2013 Laguna Seca World Superbike Preview Press Releases

Press release previews from the World Superbike teams ahead of the US round at Laguna Seca:


BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team - WSBK - Laguna Seca - Preview

Munich/Milan, 23rd September 2013. The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team is heading to the west coast of the United States of America. This weekend (27th to 29th September), the famous “Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca” near Monterey hosts the 12th round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship. The last visit of the series to the Californian circuit dates back to 2004, but for both BMW factory riders, Marco Melandri (ITA) and Chaz Davies (GBR), it is familiar terrain. Marco knows Laguna Seca very well from his years in MotoGP. He took part at the Laguna US Grand Prix six times, twice finishing on the podium. Chaz raced there several times with the American AMA and in 2007, he made his MotoGP debut at Laguna Seca.

In the Riders’ classification of the 2013 Superbike World Championship, Marco is currently fourth with 290 points and a gap of 33 points to the top. Chaz is fifth with 239 points. Together, Marco and Chaz have already claimed six victories and a total of 15 podium finishes on their BMW S 1000 RRs this year. In the Manufacturers’ classification, BMW is third with 354 points.

This weekend’s schedule has been significantly changed, with the first race already being contested on Saturday. The weekend starts as usual with the free practice on Friday midday, but then both qualifying practices are held on Friday afternoon. After another free practice, the Superpole qualifying takes place on Saturday morning. Race one starts on Saturday afternoon at 14:00 local time. Sunday starts with the warm-up session in the late morning, with race two scheduled for 14:00 local time.

Laguna Seca from the rider’s point of view:

Marco Melandri:

“I have good memories of Laguna Seca. I rode there when I was in MotoGP and I was twice on the podium. Laguna is one of the best tracks on the calendar. I’m very happy that the World Superbike organisers decided to come back to this circuit. Our bike should work well on this track. We only need to check the grip level the asphalt offers once we are there and work hard to achieve the best possible result. I feel really good and am preparing with training for the next rounds. This final part of the season will be demanding but I want to give my best.”

Chaz Davies:

“Laguna Seca has been consistently a very good circuit for me. For some reason I find the rhythm quite easily at that track. I have done quite a few laps there in AMA so maybe I have a little bit of an advantage this year. It is a very good circuit and along with Portimão, I would rate it as one of my favourite tracks. It has the challenge of the ‘Corkscrew’ which is very steep and I think very exciting to watch. It is one of the most physical circuits I have ever raced on. You don’t get any time to rest and you really need to know how to handle the bike because the circuit is just built into the terrain – there were no computers used or any designers! It is just some tarmac in the hills following the natural landscape, which is nice. Our target for this weekend is as always, a double podium. Regarding the championship I now believe that I don’t have a chance, though there are still enough points left to grab. Anyway from here until the end of the season it is all about podiums and wins, and this is what we aim for.”

Laguna Seca from a sporting point of view:

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):

“After some years we finally return to Laguna Seca, the ‘temple’ of American motorcycling. Superbike racing is linked to America, where this category was born between the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Motorcycling champions such as Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts started their careers in Superbikes. Laguna Seca is a fascinating and very technical track. Unique sections like the Corkscrew have been and probably will help decide the results of the races. In addition, the American circuit is very short. This means that the gaps between the riders will be very small. Both our riders like the circuit and know it very well. This makes us quite confident for the races and also with regard to the championship, which is still open.”

Laguna Seca from a technical point of view:

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):

“The next event will be very important for us. The championship is still open but if we really want to fight for it we must go to Laguna with a clear target: doing better than our competitors. And honestly we are capable of doing so! It is another new racetrack for BMW so the preparation will be very important. We will use a similar approach to Istanbul, running a few simulations and counting on Chaz’ and Marco’s prior experience on this track.

We expect a bumpy surface but with better grip than we experienced in Turkey. The layout is very special. It is tight and short with cambered and blind turns, such as the entry to the famous ‘Corkscrew’ or the fast left hand first corner, where the rider’s skill can make all the difference. The chassis and the electronic settings will be key factors. We will experience for the first time an unusual schedule with a very busy Friday and the races spread across Saturday and Sunday. This change will have an impact on the team’s working system and on the riders’ physical and mental approach. We also have to consider the particular weather we could find: fog in the morning and sun in the afternoon. For the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team it is a new challenge that we are more than ready to face.”

