Rennie Scaysbrook | April 5, 2022

MotoAmerica 2022 is set to kick off in a week’s time in Texas. Will anyone be up for challenging the record man, Jake Gagne?

2022 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship
There are a few new names, some new colors and some new bikes in MotoAmerica 2022, but they’ll all be chasing number 32, Jake Gagne.

Photography by Brian J Nelson

North America’s premier road-racing championship will commence its eighth season under the MotoAmerica corporate banner in 2022, and there’s a new wave of optimism as the championship attracts new and very famous talent to go head-to-head with this country’s finest.

The 2021 season was a watershed for Jake Gagne who, prior to the start of the season, had never tasted the winner’s champagne in the Superbike class. But he righted that wrong, 17 times across the season, putting him eighth on the all-time MotoAmerica winner’s list—equal to the legendary Nicky Hayden.

However, Gagne will do very well if he’s to repeat the win-fest of 2021. Although he’s clearly the title favorite on one of the finest superbikes on the planet in Richard Stamboli’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha, he’ll have a South African double assault in a rejuvenated Mathew Scholtz (Westby Racing Yamaha) and new teammate Cameron Petersen doing all they can to halt his charge.

Oh, and the small matter of former double MotoGP race winner and 2022 MotoAmerica debutant, Danilo Petrucci, who replaces the WorldSBK-bound Loris Baz.

2022 MotoAmerica Preview | Favorites


32        Jake Gagne    Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha

Jake Gagne 

They say the first win is always the hardest. Once that hurdle is out of the way, the confidence comes and the wins thereafter come easier and easier. That’s the way it’s supposed to work out, and indeed that’s what happened to Jake Gagne in 2021. The Colorado resident was simply on another level in 2021, blitzing everyone in a devastatingly monotonous fashion. It was almost like clockwork that Gagne would win on Sunday, which must have been a demoralizing feeling for his rivals.

There’s no reason to think 2022 will be any different, as a new year brings renewed energy from not just his competitors but the man himself. Fully focused on retaining the crown, it will take a very inspired rider to knock Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Gagne off his throne.

45        Cameron Petersen    Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha

Cameron Petersen

He might be Gagne’s teammate, but Cameron Petersen will be out to show he’s no number two. The South African’s career has been one of hard graft, diligently working his way up the ranks on sometimes sub-standard machinery until he was finally given a lifeline by John and Chris Ulrich last year as Josh Herrin’s replacement on the M4 Ecstar Suzuki. Petersen acquitted himself well to the task, scoring his first Superbike race win in torrential conditions at Barber and finishing the year third behind compatriot Scholtz.

A call up to the all-conquering Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha team was his reward, and after an excellent showing at Daytona where he missed the winner’s Rolex by 0.007 seconds, Petersen knows this is his year to shine.

11        Mathew Scholtz        Westby Racing Yamaha

Mathew Scholtz

Scholtz will be the first to tell you that 2021 was not the year he expected. With former sparring partner Cameron Beaubier gone to Moto2, 2021 looked the year Scholtz might fulfill the undoubted promise he’d shown over the past two seasons on the black and gold Yamaha. The thing was no one counted on Gagne going on the tear he did. Scholtz and Westby Racing were left reeling and have spent the winter hibernation rebuilding their R1 to be as good a contender against Gagne’s machine as possible. With so much budget dedicated to the new bike, the team opted not to contest the expensive Daytona 200, with every available effort now put towards race wins and a championship challenge in MotoAmerica Superbike.

9          Danilo Petrucci         Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York

Danilo Petrucci

One of the star attractions for MotoAmerica 2022 will be the uber-popular Italian, Danilo Petrucci. A two-time MotoGP race winner, including a heartwarming triumph in front of his home fans in Mugello in 2019 while on the factory Ducati, Petrucci also covered himself in glory by winning a stage of the Dakar Rally as a rookie on the Tech3 KTM against the very best off-road racers in the world.

Always with a smile and a laugh, Petrucci’s time as a MotoGP rider came to an end after a dismal 2021 season for Tech3 KTM in which he finished 21st and was forced to make way for incoming rookie, Moto2 World Champion Remy Gardner. A change of scenery was in order, and a move to MotoAmerica will be MotoGP’s loss and America’s gain. He’ll be up against it with a paddock of riders used to the very different racetracks and an unfamiliar Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York Panigale V4 SBK, but then, no one expected him to win a stage in the Dakar, either.

2022 MotoAmerica Preview | Dark Horses


80        Hector Barbera         Tytlers Cycle Racing

Hector Barbera

Another MotoGP refugee and former 250cc and 125cc Grand Prix race winner, Hector Barbera is back for a second season of MotoAmerica Superbike after completing his rookie year with the Scheibe Racing team on an older model BMW S 1000 RR.

The new outfit will be far better prepared to mount a serious assault in 2022, with Barbera and teammate PJ Jacobsen riding brand new Alpha Racing-spec BMW M 1000 RR machines. Barbera’s career has seen him race everything from MotoGP to BSB to WorldSBK and now MotoAmerica, and with a year’s knowledge under his belt, will be looking to make the step to a consistent MotoAmerica front-runner in 2022.

85        Jake Lewis     Vision Wheel M4 Ecstar Suzuki

Jake Lewis

Two years ago, Jake Lewis was facing the fact his racing career was over. The Kentuckian was out of a ride with no real prospects on the horizon, and the man many touted as a future MotoAmerica Superbike Champion in his Yoshimura Suzuki days looked set to be just another rider that couldn’t fulfill his promise.

