SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 15) — The KWR team fought hard at Sonoma Raceway this past weekend for the seventh round of the MotoAmerica Superbike championship. Kyle Wyman finished 5th and 8th in races one and two respectively on his Décor Brilliance/Lucas Oil/KWR Yamaha YZF-R1.
Having only ridden the Harley-Davidson XR1200 at Sonoma five years prior in the 2012 season, the task for Wyman was to re-familiarize himself with the undulating Napa Valley circuit on the powerful Yamaha superbike. Wyman was able to slot in the 8th fastest time of Friday qualifying, securing his spot in Superpole once again.
“Learning the track over again was an extremely difficult task,” Wyman said. “I don’t typically like to approach any race track differently, as it’s the same for everyone, but I struggled particularly on Friday. We were on the bubble for most of the day, 12th and 13th, but then I was able to put in one flyer at the end of the last session to get into Superpole.”
“We needed superpole,” Wyman added. “I needed every lap I could get and that extra 15 minutes was going to be huge for me Saturday before race time.”
Wyman qualified 11th overall in Superpole, yet another worst qualifying result of the season after his 9th at Laguna Seca. With the team still struggling to find the setup in the bike to deal with the bumpy track, race one was a gamble in settings and gearing as well. Wyman ultimately finished 8th overall, 5th in class after learning the changed motorcycle in the opening laps.
“We reverted back to a gearing that we started on early on Friday,” Wyman said. “Because of that, I had to be a lot more focused on getting into the right gears the first few laps of the race. Ultimately it was the best choice, but the beginning of the race was difficult. I settled into a rhythm but I couldn’t hold on to the front group.”
Wyman picked off a few more Superbikes toward the end of the race to find himself 5th in class. As for race two, Sunday morning started with a 15-minute warm up session that allowed the KWR team to try some even more different settings on the Décor Brilliance R1. Stiffer springs in the K-Tech Forksand Shock to deal with the g-forces created at Sonoma were put into the bike and gave Wyman a better feeling for race two.
“Sunday morning was better,” Wyman said. “I felt more comfortable on the bike, even if the lap times didn’t get a whole lot better. I felt confident that we would have a better bike to go 22 laps.”
Wyman got off to a better start in race two, with the front group just in front of him and a gap building behind him to the riders he battled with the day before. Wyman’s pace fell off however, as he struggled with arm pump and weakness in his throttle hand. He dropped back to 12th overall, 8th in class – for his worst finish of the season aside from his DNF at Circuit of the Americas.
“It’s on me,” Wyman said. “I don’t know if I missed on my diet Sunday, or what, but my right arm gave up on me about a third of the way through the race. It’s tough to deal with and makes for a miserable time on track, but I’m most bummed because I felt like I had the best bike underneath me of the whole weekend. For me to be the weak link in the equation this time around was a bummer but I know what needs to happen to prevent it in the future. I want to thank the Décor Brilliance/KWR team for sticking behind me and holding up their end of the deal this week.”
As for the final three rounds of the season that are fast approaching, Wyman is supremely confident that him and the KWR team will find their early-season form at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, where the series heads to next. Wyman was 3rd fastest overall at the official Dunlop test at Pittsburgh back in May. The last two rounds, at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Barber Motorsports Park, are tracks where Wyman has excelled in the past by scoring race wins in the Harley-Davidson XR1200 series.
“Sonoma is behind us now, and I’m looking forward to the next few tracks that I have had some great success at in the past,” Wyman said. “Pittsburgh is going to be a fun event, due to it being the first ever professional Superbike race at that facility, and I love that track. From there Jersey and Barber are also places that I love. I look forward to capping off the season on a high note and continuing to chase those boys up front.”
The MotoAmerica series heads to Pittsburgh International Race Complex August 25-27, 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