Laguna Seca from Pirelli’s point of view:

Pirelli will bring the standard SC1 and SC2 tyres for the front and standard SC0 and SC1 for the rear to Laguna Seca. The configuration of Laguna Seca is quite special and different from other Championship circuits. The particular position of the track, located right on a hill not far from the sea, gives rise to large variations in asphalt temperature between morning and afternoon sessions. In some particular sections such as the famous “Corkscrew” which riders usually cover with a speed of around 80 km/h, there are rapid counterslope changes of direction that stress the front tyre and, at the same time, the many load transfers may affect the grip of the rear tyre.

For the front Pirelli brings the two solutions already brought in all 2013 rounds, the standard SC1 (R426) in soft compound and ideal for low external temperatures and/or moderately severe circuits and the standard SC2 (R982) excellent for high air temperatures because it guarantees solidity on the tread band. At the rear, the standard SC0 (R1261) is available, a soft solution which made its debut at Monza with the reinforced central area and has been used at Donington, Portimão, Imola and Nürburgring with success. It is ideal for tackling smooth asphalt and high temperatures. The alternative available to the riders is represented by the standard SC1 (R828), a solution in medium compound already present in the first three rounds as well as in Imola, Silverstone and at Nürburgring and visually recognizable because of a white stripe which is accompanied with a blue strip on the tread.

Background:

The US leg of the Superbike World Championship looks like being one of the highlights of the 2013 season: after several years in Salt Lake City, the series now returns to the “Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca” in California, which already hosted the FIM Superbike World Championship between 1995 and 2004. Laguna Seca is located near Monterey on the Pacific coast, about two hours south of San Francisco.

The combination of a unique layout and gorgeous surroundings is what makes Laguna Seca so popular. The circuit was built in 1957 and is now one of the most famous racetracks in the USA. MotoGP, the AMA American Motorcycle Championship, and numerous automobile racing series are regular guests at the Californian circuit.

When you hear the words Laguna Seca, you automatically think of the “Corkscrew” – one of the most famous corners in the world. Every rider has maximum respect for this corkscrew chicane. At the end of a long straight, the riders approach a blind crest at high speed, behind which the track dips viciously downhill, rapidly changing direction as it does so. “Corkscrew” aside, Laguna Seca is still a challenging circuit, combining many uphill and downhill stretches, fast and flowing sections with long straights, and different types of corner. Both engine performance and the bike’s response, under braking and when accelerating out of corners, play a major role on this layout.


WORLD SUPERBIKE RETURNS TO LAGUNA SECA.

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY CONTINUES FOR SYLVAIN GUINTOLI, LYING SECOND IN THE STANDINGS AND MOTIVATED AFTER HIS PODIUM AT ISTANBUL.

EUGENE LAVERTY, WINNER IN TURKEY, IS KEEN TO CONTINUE HIS POSITIVE STREAK AND THE RUN FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP.

Noale, 24 September 2013 – After Istanbul the next round will be the second one of the 2013 World Superbike season held at a first-time location, at least in terms of recent years. For the factory derivative bikes this will actually be a return since the California track hosted World Superbike every year from 1995 to 2004. Aprilia, the current Manufacturer Championship leader, has also already taken on Laguna Seca in its previous SBK adventure, taking a win in 2000 with Troy Corser.

The track's 3610 metres are well known to the fans for being quite spectacular, particularly at the Corkscrew, which has often set the scene for epic battles.

For the Aprilia riders the USA round is crucial. Both battling hard for the rider championship, Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty will need to set their sights on winning the three rounds left in the season. The French rider, lying second in the championship standings, finally got a taste of the podium again at Istanbul after the shoulder injury that affected the second part of his season. The final sprint doesn't promise to be an easy one for him, starting with this weekend on a track like Laguna Seca which is so physically demanding.

Sylvain Guintoli: “Istanbul was a difficult race day and my shoulder was in a very bad shape after the races. I gave everything and more and manage to get back on the podium, but to win the title I need better results. Laguna is a very physical track so I know I will suffer but, as they say here, no pain no gain!”.

The final stretch of the season for Eugene Laverty is off to a brilliant start. Coming from the double win at Istanbul, his first astride the Aprilia RSV4, the lad from Northern Ireland is in top condition for the final assault on the title. The 26 points that separate him from Sykes and the lead make this no simple matter, especially on a track that is completely new to Eugene. But without mincing his words, Laverty has his sights set on repeating the performance at Istanbul or, at the very least, making up points on his direct rivals for the final victory.

Eugene Laverty: “I've only ever seen Laguna Seca on television. It appears to be quite a technical track and it will be important to do my homework ahead of the race weekend. We're coming off the back of two very strong races in Istanbul and this gives me confidence going into the next round. A repeat performance of our double victory will be difficult but it won't stop us from trying! There are still four riders in the title fight so we're set for an exciting end to the season”.


