What The Teams Said: Saturday From Pitt Race

Mathew Scholtz finished third in Saturday’s HONOS Superbike race from Pitt Race.

The following is from Westby Racing…

Westby Racing’s Superbike rider Mathew Scholtz is making quite a habit of standing on the podium during the 2021 MotoAmerica Championship. On Saturday at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, Mathew recorded not only his ninth podium result of the season, but it was also his fifth top-three finish in a row. What’s more, he has only finished outside the top five in one of the 13th races thus far. That’s consistency.

Saturday’s third-place finish was also the result of toughness and determination as Mathew withstood the physicality of fighting for track position. Undeterred by the incidents, Mathew stayed in the race, maintained his position, and completed an all-Yamaha podium.

“I got off to a pretty decent start,” Mathew said. “I was behind Jake (Gagne). I was thinking about diving him, but in corner one the outside of the track comes up quickly. So, if you kind of over-try to slide there, you’ll end up running off. So, I was a little bit worried about that. I was going to try to maybe slipstream Jake and get him up into corner three, but Toni (Elias) passed us, and I had to check up slightly. I kind of just thought from there, let me tag onto these boys. They had a pretty decent pace. Going from corner three into corner four, (Loris) Baz T-boned me. We both lost time. Out of the seat going down into corner five again I broke so late. Got to the apex, knee on the floor. The guy just kind of T-boned me a little bit. Kind of shuffled me back. I kind of caught up to Cameron (Petersen) and chilled with him for a couple of laps then managed to pass Cam, I forget which corner. I could see Toni was a couple seconds up, and I really thought I was going to catch him, but it just seemed that if I pushed harder, I just kept on getting kicked out of the seat, almost losing the front. We have to go back and try to figure out why I wasn’t able to drop down to those practice times.

“Otherwise, I’m pretty happy to be back up here. It’s nice to obviously gain points in the championship over the guys in third, which is positive for us, but I’m not really too happy because we weren’t doing the lap times that we should have been, and it was just a difficult race. But overall, I’m taking the positives and looking forward to the second race.”

Ed Sullivan, Westby Racing Crew Chief said, “While today’s race was a bit disappointing, especially considering how close we were during practice and qualifying, we have to look at the big picture and take the positives. We were on the box, and we scored solid points in the championship. We have work to do tonight, but I am confident that Mathew will come back even stronger tomorrow.”

Chuck Giacchetto, Westby Racing Team Manager, added, “We certainly had an exciting opening lap in race one today, and hungry riders all fighting for position makes it even more exciting. That being said, I feel that tomorrow’s race will suit Mathew and his R1 Superbike even better. And, even though they finished P3 today, Mathew and the team are even more motivated to make their mark in race two. I would encourage the fans to watch the action any way they can because I promise it will be a barn-burner.”

Sunday’s Superbike race two is at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), as well as streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.

In Saturday’s Junior Cup race, Jack started from the inside of the third row in seventh and moved up to sixth on the opening lap. He dropped back to seventh again on lap two, but then, he put himself back into sixth for most of the remaining laps. Unfortunately, on the final run to the checkered flag, he lost one position and ended the 11-lap race back in seventh place where he started.

Sunday’s Junior Cup race two is at 3 p.m. ET and will be streamed on MotoAmerica Live+, as well as broadcast via tape-delay on FS2 this Tuesday, August 17, beginning at 5 p.m. ET.

Sean Dylan Kelly finished second in Saturday’s Supersport race.

The following is from Team Hammer…

Team Hammer earned the podium again as the 2021 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship resumed at Pittsburgh International Race Complex on Saturday. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly scored Team Hammer’s 320th AMA Pro/MotoAmerica podium with a fighting runner-up finish in the day’s MotoAmerica Supersport contest. 

Kelly, who entered the weekend with a six-race win streak and opened the day’s race from pole, led from the start aboard his Suzuki GSX-R600 racebike. The Floridian held strong there until finally being overtaken by his rival with two and a half laps remaining. ‘SDK’ executed an immediate counter to reclaim the lead at the start of the penultimate lap but was ultimately displaced to second by 0.144 seconds at the checkered flag. Kelly remained upbeat after the race after gaining valuable MotoAmerica Supersport championship points. Suzuki-mounted Kelly now leads by a 56-point margin after the first race day in Pennsylvania.

