Press releases from the organizers and teams after the second race at Laguna Seca:
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Day Three
Commanding Race 2 win for Rea at Laguna
World Champion takes Sunday win at #USWorldSBK round, with Sykes and Davies also on the podium
As the GEICO US Round drew to a close on Sunday afternoon at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca it was World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who took the victory, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) also on the podium.
Rea came from eighth on the grid to take a dominant win over the rest of the field with the KRT man beating his nearest challenger – teammate Sykes – by 2.887s, to open up a 59-point advantage at the head of the standings going into the summer break. It is the Northern Irishman’s second win at the American venue and he dedicated the victory to the late Nicky Hayden.
Davies did his best to pursue Sykes for second place over the final laps but just could not catch the Yorkshireman and had to settle for third, following his comeback win in Race 1.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) completed the top five in the hot conditions at the spectacular Californian track.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) bounced back immediately from his Race 1 DNF for a good sixth place finish, with another Aprilia equipped rider Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) in seventh.
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was just behind Laverty and Mercado on the Aprilia RSV4 RF in eighth place, with the top ten completed by Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team colleagues Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark.
Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) and Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) all suffered crashes, whilst there was an early retirement for Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse).
After the summer break the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders will return to action at the Prosecco DOC German Round over the 18th-20th August weekend.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
"The team gave me an incredible bike today and we made a brave change in the setting which worked amazing, to have this result and to go into the summer break is a really nice way to do that, its a long flight home but a massive thanks for my team for building a good bike. I see the Hayden family here this weekend and its impossible not to be here and think of him and I want to dedicate this to him and his family."
P2 - Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)
"Yeah you've got to be happy, today I tried my hardest, today we missed that little bit more the lap times stayed consistent and we were much faster than yesterday, we were missing some traction and every corner it added up. We tried to make the most of it but it wasn't to be and now we will try to get to the bottom of our problem."
P3 - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Team)
"Like some other races this year, Kawasaki are able to make a really good start, and there was little I could do. At one point Tom was on the radar, I thought that I would be able to catch him but I ran out of laps. I'm very happy with this weekend and after Misano, this is exactly what we needed and now we can look forward to the summer break."
Rea Wins As KRT Riders Lead The Field
KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished 1-2 in the second Laguna Seca FIM Superbike World Championship race, with Rea taking his ninth win of the season today. Rea and Sykes are still 1-2 in the championship fight, with Rea extending his championship lead to 59 points.
Starting from seventh and eighth places on the grid respectively Sykes and Rea both made strong starts but Sykes was into a clear lead after just a handful of corners, despite being on row three at the green light.
Rea also soon passed the other podium contenders, at record pace with a 1’23.275 set on lap two, and he went past his team-mate Sykes on lap three, easing out a gap as the race progressed.
Both riders were to consolidate their leading positions throughout the 25-lap contest with Sykes able to keep Saturday race winner Chaz Davies behind to record second place and his 13th podium finish in 16 races.
In the championship points Rea leads with 341, Sykes is second with 282 and Davies is third, on 226. In the Manufacturers’ Championship standings Kawasaki leads by 66 points, with five rounds and ten individual races still to go.
The main summer break in competitive action begins now, with the next race weekend not taking place until 18-20 August, at the Lausitzring in Germany. Before then the KRT team will join some rival teams for a two day test at the same venue.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was awesome to win today and we did it by putting 25 good laps together. Right from the first lap Tom got away and I found it hard coming through at that stage. But when I got clear I put my head down and I knew it was game on. As soon as the opportunity presented itself and went through into the lead, and set my rhythm. We made a real step with the set-up overnight. On yesterday’s pace I felt good but I felt it was a difficult opening race. I left the changes for today to Pere my crew chief and did not go into too much detail. He came up with a good plan in warm-up and it seemed to work. Everything seemed to be coming easier and during the race I did not change anything, just played a little bit electronically with the engine braking settings. I want to thank all my team for giving me a great package and this is a good way to go into the summer break.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I was in a bit of a hurry to get to the front in race two and I was hoping to be going there alone. I came out of the last turn, looked at the big screen and saw my team-mate there. I wanted the riders behind to battle for a while but it wasn’t the case. The bike was very consistent and we stayed in the high 1’23s to low 1’24s all race. I made a couple of mistakes on one lap trying to adjust the rear brake and engine mapping, just to try something different. We have to be happy with second because yesterday and today I gave it everything on track. Credit to the boys in the garage as today’s pace was faster, the race was faster and had a lot safer feeling. I am a little disappointed to lose some points in the championship but there is still a long way to go.”
