The 2020 MotoAmerica season reached its conclusion on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with both Westby Racing riders finishing sixth in their respective races.
The team’s fill-in Superbike rider for the weekend, Niccolò Canepa, competed in two races aboard the #59 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 on the final day of the season. After finishing sixth in Saturday’s race one, the team made some setup changes to the bike, and Niccolò planned to alter his riding style to fully exploit the changes. Unfortunately, the morning warmup session was damp, so he was unable to evaluate whether the changes would have a positive effect.
Starting from seventh on the grid in Sunday morning’s still-damp race two, Niccolò rode admirably in the tricky track conditions and also while still getting accustomed to the Dunlop tires. He moved up quickly to sixth place, but he was unable to move any further forward, and sixth was where he finished while collecting valuable data for the team that they can put to good use in setting up the bike for Mathew Scholtz in the 2021 season.
Track conditions were much better for the start of Sunday afternoon’s race three, and Niccolò got a good jump off the line. The Italian moved up from his seventh-place starting position to sixth on lap three and maintained sixth all the way to the finish line to cap off a solid weekend for him and the team, with both enjoying having worked together for the very first time.
“In Sunday’s first race, the conditions were very tricky, but I felt immediately fast, and I was catching the podium places,” Niccolò said." Unfortunately, we had a problem with the rear tire that slowed me down a lot. In the second race I improved my pace a lot, and the feeling with the bike was better. The result was not amazing, but I’m happy about the improvement we did during the weekend! Thanks to everyone at Westby Racing for the great work and for the great welcome they gave me. I felt immediately at home. I enjoyed every single moment, and I tried my best to give some good feedback to improve the R1. I wish all the best to the Westby team and to Mathew for the next season.”
Cody Wyman, who pilots the #34 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R3 in the Junior Cup class, began the day by making the decision to sit out the morning warmup session due to damp track conditions. His good judgement paid off because he avoided the melee that resulted when several riders crashed in the same spot on the slippery track.
He started Sunday afternoon’s race two from the third row on the grid and was determined to outrace and outmaneuver the group of riders that he usually has to contend with. And, after withstanding the challenge of riders shuffling back and forth for position, he moved up from eighth place on the penultimate lap and crossed the finish line successfully in sixth to complete his 2020 season.
“I’m glad I didn’t go out in morning warmup because it looked pretty sketchy,” commented Cody. "We didn’t get to try a new setup, though, and we made a bit of a gamble with the front end in the cooler conditions. I got a great start but got pinched off up the hill. Another rider slowed our pace and let a big group catch us. The last three laps were a six-rider battle, and I ended up on top. In the final corner of the season, I passed and parked the group and won the drag race for sixth. It felt good to win that battle for the last race of the year. Overall it was an amazing feeling to be back in the paddock and race in my first full MotoAmerica season. I can’t thank Tryg and Chuck enough for having this program this year and believing in me to race their R3. Now, it’s time to continue training and preparing for what we have in store for 2021!”