Danilo Petrucci won his fourth MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike race of the year, taking over the championship points lead from Jake Gagne in the process at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday. Gagne crashed out of the lead. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Just when everything was rolling along nicely for Jake Gagne, and he looked to be on his way to a ninth MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike win of the year, his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing YZF-R1 was cartwheeling down the racetrack at Brainerd International Raceway, destroying itself more and more with every bounce. Fortunately, Gagne escaped uninjured, but his championship points lead took a hit.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci was the rider to pick up the pieces when Gagne crashed, and the Italian reaped the rewards for it. With his fourth win of the season, and his first since Road Atlanta in April, Petrucci moves back to the top of the championship point standings, 253-240, with three rounds and six races remaining.
Petrucci and Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen did a better job of putting in quick laps early to keep the pressure on Gagne and, despite a mistake when he was within two seconds, Petrucci was keeping that pressure on when the defending champion crashed. Ironically, Petrucci said after the race that he was about to throw in the towel on trying to keep the pace on the very same lap that Gagne crashed.
With Gagne down and out, Petrucci finished 7.1 seconds ahead of Petersen with the South African earning his 11th podium of the year and his seventh in a row.
PJ Jacobsen matched his best finish of the year with his second podium of the season on the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR, the New Yorker finishing third some 10 seconds behind Petersen.
Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim was fifth on his Suzuki GSX-R1000, 3.6 seconds ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera. Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates continued his quietly impressive season with sixth at Brainerd, eight seconds ahead of Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis.
Cycle World/Octane/Chuckwalla Racing’s Andrew Lee put in a solid ride as the replacement for the injured Michael Gilbert to finish eighth.
Altus Motorsports’ Brandon Paasch and Triple M’s Jeremy Coffey rounded out the top 10 finishers.
In addition to Gagne, Max Flinders and Ezra Beaubier also crashed out of the race. Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, meanwhile, opted not to race with the wrist injury he suffered on Saturday morning.
Petrucci’s championship lead is now 13 points over Gagne, 253-240. Petersen is third with 215 points with Scholtz fourth on 183 points. Barbera remains fifth with 133 points.
Superbike Race 2
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)PJ Jacobsen (BMW)Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)Hector Barbera (BMW)Ashton Yates (BMW)Jake Lewis (Suzuki)Andrew Lee (Suzuki)Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)Jeremy Coffey (Suzuki)
Danilo Petrucci – Winner
“Yesterday was a tough one. I tried the first lap to stay as close as I can to Jake (Gagne), but I almost crashed, like in the practice. I was able to hold the bike but with my feet. I couldn’t turn here, and I ran wide in the corner later, so also Cam (Petersen) came past me. Then I was able to pass him again. I tried to push, but same mistake as yesterday. Hit the neutral on the penultimate corner and then Jake made a gap. Then I start to push. I said, ‘I have nothing to lose. I’m behind him in the championship, behind him in this race. So, I need to try.’ The moment I said, ‘okay, he went away again.’ Unfortunately, he crashed. I’m sorry for him. I hope he is okay. That’s racing. The championship is definitely still open. I must be true. Jake in this moment is a bit faster than us, but on the pace, I think he was a bit of tenths faster. Then we made a massive change on the bike from yesterday, and we didn’t have the chance to try this morning. As I told you, I have nothing to lose at this point. I never look at the points. I know Jake is faster, but I need to stay in front of him because we cannot make any calculation with him. He’s always first, and you need to beat him. Congrats to these guys and thanks to my team.”
Cameron Petersen – Second Place
“Yeah, it was a tough one today. It was for sure better in those first couple laps. I felt like both mine and Danilo’s (Petrucci) pace was a little bit better those first few laps. But I just didn’t have the same feel. I think on average I was almost a second a lap slower. After the tires went off, I think I was on average close to a second a lap slower than what I was doing yesterday. So, just a big struggle today. I hit a couple false neutrals going into turn nine, which kind of hurt me. Then I just started riding tight and just wasn’t riding like I was yesterday. So, pretty upset with the way I rode today. It’s nothing that the team did, nothing with the bike. It was just pretty much all on me. Congrats to Danilo on another win. Bummer my teammate crashed out on that one. He obviously had the gap and kind of seemed like he had it in the bag, but that’s racing. Looking forward to Pittsburgh. It should be good.”
PJ Jacobsen – Third Place
“We did some electronics with the chassis last night, so we made some improvements from yesterday. This is my first time here racing. The bike was working a lot better during the beginning of the race. I was able to stay with them for a few laps. And then I saw Cam (Petersen), but he had a different pace. I just tried to stay there and then I got into my own rhythm, and I was trying to just maintain what I could. So, that’s really all I could do today with the BMW. Hopefully, we can just keep on improving and maybe get some more help and stuff like that to get a better direction to get more towards the front. Once the tire kind of goes off, the BMW is very aggressive. It seems like it doesn’t like it. The thing is a monster to ride around. Just try to calm it down a little bit. This race today, it felt like the bike was a bit calmer for me, so it was easier to ride. We still have to make a lot of steps to be able to go in the direction of these guys to even stay more laps before we fall off and just keep making steps like that. That’s really the best we could do. I think the team is doing a good job for their first year in the series.”
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