Mid-Ohio AMA Superbike: KTM Debut Report
2011 AMA Superbike
HMC/KTM Racing Team’s, Chris Fillmore, earned an impressive 7th placed finish at the AMA Pro Superbike race held in Lexington, OH at The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The sixth round of the AMA Pro Superbike Racing Series marked the first professional Superbike race for Fillmore and the debut of the KTM 1190 RC8 R Race Spec motorcycle on the Superbike circuit.
Fillmore already set the bar higher than expected when he qualified 10th fastest in timed qualifying.
Chris Filmore (HMC/KTM Racing Team RC8R 1190 Superbike) says: "Nobody expected us to be inside the top ten. We really haven’t had much time on the bike and are way behind in terms of set-up compared to the teams that have been racing all season," remarked Fillmore. "When I qualified 10th fastest, we were all excited and couldn’t wait for the race to begin."
Fillmore started from his 10th pick on the third row. He was running a smooth race in the first of six laps of the twenty-one lap main event when a red flag was flown. BMW rider Chris Peris had crashed and caused a red flag which gave riders a 10 minute pause before the restart of the race.
Chris Filmore says: "It’s legal to make a few changes to your bike set-up while a race is red flagged. We took advantage of that time and made a few tweaks to my set-up which helped tremendously when we returned to racing action."
It didn’t take long for Fillmore to turn on the throttle and begin to creep his way up inside the top ten once the restart began. Fillmore passed JD Beach for ninth on lap 8 and turned heads again a lap later when he passed Chris Clark for 8th position.
Fillmore continued to charge and soon found himself in the middle of a four-way battle for between Larry Pegram, Steve Rapp and Martin Cardenas. With six laps to go he was still in 8th place closing fast on Rapp.
A lap later and Fillmore had worked his KTM into 7th place making the pass stick on Rapp. He spent the remaining laps on the tail of Cardenas trying to make the pass.
Chris Filmore says: "I attempted to make the pass a few times but couldn’t make it stick. I decided it was best to get a solid finish than to crash in my first race trying to make a last minute pass."
Fillmore turned his fastest lap of the race on the 17th lap turning a 1:26.639. The Superbike rookie went on to finish the race in seventh place and secured a spot in the history books as the first KTM rider to compete in Superbike racing aboard the 1190 RC8 R.
Mitch Hanson (HMC/KTM Race Team Manager) says: "We couldn’t be more thrilled with the result we had today. Fillmore rode much better than any of us had anticipated considering the time we have had to prepare for this event. He was very close to passing for 6th at the end of the race and we think with a few changes he could be very close to that position tomorrow."