Now boasting nine wins and three seconds in 13 races, SDK said, “That was definitely a great race. We have to be happy to still be fighting like this in this stage of the championship. Honestly, it was a good race. I wasn’t able to see where he was stronger than me throughout the race, so I just tried to stay as close as I could. I tried to prepare a pass, but cut the curb a little too much and had a moment. I lost my chance to fight in the last few corners, but it’s okay. To be that close is super important. “We have some homework to do. I know some things we can do to improve for tomorrow, both with the bike and with myself. Like always, we’re going to keep on working. I have to give another huge thank you to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team.” 

Meanwhile, teammate Sam Lochoff found himself embroiled in a four-rider fight for the final spot on the Supersport podium. Starting from sixth, the South African quickly worked his way up to third, where he would stay until mid-distance. Lochoff ran off at the chicane and was pushed down to sixth late but made a final-lap maneuver to secure a top-five result at the checkered flag. 

MotoAmerica Superbike ace and fellow South African Cameron Petersen did one better than his countryman in the subsequent premier-class clash. Petersen made an aggressive pass on his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R early in the race to sneak into third. After some jockeying, he finally arrived in fourth on lap 7, which is where he would remain until the end. 

Teammate Bobby Fong made the best of a race day marred by some serious misfortune. Slated to line up alongside Petersen on the second row, Fong was forced to return to pitlane following the warm-up lap due to a malfunctioning aftermarket remote brake adjuster. After some quick adjustments by his crew, the Californian returned to the fray well back of the field. Nevertheless, Fong not only used the race as an extended test session, he picked up some valuable points by gaining nearly 20 positions en route to an inspiring eighth-place performance.

Completing the race just behind Fong, Jake Lewis highlighted his recent form on the Team Hammer-built Altus Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R1000R by finishing first in the Superbike Cup, a designation for racers competing in the race with stock machinery. Lewis had separated from a pack that included M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Wyatt Farris (4th in Superbike Cup and 12th overall.) The MotoAmerica Superbike and Supersport contenders will be back on track on Sunday. They’ll be joined by the Stock 1000 class, which also includes a similarly impressive Team Hammer presence. Title leader Jake Lewis will open the race aboard his from pole while M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Wyatt Farris will look to continue his strong recent form after qualifying seventh.

The following is from Yamaha…

Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne put on another masterclass performance to score a record-breaking 12th-consecutive MotoAmerica Superbike victory in Race 1 at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex. New stand-in teammate Toni Elias had a superb debut, taking second place in his first race outing on the R1.

The 2.8-mile track in Wampum, Pennsylvania, saw the story of the season continue to unfold as series leader Gagne took his seventh-straight pole position of 2021 and led every session of the weekend. The Colorado rider made a smooth getaway from the line, easing into a lead ahead of the fast-starting Elias. He then got into a groove and set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 2 with a 1:40.781. His teammate for the weekend kept him honest for the opening stint, but the points leader kept a cool head and lapped consistently quick times to cross the line with an 11.3-second margin. Gagne’s dominant victory stretched his and the series’ consecutive win record to 12 races and extended his lead in the championship to 88 points. 

Taking over for Josh Herrin, who remains sidelined with Covid-19, Elias made an early impression by qualifying fourth and never finished a session outside of the top five. At lights out, the Spaniard made the best getaway of the grid, leaping into second and keeping Gagne on his toes for the first few laps. His teammate soon lost his shadow, leaving Elias to ease away from fellow Yamaha rider Mathew Scholtz back in third to bring home an impressive second-place result in his first race for the team.

The Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team lines up tomorrow at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex for Race 2 of Round 7 of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship on Sunday, August 15.

Richard Stanboli – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team Manager

 “It has been an enjoyable weekend working with two great riders, Jake and Toni. Jake once again rode a flawless race, winning from the front, and Toni showed how easy it is to adapt to the Yamaha R1 quickly. He basically had one day to learn the bike and quickly understood what was needed to race at the front, and ultimately finished second. Tonight, we will look at the information and data we received to make the bikes better for tomorrow. We are looking forward to a repeat of our result.”

Jake Gagne – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing

“It was another great race! This R1 has worked really well all weekend, and I couldn’t be happier. I got off to a great start and just put my head down to click off the laps we wanted. Thanks again to the team, and we’ll try again tomorrow!”

Toni Elias – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing

“I’m just so happy to have the opportunity to ride with this team and on this bike that straight away put me on a podium. It wasn’t easy, and it was an intense race after some time without riding, but I could keep a decent pace. It’s a great feeling after some difficult times and people doubting me last year. Having more laps and the info that we got from Race 1 will help me for sure in Race 2. I’m looking forward to testing some new ideas tomorrow in the morning warmup to continue improving. Thanks again to the whole team for a great job!”

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