Two-time defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike champion Jake Gagne was fastest overall in a two-day multi-team Dunlop tire test at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow, Calif.
Riding his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha YZF-R1 with new electronics, new engine specification including a World Superbike gearbox and one of Dunlop’s new Superbike qualifying tires, Gagne completed the 2.68 mile course in 1:40.896. Not only was he the fastest of the six Superbike riders present, but he was the fastest Gagne or any other Yamaha rider had ever gone around the track by half a second.
The unofficial lap record for Buttonwillow’s Race 13 configuration clockwise is 1:41.350, which was achieved by Cameron Beaubier on an Attack Yamaha in 2020.
“Really good,” is how Gagne described his test. “Obviously we are testing the new tires that Dunlop brought us. I think everyone is really happy. They have taken a good step. The front tire made a good pitch for sure. It’s good that everything they worked on works, and I’m sure we’ll all break the lap records next year.
Dunlop’s new Sportmax Slicks, as they’re called, come in new sizes—a 120/75 front and 200/65 rear—with the front having a slightly different construction, according to Dunlop’s Anthony “Tony” Romo. The compounds will remain the same as in 2022 but their identifiers will change. For example, compound 0129 will be called compound R3.
“I think one of the big steps they’ve taken is how hard you can brake on the front tire,” Gagne continued. “Even with the lean angle, you can really throw it at the top with more brake pressure. I think that’s what they wanted, and they did a good job.
“That’s pretty much all we did today was go through all the tires and see how they affected the bike. Even with slightly different tires [size] it didn’t totally upset the bike or completely knock it down.
Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen also took advantage of the ideal track and weather conditions on Wednesday and went under the former unofficial Buttonwillow Superbike lap record with a 1:41.250. And like Gagne, Petersen was happy with how his test went, and even happier with the new, larger Dunlop slicks.
“I thought the new tires were great,” Petersen said. “I still don’t think we’ve really touched on the depth and lag potential of the brakes in the corner, which is a nice feeling. I think every record is going to be broken. [in 2023].”
Five-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion Cameron Beaubier finished third in the lap time standings, clocking 1:41.685 on his second day driving a Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR Superbike.
“It was good to have my first experience on the BMW,” Beaubier told Roadracingworld.com. “Yesterday we did 30-35 laps and we were getting used to a Superbike again. I felt like I was riding well, but I looked at the times and I was three seconds away from what Jake [Gagne] and cam [Petersen] were doing. (Laughs)
“I was a little shocked to see how fast they were going. It certainly made me a little nervous, but today I tried not to watch any moment, as difficult as that is for us riders. “It seemed like I was adjusting to the bike more and more. The team did a great job of making me feel comfortable and it seemed like we were working well together. It’s a good first test.
Instead of any official announcement, so far, from Tytlers Cycle Racing regarding Beaubier joining the team, we asked Beaubier about his status.
“It’s definitely moving forward, going in that direction,” Beaubier said. “There is nothing signed on paper at the moment, but everything seems to be going like this. We are in the process of finalizing all the details.
PJ Jacobsen set a fastest lap of 1:42.685 on his unchanged BMW M 1000 RR Tytlers Cycle early Wednesday, his second day at Buttonwillow, but the New Yorker test ended in a late afternoon crash. Unharmed, Jacobsen said the setting sun affected his vision and cut the interior sidewalk around the corner from the bus stop, causing the crash.
Richie Escalante was the only rider representing Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki during the test. The Mexican rider racked up the most laps on Wednesday, at 51, while trying out new Dunlop tires and new electronics on his GSX-R1000R. Escalante, who clocked the fifth-fastest time of 1:43.886 on his first visit to Buttonwillow, was also pleased to report that he has fully recovered from injuries he suffered in an accident at Brainerd.
The sixth Superbike rider in the test was 2022 MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Champion Corey Alexander, who along with his team focused on getting to know their new Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR Superbike and therefore decided to stick with the Dunlop 2022 tires during the test. . Alexandre’s best time was 1:45.329.
Buttonwillow Raceway Park (Race Setup #13 CW)
November 16, 2022
Best lap times (all on Dunlop tyres):
- Jake Gagne (Yam YZF-R1), 1:40.896
- Cameron Petersen (Yam YZF-R1), 1:41.250
- Cameron Beaubier (BMW M 1000 RR), 1:41.685
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW M 1000 RR), 1:42.685
- Richie Escalante (Suz GSX-R1000R), 1:43.886
- Corey Alexander (BMW M 1000 RR), 1:45.329