-lap race. Behind him, he was getting help from Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz as the South African tore through from sixth on the grid to pass then-championship leader Danilo Petrucci and the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V4 R for second place, a spot he would hold to the finish. And that gifted Gagne an extra four championship points, which translated to a one-point lead over Petrucci, 290-289.
Scholtz, who was racing with three broken bones in his left wrist, ended up 4.8 seconds behind Gagne and 1.9 seconds ahead of Petrucci, who earned his 14th podium in 16 races with his third-place finish.
Early on it was Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen who was tussling with Petrucci, but the South African couldn’t keep pace and slipped to fourth at the finish.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen finished fifth, barely besting Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante with both riders bouncing back from crashes in Saturday’s race one.
Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim ended up seventh, which made up in small part for his crash in the Yuasa Stock 1000 race. Gillim was just under a second ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera with the Spaniard being hit with two five-second penalties – one for jumping the start and the other for running straight in the chicane.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis was ninth with Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates rounding out the top 10.
With Gagne now leading Petrucci, 290-289, Petersen is third with 241 points, 22 more than Scholtz. Barbera is still fifth with 150 points.
The MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship resumes at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, September 9-11, with the ninth of 10 rounds.
Superbike Race Two
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
- Richie Escalante (Suzuki)
- Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
- Hector Barbera (BMW)
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
- Ashton Yates (BMW)
Jake Gagne – Winner
“On paper, it was a great weekend. I’m happy. We worked great as a team, even starting on Friday. Most of these tracks this year, our goal has been to go faster than last year. On Friday, I thought it would be tough. Like these guys said, we had the rain this morning. The track was pretty slick there for that second race. I think no rubber. It was really green. It got really hot really quick. So, I’m happy where we’re at. Obviously, we’ve got two rounds left, four races, and it’s as tight as you could be in the points chase. So, I’m happy. It’s an honor to be racing these guys and be in the championship hunt with Danilo (Petrucci). I think it’s going to come down to us for a couple more races. For me, that’s exciting. For the series, it’s exciting. I’m enjoying it. I keep saying I’m not trying to think about the points, just race by race do the best we can and that’s all I can do. So, I’m not going to stress out about anything else. Hats off to the team. I’m looking forward to Jersey and Barber. I think everybody really likes those tracks. The Yamaha is going to go good there. Hats off to Matty (Scholtz), too. That guy is a warrior. I know he was pretty beat up and that wrist was gnarly. I can’t even believe after seeing that thing a couple weeks ago that he’s out here up on the podium. So, roll on to the next one.”
Mathew Scholtz – Second Place
“We have a joke that the team are going to break my wrist before every single race, and hopefully we’ll just finish it like this now. But honestly, when I was out there racing and stuff, I don’t really notice the wrist too much. The only problem for me today was the last four or five laps my fingers began going numb. That was the worst part of it, really. After the race finish, I could feel the wrist throbbing a lot, but when I was out there riding, I didn’t notice it. So, I can’t blame it on that. Jake (Gagne) was definitely the quickest guy today. I reeled him in a couple laps towards the end there. I think he knew he had a couple seconds’ gap, so he was just chilling, really. But I know that I definitely have to sort the first couple laps out. That always hurts me bad. That’s something that we’re going to have to look at.”
Danilo Petrucci – Third Place
(Was he hoping for a wet race) Yeah, but it’s a story of my life. When you hope for something, it never happens. So, it was even hotter than yesterday. For me, the track conditions were really, really difficult. I don’t know why we didn’t have any change on the bike, but really, I was struggling on braking to stop the bike. The worst part was releasing the brake and opening the throttle was really like zero traction. I think I just did the 41 just one time, because I was really, really in trouble. We cannot complain. We did our best, but it was not enough. For sure, New Jersey will be another tough race for us, but we’ll see. I’m happy to make it through the heat to the end of the race because I was really, really in trouble today.”