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Duly Noted: Road America

A 955cc Ducati, 636cc Kawasaki, 599cc Yamaha, and two 749cc Suzukis were all in it to win it in Supersport at Road America. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Random notes, comments, statistics, musings, and bits of trivia from the MotoAmerica Superbikes at Road America event:

The Balance Of Power

As we reported this past Thursday, a Technical Bulletin was released for the Supersport competitors just prior to Road America that required a firmware update and revisions to the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) settings on the Ducati Panigale V2 and Suzuki GSX-R750s. At the time, we didn’t dare to speculate about what the result would be after making the required update and revisions, but we had a pretty good notion that they were balancing measures made to level the playing field and most likely slow down the Supersport Next Generation Ducati and Suzuki.

Sunday’s Supersport race two podium consisted of winner Xavi Forés, who races a Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V2; second-place Stefano Mesa aboard a Tytlers Cycle Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R; and Tyler Scott, who finished third on his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750.

In the post-race press conference, I asked Scott if the balancing measures affected the performance of his Suzuki. He said, “It felt like we were down on power the whole weekend, for sure. On paper, it might not seem significant, but coming off of the bike at Barber, and then showing up here with the reduced power that we had, it was definitely a big difference.”

Forés also offered his opinion. “Everyone is talking about the power and the rules and everything,” he said. “I think all of us four bikes (Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha YZF-R6) are quite equal at the moment. My bike has its strong points. (Scott’s) bike has its strong points. On the social media, I read comments about the Ducati after the rules and the Suzuki 750 shouldn’t ride in this category. The rules are the rules, and we are quite equal. So, as much as we keep commenting or talking about this, I think it’s now perfect for the championship, in my opinion.”

Over And Over Like A Broken Record

Going into Road America, we expected that the newly paved surface would yield lower lap times…and did it ever. Records were broken in five of the six race classes that competed this past weekend, including Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race., Junior Cup, Supersport, Mission King Of The Baggers, and Medallia Superbike. It was a pretty big surprise that a track that favors high-horsepower motorcycles didn’t yield a new lap record in the Steel Commander Stock 1000 class. Corey Alexander’s literbike lap record of 2:13.670 set last year in Stock 1000 Q2, as well as Travis Wyman‘s race lap record of 2.14.757, also set last year, were not eclipsed.

In Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. final qualifying at Road America, Mikayla Moore‘s lap time of 2:53.880 absolutely obliterated last year’s BTR lap record by more than 11 seconds. In Junior Cup final qualifying, Fairium NGRT – Gray Area Racing‘s Rossi Moor set a new class lap record of 2:38.613. In Sunday morning warmup for Mission King Of The Baggers, Vance & Hines/Mission/Harley-Davidson rider Hayden Gillim set a new class lap record of 2:20.185, which bested the previous record-setting lap of 2:20.250 that Indian Motorcycle/Progressive/Mission Foods rider Tyler O’Hara did in Saturday’s Mission King Of The Baggers Challenge.

The Supersport class lap and race lap records were broken three times at Road America over the weekend. In Supersport race one, Tytlers Cycle Racing‘s Stefano Mesa set a new race lap record of 2:17.701 in Saturday’s race one. And then, in Sunday morning warmup, Mesa set a new class lap record of 2:17.103. In Sunday’s Supersport race two, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducatis Xavi Forés set both a new class and race lap record of 2:16.707. The speedy Spaniard didn’t hold the record for long, though, because Mesa lowered the record even more with a lap of 2:16.685, which now stands as the new Supersport class and race record.

In Medallia Superbike, records were falling like bad stock options. Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati rider Josh Herrin set a new outright track record of 2:09.111 in Saturday’s final qualifying,. Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW rider Cameron Beaubier then established a new race lap record in race two, which was 2:09.396. On Sunday, in morning warm up, Beaubier’s Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW teammate PJ Jacobsen broke Herrin’s track record from the day before and went into the record books with the fastest outright lap of 2:08.795. Finally, in Medallia Superbike race two on Sunday afternoon, Herrin wrapped up the record-smashing with a new race lap record of 2:09.025.

Imagine what’s going to happen next year when Road America is a little more seasoned, a little less abrasive, and has a little more rubber worked into the asphalt to improve grip even more. Get ready for low 2:08s and possibly even high 2:07s at Road America in 2024.

