Gagne Leads The Way As Buttonwillow Test Concludes
Fresh N’ Lean Progressive Yamaha’s Jake Gagne led the two-day test at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, February 7-8. Photo by Tucker Scott.
Two days of semi-private team testing at Buttonwillow Racetrack Park ended on Wednesday with Fresh N’ Lean Progressive Yamaha’s Jake Gagne at the top of the heap for a second straight day, this time by just .69 of a second over his teammate Cameron Petersen.
Gagne’s day ended prematurely, however, with a tip-over mid-afternoon. Fortunately, the two-time MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion escaped uninjured, but opted to call it a day and start driving to his home in Colorado.
Gagne completed 21 laps on the day with his best lap a 1:41.875, which was .102 of a second faster than his best on day one.
“We made some good progress,” Gagne said. “We were here earlier with some new parts, a swingarm and some stuff so where we came from with the last test to this test, I think we made a lot of progress with the bike. I’m a lot happier leaving here then when we left the last one (test). We learned a lot. I just made a mistake and threw it off into the grass. It was my bad. My foot was kind of under the shifter, which they told me not to do, of course. I was already in there and already did my shifts, but my foot was still under the shifter, and I got a little quick shifter blip when I was leaned over and that took weight off the front. It wasn’t that fast, but I got off in the soft grass over there and caught an edge. I’m still leaving here happy. We made a lot of progress, and we were going fast easier and that’s all that matters.”
After spending the first day testing the YZF-R6 that he will race in the Daytona 200 in March, Petersen was back on his Superbike on Wednesday and he finished just off Gagne’s best with his 1:41.944 coming on his 28th of 36 laps.
“Great test,” Petersen said. “Yesterday, I was all day on the 600 so today we jumped on the big bike, and it took me a good session and a half to get used to a big bike again. We went through our whole test program, we had a bunch of stuff to test, and we ended up going faster than I’ve ever been around here other than on a qualifying tire. And it felt relatively easy, so there’s some big improvements on the motorcycle and we still have some stuff in the works. I think the bike will be even better two weeks from now when we come back. There’s nothing but smiles on my face and it gets me excited to go racing again.”
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz was third fastest on the day, the South African improving to a 1:43.602 while testing new parts on his YZF-R1.
“It was just getting used to everything really, you know,” Scholtz said. “I haven’t ridden a proper Superbike since September of last year and I wasn’t able to do much motocross this offseason. So, it was really just getting used to the bike again and getting my brain up to speed. Honestly, I wish I would have gone faster but I think for now the main thing and focus is to get all the new parts up to speed and make sure we know what we’re doing. We will pick up speed, but for now we have to focus on working to get to the point of getting a good race setup and worrying about lap times then.” MP13’s Kayla Yaakov had her second day on her YZF-R7, the youngster turning in an impressive 1:49.718. Yaakov will make her MotoAmerica REV’IT! Twins Cup debut at Daytona in March.
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