The recent announcement from legendary IndyCar racing family of Graham and Bobby Rahal’s Rahal Ducati Moto racing team beginning their journey into the MotoAmerica championship series has the American racing scene buzzing with excitement. Speculation has been running rampant as the paddock and fans alike have been guessing which two riders will pilot the screaming Ducati Panigale V2s in the 2024 season, and we finally have that answer.
It has now been released that MotoAmerica veteran PJ Jacobsen will move over to the Supersport class alongside the rising star of Kayla Yaakov. The combination of these two extremely talented racers, paired with the strong and powerful Panigale V2, should have them as immediate front-runners once the season commences.
Jacobsen has spent the past few years competing in the Medallia Superbike class, working to develop the BMW M 1000 RR for Tytlers Cycle Racing team, where he ended the 2023 season in third place with several podium finishes and one victory. While there might be a slight learning curve period, as PJ adjusts to the smaller machinery, I believe he is well-suited for this bike and class as he has proven himself to be a determined and championship-focused competitor for years.
With the addition of Kayla Yaakov, Rahal Ducati Moto has pulled another rider from the Tytlers Cycle Racing crew. Yaakov began the 2023 season competing in the REVIT Twins Cup aboard The Wagbar MP13 Racing Yamaha YZF-R7, where she was quickly in the front battle every weekend, but eventually moved up to the Supersport class on the Tytlers Cycle Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R for the final two rounds of the season. She quickly came to grips (no pun intended) with the Supersport machinery and class, proving her mettle by securing a strong third place finish at the final round in New Jersey.
Kayla has been a strong blip on the series’ radar for a few years now, and is likely getting calls from other championship series around the world as well. I feel that obtaining the Pennsylvanian teenager is a massive accomplishment for the new Ducati squad, and potentially a great career path opportunity for Yaakov as well. With Ducati’s vast success in nearly every respectable championship series’ in recent years, surely they have their eye on developing Kayla as future World Championship material.
At first glance, it might seem the Rahal Ducati Moto team have a steep hill to climb as they look to stake their claim in the MotoAmerica paddock, but with World Champion Ben Spies as Team Principal, Jacobsen’s proven series experience, and Yaakov’s exciting talent, this team should have no problem getting up to speed in this scrappy class of hard-charging athletes.
Ryan Yearwood is the motorsports correspondent for SoBros Network as well as the pioneer and visionary behind SoBros Outdoors. Follow on Twitter: @OutdoorSoBro.
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