The Road America front straightaway was billiard-table smooth and hella-fast. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Tear Along The Line

Speaking of grip, over the weekend, Medallia Superbike rider Cameron Beaubier commented that the grip level on the new Road America surface was really good as long as you were on the race line. Deviate just a little bit from that race line, and the situation became pretty treacherous. He said there was little to no grip at all just a few inches or more off the race line where the aggregate was sharp-edged with hardly any rubber laid down to help the tires stick.

It’s notable that Road America only had one event on the new surface prior to the MotoAmerica Superbikes at Road America weekend. The SVRA Vintage Festival Weekend laid down a little bit of rubber on the track, but IndyCar is coming to Wisconsin in a couple of weeks, so that ought to help season the circuit and embed some grippy polymers into the asphalt.

Speed Made In America At “America’s National Park Of Speed”

The 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course at Road America produces some of the highest trap speeds that the MotoAmerica motorcycles achieve during the season. Here are the riders who achieved the highest trap speeds in their respective classes this past weekend:

Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race.: Aubrey Credaroli111.8 miles per hour – Race 2, Lap 2

Junior Cup: Bad Boys Racing Kawasaki’ s Avery Dreher121.8 miles per hour – Race 2, Lap 7 (Final Lap of Race)

Supersport: Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott – 161.7 miles per hour – Race 1, Lap 2

Mission King Of The Baggers: H-D Screamin’ Eagle‘s Kyle Wyman 161.7 miles per hour – Race 2, Lap 2

Steel Commander Stock 1000: Travis Wyman Racing‘s Travis Wyman179.4 miles per hour – Race 1, Lap 4

Medallia Superbike: Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier189.4 miles per hour – Race 1, Lap 5

There are two important takeaways from this data. First of all, Cameron Beaubier became the fastest MotoAmerica road racer in all the land with his trap speed of 189.4 miles per hour. And, second, Mission King Of The Baggers rider Kyle Wyman had the exact same highest trap speed of 161.7 miles per hour as did Supersport rider Tyler Scott.

Now, who wants to see a grudge match between Wyman aboard his H-D Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide Special and Scott in the saddle of his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750?

Taking Stock In MotoAmerica

There are a couple of Steel Commander Stock 1000 riders who maximized their opportunities at Road America. Tom Wood Powersports BMW rider Nolan Lamkin experienced the complete range of emotions in his four days in Wisconsin. Despite a blown engine, no spare engine, electrical gremlins, radiator issues, and only 15 minutes of track time out of the possible one hour and 25 minutes offered in sessions leading up to Saturday’s race one, Lamkin ran as high as third place in both literbike races. The Indianapolis native crossed the finish line in P6 in Saturday’s race one and unfortunately crashed out of race two on Sunday while battling for a podium finish.

Cody Wyman, the 2022 Junior Cup Champion, was without a ride but on-site at Road America and available. So, when Miles Thornton, who was named as the fill-in rider for the injured-but-recovering Brandon Paasch on the Altus Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R1000R, tragically got stuck at the airport in Atlanta on Thursday night and couldn’t get to Road America in time (sorry, Miles), the youngest of the Wyman brothers became the fill-in rider for the fill-in rider. Qualifying fifth on the starting grid for the weekend’s two races, Wyman finished third and on the podium in Saturday’s race one. In Sunday’s race two, he unfortunately had a false neutral on the opening lap, had to make an evasive maneuver to avoid getting into the rider ahead of him, lost the front, and crashed out of the race.

Incidentally, it was a big weekend for the entire Wyman clan with Travis and Cody finishing second and third, respectively, in race one, then Travis won race two. Kyle won Mission King Of The Baggers race one and finished on the podium in third in Mission King Of The Baggers race two.

The fans were chockablock during Sunday’s Dunlop Hot Pit Walk and Autograph Session. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

An Army Forty-Thousand Strong

The weekend attendance at Road America was 41,081, which was not only the largest crowd MotoAmerica has had to date at Road America, but it was also the largest MotoAmerica-managed event thus far, excluding events at the Circuit of The Americas when we were guests of Dorna/MotoGP and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca when we were guests of Dorna/WorldSBK.

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