Jake Gagne reaffirmed that he’s the best Superbike racer in the country on Sunday at Pittsburgh International Race Complex with his two decisive victorie,s earning him his third successive MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship.
Gagne (shown above just after winning the 2022 championship) and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing Superbike were perfect in both races, holding back all of the challenges the top men threw at him. In the first of the two Superbike races held on a sunny Sunday at Pitt Race, Gagne was challenged to the bitter end and came up just .264 of a second ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen. In the second Superbike race of the day, Gagne had it a bit easier as he topped Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz by 1.868 of a second.
Not even Gagne would have predicted that he would come out of Pitt Race with his third title as most believed the title fight would at least go to round eight at Circuit of The Americas in a few weeks’ time.
But Gagne’s eighth and ninth wins of the season and the 37th and 38th wins of his AMA Superbike career clinched the title with two rounds and four races left on the 2023 schedule.
“To do it with a couple wins here at a place this Yamaha loves is awesome, I just didn’t expect it!” said Gagne. “We didn’t really do any math. The team didn’t talk about it. Nobody talked about it. I just had a feeling if I won and I didn’t exactly know what Josh (Herrin) had to do, but I knew sure as hell Josh was going to put up a fight to bring it down to one more round, and I knew he was right there.
“Congrats to (race 3 second place finisher) Matty (Scholtz). Doing Yamaha a favor, doing me a favor today. It’s cool to get it done early. Again, kind of unexpected. I haven’t been the fastest guy all year, but I guess kind of luck has been on my side. We finished almost every race, besides one. It’s going to be a hell of a fight for that championship run with a lot of guys in it next year. I’m looking forward to going to the last couple rounds and just duking it out with these guys with nothing else to worry about.”
“We made a pretty decent change on the traction control just to kind of help when I first crack the gas so that the bike doesn’t just want to spin as you first start to wind it on,” said Scholtz. “I was definitely pushing the front more on the gas, but it definitely helped me to kind of roll through the middle of the corner to kind of keep up with the Ducati a little bit better, once you have it picked up.
“Overall, the race early on I was struggling. I was on the absolute limit. This race I felt confident and I managed to get past Josh (Herrin) with a couple laps to go and open up a small gap. Kept it pretty similar to Gagne out front. So, I’m really happy with that. I’m happy with the changes that we made to the bike. I think it’s going to work well at the next two tracks for us.”
story and action photo courtesy of MotoAmerica