Eazi Grip

Jake Gagne qualifies fastest and wins Race One. Mathew Scholtz is taken out in Race One but joins Jake on the podium in Race Two.

Gagne fastest in qualifying at Brainerd Raceway Minnesota

Sprinkles of rain, dark clouds and pre-storm conditions put a damper on Friday’s Q1 session for the Medallia Superbike class at Brainerd International Raceway but not before Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne put his YZF-R1 on provisional pole position despite sitting out the end of the session.

Gagne’s best lap was his sixth of the session, the 1:31.492 putting him just .018 of a second ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen with a tightly knit group of 10 within the same second.

Ageless four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes completes the provisional front row in third and just .026 of a second off Gagne’s best. Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier was fourth fastest and only .140 of a second from the top of the timesheets.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch continued to impress in his second outing in the class. Paasch was fifth fastest with his 1:32.072 and just half a second from the top with his time coming late in the session. Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong had his best session since returning to the class with his 1:32.120 putting him sixth and just ahead of Paasch’s teammate Richie Escalante.

Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin, Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Corey Alexander and Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz rounded out the top 10 on Friday. Alexander’s session ended early with a high-speed crash in turn one. Alexander emerged unscathed. The bike wasn’t as fortunate.

Superbike Q1

  1. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 1:31.492
  2. PJ Jacobsen (BMW) 1:31.510
  3. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:31.518
  4. Cameron Beaubier (BMW) 1:31.632
  5. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki) 1:32.072
  6. Bobby Fong (Yamaha) 1:32.120
  7. Richie Escalante (Suzuki) 1:32.167
  8. Josh Herrin (Ducati) 1:32.210
  9. Corey Alexander (BMW) 1:32.432
  10. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) 1:32.512

Gagne extends championship lead in Race One with a win

The MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship pendulum took a big swing towards two-time defending champion Jake Gagne on Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway with Cameron Beaubier, his main rival for the title coming into the Minnesota round, crashing out of the race early.

And just like that, Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Gagne is close to having a two-race points lead on new second-place man, Josh Herrin. Gagne leads the title chase by 48 points, 242-194, over Warhorse HSBK Ducati Racing’s Herrin.

Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Beaubier slips to third in the standings, 59 points behind Gagne.

Despite not having Beaubier to deal with, Gagne still didn’t have it easy as Beaubier’s teammate PJ Jacobsen flew the team’s flag and hounded the Yamaha man to the finish, ending up with a gap of just .195 of a second in the race that saw a complete restart after a melee on the opening lap.

Third place went to Herrin, 3.48 seconds behind Gagne and 1.2 seconds ahead of four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes, who was competing in his first Superbike race since 2017 (a span of 107 Superbike races). Hayes, who was riding in place of the injured Cameron Petersen on the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing YZF-R1, got faster as the race wore on – apparently not overly fatigued even though he had raced to victory in the Supersport race 20 minutes earlier. Not to mention the emotions of a man who with that Supersport win became the all-time leader in AMA victories across all classes with his 87th win.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante was fifth, 1.2 seconds behind Hayes and some six seconds clear of Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong, who had his best finish since returning to the class.

Seventh place went to Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim, who was doing triple duty on the day with races in Superbike, Mission King Of The Baggers (he won) and Steel Commander Stock 1000 (he also won that).

Escalante’s new teammate Brandon Paasch started fast but faded, eventually finishing eighth in his third race on the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000 R.

Aftercare Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates and Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounded out the top 10.

The first attempt at a race was stopped after the opening lap when Beaubier clipped the back of Gagne’s Yamaha in turn two and then veered off track, taking Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz with him. With the race featuring a complete restart, Beaubier was able to take his spot on pole for the second go. Scholtz wasn’t as lucky as his radiator was torn open in the melee, causing the motor to expire.