Team Althea Racing – Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway SBK preview

The twelfth round of the Superbike World Championship will take place over the weekend of September 27th - 28th – 29th at the Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway in the United States. After nine years the World Superbike Championship returns to Laguna Seca. The last race was held in 2004. The track was built in 1957. In 1974, the property was deeded over to the Monterey County Parks Department and continues to be part of the park system to this day. The first race, held on 9 November 1957, was won by Pete Lovely driving a Ferrari. In the intervening years, the track has hosted USRRC, Can-Am, Trans-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA GT, Champ Car, American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am, Superbike World Championship and MotoGP motorcycle races and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The track itself has undergone significant changes over the past two decades to meet evolving safety homologation requirements of the FIM and FIA. Changes include the addition of the entire infield area in 1988 extending the track from its original 1.9-mile length to its current 2.238-mile length. The original media center was demolished in 2006 and replaced by the Red Bull Energy Center, a modern entertainment facility with commanding views of the facility.

The World Superbikes have not been to Laguna Seca track since 2004. Between 2008 and 2012 the American round of the Superbike championship was held at the Salt Lake City circuit, but from this year the riders return to the track that boasts the spectacular and famous downhill corner knows as the “Corkscrew”. Coming straight on the back of the Istanbul event, the Althea Racing team and Davide Giugliano now face another brand new track, though the rider has demonstrated that he can quickly get to grips with new circuits. For the first time in Superbike history the two races will take place on two different days, with Race 1 taking place on Saturday afternoon, after the Superpole and Race 2 scheduled for the following day, Sunday.

Davide Giugliano: “I’ve only seen the Laguna Seca track on TV and know it for its famous “Corkscrew” corner. It looks like a spectacular track, fast and varied, with undulating sections. I hope to learn it as quickly as possible, because the two qualifying sessions are on Friday, while Saturday we have the Superpole and the race. So it’s really important to work quickly to find a good set-up for our Aprilia, though it won’t be easy seeing as we have no data of course. In recent rounds we’ve had mixed results and also for this reason I want to do all I can to perform as well as possible in these last three rounds of the 2013 season and score some good results.”


Pata Honda heads to California

The Pata Honda team and its current rider line-up of Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio are preparing for round 12 of the 2013 World Superbike championship this weekend (27-29 September) at Laguna Seca in the USA.

The 3.610km circuit is situated a couple of hours south of San Francisco near the Pacific coastal town of Monterey. While Laguna Seca has been a regular venue for the MotoGP world championship, it has not hosted a World Superbike round since 2004, when Australian rider Chris Vermeulen took both race wins on his Ten Kate-prepared Honda Fireblade.

In a specially-revised schedule for this American round, race one will be run on Saturday with race two going on Sunday, both at the local time of 14.00 (23.00 CET), with the Superpole sessions to determine final grid positions running on Saturday morning.

Of the two Pata Honda SBK riders, only Leon Haslam has raced at Laguna Seca before but both will be determined to fine-tune their Honda CBR1000RR machines for optimum performance over the weekend.

Leon Haslam

It was good to have a few days at home before the whole family set off for America on Monday. I’m really looking forward to going back to Laguna Seca where I raced once in 2004, my first year in World Superbikes. I remember it being an awesome place but my memories of the actual races are a little hazy. I know I broke my wrist in the second race, so that part of the weekend wasn’t so nice. What I do know is that Honda won both races with Chris Vermeulen, although the bikes were a bit different then – no electronics for a start. But that’s an area where we’ve made some progress lately and, although we had one or two other issues in Istanbul, we continued to make forward steps at that last round. The guys have got a good plan for the final three races of the season so I hope we can continue the progress at Laguna.

Michel Fabrizio

I’m still disappointed by the results that we were able to achieve at Istanbul because I think they could have been better. However, I am going to Laguna Seca with a big motivation. Although I have never raced at this circuit before I can hope for a good performance because of the experience that I was able to gain on the CBR in Turkey. I have been in contact with my crew chief, Chris Pike, and we have a clear idea about the direction we need to take in America so I am looking forward to riding at this iconic circuit.


FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI SET FOR LAGUNA SECA

Team Suzuki Press Office - September 25.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki has crossed the Atlantic to head to Laguna Seca in America for the 12th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend as the event returns to the Californian circuit after a nine-year absence.

Jules Cluzel is heading to the 3,610m track for the second time, but the first was just as a holiday-maker, so when he arrives at the American venue it will be the first time he has ridden on the technical and demanding circuit. Cluzel hopes to learn this difficult and physical circuit quickly and aims to put into practice what he learnt last time out at Istanbul about the performance of the Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R.

