Petrucci wins MotoAmerica debut
Danilo Petrucci made a statement at round one of the Auto Parts 4 Less MotoAmerica Championship with a maiden MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike victory on his series debut at the Circuit of the Americas overnight.
With the win, Petrucci tied Spaniard Toni Elias to become a MotoAmerica Superbike winner on his MotoAmerica debut. Like Elias, Petrucci’s first victory came outside the MotoGP paddock where he has spent most of his career, as MotoAmerica shares the weekend in Texas with the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.
The victory also marked the first MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike victory for Ducati since fellow Italian Petrucci Lorenzo Zanetti won the second race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2020 for the Warhorse HSBK Ducati NYC team. Petrucci also set the fastest lap of the race by buying eight tenths of a second. For comparison purposes, Petrucci’s time of 2m08.648 is about five seconds off the expected MotoGP race pace.
Still not in good physical shape with a laundry list of injuries from the Dakar Rally and post-rally, Petrucci finished the first lap in fourth place, moved up to second on lap two and led the fourth lap after having taken over from the fast start Mathew Scholtz on the Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1.
From there, Petrucci maintained a lead that for much of the race was less than a second, with Scholtz refusing to throw in the towel. At the finish line, Petrucci’s margin of victory was 1.7 seconds over the South African.
Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Cameron Petersen finished third, the South African race without teammate Jake Gagne as the defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike champion came to a stop in the pit lane on the warm-up lap after his Yamaha refused to run.
PJ Jacobsen made an impressive return to MotoAmerica racing with the New Yorker giving his new Tytlers Cycle Racing team a fourth place finish on their MotoAmerica debut. Jacobsen edged his equally impressive teammate Hector Barbera by 0.693 seconds.
Sixth place went to Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis with the 2021 MotoAmerica Stock 1000 champion just three seconds behind Barbera and about 10 seconds ahead of teammate Richie Escalante, who was making his MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike debut.
ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony is just a second ahead of Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Travis Wyman. Wyman’s teammate Corey Alexander rounded out the top 10.
Petrucci became the 63rd rider in history to win an AMA Superbike race. He is also the third Italian to win, after Alessandro Gramigni and Zanetti. The three Italians won their races on Ducatis. Petrucci is the only rider on a Ducati in the MotoAmerica series.
Danilo Petrucci – P1
“For me, the goal was really to be on the podium because these guys and also Jake (Gagné) are really very fast. Especially since not generally 2022, but since generally 2021 that I run. I did a MotoGP season then I went to test in Dakar. I broke my ankle. I went to Dakar. I did the Dakar, and I broke my ankle, collarbone and radius again. I came home, and I was really, really tired. I didn’t have the chance to really have any training. When I was better a month ago, I took my motocross bike and crashed again, and broke my ligament. I almost forgot how I can run. I feel like I have another man’s legs. But I’m happy. I’m not in good physical shape, but I tried to stay there. I tried to push. In the first part of the trail, I was really, really in trouble. Then I tried to manage it. I didn’t think I would push too hard, but when I really tried, my rear tire was really, really unstable. I tried to manage until the end because we only have two days of testing in Europe, so for me the bike is completely new. It doesn’t quite match the Dunlop tires which are really, really good, but they need proper setup. Of course, I’m really, really happy to be here racing with these guys. The atmosphere is really very nice. It’s true that coming to MotoAmerica is one of the best choices I’ve ever made..”
Mathew Scholtz – P2
“There were a few parts of the track where he was faster. There were a few parts where I was faster. So it was always back and forth. It’s really mentally exhausting. I think there were maybe six laps to go, I hit a false neutral on turn 16 and lost it all. I tried to come back after that. I think I got a little closer. It’s obviously the first race of 2022. So I kind of know where I was wasting time. There were a few corners on the back straight and on the front straight here I was turning way too much and wasting a ton of time. Thanks to the indoor section, I felt good. I just need to work on a couple of things and I think maybe we can hold a few 8s and a few 9s for race two tomorrow. Just a big thank you to the Westby Racing team. They worked hard in the off season and gave me a bunch of new and better parts. We changed the whole bike with how the traction control works. First race, it kinda sucks that I was so close to the front, but I’ll just be happy to take a second and keep building from here.”
Cameron Petersen – P3
“Honestly, I’m not too happy. I should have been much closer to these guys. Just a few errors in the race. Hitting a false dead spot in one, I think six laps into the race, hurt me and I lost that tow to those guys. Honestly, once the tires wore out, I really, really had a hard time getting the bike to turn. I’m sure we’ve all been through the same thing. Happy to start the season with a podium. I’ve always wanted to get on the podium here at COTA, so I can check that one off. Having a race under our belt, I know what we have to work on tomorrow. Hopefully we can close the gap with these guys and fight for a win. I feel like this is where we need to be. I can’t fall behind those guys who settle for third place. Go do our homework tonight and get to work and be ready for tomorrow and hopefully challenge these guys.”
Results of the first MotoAmerica Superbike race
- Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) +1.705s
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha) +13.506s
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW) +26.736s
- Hector Barbera (BMW) +27.439s
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki) +30.083s
- Richie Escalante (Suzuki) +40.511s
- David Anthony (Suzuki) +66.686s
- Travis Wyman (BMW) +67.885s
- Corey Alexander (BMW) +77.086s