Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz finished second in five of the seven MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike races going into Saturday’s race one at Road America. But he refused to finish second again, the South African going head-to-head with Italian Danilo Petrucci and coming out on top of a last-lap brawl to score his first victory of the season and the fifth Superbike win of his career.
With Scholtz and Petrucci well clear of the battle for third place, it all came down to the last lap. Petrucci led, but Scholtz had a plan and he stuck to it. With a late-braking effort and a block pass into turn five, Scholtz took the lead. Petrucci tried to pass in the final corner, but it didn’t work and Scholtz was able to hold off the horsepower of the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V4 R up the hill to the finish line – by just .015 of a second.
The win, the fifth Superbike victory of Scholtz’ career and his first in the dry, vaulted him to the top of the championship point standings by a single point over Petrucci, 125-124.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera was third, the Spaniard earning his first MotoAmerica podium in his second season in the series. Barbera crossed the line 8.5 seconds behind the battle for victory and just .055 of a second ahead of his teammate PJ Jacobsen.
And what of defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Jake Gagne? Gagne and Petrucci touched under braking, and both ran wide on the first lap in turn five. While Petrucci was able to get his Ducati slowed down and turned, Gagne was forced to take to the gravel trap on the outside of turn five and he tipped over. By the time Gagne got going again, he was 29th and dead last.
From there Gagne and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha YZF-R1 went on a charge through the pack to an eventual fifth-place finish and the 11 championship points that come with it. Points that may prove valuable at season’s end.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis and Richie Escalante were next, the pair separated by some 13 seconds with Lewis sixth and Escalante seventh.
Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander was eighth with Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Larry Pegram ninth, in his return to MotoAmerica Superbike racing, and Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates rounding out the top 10.
With seven races in the books, Scholtz leads Petrucci, 125-124 with Gagne third with 102 points. Barbera moves into fourth with 79 points, one point more than Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen with the South African out of the race on lap five with a mechanical failure.
Mathew Scholtz – Winner
“I kind of thought after corner five, I had a decent gap that he (Petrucci) wouldn’t be close enough to me, but he obviously had a really good couple corners after that and caught up to me. I didn’t realize in the final corner he was going to try to pass me. I kind of heard him turning in and out of the corner of my eye, I saw his front tire. I actually had to give it a little bit of gas to make sure that he didn’t touch me and push me wide. We crossed the finish line and I looked right, and he was right there next to me. I wasn’t even sure that I had won, at that point. I think over the last two races that we’ve had, if you combine both of those finishing times, they’re both less than eight tenths. So, it’s been extremely close. I’m just really happy to be up here battling with this guy. Coming off of MotoGP, winning a Dakar stage, it really shows how the Westby team have made the bike better, how I’m riding better. I think things might have been different if Jake (Gagne) was there, but sometimes you’ve got to take your luck when it comes.
Danilo Petrucci – Second Place
“I don’t know if I was able to pass him on the straight before the finish line, so I tried to pass him in the last corner. I tried, but I’m happy because since VIR we are facing a big problem with the engine brake. This morning we decided to completely change the setup on the engine brake, especially on braking. It seems this morning the bike was working a little bit better. For sure, it was a tough weekend, but I’m happy with this second place. For sure I wanted to win. I tried until the last moment. For sure I understood that I need to be harder on the pass because every rider that passed me pushed me out of the way. From tomorrow on I will try the same.
Hector Barbera – Third Place
“It’s a very great moment for me because I work too much for that moment, but I think with that bike we need more time for arrive to go fast. But after today, we try a good line for my bike go better, especially the electronics part. Now I’m faster. Every session I’m more and more fast with more confidence. I’m very happy. The team has worked very good and worked a lot all winter because new bike. Needed too much time for go fast.”
Superbike Race One
In Saturday’s MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike race one at Road America, Cameron Petersen was forced to watch from turn five after a mechanical failure put him out of the race he was leading at the time. In Sunday’s race two, Petersen put all that behind him and went out and won in iffy wet/dry conditions on the four-mile circuit in America’s Dairyland. The win was the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing rider’s first of the season and the second of his Superbike career.
Sunday’s race was a good one with all the top men opting for full rain tires but searching for puddles by the time it concluded. The battle at the top featured three riders and it lasted for all eight laps of the shortened race with Petersen, Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen, and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci all taking turns at the front.
At the finish it was Petersen putting his head down on the final go-around to take victory by 1.3 seconds over Jacobsen with the New Yorker just .455 of a second ahead of Petrucci.
The win was the second of Petersen’s MotoAmerica Superbike career with the first coming in a driving rainstorm last year at Barber Motorsports Park. This was Petersen’s first victory with his new Yamaha team.
