Ridge Motorsports Park Superbike Preview: Pacific Northwest Here We Come!2022-07-06 02:40
With eight of 20 MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike races in the books in 2022 and the series headed to the Pacific Northwest to begin its brief West Coast swing, only seven points separate first from second in the championship. And with a quartet of winners emerging from the first eight races, just 37 points separate first from fourth in the title chase. A look back at last year shows that after four rounds (and eight races), only two riders had tasted victory with champion-to-be Jake Gagne winning seven of the eight to lead Mathew Scholtz (who won the only race Gagne hadn’t won) by a whopping 44 points. Meanwhile, 67 points separated the top four and it was a forgone conclusion that this was just a two-horse race before the series had even reached the halfway mark. And the lead horse showed absolutely no signs of letting up.
Danilo Petrucci arrives in the Pacific Northwest with a seven-point lead in the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship. The Italian will also be getting his first taste of Ridge Motorsports Park, the site of round five of the championship, this coming weekend. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
The fact that Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci is leading the 2022 MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship isn’t a surprise. Most figured he’d win races and contend for the title. Not many, however, would have predicted that Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne would be third in the series standings and 25 points adrift with three wins, two DNFs and a podium-free visit to Wisconsin and Road America. Say what?
Petrucci will pay visit to Ridge Motorsports Park this coming weekend for the first time in the Dynapac MotoAmerica Superbikes At The Ridge event, and he will do so as the 2022 MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike points leader with 140 points from the first eight races. Petrucci started off with a bang with three-straight wins, had his first and only DNF thus far in race two at Road Atlanta, and has been on the podium in three of the last four races.
The man who is chasing the hardest at this point in the season is Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African taking his first race win of 2022 in race one at Road America a few weeks ago. Despite following that win the next day with a lackluster eighth-place outing in race two, Scholtz sits just seven points behind Petrucci after finishing on the podium in six of eight races.
Then comes Gagne. Nobody in their right mind would have bet that the defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion would win three straight races going into Road America but emerge from there without a podium finish. But that’s exactly what happened. Gagne, fresh off a doubleheader sweep at VIRginia International Raceway going into Wisconsin, had brought Petrucci’s lead back to a manageable 13 points. But with his non-podium finishes of fifth (he crashed and remounted in last to charge through the pack) and fourth (in a mostly wet race) at Road America, Gagne sees Petrucci’s lead jump back out to 25 points heading to Ridge. Still, there don’t seem to be many worried faces in the Gagne camp.
The fourth man to win a Superbike race in 2022 is Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen, the South African taking his first win of the season and his first with his new Yamaha team in race two at Road America. Petersen is now 37 points behind Petrucci with his efforts slowed a bit with a race-one mechanical DNF in Wisconsin.
Prior to Road America, Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera had a clean 2022 record with points scored in every round. In race one at Road America, Barbera landed on the podium for the first time in a MotoAmerica Superbike race to keep that perfect points-in-every-round tally going. But on Sunday, that was gone with the Spaniard following up his best career effort with his first non-finish of the year. Still, Barbera sits fifth, though he’s now in a heated battle or the spot.
Just four points behind Barbera is Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis with the Kentuckian just five points ahead of PJ Jacobsen on the second of the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RRs.
Jacobsen is coming to Washington hot off his first career MotoAmerica Superbike podium with the New Yorker pressuring Petersen to the very end of race two at Road America while also holding off the advances of third-placed Petrucci.
Lewis’s teammate Richie Escalante had a rough go of it at Road America with the 2020 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion only scoring 10 points in total from the two races. Escalante now drops four points behind Jacobsen and is just six ahead of Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates.
Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Travis Wyman rounds out the top 10 in the series standings heading to the Pacific Northwest and Ridge Motorsports Park.
Ridge Motorsports Park Pre-Race Superbike Notes…
Last year, Ridge Motorsports Park hosted round four of the 2021 MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship. This year the stop in Washington will be the fifth round of the series in 2022 after rounds in Texas, Georgia, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Ridge is the first of two races on the West Coast with WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, scheduled for round six, July 8-10.
Jake Gagne won his sixth and seventh Superbike races in a row last year at Ridge en route to winning 17 straight and the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship. Gagne beat his then-teammate Josh Herrin in both races in 2021.
In addition to winning both races, Gagne also sat on pole position after lapping at a best of 1:39.568 (a new lap record on the 2.47-mile track) on his Yamaha YZF-R1. Frenchman Loris Baz qualified second on the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V4 R with Cameron Petersen completing the front row on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Jake Gagne hasn’t won every race this year, but he has been on pole position for all four rounds thus far - COTA, Road Atlanta, VIR and Road America.
This year’s race at Ridge will mark the third time that MotoAmerica has visited the track in Shelton. In the debut season of the series holding a round at Ridge in 2021, Cameron Beaubier won both Superbike races. With Jake Gagne winning both last year, Yamaha has won all four MotoAmerica Superbike races at Ridge.
Thirty-eight Superbikes will attempt to qualify for the two MotoAmerica Medallia races at Ridge. The most popular bike in the field is Yamaha’s YZF-R1 with 12 entries. BMW is next up with 10, followed by Suzuki with seven, Kawasaki with five, Honda with three and Ducati with Danilo Petrucci’s lone Panigale V4 R.
Two riders are currently tied for the lead in the Superbike Cup, the class within a class for those riders competing in Superbike on Stock 1000 machines. Ezra Beaubier and Danilo Lewis are tied for the lead with 110 points with Hunter Dunham and Jeremy Coffey only two and five points further adrift, respectively, heading into the round at Ridge.
MotoAmerica is the North American road racing series created in 2014 that is home to the AMA Superbike Championship. MotoAmerica is an affiliate of KRAVE Group LLC, a partnership that includes three-time 500cc World Champion, two-time AMA Superbike Champion, and AMA Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey, ex-racer and former manager of Team Roberts Chuck Aksland, motorsports marketing executive Terry Karges, and businessman Richard Varner. For more information on MotoAmerica, visit www.MotoAmerica.com. Also make sure to follow MotoAmerica on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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