Third place for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team in Race 2 at Laguna Seca with Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri is fourth
After taking an extraordinary victory in Race 1, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team stepped back on the podium in Race 2 at Laguna Seca (U.S.A.) with Chaz Davies. Starting from ninth position on the grid, the Welshman fought hard in the early laps to make his way through traffic and take third position. Davies then mounted a comeback on Sykes, progressively reducing the gap up to one second before being cut short by the checkered flag.
Marco Melandri, after showing significant progress during WUP in the morning, couldn't make the most of a start from pole position, losing positions in the early phases of the race due to grip issues. Climbing back up from ninth position after briefly running off track, the Italian showed his grit to secure another fourth place finish.
After eight rounds, Davies (226 points) and Melandri (189 points) are respectively third and fourth in the championship. WorldSBK will now take a break ahead of the ninth round, scheduled for August 18-20 at EuroSpeedway Lausitz (Germany). The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will prepare the round with a two-day test on the German track on July 25-26.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 3rd
“It was a mostly lonely but still difficult race. Our start wasn’t bad, but our rivals’ was better. It will be something to work on during the summer break. The bike was making a lot of noise today, so we’ll look into that, but I’m not sure it affected our performance. Our rivals rode a great race nonetheless. I was struggling with grip on the first touch of gas, at high lean angles. I tried my best to take second place, but we would have needed more laps. Now we’ll take a break, which will be important to resume training and get back to 100 percent, even though my physical conditions were decent here. Then, we’ll go test at Lausitzring, which will be very important for the second part of the season.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 4th
“For sure we expected a better result after practice. Yesterday’s race was a bit strange, while after WUP today we thought we found the right direction to take at least the podium, but once again we struggled during the race. It seems that our base setup is really competitive but doesn’t work as well in hot conditions, where we struggle with grip. We need to understand why. Anyway, it’s been a positive first half of the season. I gradually adjusted to the bike and I feel progressively more comfortable. Of course we wanted to do better here after winning at Misano. The tests at Lausitzring will be very useful. We’ll get better, my team is working really hard and I’m optimistic for the future.”
Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director
“Today’s race was a bit complicated. We didn’t get off to a strong start, even though our pace improved compared with yesterday. Chaz tried hard to take second place, scoring another important podium. Marco had bigger issues with grip, but still managed to collect valuable points. We’ll work hard as always to be better prepared for the second part of the season.”
Double Top Ten Finish for Pata Yamaha in Race 2 at Laguna Seca
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rounded off a challenging weekend at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a double top ten finish in Race 2 in Sunday's round 8 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes bounced back from a DNF in Race 1 to secure a hard-fought ninth place after an excellent race-long duel with his teammate. Michael van der Mark crossed the line less than half a second behind Lowes in tenth to add to his eighth-place finish from Race 1. This result sees Lowes and van der Mark enter the summer break in fifth and seventh in the championship standings respectively, with the teammates now separated by just 19 points.
It was another glorious day at Laguna Seca and as the lights went out for Race 2 there were blue skies and track temperatures were hitting 52°C. Lowes made a steady start from the middle of the fourth row, slotting in behind his teammate van der Mark in twelfth place and pushing hard. The 26-year-old Brit showed his courageous character once more, despite struggling with the feeling of his R1 in the scorching heat, and set about closing the gap to van der Mark. On lap 5 he made an excellent pass on his teammate at the final corner to move into 11th and then tried to close the gap to the riders ahead. Despite giving it 100% and, like his teammate, showing excellent consistency with his lap times, he could not quite catch the riders in front. Instead, he became embroiled in an exciting game of cat and mouse with van der Mark, riding bravely to ensure that, despite the pressure from his teammate, he brought his R1 home to cross the line in ninth position and collected 7 championship points.
Van der Mark enjoyed a good start off the line from fifth on the grid but found himself dropping down the order in the first few corners as he also struggled for initial pace. By the end of the first lap, he was in eleventh place and being pursued by his teammate Lowes. He was passed by Lowes at the final corner at the end of the fifth lap, in a move that saw him lose drive onto the main straight and drop down to 13th. The 24-year-old Dutch rider recovered well and fought back to overtake Stefan Bradl for 12th on lap 11. He then set his sights on hunting down his teammate Lowes. For the rest of the race, he pressured his teammate, never leaving his back wheel and showing incredible consistency in his lap times. Try as he might he could not get past Lowes, but with other riders retiring and a number of crashes, he battled all the way to the end and finished the race in tenth place, just 0.497s behind his teammate to secure 6 vital championship points.
