Wyman makes solid Superbike return at Pittsburgh International Race Complex

Aug 17th 2021

Wyman makes solid Superbike return at Pittsburgh International Race Complex

TUCSON, Ariz. (Aug. 16) -- Kyle Wyman returned to action in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship aboard his Panera Bread Ducati this past weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, finishing 6th and 8th place in races one and two, respectively.

Wyman's return to the Superbike grid was long awaited for both team and rider after an 8-week recovery on his fractured elbow, and an aborted attempt two weeks prior at Brainerd International Raceway. Friday's practice and qualifying session saw Wyman place 6th overall and within striking distance of the top-3.

"After Brainerd, it was apparent that we were not quite ready to return to the grid safely," Wyman said. "I went home to get some scans done to make sure everything was structurally good and that the bone was healing, and we were able to confirm that. Knowing it was good to go structurally gave me the confidence to start working it harder over the past couple weeks. With that and the ergonomics changes we made to the bike, I was able to ride the full day Friday without too much issue and we set a pretty good flyer lap time at the end of the day."

Saturday morning's QP2 session would set the grid as riders put on their sticky Dunlop Qualifying tires. Wyman qualified 8th on the grid to lock in a 3rd row starting position for Race One on Saturday afternoon. A great start would put him 6th on track and he would maintain that through to the end of the race, but with an unforeseen slower pace than expected and a lonely race.

"Race one I really struggled with the bike," Wyman said. "I seemed to have some chatter from the get-go that was originating from the rear tire, even when it was new. Its hard to tell exactly what happened there but I suffered a lot in the middle section of the track, where we spend a lot of time on the side of the tire. For us we got a bit lucky with some attrition that gave us a top-6 but we were not happy with the pace."

In Sunday's warm-up session, the KWR team made adjustments to the bike to seek front end feel and mitigate the harsh chatter of the front tire, to some avail. With race two on the horizon, the team was presented with an opportunity to help out a fellow competitor - one who would be Wyman's biggest rival of the day.

"About an hour before race two on Sunday, our friends over at the Schiebe BMW team were struggling with a stripped out thread in their kit swingarm," Wyman said. "They came to us for help, knowing that we carried KATO Fastening thread insert kits. We had the size and pitch of thread they needed to get their bike back together and run the race."

As if it were meant to be, Wyman found himself in a heated flag-to-flag battle with Scheibe BMW rider Hector Barbera as they scrapped over 7th place, trading positions more than 10 times throughout the affair. Barbera would win out in the duel and beat Wyman to the line in a last lap scrap that came down to just 0.117 of a second at the finish line.

"I got another great start and was hanging onto the top 5 guys in the first few laps," Wyman said. "We definitely had a lot better pace in race two and I felt a bit more comfortable on the bike. Hector and I had a really wild battle that I will remember for a long time. It was one of those duels that was so challenging and fun to manage, trying to work out the race strategy and get to the line first. In the end, he was able to block me from a lunge in the chicane that I was able to do successfully a lap prior, and hold me off to the line."

"All told I would say it was a positive weekend, for us to come back and get back in the groove again," Wyman added. "The elbow was able to hold up throughout the event, but is very sore now that I've put in three consecutive days on it and Pittsburgh is no joke when it comes to how physical it is to wrestle a superbike around. I look forward to our little break we have over the next few weeks that will put us in a good position physically to finish the season strong."

The next round will take place at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where Wyman has a best Superbike finish of 2nd place in 2017. NJMP will host round 8 of 9, September 10-12, 2021 in Millville, N.J..