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Eazi Grip

Eazi-Grip supported Jake Gagne dominates MotoAmerica Superbikes at Ridge Motorsports Park this weekend

Friday

Gagne claims pole position in qualifying

Jake Gagne seems to find another gear when he shows up at Ridge Motorsports Park. The winner of both MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike races a year ago in the Pacific Northwest, Gagne put a close to Superbike action on Friday afternoon with the fastest lap in Q1, his 1:40.035 three quarters of a second faster than his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing teammate Cameron Petersen.

Gagne is the lap record holder on the 2.47-mile track with his 1:39.568 coming in Q2 last year.

“We still have some work to do to fine-tune some things,” Gagne said. “Fun day at the track. Good weather, a lot better than last year, and it seems like another hot weekend, but we’re ready to roll.”

They don’t come more laid back than Gagne and he readily admits he’s not keeping track of the championship point standings. In fact, he’s not sure how many points he’s behind.

“It can’t go as easy as last year,” Gagne said of his dominant 2021 season “There’s no doubt we’ve still got the speed to win, we’ve got the bike to win, and we just need to put it together. I’ve made some mistakes this year so a lot of it has been on me. But I have no idea how far back in points we are. I know we’re not first or second and we’ll just keep cranking out some races and getting some wins. I’m having fun. I’m racing motorcycles so it’s a good day no matter what.”

Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz struggled for most of the day, but it all came good for the South African at the end of Q1 when he jumped to third – .856 of a second off Gagne’s best.

Scholtz, however, was involved in a little post-session drama when he was given a bit of a shoulder bump from Danilo Petrucci while waiting to do a practice start. Scholtz was parked next to Max Flinders when Petrucci, who said that Scholtz had passed him too close on the cool-down lap, ran the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V4 R between the two riders, bumping shoulders as he did so. Petrucci then turned and gave Scholtz the middle finger.

Petrucci, who was forced to go to his back-up bike after his number-one bike suffered a mechanical problem in free practice, had a difficult session with his crew having to put in a new clutch on the second bike in pit lane. By the time Petrucci took to the track there were only some 15 minutes left in the session.

Both riders were addressed by Race Direction.

Petrucci would end up fifth overall, one spot behind Spaniard Hector Barbera on the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M1000 RR.

Saturday

Jake Gagne wins Race One

Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne doesn’t lay in bed at night thinking about the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship point standings. He focuses on the present and the present is all about winning races. On a hot and sunny day in the Pacific Northwest, Gagne made it through three starts in the red-flag-interrupted race to win for the fourth time in 2022 – a few hours after earning pole position with a lap-record-setting performance at Ridge Motorsports Park.

Gagne led every practice session and both qualifying sessions, then went out and led all three starts on Saturday. In other words, no one ever led him. Oh, yeah, don’t tell him but he’s also now climbed to within 16 points of championship leader Danilo Petrucci.

Gagne’s victory at Ridge was the 21st of his Superbike career and it was typical Gagne. Get the holeshot, pull a gap and maintain said gap to the finish.

After a final portion of the race that lasted just eight laps, Gagne crossed the finish line 3.935 seconds ahead of his teammate Cameron Petersen, the South African earning his fifth podium of the year and keeping Gagne honest for the duration.

Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Petrucci ended up third, the Italian benefitting from the second red flag as he crashed in turn one just moments after Jake Lewis’ crash in the last corner brought a premature stop to the race. Petrucci was able to get his bike back to pit lane where his crew replaced a broken left footpeg. Petrucci was a bit more cautious on the third start and it took him longer to get to third place. Once there, he settled in and brought the Panigale V4 R home for his seventh podium finish of the season.

Petrucci’s fourth-place finish allowed him to extend his lead in the championship over Mathew Scholtz to 10 points with the South African finishing fourth on Saturday.

Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera was less than a second behind Scholtz and some four seconds ahead of Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates.

Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander was seventh, a tick over a second ahead of Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim. Precision Iron Works/DiBrino Racing’s Andy DiBrino finished ninth after earlier finishing second to Alexander in the Yuasa Stock 1000 race.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante was given second life after highsiding out of the first portion of the race and making the restart. He battled on to finish 10th on the day.

