MONTEREY, Calif. (July 11) — Kyle Wyman battled adversity this past weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to come away with a top-5 finish at round six of the MotoAmerica Superbike championship. Wyman overcame a mechanical DNF in race one on his Motovation USA/Lucas Oil/KWR Yamaha to place 5th overall in race two.
Wyman’s Friday practice sessions were running smoothly as the KWR team worked to dial in chassis settings for the two 23-lap Superbike races, coming away with the 11th fastest time of the day.
“Friday was a bit of a struggle as we found ourselves down the order from our normal positions,” Wyman said. “We were working really hard on our race pace, trying to put a lot of laps on the tires to make the bike work well with less grip. Our K-Tech DDS Pro shock was working awesome with 20+ laps on the rear tire so we were confident in our race pace, even though we didn’t have the outright speed.”
With fast enough time to make the Superpole qualifying session, Wyman had another opportunity to take to the track on a Q-tire. A clean lap would give Wyman the ability to put in a 1:25.060, fast enough to earn 9th position on the grid, but his worst qualifying position of the season.
“I had a pretty clean lap in Superpole but since our focus Friday was on the race pace I didn’t have quite the outright speed for a one-lap charge,” Wyman said. “9th is still on the third row of the grid however so it’s not too bad of a place to start.”
Wyman fought through
the field off the start to find himself in 4th position overall by lap five, and settled in behind the factory bikes. As the laps wound down the bike started losing horsepower up the steep hills of the Laguna Seca circuit, eventually causing Wyman to pull the bike in the pits and avoid any catastrophic damage to the motor.
“I was really happy to have the consistently fast pace we were running, but even in the early stages I could tell our motor was getting weaker by the lap,” Wyman said. “I was just hoping that it could finish the race for us, but by about lap 15 I started hearing noises and the bike wouldn’t rev over 13,000 RPMs. At that point I made the decision to pull the bike into the pits and try to avoid complete disaster, like we have had too many times this year.”
With a spare motor on hand, the KWR crew put in the time to swap motors Saturday night, in hopes of better fortune in Sunday’s race two. With some setup changes and a fresh engine in the bike, Wyman would have another opportunity to challenge the factory machines.
Another great start to race two and Wyman found himself in 5th position, just off the back of the lead group. Wyman followed 4-time Superbike champion Josh Hayes for the opening laps of the race until a near-crash almost put him on the ground. A solid ride thereafter would secure another 5th place position in class and overall, putting the entire Superstock 1000 field behind him once again.
“I had another really good start in race two and got to settle in behind Josh (Hayes) for awhile,” Wyman said. “It was a great learning experience and I felt comfortable running with him. I thought I would be able to have the pace to stay with him for the entire race, but I had a huge moment at the top of the corkscrew that cost me some time. The front tire folded and I just about crashed, feet off the pegs, somehow gathered it back up. From there I lost a second or two to Josh and just tried to run as consistent and fast as I could. I’ll take another top-5 as we head into the break, and I know our time at the front will come soon.”
The MotoAmerica series will return to action in five weeks time at Sonoma Raceway in Napa Valley, California August 11-13, 2017. In the mean time, stay tuned for news and announcements in the coming weeks.
For more information about Motovation USA, visit www.motovationusa.com