Plain and simple, Jake Gagne is on roll, the defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion winning his fifth race in a row and his eighth of the year in race one today at Brainerd International Raceway.
It’s really a case of déjà vu all over again.
On a sunny and warm day in Minnesota, Gagne was Gagne. As always, the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing-backed Californian, who now calls Colorado home, led from pole position, quickly gapped his pursuers, and maintained a lead that resulted in a 5.338 margin of victory in what was the 25th AMA Superbike win of his career.
Next best to Gagne was his teammate Cameron Petersen, the South African battling with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci for much of the race. With just a few laps to go, however, Petrucci hit a false neutral and ran off track, handing second place to Petersen. By the time Petrucci got back on the black stuff, he’d lost any hope of second place, and was some six seconds behind Petersen.
Still, the Italian former MotoGP star ended up on the podium in third, his 11th podium in 13 races as he continues a season of consistent podium finishes.
Petrucci ended up 9.3 seconds ahead of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African riding with an injured left wrist after a big crash in Q2 on Saturday morning. Scholtz was in survival mode from the get-go and did well to finish fourth.
Fifth went to Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen just a second ahead of Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim with Gillim having his best Superbike finish of the season.
Aftercare Hayes Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates was seventh, three seconds behind Gillim and four seconds ahead of Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis returned to action after thumb surgery to finish ninth with ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony rounding out the top 10.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera had a rough day at the office, the Spaniard running off track on the opening lap before eventually crashing out of the race.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante was a non-starter after suffering an ankle injury in his Q2 crash on Saturday morning.
Gagne now leads the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship by 12 points over Petrucci, 240-228. Petersen is third with 195 points, 12 points better than Scholtz. Barbera remains in fifth with 122 points.
Superbike Race 1
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
- Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
- Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
- Ashton Yates (BMW)
- Corey Alexander (BMW)
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
- David Anthony (Suzuki)
Jake Gagne – Winner
“Like both these guys said, it’s just a tricky place. You can knock it back a couple percent and just try to use the littlest lean angle and things like that, but it can just bite you in weird places. I’ve had that experience from last year and in testing. I’ve had some weird, big crashes at this place in the past, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid. I got a good start. Like these guys said, even those first couple laps are a little tricky. I didn’t have any big, big moments, but from my seat I knew the rear wasn’t hooking up like it had in practice, so you just had to ride the tire a little bit differently. I’m just lucky I had a good couple clean laps and then once I had a little bit of a gap I could just ride and try not to make any mistakes. Like you said, you can’t just knock it back and ride around. You’ve really got to stay focused at this track. Some weird stuff could happen. Again, thanks to the Yamaha guys. They’re working hard. I think all of us want to try to figure out and understand how to get the tires to feel a little bit better and get a little more consistency. But it’s an interesting place. It’s tough to get that consistency and really know what the tires are going to do, until it’s too late.”
Cameron Petersen – Second Place
“Kind of same deal. There was a point where I actually even put my hand up because I thought there was something going on with the bike. I just couldn’t get into the corners. The thing was sliding everywhere. It’s actually been happening all weekend. It’s every time we put a new tire on; it’s like those first two or three laps it feels like an old tire. So, I think I was just kind of over-riding, like I have been all year, just to try and stay with Jake (Gagne). Ended up hurting me. It was an interesting race. I think we were all kind of battling with the same thing. It’s a weird surface here and the tires. With a brand-new tire, it feels like the thing has got 30 laps on it.”
Danilo Petrucci – Third Place
“No, at the end I made a mistake. The problem was that since the beginning, since the first lap, I thought I got a cold tire on the rear. Was really, really difficult to ride. Felt like got something wrong with the rear suspension or with traction control, don’t know. Now we checked the pressure and it’s really, really low the rear tire. It was much better at the end. I was pushing hard for go away from Cameron (Petersen), but I did a mistake and hit a neutral at the penultimate corner and I ran into the grass. Definitely one of the most difficult days. This morning I had a big, big crash, big highside like the all-time (biggest). It was not easy to rebuild the bike and go on. I’m so pissed off about my mistake but need to understand what happened on the bike. But definitely happy that tomorrow is another day.”