Superbike Race One
Jake Gagne cast a lonely shadow on the front row of the grid for the second part of the red-flag-interrupted Medallia Superbike race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday as the other two front-row starters were nowhere to be seen.
A scary crash on the exit of turn two on the opening lap of the first start had taken out pole sitter Cameron Beaubier and Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen. Prior to the restart, Richie Escalante – the third fastest qualifier – had a brake issue and missed the sighting lap and was put to the back of the grid. Thus, a lonely Gagne was the only rider on the front row while the second row also lacked Petersen who, like Beaubier, was unable to make the restart.
But first things first. The crash. With Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Petersen nabbing the holeshot from the second row, he led the field through turn two and then highsided on the exit. Beaubier and the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR had nowhere to go, and he slammed into Petersen’s crashed Yamaha YZF-R1 and also went down. At that point the race was stopped.
On the restart, Gagne wasn’t challenged, and he led every one of the 19 laps, eventually crossing the finish line 5.3 seconds clear of second place. The victory was the fifth of the year for the championship points leader and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha YZF-R1 and the 34th of his career.
A battered and bruised Josh Herrin finished second on the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R, besting a fast-closing PJ Jacobsen on the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR. The red flag cost Jacobsen any chance of a late-race attack on Herrin and he finished just .368 of a second behind the Ducati.
Considering he started from the back row of the grid, Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante continued to show that he’s a top-tier Superbike racer as he carved his way through the field to latch on to the back of the Jacobsen/Mathew Scholtz battle for third. When Scholtz crashed out of the race with two laps to go, Escalante inherited fourth place just hours after earning the first Superbike front-row starting spot of his career in the second qualifying session on Saturday morning. Scholtz’s crash in Rainey Curve brought out a second red flag and the race was called complete.
Escalante’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Brandon Paasch finished an impressive fifth in his debut on the factory Suzuki GSX-R1000R. It was also Paasch’s comeback ride after he suffered a broken back in an off-season motocross crash.
Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong ended up sixth with Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim seventh. Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Corey Alexander, Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders and Aftercare Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates completed the top 10.
Jake Gagne – Winner
“I had a feeling that it would be some carnage in today’s race, just because especially when Cam (Petersen) went down in the beginning I was shocked. Then both Cams (Petersen and Beaubier) are tumbling on the road. I kind of swerved, and I was just hoping nobody got… The worst thing to see is somebody sliding down the road in front of you. Obviously, I wasn’t surprised to get a red flag. I want to win races. I want to get points in the championship, but it sucks doing it like that. With Beaubier going out like that and Cam P., my teammate. So, I hope those guys are all right. Then after the restart. I just knew the wind is really chilly today. I knew from sitting on the grid before that crash even happened that the first couple laps, we had to be patient on those tires to get the heat in them. So, I was surprised, but I wasn’t surprised to see some of that carnage right in the beginning. We’re going to have to be patient on those tires with the cool breeze and sitting on the grid. So, I just tried to do that and build heat in these Dunlops. It seems like they get a little bit better after a couple laps. Just being patient. I was keeping an eye on my pit board. I knew Josh (Herrin) was behind me in the beginning. I could hear that Ducati roaring. I was just trying to be smooth. I think the big thing was trying to be easy on that front tire, because we’ve all been struggling with tearing a little bit on the front tire. It’s getting better throughout the weekend, but I tried to focus on just using different parts of the tire and I was happy with how that came in and happy with the team for helping me out and showing me what I need to do better, especially yesterday to today. So, good day and I’m looking forward to a good battle with those guys. Hopefully we can all keep it upright tomorrow and put in some good two races and put on a show for everyone.”
Josh Herrin – Second Place
“I think I ended up fourth and I was trying to go on the outside of Jake (Gagne) in, I call it one, but two, and then cross over to the inside right there where they went down. As I was starting to get on the throttle coming out of two, I decided I’m going to sneak back behind Jake because I wasn’t going to make it. I didn’t really see. I saw some movement, but I was focused a little bit further ahead on the track. As I was driving out of two picking it up to lean right a little bit, Jake just peeled off really quick to the left. Those guys were sliding right in front of me. I had nowhere to go. I kind of just checked up and got really lucky that they slid out of the way when they did. But it was pretty spooky because it’s like when you’re out on the freeway and somebody just peels off in front of you because there’s trash in the road and you’ve got nowhere to go. It was a really scary moment. I had a feeling they were going to red flag it. I was surprised that they waited as long as they did, just because it looks like they were in the middle of the track. It was a scary moment, for sure.”
