ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Aug. 28) — Kyle Wyman and his Décor Brilliance/Lucas Oil/KWR team fought through adversity this past weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Wyman rode his Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike to 7th and 6th place class finishes in races one and two, respectively.
Expectations were high for Wyman, since posting the 3rd overall fastest time of the official test at Pitt-Race back in May. After two hour-long qualifying practice sessions, he found himself with the 8th fastest time of the day.
“As we started our weekend at Pitt, it became apparent that we were facing quite a different track than we had back in May,” Wyman said. “Half of the race track had been repaved since then, and we were really struggling for grip on the new surface. It turned out that our setup from the test wasn’t working very well this time around.”
Despite his discomfort, Wyman’s time was good enough to lock himself into Superpole. A personal best time of 1:41.633 on the Dunlop Q-tire would secure his spot in 9th for qualifying, on the third row of the grid for both 18-lap Superbike races.
That afternoon in race one, Wyman opted for the medium compound rear tire for the race, a gamble due to the new abrasive surface and many other teams choosing the harder tires. Wyman settled into a race long battle with two other riders but struggled with rear grip for the entirety of the race.
“In gambling with the softer of the two race tires, I was expecting to have really good grip in the beginning of the race compared to most of the grid,” Wyman said. “Unfortunately I experienced the opposite, and the tire never came in at all. It was bad and then stayed the same for the entire race. I was stuck in the 43’s when I knew the bike was capable of faster.”
After ending up 12th overall, and 7th in class in race one, the KWR team decided to make the best use of the Sunday morning warm-up session. Making no changes at all to the bike, Wyman put on a new tire, but in the harder compound rear. He was able to turn a lap of 1:41.889 on the same exact chassis setup as the day before, over a second faster than in race one and nearly eclipsing his Superpole time.
With high hopes for a better tire choice in race number two, the KWR team mounted a new harder option tire for the 18-lap final and sent Wyman off. A better start in the second race saw Wyman in seventh overall through the first section of the first lap, until multiple near-crash incidents cost him time and an eventual running off the track.
“On the first lap of the race I was eager to put in a hard charge to stay with the front pack,” Wyman said. “Right away the rear started stepping out on corner entry and I had one huge moment on the first lap that got me out of the seat.”
“From there I was just hanging on, but getting passed left and right. I got sucked in deep into one of the corners with the new asphalt and ended up running off the track. I thought my race, and my weekend, was essentially over and again I was stuck running in the 1:43 range of lap times.”
With Wyman back in 14th place and a small chance of recovery, it wasn’t until lap 12 that the red flag came out due to the big crash of Hayden Gillim (who ultimately escaped without injury). The red flag would allow the teams to make changes to the bike, and the field would line up again for a short 6-lap sprint race to the finish. The KWR crew made a ride height change in the rear and a small change to the K-Tech KTR-3 Forks to try to improve rear grip.
“I really had nothing to lose, and only 6 laps to find out if we could really race with the guys,” Wyman said. “Fortunately the changes we made were pretty good and I got to hang onto the front group for the six laps, and dip back into the 42’s that I knew we were capable of from the start. I’m disappointed with 7th in class, 10th overall.”
“It was a frustrating weekend but I’ve learned so much again, like Sonoma, that I know will pay dividends for me in the future. I am ready to put Pittsburgh in the past and focus squarely on New Jersey coming up in just over a week.”
The MotoAmerica series heads to New Jersey Motorsports Park September 8-10, 2017. In the mean time, stay tuned for news and announcements in the coming weeks.
For more information about Décor Brilliance, visit www.decorbrilliance.com