Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Moscow:
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team - WSBK - Moscow Raceway - Superpole
Championship leader and 2012 runner-up Tom Sykes has signed up for another year with the Kawasaki World Superbike team.
Marc Marquez' domination at Laguna Seca continues, with the Repsol Honda rookie topping the timesheets once again at the Californian track, despite never having ridden the circuit before Friday. Marquez was quick early on, but came out in the middle of the session and posted a blistering lap, following it up with a series of laps in the high 1'21s.
Rain caused trouble for World Supersport qualifying.
In spite of Sam Lowes being the only rider able to get under 1'39, positions were all decided from times set in the first qualifying session and Kenan Sofuoglu will start from pole position ahead of, appropriately for Moscow, the two Yakhnich Yamahas of Sam Lowes and Vladimir Leonov.
After much speculation with the weather, Superpole was declared a dry session, even though clouds were looming overhead. The top fifteen compete over three sessions with only two qualifying tyres allocated to each rider, with riders eliminated at each stage.
Rain arrived and slowed proceedings down, with some riders not managing to even record a complete lap time. Tom Sykes was fastest ahead of the Suzukis of Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel while many teams prepared for potential rain tomorrow with pit stop practice. Carlos Checa, whose bike was built from a rolling chassis after his crash in the morning, came out at the end of the session, showing his hit on the head wouldn't keep him out of qualifying and racing.
As the flag came out at the end of a drying session, it looked like another session with Sam Lowes snatching the top spot on his last lap, but instead, after Lowes set his last fast time, Roberto Rolfo on the MV Agusta came from nowhere and set a time two tenths faster. The track should dry out for the final qualifying later today.
Moscow greeted the riders with rain, ensuring that times would not improve over yesterday. Sylvain Guintoli was the only rider not to go out on track, knowing nobody would be able to knock him out of Superpole. The session was red flagged two minuted from the end when, shortly after Davide Giugliano crashed out, Carlos Checa's rear wheel inexplicably locked up on the back straight, throwing him off his bike. Checa was up and about but ended the session in the medical centre.
Press releases ahead of this weekend's Red Bull US GP at Laguna Seca:
Lorenzo and Rossi Cross the Atlantic for Laguna Seca
Laguna Seca (USA), 17th July 2013
When Yamaha announced they would be leasing their M1 engines to ex-CRT teams for 2014, the first wave of reaction was overwhelmingly positive. With 24 liters of fuel allowed, and 12 engines instead of 5, the Yamaha engine package looked like being the best thing on offer to the so-called non-MSMA teams, as CRT is to be called from next year1.
Then doubt set in. Looking at the Yamaha M1 package, what you'd want from Yamaha was the chassis rather than the motor. The engine is the least powerful of the MotoGP prototypes, but its chassis was by far the best of the bunch. Both the Honda and the Yamaha non-MSMA packages appeared to be offering the worst part of each bike: Honda offering their chassis (good, but not great) and a dumbed-down version of their superlative engine; Yamaha offering a full-fat engine (the weakest of the bunch), for teams to have someone build a chassis around without Yamaha's 20+ years of experience building Deltabox frames. Perhaps the Yamaha M1 lease package - a lot of money, just for some engines - was not the bargain it at first appeared.
Marc Marquez continued showing why he is the exception, not the rule. For FP2, the championship points leader was fastest in only his second practice at the Laguna Seca circuit in Central California with a time of 1’22.040.
Stephan Bradl continued a strong recent run with a second in qualifying and Andrea Dovizioso put his factory Ducati in a surprising third place. Valetino Rossi couldn’t turn his consistently fast laps into a front-row time and he settled into fourth place.
Cal Crutchlow has topped a typically misty and cool first session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Laguna Seca, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider posting a late fast lap to blast to the top of the timesheets. Crutchlow had been threatening to go top a couple of times, but was balked once by Randy de Puniet, then got caught behind Jorge Lorenzo as he was on fast laps.
Moscow is more like a national circuit than an international world championship venue. It’s a short track in character, in spite of the long back straight that leads to the last corner, offering a last chance passing place.
Laguna Seca is a peculiar track. It is short, tight, dusty, and not really suited to MotoGP, either in terms of facilities or, if we are brutally honest, in terms of safety, despite its FIM approval. It is foggy and cold in the morning, when the sea fog rolls in from Monterey Bay, and hot and dusty in the afternoon, with nowhere for the fans to escape the heat, except for a few solitary oaks scattered around the track. It is only really on the calendar because of its location, in the very heart of California's motorcycling community (though there are many, many people in Southern California who would heartily disagree with that statement.
Despite that, it is still a magnificent venue. If you asked everyone in the paddock which was their favorite event, Laguna Seca would be right up there vying with Mugello. The atmosphere, the location, the surrounding countryside, MotoGP people love the place, so much so that they often stay on afterwards to enjoy the area with a little more time to spare.
The track may be short and tight, but it still seems to generate some great racing. The epic clash between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi in 2008 may be the high point, but Stoner's battle with Jorge Lorenzo in 2011, Nicky Hayden's first win when the series returned to the track in 2005, the tight battle between Dani Pedrosa and Rossi in '09. There is something about the track which can bring out the magic.