As previously announced, Cluzel will be joined at Laguna Seca by 2012 AMA Superbike Championship Runner-up Blake Young, who is stepping in as a replacement for Leon Camier. The 26-year-old American has a good knowledge of the circuit, having raced there many times in his career. He will be looking to put this knowledge to good use as he learns how to ride a World Superbike at this unique circuit. Young is standing-in for Camier after the Englishman's crash in Turkey left him hospitalised and in need of an operation to repair seven broken bones in his right foot. Camier was initially released from hospital following a successful operation, but due to an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic, he was re-admitted and spent a number of days recuperating in the Anadolu hospital in Istanbul. He is now out of facility and is back home in Andorra to begin a full recovery process in a bid to be fit for the last race of the season in October.

The Laguna Seca circuit is situated about 160kms south of San Francisco near the towns of Monterey and Seaside, just a few kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. The area was originally a field artillery target range and manoeuvre site belonging to the US Army and the circuit is actually built on a dried-up lake. It is the shortest lap distance on the calendar and the anti-clockwise layout features 11 corners - four right and seven left - including the 'Rainey Curve' and the 'Andretti Hairpin' as well as probably one of the most incredible turns on any racetrack in the world: the famous 'Corkscrew' which is a left and right combination with a steep drop in elevation, where the riders feel like they are falling off the end of a cliff after reaching the turn by a blind crest on an uphill approach.

The American round of World Superbike takes-on a completely new schedule which will see the races run on two days rather than the usual one. The action begins at Laguna on Friday with a 45-minute practice session followed by two qualifying periods in the afternoon to decide the riders that will make Superpole. Saturday will have another free practice and then Superpole to get the grid positions for the first race which will set-off at 14.00hrs local time (21.00hrs BST). Sunday's race will also be a 26-lap affair - the same as Saturday - and will also get underway at 14.00hrs local time (21.00hrs GMT).

Jules Cluzel:

"I'm looking forward to the next race in Laguna; I've been there before, but it was just for a holiday. It's a really nice place and very beautiful and feels much different to Europe. I really like the area and I'm going to California early to spend a few days with friends and head up to see Troy Lee Designs; they have done me a special helmet for the race so I can't wait to see that! I don't know much about the track, but it looks great on TV and video games - the Corkscrew looks easy on a video game, but I know it's not! I do know it's a bumpy track and not very large or wide, unlike some of the ones we get in Europe. I am glad the race has come along quickly because I love to ride and can't wait to get out there. I learned a lot about how the bike behaves in Turkey, so I want to use that data and see how we can improve further. I'd like to welcome Blake to the team and wish him all the best for the weekend; hopefully he'll be able to help me with his knowledge of the circuit and if I can help him in any way then I will."

Blake Young:

"I still can't believe I've been given this opportunity and I can't wait to get on the bike. There will be a few new things with the World Superbike that I will have to learn and adapt to quickly, but for the most part the Suzuki GSX-R will be a familiar home to me and one that I can hopefully settle back into very quickly. I'm really excited about the weekend ahead. I've always had pretty good success with the GSX-R1000 and Suzuki and I'm looking forward to getting back out at Laguna and seeing all the fans! Once again a big thank you to the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team for this opportunity."


Team SBK Ducati Alstare prepares to travel Stateside for the upcoming Laguna Seca round

Bologna (Italy), Thursday 19 September 2013: with eleven of fourteen rounds now behind them, team SBK Ducati Alstare will journey to the States at the start of next week for round 12 of the World Superbike Championship, to be held for the first time in almost ten years at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit in California. The race weekend is scheduled to take place between 27 and 29 September.

Unfortunately rider Carlos Checa, having fractured his pelvis in a crash at the recent Istanbul round, is unable to compete in the remaining three rounds of the 2013 season. The Spaniard underwent surgery yesterday morning (Wednesday) but although the operation on his pelvis went well, doctors foresee a three month recovery period. A tough blow for Carlos and the entire Ducati Alstare team.

It will therefore be Ducati Superstock rider Niccolo’ Canepa who will line up alongside Ayrton Badovini at the Laguna event. Canepa is available to race due to the fact that the Stock 1000 category does not participate in the American round. Badovini was also injured in a separate incident at Istanbul Park but although his left ankle is still painful, he will be fit and ready in time for next weekend’s event.

