BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Sept. 24)— Kyle Wyman and the KWR Ducati Team closed out the 2019 MotoAmerica Superbike season with a top-5 finish at Barber Motorsports Park this past weekend in Birmingham, Alabama. Wyman bounced back from a 7th place finish on Saturday to battle for fourth spot all the way to the line in Sunday’s final race of the season.
Wyman had a strong start on Friday, posting the 5th fastest time overall on his KATO Fastening/Ducati Richmond Panigale V4 R, carrying momentum from a successful run at New Jersey Motorsports Park just two weeks prior.
“Going into Barber I was feeling more confident from our past few weekends on the bike,” Wyman said. “We’ve made our biggest steps forward over the past few weeks, as my wrist has healed and we’ve made smart decisions on which way to go with the chassis of the Ducati. Fifth overall at Barber to start Friday was exactly what we needed to set the tone for the weekend.”
Wyman qualified 6th fastest in Superpole, securing a spot on the second row of the grid for the third round in a row. The good starting spot would pay dividends, as the Ducati rider got an excellent start in race one to battle in the lead group early on. After a mistake and subsequent drop in pace mid-race, Wyman could only salvage a 7th place finish out of his good start.
“Saturday’s race was a big step for us, despite what the end result looked like,” Wyman said. “We took a lot of positives from our race in that we battled hard with the lead group for the first half of the laps, and learned a lot about what it takes to keep the Panigale close to the front for race distance.”
For race two, the KWR team focused primarily on electronics changes to help Wyman manage the rear tire life mid-race and hold a better lap time to the end of the 21-lap event. Another good start put Wyman in a top-5 spot early on. Wyman lost ground on the top five riders mid-race, but not enough to put him out of the fight. He clawed his way back up to 4th spot to engage in a last-lap battle with then points leader Toni Elias. Elias got the best of Wyman with three corners to go, and was only 0.135 seconds ahead of the Ducati rider at the stripe.
“Sunday’s result was a culmination of our entire season on the new Ducati Panigale V4 R,” Wyman added. “My goal from the start of the season was to run consistently in the top-5 by the end. I feel like these last two weekends have been exactly what I had hoped for, and race two was the perfect way to close out the season. I would have loved to pull out 4th spot on the last lap, but Toni is a former Moto2 world champion and he knows how to get the job done.”
“As I look back on the season, it’s amazing how far we’ve come since Atlanta in April,” Wyman added. “We started with a bone stock bike, and developed it into a top-level Superbike, capable of competing with some of the best in the world. I’m proud of that fact and proud of my team for all the hard work they’ve put in to get us to this point. Our work starts now on 2020, and I can’t wait until our first round at COTA next year where we will be ready to fight for the podium.”
The KWR Ducati Team would like to extend their gratitude to the following weekend title sponsors who contributed in a significant way to the 2019 program — Excelsus Motorsports Graphics, Lucas Oil, SC Project USA, Inde Motorsports Ranch, Genuine Broaster Chicken, Cycle Gear, Ducati Richmond, Lion Fuel and KATO Fastening Systems.
Mark your calendars. The 2020 MotoAmerica Season schedule is available here.