AUSTIN, Texas (Apr. 23) — Kyle Wyman and his Motovation USA/KWR team fought through adversity this past weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Wyman rode his Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike to a hard-fought 6th place in a wet race one, while a mechanical took him out of race two.
With some electrical gremlins plaguing the team, Wyman still posted the 6th fastest time overall in the first QP1 session of the weekend, a testament to the K-Tech Suspension and Gary Dean-built Superbike engines.
“As we started our weekend at COTA, I felt pretty good with the chassis and we were working on our race setup,” Wyman said. “The track was really dirty and felt a lot different than any other year we’ve raced here, so we had to adjust the bike quite a bit to the conditions.”
With a unique schedule on the COTA weekend due to sharing the venue with MotoGP, Superpole qualifying took place at the end of the first day on Friday. Wyman qualified 8th on the grid after a botched Q-tire lap, and a missed opportunity to run the second Q tire.
“As the track changed throughout the day, I began to struggle more and more with front grip,” Wyman said. “On my first qualifying lap I made a couple mistakes that cost me dearly, and I didn’t take advantage of all the grip we had on the Q-tire. After that lap I took too long to get back into pit lane, and we missed our opportunity to run a second lap. I was disappointed not to have that second chance.”
Saturday’s weather forecast looked like rain, but was dry for the majority of the day. Just five minutes before the start of the sighting lap for race one, the skies opened up and drenched the Texas circuit. All the teams scrambled to change to wet weather tires and settings. Wyman would get only two sighting laps on his Motovation USA-sponsored Superbike to see the track for the first time in the wet.
“The rain really caught us off-guard,” Wyman said. “We were prepared for it, but the radar wasn’t showing anything before the race and we were surprised to see it dump on us. Luckily we had our wet tires and rain ECU ready to go, but we didn’t have time to change the suspension due to the last minute weather event.”
Wyman got a great start and followed the front group. He rode the majority of the race in 5th place until the last few laps, where visibility issues hindered his ability to maintain quick lap times. Wyman ended the day with another solid points-scoring position in 6th place.
“The bike felt great in the wet,” Wyman said. “It was a little stiff in the mid-corner because we weren’t able to change springs in the suspension, but I was comfortable and keeping the front-four in sight. Toward the end of the race I couldn’t keep the fog down on my shield. It was my fault—I didn’t have the best prep on my 6D Helmet because it looked like we would be dry. We learned a lesson but luckily didn’t pay a huge price for it.”
With sunny skies taking over on Sunday, Wyman was looking forward to a dry race on the COTA circuit. After a great start, electrical issues creeped in early on and forced him to retire the race early.
“Obviously I’m really bummed we had these issues, and I’m more bummed that we couldn’t pinpoint what happened right away at the track,” Wyman added. “The bike felt pretty good and I was settling into a rhythm before things went south. Now that we have a week off to prepare for Virginia I know the KWR team will have things sorted and ready to go for the next one. I can’t thank the Motovation USA guys enough for supporting me through thick and thin.”
Wyman sits tied in the points standings with Jake Lewis, in 6th place overall.
The MotoAmerica series heads next to Virginia International Raceway, May 3-5, 2018. In the mean time, stay tuned for news and announcements in the coming weeks.
For more information about Motovation USA, visit www.motovationusa.com