Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha’s Jake Gagne was up to his old tricks on Saturday at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The two-time defending Medallia Superbike Champion started quickly, let the others hang around for a lap or two and then rode off into the distance for his seventh win of the year and the 36th Superbike victory of his career.
The win also extended his championship lead to 83 points heading into tomorrow’s two Medallia Superbike races in the MotoAmerica Superbikes At Pittsburgh, Presented By Steel Commander triple-header.
Gagne didn’t put a wheel wrong in earning his seventh win of the year. He had Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz on his back wheel for the opening laps, but then was able to pull away and let those behind him battle for second place as he managed his tires to the best of his ability.
Second ended up going to Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier, the five-time AMA Superbike Champion bouncing back from his big crash at Brainerd International Raceway a few weeks ago. Beaubier admitted that he was struggling with confidence after the race-one crash that forced him out of race two in Minnesota.
Beaubier started slowly in the race (after qualifying sixth) before eventually fighting his way through the pack to third. He then worked around Scholtz and kept him at bay to the finish. Beaubier was 3.6 seconds behind Gagne at the end of the 17-lap race and 1.8 seconds in front of third-placed Scholtz.
Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong ended up fourth in his best Superbike race of the year. Fong, riding David Anthony’s Yamaha YZF-R1, put in a solid ride after starting from his first career Superbike pole position. Fong saved what would have been a ferocious highside midway through the race, was later penalized for cutting the chicane, and still managed to narrowly beat Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen by .4 of a second with the penalty.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin was also penalized for a chicane violation and he barely beat JD Beach, who was riding the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha in place of the injured Cameron Petersen, for sixth place.
Beach, in his first Superbike race since 2021, was seventh and some four seconds ahead of Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante. Escalante, in turn, bested his teammate Brandon Paasch by a tick over five seconds.
Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim rounded out the top 10.
Gagne now leads Herrin, 287-204, heading into tomorrow’s two races at Pitt Race with Beaubier just a point behind Herrin. Jacobsen is fourth in the title chase with 173 points, 18 more than fifth-placed Escalante.
Superbike Race One
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
- Cameron Beaubier (BMW)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
- Josh Herrin (Ducati)
- JD Beach (Yamaha)
- Richie Escalante (Suzuki)
- Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)
- Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
Jake Gagne – Winner
“Mat (Scholtz) got a great start. He kind of got the launch on me. I was expecting him to come up the inside in one. This turn one is kind of tricky. You don’t really know where to brake. It’s blind going in and you don’t want to blow it. I was plus zero on the pit board for a couple laps, or plus 0.2. Almost nothing. I could kind of hear, in the slow turns, that it sounded like a Yamaha. You can tell the difference with the way the thing sounds. Just with it being so much hotter than it had been all weekend, the track was pretty greasy the first couple laps. Then the tires dropped off a little bit more than I expected, just because of the heat. I think there was a lot of heat in the tires. Just tried to be consistent. Would have a second, two seconds, and at that point just tried to ride smooth. Even if those guys started reeling me in, I just wanted to kind of click off the laps that I could and if they came back, then that’s what happened. We made a lot of progress really with the bike from yesterday to today. Weird start yesterday. We only missed a couple laps in the first session, but still making some changes that we’ve kind of wanted to try and got a better feeling in a couple areas with the bike, so I’m pretty happy with that. But tomorrow is going to be hot, two races. I think it will be probably another 10 degrees hotter, so it will be an interesting tough couple races tomorrow, so just try to be smart and learn what we can overnight. It’ll tighten up tomorrow, I’m sure.”
Cameron Beaubier – Second Place
“You’re right. This weekend has just been kind of a slow start for me. Yesterday I wasn’t trusting the bike. I wasn’t trusting the TC. I wasn’t really throwing the thing around and riding the thing like I know how to ride. I just wasn’t riding like myself. The guys have gotten me a lot more comfortable on the bike though and just kind of rebuilding the confidence a little bit. To be honest, I’ve been doing this long enough now that I’m able to bounce back pretty quick after a crash, but that one rattled me a little bit. I felt better this morning, even though the times weren’t there. I was feeling more confident on the bike with my riding and stuff. We made a good step with the bike going into the race. I just kind of slowly worked myself into a rhythm. I was able to pick the guys off and put my head down. I had pretty good pace up until about seven to go. I thought I was going to be able to ride it home in second. Jake (Gagne) was gone. He was riding incredible. But then my gap on my pit board started coming down and coming down. I even looked over my shoulder to see who it was, and it was Matty (Scholtz) who was charging. I had to really give it a good push those last five laps to hold onto second comfortably. But we’ll definitely take this after the struggle we had yesterday and roll it into tomorrow. See how it goes.”
Mathew Scholtz – Third Place
“I think it’s one of those tracks that when you’re following somebody it’s pretty easy to kind of flow and find the corners a little bit better. Then once I lost tow on Jake (Gagne), I kind of struggled a little bit. I dropped down into the 44s quickly, which was surprising. I kind of thought I’d be able to stay in the low 43s. The track definitely seems to have lost a little bit of grip on the edge. Once Cameron Beaubier passed me, I looked back and I think there was (Bobby) Fong and Josh Herrin or PJ Jacobsen, one of them. I thought, I have to try to find something now or I’m going to finish fifth. So, I just managed to kind of start to flow slight better, pick-up speed through the middle of the corner and not worry about driving out really hard. Dropped the times to the mid-43s. Then the last lap I kind of knew Bobby Fong was there. I knew he was going to try to pass me somewhere. He passed me through the fast left coming up to the chicane. He didn’t set up wide for up, but I dived up the inside of him then and kind of pushed him over the extra bit of curb, so I knew that he would get penalized. Crossed the line fourth, but I kind of got pointed towards the parc fermé and ended up third. So, I’m pretty happy with that.”