New York native P.J. Jacobsen has been called up to replace injured racer Pawel Szkopek to race at the Assen round of the 2012 World Supersport Championship for the Bogdanka PTR Honda team.
Jacobsen, 18, was originally announced as part of PTR’s six-member WSS team in December but funding issues saw him dropped in favor of Jules Cluzel before the season started in March.
PTR kept in touch with Jacobsen however and when Szkopek broke his right leg in a crash during practice at the April 1 round at Imola, the team called up Jacobsen and offered him the ride on the Honda CBR600RR.
“I’ve been training a lot and pretty much waiting for a phone call,” says Jacobsen. “I’m very excited about riding the Bogdanka Honda PTR. My goal is to ride as fast as I can. I don’t really know what to expect as I haven’t raced in the World Supersport Championship before but I tested a PTR Honda in January and really liked it.”
Jacobsen is a talented up-and-coming American rider with international racing experience including a stint in the MotoGP Academy. Jacobsen raced the previous two seasons with Celtic Racing in the AMA Daytona Sportbike series, finishing tenth in the 2011 season with a pair of podium appearances.
In 2008, Jacobsen has also raced in the 125cc Grand Prix race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jacobsen has also competed in Spain’s CEV Championship, becoming the first American to earn a podium in the CEV’s 125GP class.
“I have a lot of confidence, I know the bike and know it’s very good and capable, an all-round good bike, so I am just looking forward to a good race,” says Jacobsen. “I’ve raced in the Spanish Championship before but I don’t know any other European tracks, including Assen, so it will be a new experience for me. I’ve been playing it on a video game every day recently which should be helpful. It’s a fast a flowing circuit which should suit my style and my 125cc background. I don’t feel any pressure and just want to go out and ride my race with the Bogdanka Honda PTR team.”
Szkopek underwent a five-hour operation to repair his leg and it’s unclear how soon he can return to action but until then, his absence will give Jacobsen a chance to show what he can do.
“PJ is still very young but he’s a massive talent and someone we’ve had one eye for a long time,” says Mike Piasecki, Bogdanka PTR Racing director. “Pawel Szkopek is recovering well for his injury and the operation but he won’t be fit to ride at Assen. Of course we hope he’ll be back on his bike as soon as possible but in the meantime, it’s the perfect opportunity to give PJ the chance to make his World Supersport debut with Bogdanka. It will be very interesting to watch his progress and have another talented rider flying the Bogdanka flag. Assen is an iconic track, PJ should really enjoy himself on our bike there.”
[Source: Bogdanka PTR Honda (Facebook)]