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Eazi Grip

Horrendous conditions at Road America as Cameron Peterson wins race one

Peterson wins over Gagne by just 0.004 seconds

Attack Performance/Progressive/Yamaha Racing teammates Cameron Petersen and Jake Gagne battled to the bitter end of the Steel Commander Superbike race on Saturday, with Petersen winning the battle of Yamaha YZF-R1s by just .004 of a second in horrendous conditions at Road America.

Steel Commander Superbike race one was held in a rainstorm and riders were faced with conditions many of them claimed were the worst they’d ever raced in. While the Road America surface had good grip despite the rain, it was puddles in bad places that caused the most concern with some riders crashing without any lean angle.

When all was said and done, it was Petersen winning his second race of the young season and the fifth of his MotoAmerica Superbike career. Petersen led early, lost the lead to TopPro Racing’s Sean Dylan Kelly, got it back and then spent the majority of the remaining laps looking at Gagne’s rear wheel. Until the final lap. The pair went into the last turn side by side and came out of it side by side. With both Yamahas spinning their way up the hill, it was Petersen who got his hooked up better and nipped Gagne at the line.

Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Loris Baz was with the two Yamahas for most of the race and his one error came with two laps to go when he tried to make a pass on Petersen in turn five. The out-braking move didn’t work with Baz getting in too hot and losing touch with the two Yamahas. Still, it was an impressive third-place finish that left the Frenchman smiling.

Tytlers Cycle Racing’s JD Beach was a somewhat lonely fourth after inheriting the spot from his teammate Cameron Beaubier. The five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion had led the race early before running off track in turn five. He rejoined and started to charge forward. However, soon after getting past Beach for fourth and starting to make inroads into the lead trio, he crashed his BMW M 1000 RR. The crash left Beaubier limping away before ultimately getting helped to the ambulance. He was transported to undergo X-rays on his heel.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch ended up fifth, less than a second ahead of Team Brazil’s Danilo Lewis. Those two were well clear of FLO4LAW Racing’s Benjamin Smith. Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong; Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin, who led early before running off track in turn five; and Jarritos Racing/Team GMR’s Gabriel Da Silva rounded out the top 10.

Beaubier wasn’t the only one to crash out in the difficult conditions as Kelly crashed out of the lead early on and Xavi Forés crashed his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki while battling for fourth place.

With his second-place finish combined with Beaubier’s non-finish, Gagne moved to the lead in the championship point standings after six races by seven over Beaubier, 102-95.

Petersen jumped up to second in third in the title chase and he trails his teammate Gagne by 19 points. Kelly drops to fourth with 73 points and is now just five points ahead of Fong and 14 ahead of Baz.

Herrin, Real Steel Motorsports’ Hayden Gillim, Beach and Paasch round out the top 10 heading into tomorrow’s race two at Road America.

Superbike Race One

  1. Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
  2. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  3. Loris Baz (Ducati)
  4. JD Beach (BMW)
  5. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)
  6. Danilo Lewis (BMW)
  7. Benjamin Smith (Yamaha)
  8. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
  9. Josh Herrin (Ducati)
  10. Gabriel Da Silva (Honda)

Quotes

Cameron Petersen – Winner

“Last thing you want to do is knock your teammate down. Like these guys said, just a crazy race. I led a few of the opening laps and I saw SDK go down in front of me. Kind of when I saw that, he was straight up and down and lost the front. I didn’t really know what pace we could go, so I think I was kind of holding the guys up for the first few laps there. Then once Jake (Gagne) got past me, he definitely dropped the pace a little bit. I just followed him around, to be honest. He was good in kind of all the right places. Then last lap, I’ve been so reserved in the past. I had a good feeling underneath me. The last corner, at least on the front, felt really good. I just got a really good run through the second-to-last corner. I was like, ‘man, if you don’t take a shot, then you don’t deserve this ride.’ So, I just kind of had a go. Like Jake said, it was so funny the drag race to the line. He rolled around me, and I could hear his bike. I could hear the TC kicking on in his bike, and then the TC would kick on my bike. We kind of see-sawed there for a little bit, and we went up over the rise. There was kind of like a dry spot – well, a drier spot in the middle of the track. I was on that line, so I think coming up over the rise his bike just spun up a little bit and that gave me that little bit of an edge. Just so stoked. I think this is the first time I’ve got more than one win in a season, and especially after crashing in qualifying this morning. It’s a nice way to repay the team. Congrats to these two guys. We were all together the whole race. I look forward to battling tomorrow.”

Jake Gagne – Second Place

“Like Loris Baz said, the craziest race I’ve ever been a part of. Just the hydroplaning everywhere. The new surface makes it hard to tell. Everything is so shiny and nice. It’s hard to kind of even really tell where the big puddles are. But the straightaway down into the corner, we were at like 10 percent throttle, just trying to figure out how to get the thing to not spin up. I’m happy we’re here on the podium. Yamaha one-two is awesome. I hope everybody that went down is okay, because that was insane. After those first couple laps, I got passed by a couple of guys. I’m like, I’m just going to try to finish this thing. I think SDK (Sean Dylan Kelly) went down, and Cam (Beaubier) ran wide and went down. Just a freaking wild one. Then I got by Cam (Petersen). I knew him and Loris were right there because I could see it on the big screen. That last lap, tried to be smart and not give Cam any opportunity to stick it up in there, but I just was a little wide entering into the final turn. I saw that Yamaha come up underneath me. I tried to roll around the outside and then it was just a drag race. Seriously, it was the first time in my life, when me and Cam got together before the finish line, I was literally laughing in my helmet. I was like, at least we survived this thing and one of us is going to cross the line first. Either way, good day for the team. I’m pumped for CP and to race with him and to race with Loris again. I’m just glad. Hopefully, everybody got through that thing, and hopefully SDK is all right and Cam B. is all right. I’m shivering right now. I’m cold.”

Loris Baz – Third Place “I think it’s the worst conditions I’ve ever raced a bike on in all my career. I remember my first win in Superbike there was a lot of water on the track. I was racing injured. But that was just another level. I think we were 20 percent throttle on the back straight, and you have those walls. It’s just the bike spinning. I don’t know how fast we go. I’ve never been scared on the bike, and I was scared going into that back section for the whole 10 laps. I normally have a lot of fun in the rain, but this one was just trying to be really clever and not make any mistakes because it was so easy to have a big, big one. But I felt good on the bike. Those guys, my mechanic and all the crew from Ducati did a good job because the only time I rode the bike on the wet was in Atlanta and I had a broken ankle. So, I didn’t really push there. I had no idea setup-wise. In those seven minutes before the race, I didn’t feel good on the bike. They did some adjustments really quick before the race and I felt better straightaway. So, it was just a race where I was improving and trying to learn all the race, coming back behind Jake (Gagne). Just waiting, but I couldn’t see how many laps were remaining, so it was really tough. Then Jake went in front, and he just made a big step and improved the pace. I tried to overtake Cameron (Petersen), but it wouldn’t stop. It was two laps remaining in that moment. The only time I saw my pit board was L2. I said, ‘just try to be clever,’ because I could not increase my pace at that moment and bring it home. I’m happy. It’s the first podium. We had a tough beginning of the season with injury in Atlanta, injured in Barber again. So, happy to be here. Thankful for Ducati New York and the Warhorse. They did a lot of sacrifice and hard job to have me back here, and I just want to thank them, and all the people involved to have me back here in America. I had a lot of fun in ’21 and I want to have as much fun this year. It’s just the first podium and it will bring the big smile to the team. We have so much fun with Josh (Herrin) and I just hope we can share a podium soon.”

Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2024 in News

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