Superbike Race 1

  1. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  2. PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
  3. Josh Herrin (Ducati)
  4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)
  5. Richie Escalante (Suzuki)
  6. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
  7. Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
  8. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)
  9. Ashton Yates (BMW)
  10. Max Flinders (Yamaha)


Jake Gagne – Winner

“After a couple of laps, I could see PJ’s (Jacobsen) pit board come out. Then there was one point after maybe five or six laps, I saw a Beemer on the side of the track, and I think I saw Cameron (Beaubier). I recognized the helmet. I didn’t know what happened. It was tough. It was really greasier and slicker than I think most of us expected, so right from the get-go I was just trying to hit my marks and not make any mistakes. It seemed like it would have been really easy to throw it away today. PJ was there. I knew Josh (Herrin) was in third. There were a couple laps I could see PJ’s pit board and I could see that Josh was maybe getting a couple tenths back. So, hats off to the team. I think we’re lucky. We got a little lucky today. It sucks to see Beaubier go down that big. I just saw it on the camera. I hope that he’s all good. I think he was kind of the guy setting the pace this weekend. So, I think we’re in for a good show tomorrow. We’ll go back and see if we can improve a couple little things. Just hats off to the team. Always helping me and trying to make me a better rider and understand what we need to go forward. I miss Cam P (Petersen), but it’s been good having (Josh) Hayes out here helping us out and having his input, because the guy has been around a long time and he’s super wise. So hopefully we can put our heads together later, get a little better, a little faster. He’s the all-time American-winning machine now.”

PJ Jacobsen – Second Place

“It was a pretty crazy race, especially everything that happened at the start of the race with Cam (Beaubier) and then I moved over a little bit to avoid him because I was going to get cleaned out. And then (Mathew) Scholtz really smashed into the back of me. I think I got a whole bunch of oil all over my tire because I went into the next corner and I almost highsided, and the same with the right. So, it was kind of freaking me out. I thought I bent my swingarm or something happened, or the tire spun or something. So, I was yelling to Scotty (his crew chief, Jensen) when we got in there like, ‘what are we going to do?’ Because something’s wrong. We were going over it with Dunlop and stuff, but I just went back out there with the same tire I guess oiled up or whatever and tried to clean it off. It was a pretty crazy race. Then I was mad because they were going to put me back on row seven or something for no reason. I was like flipping out, cursing in my helmet. I had a whole bunch of adrenaline going. I was bummed that I got a great start the first time, so I just wanted to kind of do that again the second time. I just felt like I could have made a pass on Jake (Gagne) in the beginning of the race when I had more grip and stuff. I was seeing some spots, but I just didn’t go for it. I was sitting there behind him. Then he pulled a small bit of a gap, and it seemed like it stayed the same. I’d catch him in some spots, and he’d pull away in others. I tried to do what he was doing. I was picking the bike up as much as I could and it seemed like it was helping, but obviously it just wouldn’t bring me closer to him. But it was a good race. It was really greasy and hot. The lap times, I thought, were not really that great, to be honest. I think it was just the lack of grip that we had out there today. So, it kind of set us back a little bit and staying in the 31s. But it was a good race. Good job. I saw on the pit board with plus 1.9 or 2 or whatever to Josh (Herrin), so I was trying to maintain that as well because you know he’ll be coming on as well in that race. It was a hard race. I tried to get the win, but I just didn’t have enough there at the end. So, congrats to Josh and Jake on being on the podium. We’ll try to figure out some things tonight to improve and try to move one more spot forward, but it’s hard with the talent out there.”

