PJ Jacobsen will make his World Supersport debut in Assen next weekend, the 18-year-old New Yorker set to replace the injured Pawel Szkopek on the Bogdanka Honda PTR CBR600RR in the Dutch round. Szkopek suffered a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg when he crashed during practice in the second round of the series in Imola, Italy, almost two weeks ago.
"I feel pretty good," Jacobsen said in a team release. "I've been training a lot and pretty much waiting for a phone call. 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. 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. 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 that 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."
Jacobsen was slated to ride for the PTR team at all the rounds, but didn't come up with the sponsorship package necessary to make the deal work.
Szkopek, meanwhile, underwent a five-hour operation the day after his crash and is currently recovering at home.
"PJ is still very young, but he's a massive talent and someone we've had one eye for a long time," said the team's racing director Mike Piasecki. "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."