What The Teams Said: VIR
Mathew Scholtz leads Cameron Petersen and Danilo Petrucci in Medallia Superbike action from VIR.
The following is from Westby Racing…
After finishing second in Saturday’s Superbike race one at VIRginia International Raceway, Mathew Scholtz and his Westby Racing team showed championship-level grit and determination in overcoming Sunday-morning adversity to finish as runner-up in the afternoon’s Superbike race two. The two second-place finishes have put Mathew just four points behind championship leader Danilo Petrucci.
Mathew benefitted this weekend from some new parts on his #11 Yamaha YZF-R1, but a crash in Sunday morning warmup made the bike unrideable in the afternoon’s race. The team went to work and prepared a replacement R1 Superbike for him to ride, but they were unable to put the new parts on the bike.
Undeterred, Mathew rose to the challenge in Superbike race two. Starting from the middle of the front row, “The Scholtz Kid” withstood a strong challenge from Petrucci, who is a former MotoGP race winner, and ultimately crossed the finish line in second place, just a little more than three seconds adrift of race winner Jake Gagne.
“I’m definitely a little tired of finishing second, but after this morning’s crash, I’ll happily take it,” commented Mathew. “The bike was totaled. We have a completely different fuel tank, which I had to get used to. And, before the race, we hadn’t done a single lap on the bigger tank with the weight over the front tire. It’s just a totally different bike. So, for the first couple of laps, I had to adapt to the different bike. Jake (Gagne) and I were pretty similar in most of the corners, but there were two or three corners where he would pull out, probably, one-and-a-half tenths just in those corners. For the rest of the track, I felt we were similar in maybe one or two corners. I would catch him by a bike length, but for the most part, where he was strong, he was a lot stronger. Just really happy to take second after battling and seeing the board with plus 0.1 for 15 laps straight and just hearing Cam’s (Petersen) bike and Danilo’s (Petrucci) bike behind me. Danilo passed me one time and kind of pushed me a little bit wide, which I wasn’t the happiest with because we were upright braking. I passed him back and started riding my own pace to make sure I got out of the corners well and got on the brakes late. I was hoping that, with braking late and kind of parking the bike, Danilo and Cam would start battling with each other and help me a little bit. A massive thank you to the Westby team. The bike was totaled this morning, so for them to bring out the second bike and put the settings on it and for me to finish second, I couldn’t be happier. To Tryg (Westby) who runs this whole team. He’s the main guy behind this whole project. He’s put his heart and soul into this team and me for the past five or six years now. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be back home waiting tables or something. I’m just living the dream here. Happy to be up here with Jake and battling with Danilo, a world-class rider. It’s just incredible stuff. I’m really happy. The next race, Road America, I have struggled there previously so we need to try to figure something out there and, hopefully, I’ll be challenging Jake.”
The Westby Racing team will be back in action for round four of the 2022 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, which takes place at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 3 through 5.
The following is from Altus Motorsports…
Hot and humid temperatures greeted the MotoAmerica racers when they arrived at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia. The weather made for greasy track conditions with everyone struggling for grip. The Altus team was no exception.
“The team had some challenges this weekend but we continue to see improvements from both Brandon and Jaret. It was great to see Justin and Kayla come back from big crashes and ride well,” said team owner George Nassaney.
Superbike Cup & Stock 1000
Brandon Paasch continues to learn on the Altus Motorsports GSX-R1000. He qualified in 9th for the Stock1000 races and finished the first race in 8th and the second race in 6th. In the Superbike races, he started both in 19th place. In the Saturday race, he crossed the finish line in 14th and was the top Superbike Cup competitor. On Sunday, he finished 16th and 3rd in the Superbike Cup.
“Not thrilled with the results or the lap times but I learned a lot. This weekend was the first time I’ve had a chance to put in a lot of laps on the 1000. I missed CoTA with injury and was still recovering and had the flu in Atlanta. You can’t tell from the results but this was a really good building weekend. I had a big step forward on Sunday. As a result, I am very positive about the rest of the season and I am looking forward to Road America,” said Brandon Paasch.
