American returns to factory team for 2018
Following three appearances with the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team in 2017, Jake Gagne will take a full time ride with the squad next year as he is set to make his first full time debut on the world stage, joining Leon Camier in the Ten Kate garage.
First appearing in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock back in July around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the 24 year old was drafted in as a replacement rider for Nicky Hayden, who tragically lost his life in a training incident in May. Securing two top 15 finishes on the Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2 machine, Gagne took the weekend in his stride and impressed in his first weekend on the world stage.
Returning to the WorldSBK paddock for the 11th Round of the season in France and the final Round under the floodlights in Qatar, he was able to get more miles under his belt and continue to understand the Honda – taking three 12th position finishes and one DNF.
Gagne is thrilled with the news, and looks forward to the season ahead: “It’s really a dream come true to have the chance to contest a full World Superbike season with the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team. I cannot thank Red Bull, Honda and Ten Kate enough for the opportunity to race the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 over three rounds this year. I have learned so much from them and I got to know them quite well, so I’m looking forward to getting going again. 2018 will be an exciting year for me, with a lot of travelling and racing on some of the best race tracks in the world. I want to thank again everyone involved for this incredible opportunity, and I feel I’m ready for the challenge ahead!”
Marco Chini: “We are delighted to have Jake on board for the 2018 season. He picked up the challenge this year and jumped on our Fireblade without prior testing and did well at Laguna Seca, and later showed his talent at tracks he had never raced before. He is young, gifted and a great guy, so he’s the right choice for the team to ride alongside Leon. We look forward to seeing him on track very soon and we’re sure American fans will be happy to cheer him on.”