BRASELTON, Ga. (May 1) — Kyle Wyman rode his Excelsus Solutions/KWR sponsored superbike to a top-5 finish Sunday at Road Atlanta for the second round of the MotoAmerica Superbike series. Wyman bounced back from a 9th place result on Saturday to put in a career ride in Georgia.
Wyman started the Atlanta weekend on a high by finishing the day 5th fastest time overall in the qualifying practice sessions, less than a tenth off of the factory teams – a testament to the one-lap speed of the Yamaha rider.
“Friday was a bit of a bumpy start with some mechanical gremlins, but we were still able to put in a time,” Wyman said. “Friday’s sessions are important because it determines the top 12 riders who will move on to Superpole Saturday morning. Being fifth overall and the top rider after the factory teams is our goal and we were able to accomplish that.”
While the top non-factory spot was secured, Wyman had only a 30-minute session Saturday morning before Superpole to dial in a race-setup for the bike, crucial for the 21-lap races scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Wyman was able to qualify in 8th position in Superpole after a one-lap attempt on the Dunlop “Q” tire.
“We tried some things in the morning practice to see if we could make the bike better over a full race distance,” Wyman said. “In Superpole my goal was to get back on the second row of the grid again like we did at COTA. I made a mistake in my first sector of the Q tire lap and it cost me some time. We would have to settle for the third row of the grid.”
Race one saw Wyman get a good start, but an early battle caused him to lose ground and fight an even different battle – with grip in the rear tire.
“In race one I got off to a bad start and it got worse from there,” Wyman said. “From the get-go I felt unsure of the rear end. We tried a different setup for the race compared to qualifying and the bike was just really hard to ride from the first lap. We still were able to hold on to a respectable finish.”
Wyman ended race one in 9th overall, 6th in the Superbike class, 25.489 seconds off of the race winner. The KWR team went back to the drawing board to come up with setup changes for race two. A change in setting on the Evol Technology triple clamps and K-Tech suspension proved to be magic in race two, where Wyman escaped the Superstock battle and eventually finished 5th overall (and in class), only 11.081 seconds off of the race winner.
“Race two I actually got off to a horrible start again, but was able to make quick work of some guys and make good passes,” Wyman said. “After I cleared the superstock guys I was pleasantly surprised to see my pit board climbing up and the gap growing like crazy behind me. For a long time I was just a second or two off the lead group and could see all the shuffling that was happening up front.”
Wyman built up a 17-second gap over the 6th place rider by the finish, and chalked up his best ride of 2017 on the Excelsus Solutions/Lucas Oil/KWR Superbike.
“I wanted to be in the front group but my slow start didn’t do me any favors,” Wyman added. “Overall I’m super happy with the result because we made such huge progress over race one, and eclipsed my Superpole time twice during the race. My crew has been working so hard to give me a solid bike and they have done a great job. I can’t wait to continue at Virginia in a couple weeks where I know we will be strong.”
The next race takes place May 12-14, 2017 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.