Lowes remains fifth in the championship standings but has increased his tally to 148 points, while his teammate van der Mark is now in seventh place with 129 points. The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now head into the summer break, although both Lowes and van der Mark are competing for the Factory Yamaha Racing Team at the Suzuka 8 Hours on the 28th-30th July. They return to WorldSBK action on the 18th-20th August for round nine of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Lausitzring.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 9th +33.044s
"It was a very difficult race. I didn't feel comfortable with the bike but after everything that we have experienced this weekend it was good to at least finish and get a result. I've really struggled with front-end confidence here at Laguna Seca and those 25-laps were very hard work but I did what I could. I couldn't push hard, it was a question of just riding as consistently as possible and trying to understand what we can do to improve our pace at this track in the future. It is clear that as a team we haven't had the best setup this weekend, so now it's time to get some rest from the WorldSBK calendar and come back stronger and fighting for podiums, which is what we have already shown we can achieve, at the next race in Germany."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 10th +33.541s
"It was tough today, I felt a had a good start but straight away from the first lap I didn't have a good feeling with my R1. It is quite strange because we changed a lot again for the race. It has been a tough weekend; the only really positive session was Saturday morning but then the track temperatures were a lot cooler. As soon as the temperature started rising we struggled a lot. It is difficult to understand why we can do the same pace from the first to the last lap but not be quick enough at the start. We have to understand why this is and of course, we are not happy, but we will work hard during the break to ensure we come back fighting at the Lausitzring."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"Today was no easier really than yesterday's race but at least both bikes finished in the top ten and both riders gave 100% effort. The Yamaha WorldSBK project has taken such a huge step forward in performance this year but here at Laguna Seca, much like Imola a couple of months ago, has been really tough and shown us where we need to improve. Our pace relative to the winners was the same as yesterday but compared to fifth place, we were very similar in terms of pace for the second half of the race, which is at least a small positive. The riders fly directly to Japan from here for more testing for the Suzuka 8 Hours and the team would like to wish them and all the Yamaha teams in the event at the end of July the best of luck. Let's hope for a great result for Alex and Michael at Suzuka and a fresh start at the Lausitzring in the middle of August so we can get back to the level we know we can achieve."
Bradl and Gagne battle hard at Laguna in race two
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, United States
The US Round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has come to a close today at the Laguna Seca Raceway, with Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Stefan Bradl and Jake Gagne finishing in 11th and 14th place respectively, at the end of the second 25-lap WorldSBK encounter of the weekend.
Bradl had an exciting first third of the race: from 17th place on the grid, the 27-year-old German managed to make his way up to 10th after only eight laps. He was then involved in a three-way battle for ninth with Lowes and van der Mark and eventually rode a lonely last part of the race in 11th position all the way up to the chequered flag.
Jake Gagne rode in the top-15 for the majority of the race and well defended his 14th place – despite some rear-grip issues – until two laps to go, when he was passed by Krummenacher. The 23-year-old completed his first World Superbike round with yet another 15th place and one more point in the standings.
World Superbike will now enjoy a five-weekend break before the next round, which takes place at the Lausitzring in Germany on August 18-20.
Stefan Bradl 6
For me it was a good race and surely better than yesterday’s. Obviously another 11th place is not what I was looking for, but riding-wise we did improve. The weekend in itself has been challenging because of the changes we had to make, which made it a bit more difficult to find the feeling with the bike. Surely, 17th position on the grid was a bit of a handicap because it didn’t allow me to try and stay with the front guys, but at the beginning I was able to push hard on the front tyre because we made some steps forward in that department. I made a little mistake halfway through the race when I was fighting with Lowes and van der Mark which cost me some tenths and, after some more warnings, I had to settle down a little and ride the bike home in 11th. We seem to have found a direction now so I hope things will improve some more at Lausitzring. I will now go to Japan for the Suzuka 8 Hours and it’ll be interesting to try that Fireblade, so I’m looking forward to this new experience!
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake Gagne 45
At the beginning I was a little disappointed with the result as obviously I would have loved to stay closer to the guys ahead of me, but I learned so much this weekend. The team is amazing, they’re such great and smart guys! I struggled a little bit compared to yesterday’s race, especially with the rear end and that caused some vibration which caused me some problems. I had a couple of big moments and almost crashed, so I’m happy to have brought the bike back to the pit-box in one piece. In any case it’s been a wonderful experience and the fans were absolutely unreal.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Stefan was quite aggressive at the beginning and was able to make some interesting moves early on and stayed with Lowes and van der Mark for a while. He made a tiny mistake but he was pushing very hard and had to let them go. His gap to the winner improved a little compared to yesterday, but we know we have still some work to do. While he will be racing at the 8 Hour, we will work hard and make sure to improve the package before his home race at Lausitzring. We will be rooting for him! Jake had a reasonable start but he soon started to experience some grip issues with the rear which caused some vibration and gave him a hard time. He couldn’t hold on to 14th place but nevertheless he did another great job today. We loved working with him and to get his feedback about the bike. I want to thank him for riding our bike and doing what he did with so many new things coming his way.
