Despite the challenging weather conditions and the unfortunate fractured right clavicle that Mathew Scholtz suffered this past Sunday in a training crash aboard a motocross bike, the Westby Racing team made solid progress at the two-day MotoAmerica Dunlop Official Preseason Test held at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The first order of business was to find a rider who could thoroughly test the #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 in place of Mathew and deliver the valuable data and feedback to keep advancing the team’s Superbike program. Josh Hayes was already en route to Barber, and he was planning to test the MP13 Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 that he is racing in Sunday’s Daytona 200. Westby Racing team manager contacted Josh, and the “Mississippi Madman” graciously accepted the invitation to participate in as many of the eight scheduled Superbike practice sessions as possible, while also finding the time to ride his R6 in some of the eight scheduled Supersport practice sessions.
Josh not only put in a number of fast laps on the Westby Racing Superbike, but he spent a lot of time after the practice sessions with crew chief Ed Sullivan and electronics specialist Herschel Auxier poring over the copious data that Josh had collected during his laps around the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course.
About the test, Josh said, “I got a call from Chuck on Sunday night, and he said, ‘Man, this thing happened with Matty and, unfortunately, he’s not going to be able to ride at the test. Is there any chance you would be interested in riding the bike a little bit and helping us out just to gather some data and information?’ ‘Of course, I want to help you guys, I said. ‘I have to work on my 600 a little bit, and I have my coaching to do with the boys, but I don’t see why I can’t get out a little bit and do a little bit of work and help you guys out.’
“Fortunately, I’ve been doing some riding, but I was trying to remember the last time I rode a proper Superbike. I did do a few laps on the Westby Superbike here at a test a year and a half ago. The thing is definitely a lot of motorcycle, and stuff happens really fast on that thing. Mat’s setup is quite a bit different from mine, too, so there were a handful of things that were a challenge to me as far as the ergonomics on the bike. But, that’s not really what we were here to try to solve. With the upgrades and updates to the 2020 Yamaha Superbike, they wanted to make sure that everything was working properly. With my experience through the years with the Yamaha Factory team, it was a good opportunity to get some information and provide a second opinion about where they were going with the electronics. The majority of what we were working on with the motorcycle was making sure that we give Mathew the best tool possible to go out and battle with the frontrunners when the season starts.”
Westby Racing’s newest team member Cody Wyman was also in attendance at the Preseason Test, and he got some valuable seat time on the #34 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R3 Junior Cup bike.
Cody was the fastest rider in Junior Cup Practice 3 on Tuesday, but laps on a dry track were at a premium because of the persistent rain that fell during both days of the test. Overall, the New Yorker ended up fourth-fastest overall among Junior Cup riders at the test.
“We didn’t get as much track time as we wanted, but we definitely made progress each session finding time and becoming more comfortable on the bike,” Cody said. “I cannot wait to get to Road Atlanta. I haven’t been there in a few years, but I love the layout, and I’m looking forward to the getting the season started.”
Mathew Scholtz Injury Update
While the team was testing at Barber, Mathew was with the team on Tuesday to provide moral support, and then, he drove back home to Atlanta where he had surgery Wednesday to plate his fractured right clavicle.
Mathew said, “According to the surgeon, it was actually a pretty big fracture, so I’m glad that I got it taken care of. I have to wear a sling for three or four days, and then I can start physical therapy and also get on a stationary bike to keep my fitness up. I will definitely be ready to race at the start of the season next month.”
Next up for Westby Racing is round one of the 2020 MotoAmerica Championship, which takes place at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on April 17-19.
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