After finishing second in Saturday’s Superbike race one at VIRginia International Raceway, Mathew Scholtz and his Westby Racing team showed championship-level grit and determination in overcoming Sunday-morning adversity to finish as runner-up in the afternoon’s Superbike race two. The two second-place finishes have put Mathew just four points behind championship leader Danilo Petrucci.
Mathew benefitted this weekend from some new parts on his #11 Yamaha YZF-R1, but a crash in Sunday morning warmup made the bike unrideable in the afternoon’s race. The team went to work and prepared a replacement R1 Superbike for him to ride, but they were unable to put the new parts on the bike.
Undeterred, Mathew rose to the challenge in Superbike race two. Starting from the middle of the front row, “The Scholtz Kid” withstood a strong challenge from Petrucci, who is a former MotoGP race winner, and ultimately crossed the finish line in second place, just a little more than three seconds adrift of race winner Jake Gagne.
“I’m definitely a little tired of finishing second, but after this morning’s crash, I’ll happily take it,” commented Mathew. “The bike was totaled. We have a completely different fuel tank, which I had to get used to. And, before the race, we hadn’t done a single lap on the bigger tank with the weight over the front tire. It’s just a totally different bike. So, for the first couple of laps, I had to adapt to the different bike. Jake (Gagne) and I were pretty similar in most of the corners, but there were two or three corners where he would pull out, probably, one-and-a-half tenths just in those corners. For the rest of the track, I felt we were similar in maybe one or two corners. I would catch him by a bike length, but for the most part, where he was strong, he was a lot stronger. Just really happy to take second after battling and seeing the board with plus 0.1 for 15 laps straight and just hearing Cam’s (Petersen) bike and Danilo’s (Petrucci) bike behind me. Danilo passed me one time and kind of pushed me a little bit wide, which I wasn’t the happiest with because we were upright braking. I passed him back and started riding my own pace to make sure I got out of the corners well and got on the brakes late. I was hoping that, with braking late and kind of parking the bike, Danilo and Cam would start battling with each other and help me a little bit. A massive thank you to the Westby team. The bike was totaled this morning, so for them to bring out the second bike and put the settings on it and for me to finish second, I couldn’t be happier. To Tryg (Westby) who runs this whole team. He’s the main guy behind this whole project. He’s put his heart and soul into this team and me for the past five or six years now. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be back home waiting tables or something. I’m just living the dream here. Happy to be up here with Jake and battling with Danilo, a world-class rider. It’s just incredible stuff. I’m really happy. The next race, Road America, I have struggled there previously so we need to try to figure something out there and, hopefully, I’ll be challenging Jake.”
The Westby Racing team will be back in action for round four of the 2022 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, which takes place at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 3 through 5.
MotoAmerica Superbike Standings
- Danilo Petrucci – Ducati – 104
- Mathew Scholtz – Yamaha – 100
- Jake Gagne – Yamaha – 91
- Cameron Petersen – Yamaha – 78
- Hector Barbera – BMW – 63
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