After an eventful final qualifying that saw him fail to complete a lap when a mechanical problem derailed his session, Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne hung on to pole position for this weekend’s two MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike races at Circuit of The Americas by just .034 of a second.
When all was said and done after the opening day for the premier class of the Auto Parts 4 Less MotoAmerica Championship, it was Gagne at the top of the heap by virtue of his 2:08.450 lap on a sunny Friday afternoon in Texas. But it was oh so close with Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz second and just .034 of a second from snatching pole from Gagne, who was already out of his leathers and back at his team’s transporter.
The front row will be completed by Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci, the Italian making his MotoAmerica debut at COTA this weekend in impressive fashion. Petrucci was on a flying final lap in an effort to grab pole but ran wide and failed to improve his best of 2:08.788.
Row two for the pair of Medallia Superbikes will be led by Gagne’s new teammate Cameron Petersen, the South African also suffering a mechanical failure on his Yamaha YZF-R1 after just two laps of the final session. Fortunately, Petersen’s best from Q1 was good enough to put him fourth on the grid. The final rider to lap in the 2:09s was Tytler’s Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera, the Spaniard riding the team’s new BMW to a 2:09.999. Barbera’s teammate PJ Jacobsen will start from sixth on the grid in his return to racing action after a year-and-a-half sabbatical.
The pair of Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzukis were seventh and eighth, respectively, with Jake Lewis just a 10th of a second quicker than his Superbike rookie teammate Richie Escalante. Disrupt Racing Suzuki’s Hayden Gillim was ninth with ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony rounding out the top 10 qualifiers.
“It’s been an interesting day,” Gagne said. “We had a little mishap in this last qualifying a few minutes ago and I think we’re still on pole, but I know it’s close. I know those guys are going and we’re at the front for tomorrow and it will be some good racing. I’m looking forward to getting the year kicked off. I’m good to go. We’ve got it sorted out and we’ll be ready to go and ready to race tomorrow.”
Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 2:08.450Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) 2:08.484Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 2:08.788Cameron Petersen (Yamaha) 2:09.724Hector Barbera (BMW) 2:09.999PJ Jacobsen (BMW) 2:10.250Jake Lewis (Suzuki) 2:10.308Richie Escalante (Suzuki) 2:10.474Hayden Gillim (Suzuki) 2:11.705David Anthony (Suzuki) 2:12.303
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