Jaret Nassaney made the move to the GSX-R750 for the VIR Round. He qualified for both Supersport races in 12th. In Race 1, the bike felt good. He spent the race moving through the pack. At the end of Lap 1, he was in 10th. By Lap 6 he was in 8th. On the 10th lap, he slotted into 6th place and ultimately finished in 5th—his best finish in the class. For Sunday, the team made some suspension changes, and, unfortunately, they were in the wrong direction. Nassaney struggled with the bike for the entire race until he suffered a crash on Lap 11 resulting in a DNF.
“VIR had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Raced my tail off to my personal best finish of a P5 in race one. Which I’m beyond stoked about. For race two we made a few changes to hopefully go faster but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. We went down in race two and weren’t able to rejoin. We live and we learn. Big thanks to my team for putting an awesome bike under me this weekend!! We are ready for battle again at Road America in just two weeks!” said Jaret Nassaney
Justin Jones struggled for grip in the hot, greasy conditions. In spite of a massive crash on Friday during the Q1 session, he qualified 17th. In the first Supersport race, he finished 19th. On Sunday, he improved and crossed the stripe in 10th place.
“It was a pretty frustrating weekend. I came to VIR confident. It’s a track I’ve gone fast at in the past and expected to be solidly in the top 10. Friday and Saturday we could not find a setup that worked. For the race on Sunday, we made some changes. It wasn’t where I wanted it but it was race-able. I managed to salvage a 10th place in the race,” said Justin Jones.
Kayla Yaakov continues to impress. Kayla started the two Junior cup races from 9th. In the Saturday race, she went with the first group and had the pace to compete for the podium until a tank slapper caused her calipers to spread and she went into a corner with no brakes. She shot off the track and into the air fence. MotoAmerica deemed her ‘fit to ride’ for Sunday and she picked up where she left off. For the entire race, she fought in the top group and led the race several times. She crossed the line in 5th but was elevated to 4th when the winner was disqualified.
“This weekend is why I love to be at the track. Our team rocks! To watch my son Jaret get his first top 5 finish was so awesome. When two of our riders had big crashes, our team pulled together to get the bikes fixed and back on the grid. Lastly, it’s fantastic to see Brandon continually improve every time he got on the track. That motivates our team to come back with more fire!” said team owner George Nassaney.
The Altus Motorsports team is supported by our great family of sponsors: Altus Motorsports, FLY Racing WPS, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Moto-D Racing, Bonamici, Hot Bodies Racing, M4 Exhausts, Vortex EK, Motion Pro, Barnett, Maxima Racing Oils, SBS Brakes, Galfer USA, Ohlins, K-Tech, RS Taichi, Arai, Law Tigers Oklahoma, and Altus Factory Racing.
Josh Herrin won the second Supersport race of the weekend at VIR on Sunday.
The following is from Ducati…
Danilo Petrucci (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC) rode through the sweltering temperatures at VIRginia International Raceway to grab some additional points and retain the MotAmerica Superbike lead.
The effort was unstoppable as the Italian started the weekend strong, qualifying fourth before finishing fourth in race one, and taking the final podium spot in race two.
This was the V4 R rider’s second time on the track, the former MotoGP rider getting up to speed quickly. He battled both days and finished Sunday’s race two 3.264 seconds behind the rider who chases him in the points, Jake Gagne (Yamaha).
Although Gagne won, Petrucci retains the lead with 104 points, four ahead of Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha).
The MotoAmerica series now breaks for two weeks before heading to Road America in Wisconsin.
Danilo Petrucci (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC – Ducati #9): “It’s been a tough weekend. Friday the V4R was feeling good, then today I tried to stay with the other riders and was able to get the V4 R into a top position. This Ducati works, and I’m looking forward to Road America.”
