This year has been rough for American motorcycle racing fans. The loss of Nicky Hayden after a tragic training crash devastated the community and left a hole in the World Superbike grid. For the first time in many years, there was no Americans racing in the top classes of world motorcycle racing. It seems that is going to change in 2018. Can you guess who is taking up the stars and stripes to compete for the World Superbike title next season?
Moving on Up: Patrick “PJ” Jacobsen!
For three years, PJ Jacobsen has competed full-time in the Supersport World Championship riding for Honda, Kawasaki and MV Agusta. Over that time period, he’s been a standout, scoring 16 podiums, five poles, and two wins out of 47 starts. In 2015, PJ almost won the WSSP championship, finishing just 37 points shy of his championship rival Kenan Sofuoglu. Now the 24-year-old has a chance to move up to the big bikes, and he’s taking the opportunity.
For the 2018 World Superbike season, PJ will be riding a Honda CBR1000RR. The TripleM Honda WSBK Team, a rookie team to the superbike paddock, will field Jacobsen as they take a crack at the world title. Officials at Honda have been impressed with Jacobsen’s performance in WSSP and in the Endurance World Championship, where he rode another CBR1000RR. The racer from Montgomery, New York will spend his rookie year trying to figure out the ins and outs of his new race bike, but he probably isn’t expecting wins anytime soon.
The Honda CBR1000RR handles well, but is notoriously underpowered for the World Superbike class. When Nicky Hayden rode the CBR for the 2016 season, he was only able to manage a few podiums and a wet weather win, and he was stepping down from MotoGP.
Hopefully, TripleM will be able to provide a competitive package for Jacobsen to work with, but PJ may not be the only American racing in WSBK in 2018. The motorcycling attorneys at Metier Law Firm will continue to watch the rumor mill, and let you know if America’s prospects for a world championship could be expanding.