“The Scholtz Kid” got in a total of 40 laps over two days of testing at Buttonwillow. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
It was a long haul out to the West Coast for MotoAmerica Superbike team Westby Racing and its rider Mathew Scholtz, but track time is precious, especially during the winter months, and the team took full advantage of the invitation extended to them by the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing team to participate in a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow, California.
A few weeks ago, Mathew and the team participated in a “shakedown” test of sorts at Buttonwillow, but that test was mostly used to get Mathew back up to speed after not having been on the #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 since the final round of the 2022 MotoAmerica season at Barber Motorsports Park last September. Also, the team upgraded the bike’s Marelli ECU with a new firmware update, and the first task was to make sure all systems were ‘go’ with the motorcycle, the rider, and the crew.
For this latest test yesterday and the day before, Mathew and the team worked diligently on the bike’s setup as it relates to the new software. On Tuesday, Mathew was able to complete a total of 30 laps, and even though quick laptimes weren’t the ultimate goal, he did manage to go third-fastest of the seven MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike riders who participated in the test. His fastest lap of 1:42.322 was just .209 of a second behind five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion and recent FIM Moto2 competitor Cameron Beaubier, and only .839 of a second behind two-time Superbike Champion Jake Gagne, who was the fastest rider at the test.
On Wednesday, the weather became uncooperative, with temperatures in the low 40s and sleet limiting Mathew to only 10 laps around Buttonwillow Raceway. All four teams and all seven riders decided to call it a day due to the unfavorable weather conditions.
“The first day was positive for us,” Mathew said at the end of day two. “Just getting to understand and work out the new system and figure out the new added channels and the software, what’s working, where and how it affects the chassis, and just understanding the system as a whole. On day two, the weather didn’t really play into our hands. We only got about 10 laps in, so we weren’t able to try a few things that we had planned. But overall, it’s pretty clear for us to see that the new system has a lot more benefits for us and a lot more tools that we’re able to use to kind of see through some of the problems we had last year.
“I really want to say ‘thank you’ to the Westby guys. Obviously, traveling way out to the West Coast is quite a commitment for us, but it’s always good to do testing and to be around some of the other Superbike guys who we’ll be racing against. We’re looking forward to the next test that we’ll have here in a few weeks and just getting the bike closer to where we need it to be for the first round of the season at Road Atlanta. I’m very happy to be back on the bike and testing, and I think the 2023 season will be a good one for us.”
Mathew and the Westby Racing team will test again at Buttonwillow on March 22 and 23.
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