Josh Herrin didn’t worry about much as he took his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V2 to just outside the finish line in race one and embraced the win in race two at VIRginia International Raceway.
Under sweltering conditions, he rode his V2 to victory in the second race, obtaining yet another win. The Ducatisti grabbed the Supersport checkered flag in race two by 0.32 seconds of his old rival, Squid Hunter Yamaha’s Josh Hayes. Despite the pressure of many riders, Herrin extended his lead in the MotoAmerica Supersport Championship to 88 points, 31 ahead of Samuel Lochoff (Yamaha).
Josh Herrin (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC – Ducati #2): “The track was tough, but the Panigale V2 worked well. We went from off the podium to the winner. The V2 did its job, and I’m looking forward to the next round at Road America – the Panigale V2 will work well there just as it did in Virginia.”
The following is from 3D Motorsports…
3D Motorsports LLC riders Luke Power and Joe Mariniello had their work cut out for them this past weekend at the MotoAmerica Superbikes at Virginia round, but the Australian duo put in another good performance in their first time racing at VIRginia International Raceway.
Though the tight, twisty 2.25-mile North Course at VIR can be a challenge to learn, both riders scored at least one top-10 finish at the May 20-22 event. Despite a downer end to his weekend, Power is now eighth in the Supersport points standings. And Mariniello recovered from struggling during qualifying to finishing in the top 10 in both Junior Cup races.
Power and Mariniello had positive starts to the VIR round. Power finished Friday practice ninth-fastest and was 10th in the first of two qualifying sessions. Qualifying wrapped up Saturday morning with Power having secured ninth on the grid for the round’s two Supersport races. Mariniello struggled a little in Friday practice, finishing that session in 13th. He also was 13th when Qualifying 1 ended on Friday afternoon and had shaved about four seconds off his best lap time from practice. Mariniello was unable to set a better lap time in Saturday morning’s Qualifying 2 and had to settle for 14th on the Junior Cup starting grid.
Boyce struggled from the start of the weekend, though Shakespeare came close to qualifying for the event’s two Stock 1000 contests. Shakespeare and Boyce finished Friday practice 30th and 40th, respectively. Later Friday, Shakespeare wrapped up Qualifying 1 in 33rd and Boyce in 36th. Neither of the pair took part in Saturday morning’s Qualifying 2 session and were unable to take part in the round’s racing action.
Power had an excellent outing in Saturday’s Supersport race despite almost not being allowed to start. As the 22-rider Supersport field was lining up for the start of the race, a technical problem with Power’s motorcycle delayed the start and the team was able to correct the issue in time for Power to take part in the second warm-up lap. When the lights went out, Power got off the line well and finished the first lap in eighth place. He spent most of the race in a battle with another rider for eighth , though he was able to move up to seventh in the running order with four laps to go. A late race crash by one of the frontrunners promoted Power to sixth place, which is where he finished the race.
Mariniello struggled a little at the start of the Junior Cup contest, but he made the most of a race stoppage. The Australian got a good start but was shuffled back to 15th place on the opening lap of the race, which is where he was running when the red flag came out. He took the restart from 12th on the grid and had advanced to 10th place by the end of Lap 1. Though he fell back to 11th on Lap 3 of the shortened five-lap race, Mariniello ground out a 10th-place finish – his second top-10 result of the season.
Sunday proved to be a challenge for Power but another bright spot for Mariniello. In the Sunday Supersport race, Power got an OK start but had lost one position by the end of the first lap. He ran as high in the running order as seventh on Laps 6-8 before an on-track incident forced him to retire from the race. Mariniello didn’t get the best start in the Sunday Junior Cup race and was running as low as 16th during the first few laps. As the contest went on, Mariniello gradually found his rhythm, and attrition farther up the running order helped him clinch a ninth-place finish.
