2018 Laguna Seca World Superbike Race Two Results: Does The Reverse Grid Finally Make A Difference?

Missing Toprak Razgatlioglu, after he was ruled out of the race with a broken toe after his crash at the corkscrew, the race had nineteen riders racing twenty five laps of the short left-handed circuit. The military-themed anthem was performed by a singer backed by a brass band, because America. 

Eugene Laverty sat in pole position after the reverse grid was applied, ahead of Marco Melandri and Xavi Fores with Tom Sykes heading the second row alongside Michael van der Mark and Jordi Torres. Yesterday's podium determined the third row of Alex Lowes, Chaz Davies and race-winner Jonathan Rea. 

Eugene Laverty got the lead into turn one from pole position, ahead of Xavi Fores and Marco Melandri, but Michael van der Mark charged through to take second place with Melandri taking third behind him. On the second lap, Jonathan Rea worked his way through from ninth on the grid to third place ahead of Melandri and Chaz Davies. 

On lap three, Laverty was almost a second clear of van der Mark who had a second back to Rea, Melandri and Davies, with Melandri almost clipping Rea in his pursuit for a podium spot. A lap later, Melandri crashed at turn five, ending his race, while Rea set the fastest lap on his way to taking second place from van der Mark. On lap five, Rea, with an empty track ahead of him, set the fastest lap again and closed to within under a second of Laverty, and a lap later, he'd closed the gap, dropping van der Mark. 

As Jonathan Rea closed in on Eugene Laverty, hounding him until turn three of lap eight where he found significantly more grip than Laverty and made an easy-looking pass stick. The battle for third was a three bike affair, with Michael van der Mark fending off Chaz Davies and Alex Lowes until lap ten when Davies took third place into the Andretti Hairpin at the start of the lap and Laverty finally fell off the back of Rea. Van der Mark and Lowes were then locked into their customary all-Yamaha battle and Jonathan Rea was now the only rider putting in 1'23 laps. Tom Sykes was in eighth place behind sixth placed Xavi Fores and Jordi Torres in seventh. All riders had over a second gap between them and had less pace than the five riders battling at the front. 

As Jonathan Rea's gap at the front increased by a couple of tenths here and there, he remained the only rider in the 1'23s until he finally dropped to 1'24.001 on lap sixteen of twenty five, with a four second lead over Eugene Laverty who was finally joined by Chaz Davies, and on lap seventeen, Davies took second place off Laverty into the Andretti Hairpin, only to go a little wide on his lunge. Luckily for him, Laverty was unable to turn quickly enough to take advantage of this and Davies held second place. 

With Jonathan Rea stretching out his lead every lap, Chaz Davies consolidating his lead over Eugene Laverty and the Yamahas locked in battle, nothing changed until three laps from the end when Alex Lowes started trying to probe his teammate for weaknesses. As they headed into the Corkscrew, Lowes took an old line favoured by Colin Edwards into the entry of the left-hander at the top that required him to deal with a very light bike after cresting a small hump, and finding a tight line into the left-hander. Van der Mark tried to fight back down the hill into the right turn, but Lowes kept the quicker line and held onto fourth place. 

And that was it. As the laps ticked off, everyone tried to close the small gaps around them, but nobody could make another pass. Jonathan Rea won his second race of the weekend and his fourth race at Laguna Seca, a feat not managed by any other current rider. Chaz Davies took second place five second behind Rea and Eugene Laverty grabbed his first podium, as promised, less than two seconds later. Alex Lowes held off Michael van der Mark in the battle of the blue bikes and five seconds later, Xavi Fores was once again the first independent bike over the line, ahead of Jordi Torres who was caught but not passed by Tom Sykes. 

Jonathan Rea's victory puts him another five points clear of Chaz Davies in the championship chase, giving him a lead of seventy five points, while Eugene Laverty's first podium since 2014 gave him his fourth race in a row with double-digit points and only two points behind Toprak Razgatlioglu's eighth place. Tom Sykes remains in fourth place but lost points to both third-placed Michael van der Mark and fifth-placed Alex Lowes.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 5.099
3 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 6.711
4 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 8.011
5 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 9.746
6 12 X. FORES Ducati Panigale R 14.791
7 81 J. TORRES MV Agusta 1000 F4 16.711
8 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 17.284
9 45 J. GAGNE Honda CBR1000RR 35.421
10 76 L. BAZ BMW S 1000 RR 39.802
11 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 42.946
12 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 43.437
13 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 44.563
14 98 K. HANIKA Yamaha YZF R1 47.257
15 68 Y. HERNANDEZ Kawasaki ZX-10RR 53.415
16 57 J. HERRIN Yamaha YZF R1 58.107
RET 99 P. JACOBSEN Honda CBR1000RR 16
RET 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 19 Laps
RET 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 22 Laps
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Round Number: 
8
2018
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Total votes: 92

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Comments

I really appreciate Rea and his talent. He looked fst and smooth at Laguna. I must say though, I wish he would get a good bike and head to MotoGP. Not likely to happen and history is being made. He'll hit or surpass the 100 win mark and back Foggy in second in the stats....by some margin. Too bad foggy was injured. Rea is an amazing talent and a nice guy, very deserving. 