It was a race of fairly high attrition with Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen and Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis among those crashing out of the race.

With nine races in the books, Petrucci leads Scholtz in the title chase by 10 points, 156-146. Gagne is third with 140 points, 17 more than his teammate Petersen. Barbera rounds out the top five in the championship with 90 points.

Jake Gagne – Winner

“My first start was awesome. I see a red flag and I’m like, ‘oh, man.’ Then the second start again was pretty awesome and I’m like, ‘oh, man. I got to do it one more time.’ It’s not a long run to turn one here, so if you get a good jump, it’s hard for anybody to dive in there. I think everybody was a little frustrated to see two red flags first lap, first lap. It’s like, let’s just get this race rolling. It was shortened, too. But no matter what, I think these Yamahas are obviously really, really working good here. This is kind of one of those Yamaha tracks. It always works well. I’m happy. There’s been a couple little things that we’ve struggled with all year, and then I think we finally figured out some big steps at Road America. Then to bring the bike here, the bike is really, really good. Hats off to the team. Hopefully, we can get a full 18 (laps) in tomorrow. Everybody is going to step it up for sure tomorrow. So, I think we’re in for some good racing. Good racing all year. I’m enjoying it.”

Cameron Petersen – Second Place

“I’m super happy. Obviously, yesterday, I felt pretty good and then this morning just everybody kind of upped their game. I started panicking just a little bit, especially with how much faster Jake (Gagne) was than me. But who knows? Who knows what Jake’s doing? After all the restarts and the tires and stuff, once he settled into his rhythm there was just no way I could keep up with him. I felt good. Just for the first two or three laps I was able to kind of at least latch on a little bit and see what he was doing. I think it helped me out big time just to kind of create a gap to some of the guys behind me. It was just a nice, comfortable race. Easy to get into my rhythm, ride my own thing. I had one mistake up in 11 that was just a brain fart. I just completely missed my brake mark and ran wide in turn 13. But other than that, everything is super good. I’m so happy. Every single weekend we’re chipping away at it. We’re learning. I’m super happy to get another podium. It’s another one-two for the Yamaha boys. That’s what we need. That’s what the team is looking for. I’m just going to keep building off of this, keep having fun with the guys, having fun with the team. Congrats to Jake on another unreal race. Congrats to Danilo (Petrucci) on another podium. Looking forward to having fun tomorrow.”

Danilo Petrucci – Third Place

“I’m happy because we had a lot of troubles this weekend. We completely destroyed one engine at the end of FP1. We missed most of FP2. For me, this is a new track and it’s quite difficult to learn. Then we had to find also a setup. Overall, I’m happy because the Yamaha guys today were on another planet. I was feeling good in the second restart, also in the first, but the second restart I was feeling good. I was at the end of the first lap catching them, but I crashed out in this corner (turn one) so maybe I was too optimistic. I was lucky then because there was a red flag. Then, anyway, I tried to manage because in the race I had massive chattering. I just thought to stay up and finish the race.”

Superbike Race One

  1. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  2. Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
  3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
  4. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
  5. Hector Barbera (BMW)
  6. Ashton Yates (BMW)
  7. Corey Alexander (BMW)
  8. Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
  9. Andy DiBrino (Kawasaki)
  10. Richie Escalante (Suzuki)

Sunday

Jake Gagne completes a perfect weekend by winning Race Two

Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne had a perfect weekend in the Pacific Northwest, the defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion breaking the lap record at Ridge Motorsports Park while qualifying on pole position, and then winning both Superbike races over the course of the Dynapac MotoAmerica Superbikes At The Ridge weekend.

If his rivals weren’t already worried, they should be now. Gagne looks to be on the verge of going on a roll like he did during his 17-victory, championship-winning season of 2021. Although a rough start to the 2022 season means Gagne only has six podium finishes in the 10 races held thus far, five of those podiums have been victories.

With five rounds (10 races) in the books, Gagne has now closed to within 11 points of championship leader Danilo Petrucci, the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V4 R-mounted Italian earning his second podium of the weekend on Sunday at Ridge with a second-place finish to Gagne.

Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen also had a solid weekend with two podium finishes, the South African splitting second- and third-place finishes with Petrucci.

In typical Gagne fashion, the Colorado resident stormed off to a flying start, put his head down for the first five laps to open a gap on his pursuers and then maintained that lead for the duration of the 16-lap race. At the finish line, Gagne was 4.578 seconds clear of Petrucci, who in turn was just a second ahead of Petersen. The win was the 22nd AMA Superbike victory of Gagne’s career, all of which have come in the MotoAmerica era.

Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz matched his fourth-place finish from Saturday with another fourth on Sunday, the South African losing his hold on second in the title chase to Gagne after holding it for the first nine races.

Fifth for the second day in a row was Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera, the Spaniard beating Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante by just .171 of a second. Those two were well clear of Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim who barely got the better of his Yuasa Stock 1000 Championship rival Corey Alexander and his Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing BMW M 1000 RR.

Tytlers Cycle’s PJ Jacobsen was a lonely ninth with David Anthony riding the injured Jake Lewis’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki to 10th.

For the first time all year, Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates failed to score a point with the Georgian crashing out of the race for his first DNF. Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Travis Wyman was another who crashed out of the race.

Petrucci leads Gagne by 11, 176-165, after 10 races. Scholtz is third with 159 points, 20 better than Petersen. Barbera rounds out the top five in the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike point standings with 101 points.

Superbike Race Two

  1. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  2. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
  3. Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
  4. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
  5. Hector Barbera (BMW)
  6. Richie Escalante (Suzuki)
  7. Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
  8. Corey Alexander (BMW)
  9. PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
  10. David Anthony (Suzuki)

Jake Gagne – Winner

“It was a good weekend. I’ve always liked this track. It’s really technical, lots of ups and downs. We’ve had a lot of great weekends, but this is one of those tracks that really suits the Yamaha, for sure. After yesterday and all those red flags, it was kind of crazy, got off to a bunch of good starts. Today I knew these guys… everybody stepped it up and had a little more pace in them today than yesterday. So, I knew if I could lead into turn one, I had to push as hard as I could for four or five laps and see if I could have a gap or not. Luckily, I was able to have some clean laps and kind of get a gap. It was a fun race. Kind of flew by pretty quick. I knew those guys were probably battling hard back there. I’m happy to be back on track. I think the first couple races were tough on us. There were some things that we finally figured out with the front end of the motorcycle that I finally feel comfortable on now. So, just hats off to the crew because they just don’t stop working hard. We keep making progress. We know we’ve got to because these guys are making progress every weekend as well.”

Danilo Petrucci – Second Place

“I can be happy, for sure. I hoped before the race to have a better start and stay with Jake (Gagne), but I had a quite good start, but Jake and Cameron (Petersen) were better than me. I tried my best. At the beginning I was not really good. Then I tried to manage all the chattering, all the issues with the bike. For sure, it’s been really, really tough weekend. It started quite good in FP1, but at the end of FP1, our problems began. We miss a lot of confidence because we have these kinds of issues with the electronics side that cover my feeling. We are investigating why. But it’s not an excuse. Jake today was unbelievably fast, another level. Big congrats to him and also to Cam. I passed him (Petersen) and I knew I wasn’t able to close the gap with Jake, so I tried to defend my position. Happy to go away with two podiums. Cannot wait to go to Laguna, even if my last time was 2013 with MotoGP. Like another era. Happy to be here.”

Cameron Petersen – Third Place

“It was a rough race, honestly. I could tell Jake (Gagne), even getting ready in the riders’ lounge and stuff, I knew he was going to drop the hammer and have something a little bit different for us today. So, I tried the first few laps, but, honestly, he was just on another level. It was a really tough race. Not making excuses or anything, but about six or seven laps into the race I developed a chatter that I haven’t had all weekend. So, tried to ride around that. I was just really struggling to get into corners and turn the bike through some of the longer stuff. But regardless, we’re walking away from the Ridge with two podiums, a second and third, so I’ll take it. Honestly, I believe it’s only up from here. Just doing good work with the team. I’m learning so much from Jake. I’m having so much fun. Looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Posted on Monday, June 27th, 2022 in News

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