PJ Jacobsen – Third Place
“It was a crazy race. It sucks for Cam P. and Cameron Beaubier, my teammate. Just that whole situation. Then after that it was weird. I was lining up on the grid and it was just so empty. So, it was kind of a strange race. I’m just a bit lucky to be up here. The other guys would have obviously been in this whole fight and stuff like that, but I guess at the end of the day it’s motorcycle racing. This morning, I completely totaled my bike. Destroyed it for the guys. So, I was really just disappointed in myself and for my side of the crew to put that back together. I was just going around not too happy this morning and it put me in a bad qualifying position for the race today. But the race was going pretty good. (Mathew) Scholtz passed me and at the end there I started to catch Josh (Herrin) and was trying to push with that two laps to go, or whatever. Unfortunately, the red flag came out because of Scholtz. I hope he’s okay. I’m just happy to be up here and be on the podium for the Tytlers Cycle Racing team.”
Superbike Race Two
Five-time Champion Cameron Beaubier won MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Race Two Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, California.
Riding his back-up Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR, Beaubier passed Jake Gagne late in the race and pulled away to win the 20-lapper by 2.423 seconds. It was Beaubier’s fourth win of the season, the 58th Superbike win of his career, and his 79th overall AMA/MotoAmerica race victory.
Two-time and defending Champion Jake Gagne led from the first lap and made no mistakes, but second place was the best he could do on his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha YZF-R1. Second place, however, allowed Gagne to expand his Championship lead to 43 points.
Josh Herrin was the fastest rider on track at one point and was closing on the lead duo late in the race, but he ran out of time and ended up third on his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R.
Richie Escalante recovered from a sub-par start and being seventh at the end of the first lap to catching the top three late in the race. The Mexican rider crossed the finish line fourth, just 1.2 seconds behind Herrin, on his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R.
Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen got a strong start but faded somewhat during the race to an eventual fifth-place finish.
Cameron Beaubier – Winner
“I woke up pretty sore this morning, for sure, but it wasn’t too bad once I got riding. After the first few laps it was okay. But we destroyed a bike pretty good yesterday. The boys were here until 10:30, 11:00 making sure the second bike was ready to go. To be honest, coming into today I didn’t really know what to expect just because we made some good strides on that new frame and the new bike that we’ve been riding the last round. Went back to the other one, but it honestly felt really good. I felt like it absorbs some of the bumps that I was struggling with earlier in the weekend. So, hats off. Thank you so much to the Tytlers guys. They’ve been working their butts off all year and especially this weekend. There at the beginning I felt like I had some places I was stronger than Jake (Gagne), and then vice versa. He had some good spots too. I felt like they really made a good step on the brakes. It was pretty tough to get around him. I was trying to just be patient. There with five or six, I was struggling a little bit off the last corner compared to him and I felt like I finally got out of there pretty good one lap and I was able to sneak up the inside with the BMW power up over one and just tried to put my head down from there and see what happens. Felt really good. It’s hard to be too excited because I know we’ve got another one of these coming up in a couple hours, but I’m super happy and move on to the third race.”
Jake Gagne – Second Place
“The bike was about the same, but we made a couple little tweaks. I got off to a good start. Cam (Beaubier) threw it into one and it was a little wide, so I snuck it up in there. I knew especially Cam and Josh (Herrin), those guys have had incredible pace. All I could do was try to just not make mistakes and at least try to make it tough. I knew it was Cam behind me. I didn’t know if Josh was close exactly, but I could hear the Beemer behind me. Just tried to click off consistent laps and not leave the door open and hope that I could hold him off for a while. I can’t remember, five or six to go or something, he came by me on the front straight up over one and he just put his head down and I didn’t have anything to run that pace. Low 23s there at the end would have been really, really tricky for me. So, I think we learned a lot. We could see some areas where Cameron was really rolling and doing a good job. So, we’ll see. We got a couple hours here. We’ll see if we can maybe try a couple things. I think as we’ve seen it’s just going to be even tighter of a race this afternoon.”
Josh Herrin – Third Place
“I wanted to try to catch those guys. I keep thinking about earlier in the year. I don’t know if it’s tires on the Ducati or fitness, or something comes into play middle of the race today where I’m able to kind of get a little bit on them. So, I didn’t want to give up. Obviously, normally you never want to give up, but especially this year I have felt good in the second half of the race. So, I just wanted to make sure I kept plugging away in case I was able to get them to come back. It seemed like for a little while I was a tenth here, two tenths here maybe catching up. So, just wanted to get as close as I could just in case I got an opportunity at the end. Also, then I saw Richie (Escalante) behind me, so that definitely scared me into going a little bit faster. I’m just starting to get really comfortable on this thing. It seems like every weekend I get a little bit stronger in the second race, so I’m glad we got three this time. I feel like I can capitalize on that. I’m just having fun on the bike and really enjoying spinning laps out there. The beginning of the weekend it wasn’t going so well for me. I wasn’t feeling comfortable. Today in the race I felt really good. Just having a lot of fun and trying to plug as many laps away as I can and get as much confidence as I can for race three.”
Superbike Race Three
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier had about as good of a Sunday as a person can have as he stormed to two MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike victories at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca a day after what was for him, a miserable Saturday.
