Jake Gagne (1) leads Danilo Petrucci (9), Cameron Petersen (45), PJ Jacobsen (66) and the rest of the Medallia Superbike pack on the opening lap of Saturday’s race one at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Jake Gagne earned his ninth MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike victory of the season today in the red-flag interrupted race one of the Superbikes At Pittsburgh, Presented by LaRoche Aviation Services, round at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Gagne, who earlier in the day earned pole position with a new lap record of 1:39.344 around the 2.78-mile Pittsburgh International Race Complex, led all three starts and every lap of the three portions of the race to claim the 26th win of his AMA Superbike career.
Gagne’s victory also allowed him to claw back five precious championship points on series leader Danilo Petrucci, who finished a fighting second on his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V4 R. Petrucci now leads Gagne by eight points, 273-265, with five races (including tomorrow’s race two at Pitt Race) remaining in the 2022 season.
Gagne crossed the line 2.064 seconds ahead of Petrucci at the end of the three-parter, with Petrucci was hounded to the finish line by Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen, with the three separated by just .417 of a second at the conclusion of what ended up being a five-lap sprint.
The runner-up finish was the ultra-consistent Petrucci’s 13th podium in 14 races after the Italian gave it his all in each of the restarts to try and latch on to Gagne.
Scholtz’s race to third was an adventurous one. Riding with a broken left wrist suffered at BIR three weeks ago, the South African was forced off track to avoid Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante, who made a mistake and crashed on the opening lap of the race. Scholtz had charged from well back to seventh when the first red flag was thrown on the seventh lap. Scholtz then charged through on the second restart and was battling with Petersen when another red flag was thrown. In the final portion of the race, Scholtz got the better of his countryman Petersen and the trio – Petrucci, Scholtz and Petersen, crossed the finish line in close formation.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis was a fighting fifth, 9.5 seconds behind Petersen and a tick over a second ahead of his fellow Kentuckian Hayden Gillim, who narrowly topped Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera.
Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander was eighth while Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates and ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony rounded out the top 10.
The first red flag was thrown when Ezra Beaubier’s BMW M 1000 RR suffered a mechanical failure and was parked near the side of the track. The second red flag came out when Jeremy Coffey crashed and was in an impact zone.
Other than those two, the notable non-finisher was Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen, who crashed out of the final portion of the race.
As mentioned earlier, Petrucci leads Gagne, 273-265, with Petersen third on 228. Scholtz’s 199 points and Barbera’s 142 round out the top five in the championship heading into tomorrow’s race two at Pitt Race.
Superbike Race One
Jake Gagne (Yamaha)Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)Jake Lewis (Suzuki)Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)Hector Barbera (BMW)Corey Alexander (BMW)Ashton Yates (BMW)David Anthony (Suzuki)
Jake Gagne – Winner
“Yeah, after crashing a bike, splitting that thing in half… It sucks creating all that work for Richard (Stanboli, the team owner). He gave me a bunch of crap. He told me he had to sell his car. He sent me a picture of a car at Walmart yesterday. I’m glad I got a good crew. We just put it behind us and focused on the racing. The red flags, when you’re out and you get a good start, it’s hard not to be a little frustrated when you see a red flag, but at the same time I understand someone could be hurt out there. I hope everybody is okay and got up okay. But again, three starts. I got two good starts. The third start wasn’t too good, and I could hear Danilo’s (Petrucci) Ducati. I could hear the other Yamaha, I think Cam (Petersen), up the inside. So, I had to go in there pretty deep. But the Dunlops held up good. Like Danilo said, this track when it gets this hot it gets really greasy. It’s a different track than in the morning time. I’m glad that we made a lot of progress with the bike from yesterday. I’m glad we got a couple good starts and avoided the drama. Like you said, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. The weather ain’t looking so good. I think we’ll get the opportunity to see what this place is like in the wet. I don’t think any of us have ever ridden this track in the wet, so that always makes it interesting.”
Danilo Petrucci – Second Place
“I tried my best. Since the warmup lap, I felt the track was really, really greasy. Compared to this morning, it was really, really tough. I really struggled the first part of the race, the first start. Then I really enjoyed from behind. What Jake (Gagne) is able to do on the first lap is really awesome. He let the bike slide. I tried to do the same, but he was simply faster. For two times, I tried to stay as close as possible to him, but in the middle part of the track and in the last part of the track he is a little bit faster. It’s really, really difficult to follow him. At the end, was tough because it was like a sprint race, and you never know what’s going to happen the first lap. You don’t have any space to recover any mistakes. We definitely missed some traction. The problem we have all the year, but let’s see. We are still there, and we have to try to improve our performance.”
Mathew Scholtz – Third Place “I think when the second red flag came out, I started thinking about my wrist more. It just started hurting slightly more. To be honest, when I was out there riding, I didn’t really feel it too much. So, I can’t really complain and say it was my wrist’s fault. It was definitely just getting pushed off into the third corner on the first start. The second start, I got up to fourth. Caught up to Cam (Petersen). I felt good then. Third on the restart. Obviously, there were only five laps. I got stuck behind PJ (Jacobsen) in the first one. Reeled in Cam and passed him and kind of managed to kind of get behind Danilo, which was really good. I think we showed that on the older tires, we have some serious pace. Just hopefully tomorrow’s race we can be there early on.”
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