In place of my typical formally written press release, I wanted to give out a first-person note and update since we’ve hit the mid-season mark of MotoAmerica 2019.
The last few months of my life have been ultra busy, incredibly tasking, but unbelievably rewarding as we’ve embarked on this journey with the Ducati Panigale V4 R. I wanted to give a recap of the timeline of events for all of you as I reflect on the path we’ve taken KWR along with loyal sponsors and fans.
I made the decision to move to the Ducati brand on January 24th, 2019, and ordered two brand new Panigale V4 R motorcycles with help from Ducati North America, who made it possible to secure them in time for the season. At the time I had many supporters who were going to back our team no matter the brand –Lucas Oil, Motovation Accessories, SC Project Exhaust, Cycle Gear, Motion Proand 6D Helmetswere committed to KWR and trusted me to come up with a strong program for this year.
Excelsus Motorsports Graphic Solutions, a long-time partner of KWR with people I consider family, were a major backer going into January – they supported, and even helped push me down this path that would be considered high-risk but with potentially amazing reward.
I tasked these sponsors, as well as Taylormade Racing, Evol Technology, Superlite Sprockets, GB Racing, Core Moto, Zero Gravity Windscreens and Cox Performance — with some of the biggest challenges they would face, ever. Build brand new parts and equipment to accommodate a brand new motorcycle that none of us would see in person until less than 30 days before the first race.
Gary Dean from Speed Demon Motorcycles, Bryan Moffatt from Santa Barbara Ducati, Darin Marshall and my dad, Bob Wyman put in the long hours to help launch this program off the ground.
I want to thank each and every one of them for the literal blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice that was made to ensure we had the necessary tools to get on the race track. You guys are the heroes of this program.
On the heels of my announcement to race the new Panigale, I was able to sign on a contingent of amazing new partners for 2019 – Genuine Broaster Chicken, Lion Fuel & Tanks, Inde Motorsports Ranch, Alpinestars, JLC Concrete, Ducati Richmond, V4 Evo, Sprint Filter, Cordona Quickshifters and KATO Fastening, Inc.
This program has taken a village – but I would be foolish to leave out what was a fairytale event for us – winning the 2019 Daytona 200 with another extended family of mine, N2 Racing. They took me to Daytona to win and we took home the trophy.
A special thank you goes out to MotoOption who helped me organize and form the KW Army, our fan program that has been a wild success. We have over 130 members who are enjoying the hospitality experience at the track and it wouldn’t have been possible without the countless emails and setup it took, both at KWarmy.comand the KWR Collection at MotoOption.
We embarked on this season with a mostly stock motorcycle, and came out swinging at the first event with a 6th place finish in race one at Road Atlanta. We battled through the first two weekends at Atlanta and COTA with top 10 finishes and loads of lessons learned. We gained the support from Ducati North America, who are now backing our program with whatever they can, and I appreciate their efforts jumping in so late.
Ducati lead their first laps of a Superbike race in nearly 10 years when I dashed out to the lead at Virginia International Raceway, with a gamble of running rain tires on a drying track.
We obtained the Magneti Marelli electronics system, and were graced with the presence of a Ducati Corse engineer for testing. We’ve continued to learn and build with the system and make progress at each event.
We matched our best finish at Road America, in race two after a crash in race one. Battling closer to the front than ever, coming home with another strong 6th place finish and highlighting the potential of the Panigale V4 R.
My wife and I drove west to Utah, where we completed another two-day event weekend that was a challenge both for man and machine. We struggled with some cooling issues, a crash in race two, but I was able to finish Sunday with our best times of the weekend, matching those of the 4th and 5th place finishers.
Although our results have not been astonishing, our event at Utah Motorsports Campus was the best one yet for me on the Ducati. I made a personal breakthrough with understanding the bike and tailoring my riding style to the V4.
After being on the road so much the last 6 weeks, I’ve finally got some time to regroup for the next three weeks until our big even at Laguna Seca, where we will race alongside our friends in the WorldSBK paddock. Ducati Island will make its return this year and I expect big things for our team both on and off the track.
Last but not least, thank you to all the fans and people who reach out to me, keeping me going through this crazy season. Our little privateer team is growing and building into something great, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the second half of 2019. – KW