Double Top Eight finish for Milwaukee Aprilia in Race 2 at Laguna Seca
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 09 / 07 / 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori delivered solid point scoring performances in Race 2 at Laguna Seca, coming home P6 and P8 respectively.
Lining up P10 after his Race 1 retirement, Eugene made a rapid start and took the fight to his rivals, battling hard with Melandri and Camier as he made his way through the field. After passing Mercado on Lap 4 for 7th, he began to chase down Torres before the Spanish rider crashed out at Turn 1. Finding a comfortable groove with his Aprilia RSV4 RF he was closing down Fores in 5th place, but ran out of laps before he could make his move.
Lorenzo joined Eugene on row 4 for the race start in P12. After a steady getaway he got stuck into the midfield fight for points, racing close behind his teammate and Camier. With improved grip in the front after a trying Race 1, Lorenzo set a consistent pace and managed his tyres well. After problems for riders ahead of him, Lorenzo tried hard to chase down Mercado for 7th but ultimately settled for 8th place and 8 valuable points.
The WorldSBK series now heads into its summer break. The team will return to the track at Lausitzring in Germany later this month for a two-day test , ahead of Round 9 at the same circuit in August. With a busy schedule for the important test, they will work hard to further hone and improve the RSV4 RF ahead of the final five race weekends of 2017.
The action continues at Round 9 from Lausitzring in Germany, 18-20 August
Keep up to date with the Milwaukee Aprilia team on their website, and Facebook, Twitter & Instagram channels
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid - P10 Race - P6, 10 points
“It was a positive result today considering that we had to start from P10, and the reverse grid rules didn't help us this time. I had some good scraps and I felt pretty comfortable on the bike.
The big improvement today was the front tyre; yesterday there was some problem with it that wasn't normal, but today it functioned correctly and I was able to push a lot more.
Perhaps 5th would have been on the cards if we'd started higher, but I still think that was our best race of the year. Heading to the test at Lausitzring we have a good basis from here to work with. The improvement on the front was a big benefit as we showed here in Free Practice, and our aim is to take another big forward step with the RSV4 RF."
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Grid - P12 Race - P8, 8 points
“I'm quite happy with the result today. Even though P8 is not where we want to be, I was able to set some quick and consistent laps. When I caught the other riders I could stay in their rhythm, but I still found it hard to pass them.
We need to focus on the positives from this weekend. On Friday I struggled with the bike and rhythm, but we found some improvements and step by step I know that we can be even better for the next race.
We have a lot of work to do for the test at Lausitzring. There are some areas that we have struggled with recently that we need to make better, and I know that the team are working very hard to make sure we can improve for Germany."
Mick Shanley, Team Manager
“It's been a positive day for the team and a much improved race after yesterday's result. There were a few changes for both riders overnight and it was a solid, strong performance from them.
It was good for us to start a race and really move forward in it. It was tough yesterday after the pace we showed in Free Practice, but today showed that we are making good progress and have some really useful data to work with.
We have an important test coming up at Laustizring in a few weeks, and that will shape the back-half of the season for us. We can go into the summer break on a positive note, and look to come back strong for the last five rounds."
Black Sunday for Althea BMW at Laguna Seca
Monterey (USA), Sunday 9 July 2017
Round eight of the 2017 Superbike World Championship has concluded at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and it proved to be a day to forget for the Althea BMW Racing Team, after both Jordi Torres and Raffaele De Rosa crashed out of race two.
Superbike - Race 2 – fourth on today’s race grid, Torres was lying fifth through the first corners. Doing all he could to stick with those ahead of him, the Spaniard was in sixth position when unfortunately, on lap seven, he suffered a crash, finding himself on the ground with no chance to continue his race.
The same outcome for De Rosa today. 14th off the line, he immediately made up a position and began to get into a rhythm. On lap four however he too fell victim to a crash that, though innocuous, prevented him from carrying on.
After eight of thirteen championship rounds, Torres lies ninth in the standings with 94 points while De Rosa has 30 points, placing 18th. The championship now takes a break with the next round scheduled to take place from 18-20 August at the Lausitzring in Germany.
“We started well and were up there, in fourth place. Then Davies and Melandri came along and I lost a little ground. I was doing my best to defend my position and build confidence with the bike that was working better compared to yesterday, but then at turn one I went to downshift, missed the last gear and was thrown to the ground. We’re disappointed of course but will work during the holidays to be prepared for the Lausitzring."
Raffaele De Rosa
“There’s not much to say, also because I only did a few laps. Up until that point I was feeling better on the bike, which seemed more stable compared to yesterday. I crashed without warning, we need to understand how it happened. I’m sorry because we could have run a good race today, it was a pity not to make the most of the opportunity and I’m sorry for the team after all their hard work here.”