Round three of the 2023 Medallia Superbike Championship took place at Road America, and “America’s National Park of Speed” had been repaved during the off-season. Record-setting laps and top speeds were expected, so Mathew Scholtz and his Westby Racing team knew they had their work cut out for them since their Yamaha YZF-R1 is built for razor-sharp handling more than eyeball-flattening speed.
After qualifying fourth on the starting grid for the weekend’s two races, Mathew struggled with a lack of grip in Saturday’s race one. He ended up in sixth place when he crossed the finish line, but he was penalized two positions after officials ruled that he passed riders when the yellow flag was waving. So, that moved him back to eighth in the results.
Mathew and the team regrouped overnight. Then, in Sunday morning’s warm up session, air temperatures were cooler and even though he was seventh-fastest, Mathew felt more comfortable with the setup. The track heated up in the afternoon, however, which caused him to struggle again with grip, and he ultimately finished sixth.
“We obviously knew coming into the Road America track that it was going to be one of the more difficult weekends, just because the Yamaha is a little bit down on horsepower compared with the BMWs and the Ducatis,” Mathew said. “But, leaving Barber, we were pretty confident that we had a really good setup, and that we could challenge up front, or at least near the front. Since the circuit is newly repaved, we had to use the harder-compound Dunlop tires because the track is so abrasive, and it just seemed like we were really far away on the setup. From the first practice session on Friday, I was struggling with the rear coming around on the entry of the corners. We were just kind of chasing that all weekend long. We did make it better and better after each session, and we finally got it the best for Sunday warmup, which at least gave me confidence that we were managing to sort things out.
“It was one of the most difficult weekends of my career, to be honest. Finishing eighth, granted, I did finish sixth and got docked two positions for passing on a yellow flag. But an eighth and a sixth place are, by far, the worst two races I’ve had since stepping up to the Superbike class. However, I do feel like this is the strongest package we’ve had, so, it was just kind of a hard pill to swallow. Road America is, by far, the toughest track for our bike. Now, we’ll be going towards tighter, twistier tracks that suit the Yamaha, and we can use the advantage of the flowing Yamaha frame with the softer regular tires that we’re used to running and that we’ve actually set up the bike for.”
The Westby Racing team will be back in action on June 23 through 25 at Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington, for round four of the 2023 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
MotoAmerica Superbike Standings
- Jake Gagne – Yamaha – 111
- Cameron Beaubier – BMW – 99
- Josh Herrin – Ducati – 90
- Mathew Scholtz – Yamaha – 81
- PJ Jacobsen – BMW – 72
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