Jake Gagne (1) heads to Pittsburgh International Race Complex with a 68-point lead in the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship. PJ Jacobsen (99) is hoping to continue his winning ways after scoring his first career victory in the class in Minnesota a few weeks ago. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
If this was 2021 or 2022 and Jake Gagne had a 68-point lead you could basically go ahead and hand him the number-one plate right now. But this is different. There are more dogs in the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike fight and a bad day at the office could result in a fifth or a sixth. Or worse. Finishing second or third on a bad day isn’t necessarily a thing anymore.
But still 68 points is 68 points and Jake Gagne is Jake Gagne. Catching him isn’t going to be easy. After all, he could DNF twice and still lead the championship so he is nestled into a cozy spot at the top of the standings as he aims for a third-straight Medallia Superbike Championship.
Although his 17- and 12-win seasons of 2021 and 2022 likely won’t be repeated, based on the amount of fast and consistent competition in the class, Gagne still has six wins on his scorecard and – more importantly – only one DNF. And that DNF at Road America was the only time the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing teamster has finished off the podium. In addition to the class-leading six wins, Gagne has four second-place finishes and two thirds. It all adds up to 262 points and a substantial 68-point lead as the series heads to Pittsburgh International Race Complex, August 18-20, for Superbikes At Pittsburgh Presented By Steel Commander, round seven’s triple-header Superbike weekend.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin is the rider who is the closest to Gagne even though the 2013 AMA Superbike Champion suffered his first DNF of the season a few weeks ago at Brainerd International Raceway in race two. The DNF came just a day after Herrin had put his Panigale V4 R on the podium for the ninth time in the first 12 races.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier’s hopes for a sixth MotoAmerica Superbike crown took a big hit at Brainerd with a DNF and a non-start in the two Minnesota races. Beaubier’s woes started in race one when a huge highside in the early laps left him bruised and battered. It also left him concussed and that put him on the sidelines for race two, leaving him 79 points behind Gagne in the series after his third and fourth non-point scoring races of the year.
While Beaubier’s weekend in Minnesota was one he’d like to put behind him, it’s also a weekend that his teammate PJ Jacobsen will never forget. Jacobsen earned his first MotoAmerica Superbike win on Sunday in Brainerd a day after he finished a close second to Gagne. That all added up to a 45-point weekend for the New Yorker as he moved to fourth in the title chase and an even 100 points behind Gagne.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante is the only rider in the top five in the championship to score points in every round and that level of consistency has him fifth in the title chase – 15 points behind Jacobsen and 12 ahead of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz.
Scholtz’s weekend in Minnesota was up and down with an unlucky DNF in race one followed by a third-place finish in race two that ended a five-race streak without a podium for the Westby Racing rider.
TytlersCycle Racing’s Corey Alexander is seventh in the championship after a dreadful weekend without a point scored in Brainerd. Alexander will be hopeful of getting back to the level he had climbed to prior to his misery in Minnesota.
Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim, like Escalante, has a blemish-less 2023 season going for him as far as finishing each and every race, and Brainerd featured a season-high sixth-place finish in race two.
Gagne’s out-with-injury teammate Cameron Petersen is still in the top 10 and 16 points ahead of 10th-ranked Ashton Yates and his Aftercare Scheibe Racing BMW.
Pre-Pitt Race Superbike Notes
This weekend’s MotoAmerica racing at Pittsburgh International Race Complex will feature three Medallia Superbike races and that means there are 75 points available for three wins. Pitt Race joins WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in playing host to three Superbike races in 2023. The first of the three will be held at 3:10 p.m. on Saturday with race two and race three scheduled for 12 p.m. and 3:10 p.m. on Sunday, respectively.
Defending two-time MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion Jake Gagne swept both wins in the class last year en route to his second-straight championship. Gagne beat Danilo Petrucci and Mathew Scholtz in race one before besting Scholtz and Petrucci in race two.
Jake Gagne earned pole position last year at Pitt Race with his 1:39.344, which finally broke Cameron Beaubier’s lap record from 2019. Beaubier, meanwhile, still holds the race lap record of 1:40.550 from his race-two victory in 2020.
History Lesson: Cameron Beaubier won the first MotoAmerica Superbike race held at Pitt Race in 2017 with his win in race one over Toni Elias and Roger Hayden. In race two, Beaubier suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of the rest of the 2017 season. The race-two victory went to Hayden with Elias second and Josh Hayes third.
JD Beach is the latest to get a shot at racing for the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing team in 2023 as a fill-in rider for the injured Cameron Petersen. Beach has been focusing his efforts on the American Flat Track SuperTwins Championship and he comes to Pitt Race after a two-day test with the Attack Racing team at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Beach is the all-time win leader in the MotoAmerica Supersport series with 32 victories. Beach also has a MotoAmerica Superbike win to his credit with that victory coming at VIRginia International Raceway in 2019.
MotoAmerica’s weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex will be the series’ seventh straight year after making its debut at the circuit in 2017. The 2.78-mile, 19-turn track, which was built in 2002, is a favorite of the riders, teams, and fans.
Six riders have won the 12 MotoAmerica Superbike races held at Pitt Race: Jake Gagne (4), Cameron Beaubier (3), Toni Elias (2), Roger Hayden (1), Josh Herrin (1) and Garrett Gerloff (1).
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