The last time Laguna Seca featured on the Superbike calendar was back in 2004 and of the current crop of SBK riders only Haslam participated in that event but, as with the Istanbul track, a number of the riders have raced at Laguna in the past, while competing in the GP and 250 championships. Niccolo’ last raced there in 2009, on board the Ducati in MotoGP, while for Ayrton this will be a first visit to the track. Best known for its famous ‘Corkscrew’ bend, the layout is fast and flowing and both riders are very much looking forward to being a part of the action next weekend.

Ayrton Badovini:

“My physical condition is improving day after day. My ankle is no longer swollen but the hematoma is still there of course. I’m continuing with therapy and am in constant contact with the Clinica Mobile’s doctors. I’m really excited to go to Laguna as it’s a track I’ve never seen before and it should be fantastic. There’ll be a lot for us to learn but, seeing as there are few straight sections, it might also be a track where we can take some strong results. It’s also useful, seeing as I probably won’t be 100% physically speaking, that we will do one race on the Saturday and the other on Sunday. I’m feeling pretty confident.”

Niccolo’ Canepa:

“I’m really pleased to have this opportunity. Racing at Laguna Seca with the factory Ducati is really something incredible. I’m feeling confident because Laguna should suit the Ducati well and it also happens to be one of my favourite tracks. I thank my team manager Marco Barnabò of the Barni Racing Team for allowing me to do this once again, Ducati’s SBK project manager Ernesto Marinelli and Ducati Alstare team manager Francis Batta for giving me the opportunity, and my managers Silvia Mangione and Silvia Borella, from SG Agency, for their hard work and belief in me! It will be a busy month for me and I’ll try to make the most of it, also with an eye on next year. I would also like to wish Carlos a speedy recovery.”


Countdown is on for Laguna Seca WSBK return

Rome (Italy), Tuesday 24 September 2013 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship will be back this weekend to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, for the twelfth round of the season. The last time the 3.601m spectacular and challenging Californian track hosted a round of the series was on July 10th 2004, with former WSBK regular Chris Vermeulen who stole the show by winning both races - onboard the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR.

The US Round will feature a revised schedule compared to the usual two-race format on Sunday: Race 1 will be contested on Saturday afternoon (after the morning's Tissot-Superpole), while the second and final race of the weekend will take place the following day.

With the title chase being a 4-way battle, Championship contenders Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), second and fourth in the standings respectively, will try and take advantage of their track knowledge, having previously raced there in MotoGP.

Points leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) – having a "one-off " team mate in WSS regular David Salom, substitute rider in USA for Loris Baz - is eager to get to grips with the iconic "Corkscrew" corner, likewise Istanbul's double race winner Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), who managed to narrow the gap to the top from 40 to 26 points in the last event.

Blake Young will replace injured Leon Camier in the FIXI Crescent Suzuki Team: the rider from Wisconsin is at his second-ever participation to a WSBK round - first one was in 2009 at Donington Park, with Alstare Suzuki.

Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) is the only current WSBK rider who raced before at Laguna in a World Superbike event (2004). Michel Fabrizio and him are hoping for some good results for the Dutch team at the North-American venue.

New recruit for Team Red Devils Aprilia Toni Elias is looking for another strong performance, after the successful debut in WSBK during the last round, while Niccolò Canepa will step in for Carlos Checa to join Ayrton Badovini in the Team Ducati Alstare. Canepa already raced this year with the Belgian squad at Donington Park.

Local riders Roger Hayden – former WSBK rider with Team Pedercini Kawasaki (2010) - and Danny Eslick will be wildcards for the event, onboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Michael Jordan Motorsports Team. Moreover, Aussie Glenn Allerton (Next Gen Motorsports BMW) will be again on track as one-event participant, after the Season Opener at Phillip Island.

Standings (Round 11 of 14) : 1. Sykes 323; 2. Guintoli 315; 3. Laverty 297; 4. Melandri 290; 5. Davies 239; 6. Baz 180; 7. Rea 176; 8. Fabrizio 168; 9. Cluzel 141; 10. Giugliano 139; 11. Camier 114; 12. Badovini 107; 13. Neukirchner 84; 14. Checa 80; 15. Haslam 78; 16. Sandi 45; 17. Iannuzzo 25; 18. Elias 21; 19. Aitchison 20; 20. Clementi 18; 21. Canepa 11; 22. Lundh 10; 23. Lai 8; 24. Reiterberger 7; 25. Allerton 6; 26. Uprak 5; 27. Smrz 4; 28. Stauffer 4; 29. Ercelik 3; 30. Akiyoshi 2; 31. Haga 2. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 419; 2. Kawasaki 377; 3. BMW 354; 4. Honda 216; 5. Suzuki 193; 6. Ducati 144; 7. Yamaha 4.


Round Number: 
12
2013

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