ALTON, Va. (May 15) — Kyle Wyman rode his Excelsus Solutions/KWR sponsored superbike to two 4th place finishes in Superbike at Virginia International Raceway, and 7th and 5th places overall in race one and race two respectively this weekend.
Mother Nature brought rain to the Virginia circuit for most of the practice day Friday, the first wet sessions of the season. Wyman finished the day 2nd fastest overall after a semi-dry lap in the afternoon, just .028 of a second off the fastest time.
“Friday our goal was to find a rain setup, because it looked like it was going to stay wet for Saturday in Superpole and for race one,” Wyman said. “The rain stopped for a small window in the second session and we were able to throw on slick tires, put in a lap and it was good enough for 2nd fastest.”
Wyman’s worry of a wet Saturday would not come to fruition however, as the clouds burned off and the sun shined down on the 2.25-mile circuit. After the short 15-minute Superpole session, Wyman used his Dunlop Q-tire to secure his best qualifying result of his career, 4th overall.
“We were third fastest in the morning practice before Superpole, so my expectations were really high for qualifying,” Wyman said. “I put together a really good lap on the Q-tire, all the way until the last corner when I had a huge wheelie coming onto the front straight. It definitely cost me some time but my lap was still good enough for 4th on the grid, my best ever.”
In race one Wyman shot off the line and into the lead through turn one, leading a Superbike race for the first time in his career. On lap 7 while battling in the lead group, a small miscue put Wyman in hot into turn one, and eventually ran off the track. Battling from back in 15th place, a charge to the front would put Wyman in 7th overall, passing eight riders over the last 15 laps of the race.
“We had a really good setup on the bike for Superpole, but it proved to be a little off for the race,” Wyman said. “The front was too soft for the heavy fuel load and I was on the fork bottom every lap into turn one. That one lap I got in a little bit hot and I couldn’t stop the bike. I ran off and we lost 20-seconds just like that. From there I just charged as hard as I could to see where I could get up to. I can’t be too disappointed with 7th after making that mistake.”
After a grid penalty was assessed against another rider for race two, Wyman would be promoted to third place on the grid – his first front row start of his career. The good news would come along with some bad, as the Excelsus Solutions/KWR crew learned of a technical problem before the race that would force them to use a stock engine again, like at the first round at Circuit of the Americas.
Wyman’s front row start put him right in the lead group again in the first corner, and would hold on to the lead pack for the first 10 laps. With an underpowered engine Wyman was unable to stay on the back of them for the remainder of the race, and would settle for a 5th overall position on track – another great result.
“Race two started out really great, it was a cleaner race in the first few laps because nobody was dive-bombing each other every corner,” Wyman said. “I was able to follow the factory guys and learn a lot. Each lap I was getting killed out of the last corner though. I didn’t want to make the same mistake as race one and run off the track, so I had to settle in and ride my own race. Overall I’m super happy with how I rode and glad I could put in this result for the Excelsus Solutions team.”
The next on-track adventure for the KWR Superbike team is the official test at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, this coming Wednesday and Thursday, May 17-18, 2017. Wyman is excited to ride at the new track.
“I’m really pumped to go to Pittsburgh this week, not only because it’s exciting to go to a new track, but I feel like I’m riding well and I just want to get back on the bike right away,” Wyman said. “We have some things we should be able to sort out over the two day test, mostly, learning the track. It should be a fun couple of days with no pressure.”
The next round of the MotoAmerica championship takes place at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin June 2-4, 2017
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