The 3D Motorsports team now has a weekend off before the next MotoAmerica round, which is slated for June 3-5 at the historic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Luke Power / No. 68
“It was a tough start to the weekend, as I was delayed in arriving from London until midnight on Friday. Saying I was tired would be a severe understatement. We made some improvements to our setup for Qualifying 2, but the field is really close this year and I ended up qualifying ninth. The bike felt really good in Race 1, and actually started feeling better as the tires started to fade. I was super happy to finish in sixth that race. For Race 2, we made another adjustment to the bike that felt brilliant during the race. I was feeling really comfortable and confident and was running in seventh when I had an off in Turn 1. All in all, I’m super happy with how the weekend went. Despite the DNF, we showed we have a lot of potential and I’m very excited to be racing at Road America next!”
Joe Mariniello / No. 88
“Overall, the weekend at VIR was an improvement from Atlanta. I’m starting to come to grips with American tracks and the Dunlop tires as I get more seat time. The 3D Motorsports team worked super hard all weekend to give me the best bike possible. We had some unlucky moments at crucial times, but that’s racing. I think we’re heading in the right direction, and I can’t thank the team enough for their efforts at VIR. Hopefully I’ll be able to repay them with some stronger results at Road America.”
3D Motorsports’ sponsors for the 2022 MotoAmerica season include Orient Express, K-Tech, BTEC Turbines, 4SR USA, Blud Lubricants, CG Law, Evol Technologies, AF1 Racing, Southern Adrenaline, M4 Exhaust, Valor Farms, Second Hand Motorsports, LS2, Motorcycle Dealer Services and DrippinWet.
The following is from Chad Lewin Racing…
Chad Lewin is fully focused on Round 3 of the MotoAmerica Supersport championship at Road America after last weekend’s second round proved challenging.
Qualifying eleventh, Lewin raced to seventeenth in Saturday’s opening race after running off track, narrowly missing a point scoring finish. He suffered a technical issue on Sunday which put him out of contention on the sighting lap before the race even began.
Chad Lewin: “Race 1 did not go well. We missed practice and Q1 and so it was Saturday before I could even really get going. I made a good start in the race and was close to the top six. I ran off track and fought my way back through the pack but sadly not far enough forward to score points. Sunday, we didn’t even get to race. We figured out our front-end issue and we set our fastest lap of the weekend in warm-up but our good engine blew and so we had to run our engine from Atlanta. Luck certainly wasn’t on our side, but we are scrambling to get two new engines built to ensure we are on the grid at Road America.”
The following is from Hayden Bicknese Racing…
Hayden Bicknese added another double top ten finish to his 2022 MotoAmerica Junior Cup results sheet in the latest round of the series at Virginia International Raceway this past weekend.
Bicknese, who has been a front runner since this year’s championship got underway a few weeks ago, was once again in the mix throughout the event at the 2.25-mile circuit affectionately known as VIR.
Third in Free Practice on Friday, the talented teen qualified fifth before finishing a respectable ninth on Saturday, a mere second from the win. He crossed the line sixth Sunday.
The results mean Hayden heads to Road America in less than a fortnight tenth overall in the standings.
Hayden Bicknese: “I felt confident after finishing P3 in opening practice and I was excited for qualifying. I struggled in Q1 but a crazy lap at the end saved me. I ended up fifth after final qualifying and was looking forward to the races. Both races were rough and for some reason I couldn’t seem to find any pace compared to Friday. We were chasing set-up and I was a little frustrated as I couldn’t hold on to the group as I had hoped. VIR is not my favorite track so to come away with two solid results at the flag gives me confidence for Road America – a track I was pretty fast at last year.”
Kayleigh Buyck won the opening round of the Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race series at VIR on Sunday.
The following is from Royal Enfield…
Nerves and emotions were high as the women of Royal Enfield’s groundbreaking Build. Train. Race. (BTR) Road Racing program took to the track at Virginia International Raceway, Sunday, May 22, for the first round of the 2022 season. For the first time, the full grid, each aboard a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 of their own unique build, took the green lights at the MotoAmerica North American Road Race Championship. Through the intense Virginia heat and humidity, and the most competitive grid BTR has ever seen, it was 30-year-old Kayleigh Buyck of Sodus, New York who emerged victorious.
