AUSTIN, Texas (Apr. 24) — The KWR team competed in the first two races of the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike series this past weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Kyle Wyman battled through adversity on his Motovation USA/Lucas Oil #33 Yamaha to collect valuable championship points in the first round.
The weekend started with a 45-minute qualifying practice session on Thursday that was cut short for the team due to mechanical issues on the KWR Superbike. Wyman only made one flying lap in what would have been the longest session of the event, and the team was forced to use a completely stock motor for the balance of the weekend.
Friday would host a 30-minute session that determines the grid for 13th place on back, and moves the twelve fastest riders on to Superpole. Without a fast time from Thursday, it was crucial to put in a top-12 laptime and secure a spot to run for pole. Wyman lapped the COTA circuit in 2:11.126, good enough for 8th fastest in the session and a punched ticket to Superpole.
In Superpole Wyman made good use of the Dunlop one-lap qualifying tire, or “Q” Tire, and lapped the COTA circuit in 2:09.788 – nearly a second faster than his previous best time at the official test in March. Despite the stock engine, the time was good enough for a second row start on the grid, 6th place overall.
“I’m happy with the way we’ve responded to our setback on Thursday,” Wyman said after Superpole. “Starting the season with a mechanical and missing the entire first day of riding is never how you want to come out of the gate. We didn’t panic, threw in the motor we had on the truck and it was good enough to get in the 2:09’s at COTA, which has been the target all along.”
With a strong showing in qualifying, race one started off with a great start by Wyman as he became the fourth rider in a pack of six that were breaking away from the field. An unfortunate mistake by him ended his race on lap two after clipping a curb, crashing and collecting Josh Hayes in the incident.
“That part of the race track you can kind of shortcut the curb and gain some time,” Wyman said. “This time I took the risk and just barely lost the front, got caught up with the bike and it dragged me to the wall. It was a long crash, I almost saved it. I feel lucky to have come away relatively unscathed.”
After a slim escape from major injury and a good night of sleep, Wyman climbed back on his Motovation USA/Lucas Oil Superbike for Sunday’s race two with another shot at a podium result. Another good launch off the line put Wyman in an intense battle for 6th place, but the same battle with fellow riders slowed his pace and he would have to settle for 9th overall, and 6th in Superbike.
“You never want to finish lower than you qualify, but today I was happy to come away with ninth overall,” Wyman added. “It was important for our team to leave COTA with some points on the board. Last year we left here with zero points, two DNF’s. This time we have something to show for our efforts. After pulling a stock motor out of the truck and enduring a crash in the first race, I’m happy to have battled where we did. We got some great exposure for our local sponsor Motovation USA, and finished the weekend on a relatively high note.”
The MotoAmerica Superbike season heads straight to Road Atlanta this weekend for the second round of the championship, and Wyman is confident that the preparation of his team will show in the way of good finishes at the Georgia round.
“Overall this has still been the strongest start to a season I’ve ever had,” said Wyman, the second-year Superbike rider. “I feel like we have untapped potential in the bike and in myself. I look forward to recovering these next couple days and bringing a strong effort into Atlanta.”
Visit www.motovationusa.com for all your parts and accessories needs!
Stay tuned for a title-sponsor announcement for the Road Atlanta round in the coming days.