ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Kaleb De Keyrel had lots of friends and family cheering him on Friday and Saturday at MotoAmerica’s Superbikes at Road America round, and the Minnesotan didn’t let his audience down. The Robem Engineering rider piloted his Aprilia RS 660 to a dominant win in Saturday’s Twins Cup race, claiming his second victory of the 2021 season.
De Keyrel’s teammate, Hayden Schultz, also had a positive weekend. The Arkansas rider scored a fourth place in Saturday’s race and held onto seventh place in the Twins Cup standings.
The win allowed De Keyrel — who was the runner-up in the 2020 MotoAmerica Twins Cup — to move up from fourth to first in the class’ points standings, and it was his second victory in five races aboard the newly-homologated-for-2021 Aprilia RS 660.
The team’s third rider, Toby Khamsouk, did not take part in the Road America round to attend to a personal matter.
Part of the team’s success at Road America can be attributed to the test day it conducted after the previous MotoAmerica round at VIRginia International Raceway had concluded. The additional track time allowed the team to gather much-needed data about its trio of Aprilia RS 660s and greatly improve its baseline setups for all three riders.
De Keyrel and Schultz got very little track time on Friday at Road America due to the morning Twins Cup practice session being red-flagged and later canceled because of an on-track incident. De Keyrel finished the session at the top of the time sheets, and Schultz posted the third-fastest time. Later Friday during Qualifying 1, De Keyrel laid down the second-fastest time of the session, and Schultz finished the session seventh-fastest.
De Keyrel’s commanding pace was on full display when qualifying wrapped up Saturday morning, as he claimed pole position by a margin of 0.852 seconds. Schultz finished qualifying in sixth place, posting a time of 2:31.583 around the 4.048-mile circuit.
It was De Keyrel’s time to shine in the weekend’s only Twins Cup race, and he delivered an impressive performance. After getting a good start and claiming the holeshot, De Keyrel gradually built a lead over the pack of riders battling for second place. He led all eight laps of the race, taking the win by a margin of more than 7.9 seconds. Schultz also had a good race on Saturday. After getting shuffled back a couple positions at the start, he worked his way to a fourth-place finish.
The Robem Engineering team will be back in action at Round 4 of the 2021 MotoAmerica season, which takes place June 25-27 at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Wash.
Kaleb De Keyrel / No. 51
“We only got two laps in during Friday practice, but I felt comfortable right from the start aboard my Aprilia. It felt great being able to go out and put down quick laps right away. We made some changes to our setup from what we used at VIR, and we learned a lot about what I needed out of the bike during Qualifying 1. That helped me feel comfortable to push the bike more at the start of Qualifying 2 on Saturday, and we were able to go quite a bit faster than everyone else. Drafting is a huge factor here at Road America with its long straightaways. I knew I was going to have to put my head down from the start and try to break the draft. I was able to do that pretty quickly and was able to focus on just being smooth and smart with the lead I had. The Aprilia RS 660 handled like a dream: it was easily the most comfortable I’ve felt on the bike. I’m extremely excited to be leading the championship now and am looking forward to bringing this momentum to Washington.”
Hayden Schultz / No. 49
“I was happy to come away from the Road America round with good points, although the result isn’t exactly what I was hoping for this weekend. I worked incredibly hard to try to get to the front, but with limited track time – due to the length of the track and losing most of the first practice session – I struggled to give the team the feedback it needed to find an ideal setup. I unfortunately wasn’t able to run up front with my teammate in the race, but we’re going to carry what we learned here at Road America into the next round. We’ll have time to test the bike at the Ridge to improve our setup and, hopefully, we’ll be able to join Kaleb on the podium at The Ridge.”
Robem Engineering’s technical partners for 2021 include The Center for Plastic Surgery, Velocity Calibrations, Bitubo Suspension, Dunlop, Woodcraft Technologies, Dymag, Vesrah, DNA Filters, Magura USA, Sara Chappell Photos, NGK/NTK, Blud Lubricants, Millennium Technologies and SC-Project.
Header photo credit: Sara Chappell Photos