Buyck not only won the final race, but topped the charts in both practice and qualifying sessions. On paper it was a flawless performance, but was anything but a runaway victory for Buyck, who also had her share of drama when she crashed in Q2. Cora Tennyson passed Buyck for the lead in the early laps of Sunday’s main race, only to end her efforts with a spectacular high-side. From there, Buyck resumed the lead, with Crystal Martinez relentless in her pursuit. Martinez finished less than a second behind at the checkered flag. Not far off was Chloe Peterson, who rounded out the overall podium.
“I still haven’t found the words to describe the thousands of feelings from our first BTR race,” said Buyck. “Being able to hold pole position all weekend even after a bad crash, and then to pull a win is a feeling I cannot describe. Being on this team, racing with 14 other amazing women who empower each other is a dream come true. We are all each others’ biggest fans and having Breeann Poland, Melissa Paris and Anne Roberts there to make this all a possibility is something I will forever be grateful for!”
Even Tennyson, who didn’t get to run the full distance, and also incurred a jump-start penalty, had some good takeaways from the weekend. “Despite how it ended, I am very proud of what I was able to accomplish before my crash,” said Tennyson. “After a jump start and falling from second to seventh, I was able to battle back to the front. All of the ladies showed tremendous effort and resilience and I’m proud to ride with them.”
Alyssa Bridges was the top finisher among the returning BTR Road Racing women, and reflected on the change from the 2021 season to the far more competitive 2022 class of racers. “This year having more people to battle with is fun,” said Bridges. “I’ve improved a lot after being brand new to this sport last season and I’m happy I get to battle a few returning teammates, as well. The rivalries, race battles and crowded grid add even more fun, and it’s a pleasure to be around even more talented personalities to learn from.”
“This weekend went about as good as we could ask for,” said Breeann Poland, Marketing and Communications Lead – Royal Enfield Americas. “The racing was incredible. These ladies went at it and really put on a great show. Every single rider improved throughout the weekend. Spirits were high throughout with great teamwork, and all the participants helped each other both on and off the track. We’re pretty thrilled with how the opening round went.”
“We unfortunately had one low point this weekend; racer Patty Paul crashed in practice and suffered a broken collarbone. We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to having her rejoin the paddock this season.
“Thank you again to all the Build. Train. Race. sponsors. We couldn’t do it without their support. And the reception from fans and the MotoAmerica paddock was more than we could ask for. We’re in for an outstanding season and we’re already looking forward to Road America in two weeks.”
The following is from Pure Attitude Racing…
Virginia International Raceway was the setting for the latest round of the 2022 MotoAmerica Championship and Pure Attitude Racing was once again on the grid in both the Twins Cup and Junior Cup classes.
Teenager Chase Black, in only his second race weekend for the team performed superbly throughout the weekend. Running strongly on the opening day before qualifying on the front row of the grid in third in Junior Cup, for the first time in his career. He finished 8th in Saturday’s opening race before taking a brilliant fifth on Sunday.
Twins Cup continues to be one of the most competitive categories in MotoAmerica this year. Armed with the latest Yamaha R7 machines and Liam MacDonald and Trevor Standish were once again in the mix for points in both races. A DNF on Saturday for Trevor was a little disappointing, the #16 bouncing back on Sunday to finish seventeenth at the flag. Macdonald raced hard, understanding how to ride the Yamaha, which is a new challenge for him, with every lap completed. He added three more points to his championship tally with a thirteenth-place finish in the Race 1 before narrowly missing a second points scoring finish on Sunday. He crossed the line P16 after a race long battle with several riders including his team mate. With more data gathered the pair look forward to another strong showing next time out at Road America.