Beaubier had similar battles in both of the Medallia Superbike races but with different foes. In race one, he hounded Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne for 15 of the 20 laps before making a pass and pulling away to a 2.423-second win over the defending two-time champion. Three hours later, Beaubier did it again only this time it was Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin leading until the very last lap only to get passed by Beaubier, who won his second race on the day – this time by .620 of a second.
Beaubier’s two wins were his fourth and fifth of the season and the 58th and 59th of his AMA Superbike career. The two wins came a day after he crashed out of race one on the opening lap after Cameron Petersen crashed in front of him, leaving him nowhere to go.
Herrin, who is still nursing the injuries suffered in his Q2 crash at Ridge Motorsports Park two weeks ago, was third and second in the two races on Sunday.
Gagne, the championship points leader, was second in race one and crossed the line second in race two, as well. However, he was given a two-second penalty for exceeding track limits and that penalty dropped him to third behind Herrin.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante continues to prove that he’s now a Medallia Superbike front runner as he scored two fourth-place finishes on Sunday, beating Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Cameron Petersen in both races by 7.9 and 1.4 seconds, respectively.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz had a weekend to forget as he finished sixth and eighth in the two Sunday races.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen couldn’t match his podium finish from Saturday on Sunday as mechanical problems knocked him out of race two prior to him finishing sixth in race three.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch, meanwhile, had a weekend he will always remember as he concluded his factory Suzuki debut weekend with eighth- and seventh-place finishes a day after finishing fifth.
The third of the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RRs was ridden to seventh and ninth in Sunday’s two races by Corey Alexander.
Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim had a busy day with two Superbike races and a Mission King Of The Baggers race and he was ninth and 10th in the two Superbike races.
After five rounds and 11 races, Gagne and Beaubier each have five wins, but Gagne has a 34-point lead on his former teammate, 217-183. Herrin, with one victory on the year, is third with 178 points. Escalante and his 127 points are eight better than Scholtz, who slips to fifth in the championship points chase.
Cameron Beaubier – Winner
“They were both tough in their own way. I think this afternoon I was struggling more than I did earlier today. I felt like when I could put my head down earlier today my bike was working really good and I felt hooked up. Here this afternoon, I felt like every time I tried to put my head down, even when Josh (Herrin) would pull me in a little bit and I would try to get back to him in the next section, the rear end would come around on the entry. That’s not very confidence inspiring. Especially down Rainey, the rear end was coming around and I hadn’t really had that all weekend, other than when the track was really green. I’m not sure why. I think obviously that’s the hottest the track temp has been for us all week, so maybe that’s a little bit has to do with it. Anyway, Josh rode incredible. He was so good on the brakes. I was kind of like earlier today, I was sniffing here and there, but I couldn’t really commit to anything. I saw his tire starting to shred and I was able to get out of the second-to-last corner before the last corner a little bit better than him. So, I was trying to make that work where he passed me earlier in the race. After that, I just put my head down. I saw my gap just shrinking. I knew Jake (Gagne) was coming and I really didn’t want to be in second with Jake behind me going into the last lap. So, today was an amazing day. After a really tough day yesterday, and just shout out to the Tytlers guys. Good to wrap it up good here.”
Josh Herrin – Second Place
“I knew he (Beaubier) had pace on me. Whenever he passed me earlier in the race, maybe four to go or something, I saw he had the pace. I knew if I wanted to win the race, I had to just get back by him and make a dogfight out of it. I kind of had a feeling that he didn’t want to risk Jake (Gagne) getting by both of us, if he had to keep battling. So, in my head I was thinking, ‘all right, he’s probably going to wait until the last lap and try to make a move.’ I was thinking in the three, four section, because I was pretty slow there. I could hear him every time coming up on me. With five to go, I was trying – like I talked about yesterday, trying third instead of second in four, but I just couldn’t make it work. Second was too slow mid-corner. He was getting me mid-corner. I just had nothing for him. So, I tried my hardest and made a huge mistake out of four. That’s when (Jake) Gagne got by me. I was worried that Richie (Escalante) was right there. I didn’t know how close anybody else was, so I just put my head down and tried my hardest to get back up to Jake, but I couldn’t do it. That was one of the funnest races that I’ve had in a long time. I was pumped to get to lead. I knew my pace wasn’t super good. I figured maybe they were battling behind me or something, but I was really happy. I’m happy with how the weekend turned out. Getting on the podium all three times, I’m stoked on that. Getting more and more comfortable on the V4. Hopefully Brainerd treats us well and we can keep fighting for the lead. We made a little bit up on Jake today, but not much, and we didn’t earn it the right way, but I’ll take it. I’ve won a championship like that before where (Josh) Hayes made a bunch of jump starts. Sometimes that’s what you got to do. I think (Ben) Bostrom won a championship in the early 2000s and he didn’t win one race. Just got to be consistent and keep trying.”