Petersen’s teammate Jake Gagne, the defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion, finished fourth – 14.3 seconds behind Petersen and four seconds ahead of the ageless Larry Pegram, who put his Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW into the top five in his first race since last year’s Stock 1000 race at Road America.
Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates continued his season of scoring points in every round and this time it was his best finish of the season as he rode the team’s BMW to sixth place.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis was some 11 seconds behind Yates and five seconds ahead of Saturday’s race winner Mathew Scholtz on the Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1.
Tecfil Racing’s Danilo Lewis finished ninth with Nielsen Racing’s Justin Miest having his career best finish in 10th.
A day after taking over the championship points lead, Scholtz handed that lead back to Petrucci with the Italian now leading the South African by seven points, 140-133. Gagne is third with 115 points, 12 points ahead of Petersen. Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera failed to score points for the first time in 2022 and remains fifth in the series point standings.
Cameron Petersen – Winner
The whole race, like these guys said, it was tricky. For sure wasn’t wet enough for the rains. I think from first lap, second, lap it just took all the rubber away. The center of the tire was so chewed up that every time we’d try to find the wet stuff, it was already like riding on a slick. So, it would spin up a little bit more. Then going into that last lap, the lap before going to the white flag, I think PJ might have got me to the line. I can’t really remember. I knew that there was maybe a possibility of that, so I put my head down. There were a lot of scary moments. I pushed the front so many times. I just wanted to try everything I could to at least give myself a little bit of a gap coming onto the straightaway. Then, like I said, throughout the race, going up to the wet stuff trying to keep the tires cool, I knew how much it was spinning, so on the last lap coming up the last corner I just stayed on the dry stuff all the way up the hill to make sure I got the maximum drive. Just so stoked. It was a fun race battling with these guys. We went back and forth a little bit. Never stood on the podium with PJ (Jacobsen), so that’s pretty cool. Well done to them and their team. Once again, just a great race with Danilo (Petrucci). We had one scary moment there where it was just kind of my bad. He passed me down the straightaway and I just wasn’t expecting for us to set up that early. I wasn’t able to move the bike on the brakes. Unfortunately, I just smoked his leg. So, that was on me. That was my bad. Even that, the last lap behind PJ going into five, I locked up the front end like three times going in there. I tried to brake so late. Good to be back up here. Both my wins have been in sketchy conditions, so it would be nice to try to get one in the dry. We’re slowly but surely getting there.
PJ Jacobsen – Second Place
“We had a lot of testing in the rain with BMW. We had like no dry days, so all we could do was ride two or three days in the wet. So, we did that. This race was half wet and half dry. But it was really good to be back battling up front again. After my accident I had here (at Road America), it’s even better to get on the podium in the Superbike class. The bike was working good. It was just really hard to manage the race. I felt super strong at the start of the race, but then again, I didn’t want to overcook the tires but we did anyway. I was searching a lot for the water on the straightaways, and also I was going off-line not in the dry areas to try to cool the tires. It seemed like when the tires were getting worse, it was actually that was making it worse for me. So, my plan didn’t really work. But I had a great battle with these guys. Congrats to Cam (Petersen) on his win. It was a really good race. It was fun. It was pretty crazy.”
Danilo Petrucci – Third Place
“This morning we went completely blind into the warmup because I never ride with this bike on the wet. I don’t know actually the traction of this tire and also this track. But at the end it was good. It was really, really wet (in the warm-up session). We go really with the softer, softer, less power, maximum traction control and the bike was working perfectly. Then in the race, the start was good, but out of the second corner I felt like my bike was with no power in the first three gears. Then in fourth, fifth, and sixth my bike going with the acceleration. Then I was able to gain and to not lose a lot of speed. But it was a nightmare. Since the first lap I think even on the main straight the first lap, my bike was shaking. I felt really a lot of spinning. I tried to go as free as possible with the electronics setup, maximum torque, less traction control, but my tire was completely with no rubber. I don’t know if maybe I was too aggressive in the warm-up lap. I don’t know. I tried to manage as much as possible. Tried to brake as hard as possible. But Cameron (Petersen) and PJ (Jacobsen) for sure were better than me in acceleration and they can stop the bike. They were actually riding really, really good. I tried to stay with them, but it was risky to brake harder and harder and harder. I don’t want to lose any other points. Last lap I even didn’t try with PJ because it was too far and too risky. So, congrats to these two guys. At the end, I think I gained some points to my challengers, so I’m happy. For sure, was yesterday and today a missed opportunity, but it’s racing. The championship is so long. Considering it’s a new track for me, it was good after so many problems in VIR. I’m happy.”
Superbike Race Two