Chase Black: “I qualified on the front row for the first time in my MotoAmerica career after a great run in qualifying. I made a good start in Saturday’s first race but after a few laps I started to lose touch with the group and ended P8. Sunday’s second race was awesome, and I had so much fun. I was much closer to the front, and I was able to make some nice moves. I saved a possible high side and that cost me a shot at the podium but when I look back at the weekend, to leave with a front row and a top six in only my second race with the team is pretty good.”
Liam MacDonald: “It was great to ride at VIR this weekend and satisfying to come away with more points in Race 1. We made a few changes especially with the geometry of the bike and it gave me much more feel. I had a big moment early on, but I managed to stay on board and bring it home in thirteenth. Sunday was a bit more difficult but nevertheless I had a great race with Trevor and a couple of other guys and whilst I just missed out on other points finish it was a good race and to beat my team mate for the first time since I came to MotoAmerica is a nice little bonus.”
Trevor Standish: “We found an issue between Q2, and the first race related to the fuelling, but we were able to resolve it. However, the problem came back on the warm up lap, and it turned out to be an issue with the clutch. I started at the back of the grid, but the problem got worse and that was the end of the race for me, so I decided to call it a day for safety reasons. On Sunday I was running well in the first start but then the red flag was thrown. In the restart I struggled with grip and fought hard with Liam and a couple of other guys, but I made a few mistakes and wasn’t able to stay with them. I closed the gap but just ran out of time. I am really bummed to leave VIR with no points, but we will go again at Road America where hopefully we will be able to further improve the bikes as we are still not at 100% yet.”
Young Tyler Scott earned two podium finishes in the Supersport class on his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.
The following is from Suzuki…
Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer enjoyed another trophy-winning performance as Round 3 of the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship concluded on Sunday at Virginia International Raceway.
For the second consecutive day, that podium was delivered by 16-year-old MotoAmerica Supersport rookie Tyler Scott. The fast-rising Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki star again battled for the win deep into the contest with a pair of premier-class champions before ultimately guiding his GSX-R750 to a third-place finish.
“The bike felt great all race,” Scott said. “We made some changes overnight and they helped, but the pace was faster today. Overall, it was a great weekend. The team has been amazing. The GSX-R750 was outstanding, and I’ll just keep working on my riding.”
Scott’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Sam Lochoff, rebounded from a chaotic Saturday to come home one spot further back in fourth. The South African did so despite suffering from a lower leg injury and the intense heat to keep his title hopes very much alive.
Lochoff said, “I’m extremely happy about the work my crew has put in on this GSX-R750. I think we’re nearly there, and we just need to do a bit of fine-tuning now. I’m sure we’re going to win some races on it this year.
“I was hurting from yesterday’s crash today, but we’re coming out swinging at Road America,” continued Lochoff.
While third Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Supersport pilot Liam Grant crashed out of contention early, Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Justin Jones made sure three Team Hammer-built GSX-Rs finished inside the top ten with a tenth-place performance.
Meanwhile, Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike teammates Richie Escalante and Jake Lewis spent the bulk of the contest embroiled in an intra-team fight for sixth position. Their battle nearly carried them to the top five, as together they, mounted on their Suzuki GSX-R1000R race bike.
In the end, rookie Escalante finished in sixth with reigning Stock 1000 champion Jake Lewis close behind in seventh.
Escalante said, “Today was much better. I started both races very well, which is important to stay close with the front group. I didn’t have the pace to go for the podium, but I raced for fifth the whole race.”
“I continue to work to adjust my riding style to help the bike work a little better, especially on corner exit. I’m really happy with the process. I’m getting closer over one lap and race distance. I’m pretty happy with that and I’ll keep working to find the next step.”
Team Hammer will be back in action at the high-speed Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 3-5.
Suzuki Motor USA would also like to recognize Hayden Gillim aboard his GSX-R1000R for taking double wins in the Stock 1000 class.
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