Laguna Seca, USA
The FIM have finally released the provisional calendar for the World Superbike series for next year. The 2015 season will see WSBK travel to 14 rounds, returning to all of the venues which hosted races in 2014, and two more overseas rounds added, in Russia and Thailand.
The chances of this being the definitive calendar appear to be slim. Three rounds are marked as still subject to contract: Portimao, Moscow and Qatar. Both Portimao and Qatar look likely to go ahead, but whether WSBK will actually return to Moscow remains to be seen. The 2014 round was canceled due to the political instability in the Russian Federation and the overflow of conflict in Ukraine, which affected various partners of the series. The political situation has only deteriorated since then, with the EU and US imposing sanctions on Russia, making the race there almost impossible. The teams and riders will be hoping for the round to be canceled: the race was a logistical nightmare to get equipment to and from, and for both the fans and riders to attend and find accommodation for.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams and series organizer after Sunday's incident-packed races at Laguna Seca:
Race two at Laguna Seca would be started without two riders, and with the red flags brought out the grids for restarts would be further reduced.
As the riders relaxed on the grid before the race, Eugene Laverty's Suzuki had the tank off and the throttle bodies on a towel on the tarmac as his engineers hurried to fix a problem. The 21°C Californian sun ensured that anyone who would start would do so on a hot dry track.
Press releases from the series organizer and World Superbike teams after Saturday's qualfying at Laguna Seca:
Qualifying at Laguna Seca was in unsurprisingly glorious Californian weather, with the dry lake bowl providing the usual entertainment, in spite of there being no long straights on the short, but exceedingly popular, track. With the Corkscrew getting the column inches, the last turn, the first gear turn 11, is the one that catches most people out, and it caught a rider out in Superpole Two.
Unlike the usual schedule, with limited pit space causing the absence of World Supersport and requiring all manner of logistical shifts, all three timed qualifying sessions took place on the Friday, with the entries to Superpole decided yesterday.
Tom Sykes puts himself at the top of the most likely to get pole position with a blistering 1'23.097 ahead of the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. On a track where outright top speed and power aren't necessary to do well, as can be seen by the top speeds below, Sykes still shows that on a single lap, he's at the top of the pile.
Chaz Davies heads to Superpole with the fastest time of the day, beating the Aprilias of Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri. Tom Sykes has to rely on his time from the second session for provisional fourth, while Toni Elias's time from the first session qualifies him for Superpole Two, knocking Loris Baz down to Superpole One where he will be one of the favourites to be promoted to the second session.
Tom Sykes set the quickest time ahead of Chaz Davies, much like the results of race one last year. Marco Melandri, third quickest today, was fourth behind Eugene Laverty in that race.
Sylvain Guintoli sets the only 1'23 lap of the session but has still got 1.2 seconds before he matches his own best time, the outright lap record of 1'22.683, set in 2013. Tom Sykes and Marco Melandri are within three tenths of a second.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams and organizer ahead of this weekend's round of World Superbikes at Laguna Seca:
Motorcycle racing fans will get their chance to see world championship motorcycle racing at Laguna Seca this year. Today, the World Superbike press office confirmed that the Laguna Seca round of WSBK is to go ahead as scheduled. The California circuit is to host the World Superbike class on 11-13th of July this year. The round has been secured with the financial backing of US insurance giant GEICO.
The press release confirming the round appears below:
U.S. Round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca confirmed
Barcelona (Spain), Tuesday 11 March 2014 - GEICO Motorcycle has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship which will take place on July 11-13 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on California’s scenic central coast.
“GEICO is a natural partner for this incredible motorcycle race weekend that provides access to an influential and extremely loyal enthusiast base,” commented Gill Campbell, CEO and General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “As part of the sponsorship program, GEICO will activate onsite and be part of a vigorous website and social media initiative program.”