On the penultimate day of the 2020 MotoAmerica season, Westby Racing’s pair of riders—Niccolò Canepa aboard the #11 Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike and Cody Wyman aboard the #34 Yamaha YZF-R3 Junior Cup machine—got their kicks on Route 66 when they each finished sixth in their respective races.
For Niccolò, Saturday’s race was a big learning experience, especially because he usually races and tests on a different brand of tires in Europe. Going a full race distance on the Dunlop tires gave him and the team a lot of information that they can use to their advantage in tomorrow’s two season-ending races.
Starting from seventh on the grid based on Friday’s qualifying results, Niccolò knew that launching from the third row was going to be a challenge. He lost a couple of positions in the opening laps, but then, he regrouped and started moving forward. Battling with Kyle Wyman for pretty much the entire race, Niccolò took the checkered flag in sixth to improve by one position over where he started the 20-lap race.
“I’m quite happy about today’s race, but I’m not fully happy about the result because I wanted to be closer to the front,” Niccolò said. “It was very, very important to do the 20 laps in a row in order to understand about the tires and the bike, and when we have a drop in the tire, whether I have to change my riding style. We learned a lot and understand now how to ride the bike better with these (Dunlop) tires. Also, we understand what we need to do with the setting for tomorrow’s two races. So, we will change the bike for tomorrow, and I think I will change my riding style. Our results are going to be better, for sure. I saw (Lorenzo) Zanetti, and I think we can race with him. Cameron (Beaubier) is on another level this weekend. He’s doing great. But, I believe we can be closer to the front tomorrow, and I am ready for it. I enjoyed today’s race, especially the last few laps racing with (Kyle) Wyman. That was good fun, but tomorrow, I want to be more in front.”
Superbike race two starts on Sunday at 11 a.m. Pacific, and race three is also on Sunday, at 3 p.m. Pacific. Both races will be broadcast LIVE on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) and Eurosport in addition to being streamed live and also available on Video On Demand through MotoAmerica Live+.
In Saturday’s Junior Cup race, ironically, Cody also started on the third row in seventh position. But, unlike his teammate, he immediately went forward. At the end of the first lap, he moved all the way up to fourth. And then, at the end of lap two, he got shuffled back to sixth where he engaged in a race-long battle with Ben Gloddy. The pair shuffled back and forth between fifth and sixth, and across the finish line, Cody had to settle for sixth, just .054 of a second behind Gloddy in fifth.
“I got a great launch and made moves to get into fourth place on the opening lap. It felt pretty good to have the leaders right there for a few laps. Then, we lost touch, and I settled into a race for fifth place with Gloddy. Honestly, it felt pretty awesome to not be in a mess of a group, where riders are passing each other and slowing each other up. I was glad to get into the 37’s early in the race, and I just waited until the last lap and last corner to make a move. I tried to slow us both down at the apex, but I lost the drag race to the line and ended up sixth.
“Overall, it’s been a decent weekend so far. I got held up this morning in final qualifying, but I was happy to be able to battle through some other riders on my Yamaha. Now, it’s down to the final race of the season. I’m looking forward to trying some changes in the morning, and I can’t wait to grid up on Sunday. Let’s finish the 2020 season off strong.”
Sunday’s Junior Cup race two is at 2:10 p.m. Pacific, and it will be streamed on MotoAmerica Live+. FOX Sports 2 (FS2) will broadcast both of the weekend’s Junior Cup races via tape-delay on Tuesday, October 27th starting at 6 p.m. Pacific.