Josh Herrin – Third Place

“I just wasn’t feeling myself this weekend. I came into here maybe trying to be too confident because I don’t like this track layout. I love the facility. I love the event, but the track layout I’m just not good at. So naturally whatever tracks we don’t do good at, we don’t like them. It’s not because it’s a bad layout, but if I don’t do good here, I’m not a big fan. So, I came into it trying to think of it the opposite way, think we’re going to have a great weekend. Then I think when I didn’t start really good it made it even worse in my head. I’ve just been struggling. We got a good setup at the very end of the day yesterday. Threw down a good time but everybody is so close that it didn’t look that good. But we were within six or seven tenths. Then tried a big change this morning thinking it would help us even more, but it was worse. So, then we really only got two laps at the end to feel comfortable. So, I knew that we could be battling. I figured we might be battling for second or third, but the race actually ended up I felt a lot better than I thought I was going to. I think just with the restart, I’m not sure but the front was just really greasy. When Cam (Beaubier) went down I lost maybe two seconds or something and I kind of clawed back up, but I didn’t feel like with me gaining as many points as I was going to gain on Cam, I didn’t push that extra two percent that I needed to do try to catch him. I don’t know if it would have been possible, but I had a chance. I clawed them back a little bit and then when the front started moving around a little bit, I just wanted to make sure that I was playing it safe and getting another podium finish here this weekend and leave here today honestly pumped, because qualifying seventh is not fun. To come away from here with a third and be second in points is good. But now we’ve got fifty points to make up on Jake, so that’s going to be really hard. Hats off to my guys. Like I said on the podium, I’m bummed Eraldo (Ferracci) isn’t here because this helmet was extra special. We’ve been planning it all year. So, I’m bummed that he didn’t make it, but this will be going in his house whenever we’re done with this weekend. So, hopefully, tomorrow we can be closer to the front for him. Congrats to Josh Hayes on his all-time win record today. I know that’s a huge deal for him. Being teammates with him for a long time and looking up to him since I started racing when I was 16, 18 years ago, I know it’s a huge deal. It’s cool to see him. I’m still looking up to him and hoping that when I’m 48 years old that I can be that fast. So, hats off to him and I’m sure there’s going to be more to come.”

PJ Jacobson wins first superbike race at MotoAmerica Brainerd. Our supported riders Jake Gagne and Mathew Scholtz complete the podium.

With a near-perfect performance on Sunday afternoon at Brainerd International Raceway, PJ Jacobsen is no longer the fastest rider in the MotoAmerica paddock to not win a Medallia Superbike race after he added his name to the list of men who have won the premier class in the championship.

With three second-place finishes so far this season and a runner-up finish once in 2022, Jacobsen’s win turned him from bridesmaid to bride and he did it the right way, by besting two-time and defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Jake Gagne in a straight fight. The win also allowed him to step out of the shadow of his five-time Superbike Champion teammate, Cameron Beaubier – the winner of five races thus far in his first season with the Tytlers Cycle Racing team.

After trailing Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha’s Jake Gagne for all of race one on Saturday, Jacobsen was again behind the championship points leader in race two. Until there were nine laps to go. At that point, Jacobsen made his move on Gagne in turn three, got the job done and even put a bit of a cushion between himself and Gagne. Although Gagne put in a late-race charge, Jacobsen was able to withstand the pressure to take that elusive first win by .322 of a second.

Behind those two, Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz was also feeling pressure from behind as Bobby Fong was having the ride of his year on the Wrench Motorcycles Yamaha YZF-R1 and was giving the South African all he could handle in the final laps. Scholtz crossed the line in third with Fong giving up the chase in the final few turns.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch continues to impress in just his second weekend on the GSX-R1000R with another fifth-place finish. Sixth place went to Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim by a tick over Paasch’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Richie Escalante, who struggled with front-tire woes.

Josh Hayes was up to fourth when an off-track excursion knocked him back to 11th. The four-time AMA Superbike Champion, riding the injured Cameron Petersen’s Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing YZF-R1, charged back through to end up eighth.

Aftercare Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates was ninth with Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounding out the top 10.

With Beaubier being ruled out of racing on Sunday due to the concussion he suffered in Saturday’s crash, and Josh Herrin’s Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R suffering a mechanical problem that knocked him out of third place, Gagne’s lead in the championship swelled to 68 points over Herrin, 262-194. Beaubier drops to third, 79 points behind Gagne. With his 2-1 weekend tally, Jacobsen jumps past Escalante and into fourth in the title chase, 100 points behind the championship leader.

