All season long, Jake Gagne hasn’t wanted to talk about championship points. Today, at Barber Motorsports Park, he didn’t seem to mind. It’s amazing what a 13-point lead going into the final race of the year will do.
After earning pole position this morning with a new lap record, Gagne did what Gagne does in the race. He took off at the start and was never headed, flanked initially by his wingman on the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha team Cameron Petersen and ultimately followed home by Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz.
At the end of 20 laps of the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park, Gagne had his 12th win of the season and the 29th of his AMA Superbike career by 5.43 seconds over Scholtz. Scholtz had been on the move early, chasing Petersen until his fellow South African crashed on the sixth lap. From there, Scholtz went into points-scoring mode as those two will battle for third in the championship in tomorrow’s finale with only four points separating them. Petersen, meanwhile, remounted and scored seven valuable points for finishing ninth.
Gagne’s run to the championship tomorrow was originally made easier with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci struggling with a fourth-place finish after being stung with a jump-start penalty of five seconds. The penalty, however, was later overturned on appeal by Petrucci’s team and overturned at roughly 6:30 p.m., giving Petrucci third on the day.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen was originally credited with third place but the change in the official results moved him back a spot to fourth.
While Gagne pocketed 25 points for winning, Petrucci earned 16 points for finishing third. That gives Gagne a 13-point advantage going into Sunday’s final race of the year.
Fifth place on Saturday went to Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera, giving the BMW team two riders in the top five. Barbera was some nine seconds ahead of the Hayden Gillim/Jake Lewis scrap for sixth.
That spot went to Disrupt Racing’s Gillim over fellow Kentuckian Lewis and his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki by just .059 of a second.
Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander, Petersen and ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony rounded out the top-five finishers.
After 19 of 20 Medallia Superbike races, Gagne leads Petrucci, 356-343, with Petersen third on 279 points. Scholtz is four points behind with 275 and Barbera rounds out the top five with 184 points.
With just one round remaining in the Superbike Cup for racers using Stock 1000-spec motorcycles in the Superbike races, Danilo Lewis leads Altus Motorsports’ Brandon Paasch by six points with Paasch winning today’s race-within-a-race while Lewis finished second.
Superbike Race One
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
- Hector Barbera (BMW)
- Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
- Corey Alexander (BMW)
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
- David Anthony (Suzuki)
Jake Gagne – Winner
“It did (go to plan). Obviously, I keep saying it, but I knew if we could get a win today – I knew these Yamahas were going good. I knew PJ (Jacobsen) was going good. I knew if we could get a little bit of a points spread, everybody would sleep a little bit easier tonight. I’m glad. I think you mentioned, we got a 16-point lead going into tomorrow, so that makes life a little easier. But anything can still happen. It’s still racing. But I got off to a good start. Made one big mistake up over the hill. Almost ran off the track. Then I could see my pit board and I knew Cam (Petersen) was in second. Then he kind of charged back to me. Then all of a sudden, I had that two-second gap, so I saw that he wasn’t on the big screen anymore so he must have went down, which was a bummer. Hats off to Mat (Scholtz) and PJ. These guys both did me a little bit of a favor today and got me some points. Like I said, I think we’ll sleep a little easier tonight knowing we’ve got 16 points (now 13 points). But anything can still happen. It could rain. It’s motorcycle racing. We’ve just got to try to do the same thing tomorrow and get off to a good start, avoid any drama and try to bring this thing home for the team.”
Mathew Scholtz – Second Place
“I think it was coming to corner two. I think Cam (Petersen) was just maybe charging in slightly harder than he had been and just lost the front. I had a very similar moment in the second-to-last corner. I think it was just so hot out there on the track that the front tire was just skidding. It just didn’t seem to want to hook up and turn. It was kind of pushing the front. I felt in the first two or three laps, I must have folded the front at almost every single corner. I was at my limit trying to hold onto Jake (Gagne) and Cam. Once I saw Cameron crash out, it seemed like a pretty small crash. I hope he’s doing good. But I know that I’m battling Cam for third in the championship. I was only about 20 points back, so from then, I kind of knew that if I wanted to try to catch up to Jake I would have had to ride over my head and I just wasn’t willing to do that, knowing the circumstance that Cam had crashed out and I could maybe clinch third in the championship still. So, just kind of went into salvation mode from there. One more time, hats off to Jake. He’s fighting for a championship, and he was out there flying in the first couple laps, showing us how to do things. All the credit goes to him. Well done to PJ. I know that bike is a handful to ride, and he’s doing great. Hopefully tomorrow just try to be up on the box one more time.”
PJ Jacobsen – Third Place (prior to the overturned penalty)
“I really didn’t know (that Danilo Petrucci had been penalized). I saw they had a board out, and I thought I saw nine (Danilo Petrucci). I couldn’t really tell. I didn’t really know, to be honest with you. Then at the end of the race when I looked up at the board, I saw my number was third. I made a huge mistake in the beginning of the race and almost highsided myself in the museum corner. Went almost to the inside of the grass. It just cost me the race to be in front of him fair (and square). I think I could have maybe beat him. But it is what it is. It’s racing and that’s how it is. I’m really happy for my team to get another podium and stand up here for the last MotoAmerica weekend.”