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|01-12-2016, 05:20 PM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Jake Gagne Moves Up To Superbike
Photo Courtesy of MotoAmerica
Jake Gagne moves on up to have a proper go at the reigning Superbike champ Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes in 2016.
Fresh off of his second-straight support class championship, Roadrace Factory’s Jake Gagne will move up to the MotoAmerica Superbike class in 2016. In order to fully support his effort, the Roadrace Factory squad has scaled back its efforts to a single rider in the premier class.
Although it wasn’t an easy decision to leave the 600-support class, where the team has focused its efforts since its start, the team felt it was time to move up.
"We took a good look at our program and how it's worked for us in the past. We saw how big our operations can get and we knew we had to really tighten our belts if we were going to go after the premiere class championship,” Roadrace Factory Team Principal Danny Walker explained. “The decision to run in the superbike class is a major commitment and it wasn't possible if we kept this large, multi-class effort going.”
As for the choice of rider, that was a no brainer – the team’s back-to-back champ Gagne.
“We've been with him since his Red Bull Rookie Cup days and we know he's one of the most talented riders in the U.S.,” Walker said. “This is our chance to really prove that. We needed to take the reigns off Jake [Gagne] and just let him run to show his true capabilities. We saw at times last year on the Superstock 1000cc that Jake was running up near the factory superbikes. It's hard to tell him that he doesn't need to race those guys because Jake is a racer and he wants to beat anyone that's in front of him. This is really the culmination of our relationship with Jake.”
As for Gagne, the Southern Californian is looking forward to moving up and having a go at Superbike’s best.
"I'm so stoked! The whole crew has been working incredibly hard this off season to do everything we can to get us on a superbike and now we got the green light,” Gagne said. “Our first year on the new Yamaha R1 was pretty amazing and I'm really excited to swing a leg over an R1 with some more juice this year!
Walker looks forward to the step up with a rider he feels could challenge for the title, but he has no illusions about the scope of that step up to the premier class.
“This is a big step-up for our program,” he said. “Anyone who's tried to run a full up superbike program can attest to how big of a deal it is. We're going to do this as a self-supported effort so the pressure is going to be on our team to build and prep a bike every weekend that is capable of taking on the factories. I'm confident though that we have the right guys in place to make that happen. We are really looking forward to this season and I'm thrilled to be able to make this happen for Jake and for our team.”
Gagne also understands what the step up means, but has full confidence in his crew that has been with him all these years and been apart of his 2014 Daytona Superbike (equivalent to Supersport) and 2015 Superstock 1000 titles. “We have a lot of work to do, but I have no doubts,” he said. “I have the strongest crew around and those guys will be working just as hard as myself to get everything we possibly can out of that superbike.”
Although the team has scaled back to support Gagne, they have not completely ruled out the support classes entirely and have retained a Supersport bike will be retaining a Supersport bike if an opportunity presents itself. The team also has the capacity to assist up to two KTM Cup riders.
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