Total votes: 77

Yes, but ... and I say this as a natural-born American ... is there another nation's anthem that talks of bombs and rockets? It may have sounded good in 1812 but you can't argue that it is "military themed". 

Total votes: 54

Not bombs and rockets, but you should check out the what the lyrics to that are.

Total votes: 64

Very interesting question.  In regards to the lyrics of other the anthoms of other countries, I am willfully ignorant.

The lyrics of the 'banner come from "Defence of Fort M'Henry" a poem written on September 14, 1814, by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, flying above the fort.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "To Anacreon in Heaven", with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. 

Total votes: 81

The theme was military. Everyone was in uniform. I’d not be surprised if it were paid for by the military, like most pre-game performances in professional US sports. 

It also was an observation, not a judgement.

Total votes: 64

on the planet is now Jake Gagne, right?

Not trying to put him down, he has out-performed expectations, and has a bright future. But geez, it is starting to seem like forvever since Spies, Hayden, Edwards, et al.

 

 

Total votes: 59

No way Cameron Beaubier is a much better rider. You've also got guys like Josh Herrin, Garret Gerloff, JD Beach...etc. Jake is just the only guy on the world stage right now along with Joe Roberts in Moto2.

Total votes: 49

He's fast and has numerous SS podiums on his resume.  I suspect that with the right gear he too could finish top 10.

Total votes: 52

Professional motorcycle racing in the US has never really recovered from the old AMA Superbike days. Wayne Rainey's MotoAmerica series is making a good attempt at a revival, but it's much like the CART / IndyCar split; in both cases the series that was reborn out of the ashes has never reached the popularity or perceived quality of the original series despiet the talent involved and the best efforts of the organizers. The die-hard original AMA Superbike fans like myself and many of my friends abaondoned the AMA series when the NASCAR bunch took it over and drove it into the ground and we never jumped back into MotoAmerica for whatever reason.

From my perspecive, US motorcycle racing feels too much like a club racing series for me to really be interested. I know that's a grossly unfair characterization but that's just the way the whole situation played out for me. Add in the fact that beIN sports is the only way to watch the races (i.e. top tier pay TV package) and you can't stream the races on the internet without first having the TV package (?!?) and it's a killer. I'm a cord cutter and have only internet streaming capability, so it's impossible for me to see the races. I'm not alone in this situation, nor is this situation unique to MotoAmerica.

Total votes: 83

Dirt, couldn't agree with you more. I soooo want Wayne Rainey and MA to succeed. I try very hard to be interested. But the manufacturers aren't putting much money into the series, and there's nothing like the Spanish academies or junior VR46 teams here. I have been to a couple of the stand-alone MA races and yes, they feel very much like an AFM race.

Oh well, at least I live in a world where I can watch MM save it with his elbow!

Total votes: 52

Not sure if it is a regional thing, but BeIN sports is putting all the MotoAmerica races up on their Youtube channel.  Its not live (I could be wrong though as I am in Australia) but they put them up very soon after the races are done.  

I found out about these a week ago and have been watching all the races.  Australian SBK is doing something very similar.  Its been great being able to watch the local SBK classes again!

Total votes: 69

I am fascinated by Tom Sykes relative fall from grace.

So nearly champion in 2012, champion in 2013 with 9 wins and then a gradual decline to only two wins last year. 8th place in Laguna race 2 on the same bike as the winner and champion for the last three years.

Is it as simple as a reliance on a point and shoot style that has been emasculated over race distance by the move of superbikes closer to super stock, then the recent rev limits?

Rae's success has combined with these changes to push the Kawasaki development towards corner speed which probably doesn't suit Sykes, especially at the end of the race, at technical circuits like Laguna and when the set up isn't working.

St Stephen, also not great to see a superbike series with no Australians!

Total votes: 95

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Total votes: 88

can’t help but agree....especially as I was thinking Rea is basically doing a Mladin: preferring to be a shark in a small pond rather explore deeper waters.

Total votes: 120

OK, Josh Herrin is not some unknown rider just on the scene---remember he won two seaons of the always tough Supersport class and won a season on AMA Superbike---lack of a good ride was holding him back---this seems to have passed and he's now on quite a good bike---the Attack Yamaha---I'm super impressed with his riding lately and his additude about not letting an mistake on the track phase him---he goes right back to the Attack! Josh has put the spark back into American racing by taking it to the factory bikes!    

Total votes: 100

He's been a different (better) racer since returning to US Superbikes from Moto2.  It was Herrin who was supposed to take over for Josh Hayes on the R1, but from what I read, Herrin wasn't ready to take a back seat to Hayes back then.

Total votes: 51