Superbike Race 2

  1. PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
  2. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  3. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
  4. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
  5. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)
  6. Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
  7. Richie Escalante (Suzuki)
  8. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)
  9. Ashton Yates (BMW)
  10. Max Flinders (Yamaha)


PJ Jacobsen – Winner

“It’s just been hard work. Last year being able to even be on the podium was awesome and getting there. Then building steps this year and stuff, and with Cam (Beaubier) coming on as my teammate it was obviously a huge push because he’s a five-time AMA Superbike Champion. When he’s out there winning every weekend, first or second, it’s hard to have that as a teammate. I think just building and building and then learning some stuff from him as well in the data and everything. I knew I would eventually get there. I think I’ve always just been close in the wet races. I don’t really consider that a win, for me anyway. It’s good to finally get a dry win and actually get the job done. It feels pretty good. It was a big moment for me out there. I’ve wanted to do this. When you’re a kid coming up racing, and you’re in the paddock running around there, watching all these guys and then you want to be up here eventually with a win, like Hayes, Zemke, Duhamel, all those guys. So, it’s cool to be up here and to finally get a win in MotoAmerica.”

Jake Gagne – Second Place

“I was just on the edge. I was really pushing, trying to keep with PJ (Jacobsen). Right when he passed me that first lap, two laps, he was just putting tenths on me. I kind of calmed down and figured out a couple little things where he was quicker and tried to ride the bike a little different, be a little smoother, keep it from spinning up quite as much. Then that last lap, we came up on that lapper and I was wondering if I was going to get lucky and see what happened. But it was really fun racing with PJ. The guy has got so much talent. It’s good for him to get his first win. I enjoy being on that side, chasing him down for the win. It was kind of the opposite yesterday where he kind of just got back to my rear tire at the end there and I kind of did the same thing today. It was good. It really sucked to see (Cameron) Beaubier go out with that crash yesterday. I think something happened to (Josh) Herrin today. Good day for points, but more importantly just some good racing today with PJ. Good, clean racing. I didn’t know who was behind me, but we were just kind of inching away there. Everybody was really close this weekend. It was just those first couple laps, like always. I was able to push the pace a little bit. I knew PJ would be there the whole time. Just tried to be smart. Good day. Fun racing with PJ and watching him sideways around the whole track.”

Mathew Scholtz – Third Place

“This season has been pretty sh*t so far, to be honest. So, this is awesome to be back up on the podium here. Yesterday obviously passed PJ in the third corner early on. Ruined the bike. Didn’t get out from that. So, during practice, we didn’t put more than six or seven laps on the tire. So, we went out there today changing gearing settings without really knowing what was going to happen. The first three or four laps I think Jake (Gagne) and PJ (Jacobsen) had a little bit of pace, but maybe it was from lap five onwards I kind of pulled them back slightly. Then I think from the halfway point, the bike just started backing in like crazy. I started losing grip as I would crack the gas. So, the last couple laps was just surviving for me, really. Obviously, in Laguna I had a massive crash. Hadn’t been able to really train coming up to this and I’ve been sitting on the couch. Maybe did two or three cycles just to try to keep my fitness, but I definitely noticed that it hurt me today. My arms were pumping up. Overall, these guys are riding well. Just to kind of finish in the top five now is something special. There’re crazy fast guys. There’s Beemers, Ducatis, Yamahas, Suzukis are now up there too. So just to be up there makes me feel good, considering how bad things have been. So, I think if we can just build on from here. Pittsburgh has been one of my favorite tracks. I’ve been strong there previously, so I’m really thinking we can challenge for the win there. The bike is working better than it has been. We made a couple changes. I think today’s race we can really look at data and carry on pushing forward.”


Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2023 in News

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