Jake Gagne Confirmed For World Superbike With Red Bull Honda

After three wildcard appearances this past season, the former MotoAmerica champion will join the Dutch squad full-time next year

Jake Gagne
After one US and two overseas appearances this past season, Jake Gagne will join former MV Agusta rider Leon Camier on the Red Bull Honda team in World Superbike. “It was really beneficial to have those three rounds to understand the team,” Gagne said. “The goal is to keep learning and making progress.”Red Bull Honda

Jake Gagne will represent America in the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship, the 24-year-old Californian now officially confirmed with Red Bull Honda following three wildcard outings with the Dutch team this past season.

After scoring points in five of the six races—the only blot on his copybook was a retirement in France from what likely would have been a top-15 finish—Gagne now has a dream opportunity to race alongside Leon Camier in the Ten Kate-run squad.

“It’s been a dream of mine for my entire life to race on the world stage,” Gagne said with trademark enthusiasm. “I want to measure myself against the best riders and race some of the best bikes. I’m fortunate to be able to join the Red Bull Honda team.

"If a year ago when I was racing in MotoAmerica you would have told me that I'd be a full-time World Superbike rider, I wouldn't have believed it. I learned a lot this year, had a lot of fun on the bike, and it really helped me improve.

“It’s surreal,” he added. “This year I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to race three rounds—US, France, Qatar. I still just feel like a kid who races motorcycles for fun but now I get to travel around the world and do it.”

Jake Gagne
Ride on Kentucky Kid: Gagne has enjoyed a varied racing career to date, having won the 2010 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup title, 2014 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike title, 2015 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 title, and qualified two years ago for an AMA Pro Motocross National.Red Bull Honda

For Gagne, the learning curve will continue to be steep. Learning the nuances of the new CBR1000RR, which is quite different from the Genuine Broaster Chicken-backed Honda he raced this past season in MotoAmerica, is sure to be one of his biggest challenges.

Since he missed the opening winter test at Jerez, Spain, in November, the challenges presented to Gagne are clear for all to see. He will have just six days on the bike prior to the season-opening race in late February at Phillip Island in Australia.

“I’ve already learned so many lessons in a short space of time,” Gagne said. “I only did three rounds but they were at completely different tracks. Even racing in three different countries taught me a lot; for France, I had to take four flights just to get to the circuit.

“The bike is so much more advanced compared to the MotoAmerica bike. I had to work really hard with the electronics, suspension, and chassis guys so that we could find what I needed. There are a lot of people in the team who are really trying to push the package forward.

“The World Superbike riders are some of the very best in the world and it’s made me work on dialing in all the details. I’ve learned so much about riding, setting up a bike, and even just how you go about your race weekend.”

Jake Gagne
First taste: "I think we found a really good base from which to develop," Camier said after the recent three-day test at Jerez. "Obviously we need to see how it will work on different tracks and over race distances." Red Bull Honda will return to the Spanish track for a two-day private test on January 23-24.Red Bull Honda

Gagne said that he is open to moving to Europe and envisions spending portions of the season overseas. He still plans to use his California home as a base to allow him to continue using motocross as a key element of his training.

“It’s such a big change coming from MotoAmerica, but it’s exciting,” Gagne said. “I want to do well and my expectations are going to be high. It’s another world compared to racing in America. The stage is bigger, and we’ll race at some of the best tracks in the world.

"My time in Red Bull Rookies will help me understand traveling around Europe. There are some cool places to see this year. I'm grateful to have this opportunity. I really feel like a kid in a candy store."