But to write Lewis off is to discount his determination to make a career as a racer. After a couple of sub-in rides in MotoAmerica Superbike in 2020, a call from Altus Motorsports rejuvenated his career. Lewis hit the grind, shedding the ex-racer weight and getting himself primed for battle in the Stock 1000 class. He smashed all before him in 2021, taking that and the Superbike Cup title for Stock 1000 motorcycles in the Superbike class. And now he’s back in Superbike, and on one of the best bikes on the grid to boot. Don’t discount the veteran pulling a few race wins out of his hat in 2022.

54        Richie Escalante       Vision Wheel M4 Ecstar Suzuki

Richie Escalante

Mexican Richie Escalante steps up the Superbike class for the team he’s battled with constantly over the past two MotoAmerica Supersport seasons. The class winner in 2020, Escalante missed out on the double title to then M4 Ecstar Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly, taking what would have been Kelly’s seat in the Superbike team had he stayed in America and not gone to Moto2.

Escalante’s a worker and has got to where he is by sheer will and guts. If the stars align, especially in the wet, he could be on for a race win as a rookie.

2022 MotoAmerica Preview | Stock 1000

2022 MotoAmerica Stock 1000

The Stock 1000 field is stacked with hard chargers for 2022, and with champion Jake Lewis moving back into Superbike, the class that most resembles what you can ride on the street will be nothing less than a bar brawl on wheels.

Three riders stand out as potential title candidates. Corey Alexander steps away from Kawasaki machinery onto BMW and teams with title rival Travis Wyman in the newly formed Tytlers Cycle Racing structure. Michael Gilbert will also switch from Kawasaki machinery, the Californian moving to Suzuki on a machine built by the John and Chris Ulrich-run M4 team.

Behind these three, evergreen Geoff May is going full-send on his race program for 2022. He’ll be joined on the grid by fellow Honda rider Ashton Yates, who really came on strong toward the end of the 2021 season. Vision Wheel M4 Ecstar Suzuki’s Wyatt Farris will be out to make amends for a difficult 2021, as the northern Californian will be looking to land a few race wins to give some cred to his undoubted speed.

2022 MotoAmerica Preview | Supersport

2022 MotoAmerica Supersport

Arguably the most eagerly awaited class this year is Supersport, as the category morphs from the 600cc four-cylinder format it’s always been to one more representative of today’s street sport bikes.

That means Ducati and Triumph are back, and Suzuki’s GSX-R750 is back in racing circles as one of the bikes to be on. The man who finished third in 2021, Sam Lochoff, will spearhead that machine’s re-arrival in national-level competition for the Vision Wheel M4 Ecstar Suzuki team as he partners Colorado’s Liam Grant.

Josh Herrin will be back on Supersport duties, a class he once dominated, as he heads Ducati’s first MotoAmerica-era factory Supersport effort with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC on the Panigale V2. A good showing with pole at Daytona gave a hint at the bike’s performance, but it remains to be seen how consistent the former Superbike champion can be over a full season.

Also fronting the grid will be El Salvador’s Kevin Olmedo on the BobbleHeadMoto/N2 Racing Yamaha, while a real favorite for the series will be Rocco Landers, the former three-time MotoAmerica Champion set on winning his first Supersport title in his sophomore year in the category.

2022 MotoAmerica Preview | Twins Cup

If the Daytona melee is anything to go by, the Twins Cup will be the tightest class of them all in 2022. With one round down at Daytona with round two scheduled for Road Atlanta in April, the class has already lived up to its reputation of uncovering new talent as 15-year-old Blake Davis took race one on the Daytona banking, with Hayden Schultz coming good for the win in race two. The field is so deep it’ll be almost impossible to pick a champion, with Davis, Schultz, Teagg Hobbs, Anthony Mazziotto, Jackson Blackmon, Cory Ventura, Dominic Doyle, Jody Barry, Gus Rodio, Benjamin Gloddy and Tommaso Macron all looking to dethrone Kayleb De Keyrel.

2022 MotoAmerica Preview | King of The Baggers

MotoAmerica King of The Baggers

The biggest racing in the world right now—figuratively and literally—is the MotoAmerica King of The Baggers. The heaviest bikes, which are the exact opposite of what many consider to be real racing machines, thrilled everyone with dynamic racing at round one at Daytona, with race-two winner Jeremy McWilliams drawing congratulations from the top brass in MotoGP to the fans in the grandstands.

The popularity of this class is incredible, as is the presentation of the leading machines of the factory Harley-Davidsons of Kyle and Travis Wyman, the factory Indians of Tyler O’Hara and McWilliams, Roland Sands’ Indians with Bobby Fong and Frankie Garcia on board, and the Vance & Hines Racing Harley-Davidsons of James Rispoli and Taylor Knapp.

After Indian Motorcycle took a clean sweep of round one with O’Hara taking two wins and a second, Harley-Davidson will be looking to bounce back at round two at Road Atlanta.

2022 MotoAmerica Preview | Roland Sands Design Super Hooligans

2022 MotoAmerica Roland Sands Design Super Hooligans

The RSD Super Hooligans sees everything from KTM’s 890 Duke R mixing it up with a BMW R nineT Racer and Indian FTR1200. Throw in some air-cooled Indian Chiefs and Harley-Davidson XR1200s and you have the most eclectic grid seen anywhere in the world.

Like the baggers, the fans love the Super Hooligans, who give the racing a throwback feel to the 1970s when everything went and all that mattered was a laugh at the end of the day. Andy DiBrino bellied his rookie status at Daytona to snag the race win in round one, just edging past Cory West with Nate Kern third on the BMW, and he’ll be looking to cement his title lead at round two in Road Atlanta.CN

Cycle News Magazine 2022 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship Preview

Click here to read the 2022 MotoAmerica Preview in the Cycle News Digital Edition Magazine.


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