Press releases from the organizers and teams after Sunday's WorldSBK race at Laguna Seca:
#USWorldSBK Day 3 - Masterful Rea does Laguna Seca double
Championship lead stretches to 75 points after flawless Californian weekend
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took his second win of the weekend at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, becoming the most successful rider in MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship history at the US racetrack in the process. The Northern Irishman was again unstoppable in the GEICO US Round, flying to the lead in the opening eight laps despite having to start from the back of row three. Second went again to Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with a sensational performance from Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) to complete the podium in third.
Rea wasted no time at the lights. By the end of lap one he had managed to climb from ninth on the grid to fifth; three laps around Laguna Seca later, he was already up to second and chasing race leader Laverty. Sitting behind the leading group was Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who crashed out in the early stages of the race making it the third time in the last seven races that the Italian has failed to score any points.
It didn’t take much longer for the Race 1 leader to pass Laverty either, picking off the Aprilia rider with ease through Lap eight. A similar story to yesterday: two thirds of the race left, an open track ahead, and an unbeatable race pace. When Rea finds his groove and is this confident, the three time champion is second to no one. Even Davies, who put in another stunning climb through the ranks and passed Laverty into second with eight laps to go, couldn’t close the gap and had to settle for second.
In a similar performance to Sunday however, there was plenty of action for the remaining rostrum place. Laverty, who was now in third, was quickly hunted down by the two Pata Yamaha riders. But the pair battled amongst themselves for just enough laps for the Irishman to keep them both at bay, meaning he was able to clinch his first podium of the 2018 campaign, also a first since Sepang 2014.
The battle between Round Six and Seven’s race winners van der Mark and Lowes, saw the Brit finally emerge victorious with two laps to go thanks to a brave pass in the run-up to the Corkscrew. A bit of magic from the Lincolnshire rider means he is able to close the gap to his teammate in the standings to just 32 points. Van der Mark meanwhile couldn’t make the best of a fantastic start, which saw the Dutchman rise to second at Turn One, and crossed the line in fifth.
Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) repeated his Race One performance with sixth at the flag, a sign that the Spaniard is building back his form after two forgettable rounds. Behind him was fellow Spaniard Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in seventh, ahead of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in eighth. Sykes is a three time winner at Laguna Seca, but on Sunday he found himself collapsing down the ranks from the start and it never quite worked out throughout the 25 laps for the Kawasaki rider, closing a disappointing weekend.
Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) went one better than on Saturday, crossing the line in ninth and taking his personal best result in WorldSBK. A fantastic weekend at home for the Californian, who crossed the line ahead of Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) in tenth and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura). A special mention for Karel Hanika (Guandalini Racing), who crossed the line in a promising 14th, scoring points in both races at Laguna Seca on his WorldSBK debut.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"I'm super happy, I don't know what to say, a massive hanks to Pere, they gave me an even better bike today, in the last five laps I took a step back and thought that I'm here in Laguna Seca, riding a ZX-10RR, I felt so cool to be riding out here. Thanks to all the fans, its certainly a case of California dreaming here."
P2 - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"That was an enjoyable race, its never easy coming from the third row of the grid but you've got to make the passes stick and some of those passes we're certainly a little bit tight and thats the nature of this grid and with this grid rule. I just missed that but in the early stages to run with Jonny and then we got there and the damage was already done, its great to see Eugene back on the podium."
P3 - Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
"Its so nice to get that podium we've been talking about for so long, it's been getting closer and closer since my injury, its been getting back into the swing of things, I'm happy for myself but more happier for the team, its been a long time coming and its their first podium."
#USWorldSBK at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca: Race 2
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) 5.099
3. Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) +6.711
Second Win At Laguna For Rea
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored a famous double win at Laguna Seca after winning race two from his nearest championship rival by 5.099 seconds. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) had a tough day and finished eighth, not finding a race set-up to compete at the level he expected.
In cooler conditions than those experienced during race one on Saturday, today’s 25-lap WorldSBK race saw Sykes start from the second row and Rea from the third row, under the reverse grid rules for race two at each event.
Rea had got up to fifth on lap one and then into the lead by lap eight at the intense 3.610km long hillside circuit. He found a set up on his Ninja ZX-10RR that allowed him to ride with his desired natural flowing style and he ran out the clear winner. It was his eighth victory of the season, giving him a 50% winning record for the season so far. Jonathan reached the landmark of 125 career WorldSBK podiums today.
It was a difficult second race day for Sykes, who went sixth after one lap but was down to ninth after two laps. He ended his day in eighth place, for eight championship points.
In winning for a fourth time in his career at Laguna Seca, Rea extended his championship lead to 75 points over runner-up in race two, Chaz Davies. Sykes is still fourth overall, 19 points from third place, with 16 of the scheduled 26 races completed.
In the Manufacturers’ Standings Kawasaki enjoys a lead of 45 points.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 11th in race two and is 16th overall. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 12th but sits one place and two points ahead of Mercado in the championship.
Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) rode to 15th today and took the last point on offer at what was an intense and well-attended eighth round of the season. After injuring his left foot in a race one crash, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) did not make the start of race two.
Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, on the Adriatic Coast of Italy, will host the next round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, between the 6th and the 8th of July.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “An incredible weekend. I expected to be strong here but I had no idea how strong. Two weekends in a row now, Brno and here, we have been the reference. Weekends like that do not happen all the time so we have to really absorb it and enjoy the moment. A double win at Laguna in the sunshine - it does not get much better. There are so many people out around the track. A massive thanks to all my crew, especially Pere because even though we won yesterday with a margin, last night he changed the bike completely and gave me some more confidence in the front. It worked a dream. It was one of those races where I could absorb what was happening, the crowd, the weather, where I was; it really was an incredible race.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We just did not get the set-up. We changed a couple of things but the only positive is that we confirmed that the front tyre yesterday was an issue. Today we had a relatively good front set-up but unfortunately it looks like a small change to the rear did not help. I just struggled really when it came to the races, which I am disappointed about. There is nothing much more I can say. The only strange thing is that during practice we had good speed and felt we were capable of a much stronger result today.”
Davies (2nd) clinches yet another podium in Race 2 at Laguna Seca, Melandri forced to retire after a crash
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team stepped on the podium once again in Race 2 at Laguna Seca (United States), home of the eighth round of the WorldSBK Championship, with yet another second-place finish by Chaz Davies. The Welshman started strong from third row, immediately recovering positions. After some hectic early laps, also due to the track's layout that makes it difficult to pass, Davies found his pace and managed to climb back to second position, mirroring Race 1's result.
Marco Melandri, who started from first row, faced some more difficulties and crashed at turn 5 during the fourth lap while trying to stay with the leading group, in fourth position. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be back on track at Misano (Italy) for the ninth round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for July 6-8.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 2nd
"All in all, we can be happy with this round. The goal is always to win, but it's good to be back at the front and I feel we got the best out of myself and the package this weekend. We're back at the sharp end after a couple of tough rounds. We're not too far away from our main rivals, we just need to fine tune some details. Today I got a good start but, to be honest, I was twitching a bit with the front in the early laps and I wasn't even pushing that hard. Then things leveled down, I got into my rhythm and climbed back to second. We've made strides in the areas in which we've been struggling recently, so we just have to go to Misano and see if we can polish up those final details."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – DNF
"Unfortunately, when the grip decreases due to high temperatures, the bike becomes more difficult to handle when the tarmac is a bit bumpy. Today, I was losing a lot in corner exit and, while trying to make up for it, I had to push more under braking. Laguna Seca is particularly demanding with the front, but I didn't expect to lose it in that corner. It's a pity, because we started the weekend strong but, as the conditions changed, we struggled. I'm looking forward to Misano, where we scored our first win last year and we know we can be competitive."
Serafino Foti, Team Manager
"As always, the races at Laguna Seca are very exciting. Chaz and the whole team did the best they could, taking home the best possible result, a double podium that leaves us hopeful for the next races. We're sorry for Marco, we were hoping for a better result after yesterday's comeback, but unfortunately his race ended too soon while he was fighting for the podium. We can only keep working hard to be as prepared as possible for the next round at Misano."
Laverty takes stunning maiden podium for Milwaukee Aprilia
Laguna Seca 24 / 06 / 2018
Race Two Report #USWorldSBK
Race 2 at Laguna Seca saw Eugene Laverty bring home the first WorldSBK podium for Milwaukee Aprilia with a thrilling ride to third place
The result was Eugene's first podium in the championship since 2014, and further proof of the progress the team has made towards the front of the field in 2018.
Teammate Lorenzo had a disappointing finish to his weekend, having started P10 and initially making progress before crashing at the Corkscrew on Lap 7 and retiring.
After a strong ride to P4 in Race 1 Eugene lined up in pole position for Race 2. At lights out he got away well, maintaining his lead and pulling away as the pack behind chased. He faced little challenge for the first quarter of the race, maintaining his gap over Van der Mark and setting the pace.
Despite a strong defensive display he was eventually caught and passed by Race 1 winner Rea on lap 8, but kept him honest and continued to lap quickly. Davies then closed in and faced a tough fight from Eugene, ultimately passing him for P2 on lap 17. From there Eugene was able to ride consistently and hold position, taking the chequered flag in emphatic style to record a thoroughly well-deserved maiden podium result for the team.
With Race 2 rounding off a highly positive weekend for the team they now head back to Europe fired up for Round 9 in Italy at the Misano circuit, a successful circuit for them in 2017.
Round 9 of the WorldSBK championship takes place at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Italy, 6-8 July.
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"The team is on a massive high with this fantastic result. The team deserved it, the sponsors deserved it and most of all Eugene, he's been inching closer to the podium and worked really hard, so this was his just rewards.
This is what we race for and the taste of champagne in the winners' circle is fantastic, and if it wasn't for his injuries in Thailand we would have got here sooner. It was a shame for Lorenzo, he struggled to manage the tyres and fuel situation and paid the price.
Overall we're continuing the progress we've been making from Imola where Eugene returned from injury, and this has been a very positive weekend for us. We can fly home now and prepare for Misano, and continue to run in the top 6 where we aim to be."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 grid: P1 - Row 1
Race 2 result: P3 - 15 points
Total weekend points: 27
"That was a great race and result, it was reminiscent for me of Phillip Island where we were strong. The first three laps went to plan today, I just aimed to be careful and try to extend the lead.
When this bike has good grip it's exceptional, so I had to ride at 90% for the first stint and then began pushing in the later stages. I handled my rhythm well and got passed by Johnny [Rea] and the Chaz, but I felt comfortable and I knew I could hold off the guys behind, and then I dropped the hammer for the last few laps to secure third.
It's been a great weekend in general, yesterday was encouraging and then today was even better, and it's nice to get that monkey off my back."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 grid: P10 - Row 4
Race 2 result: Retired - crash
Total weekend points: 2
"Honestly I don't know what happened in the crash at turn 8. We had a problem again with the full tank and some rear grip, I tried to push but then for reason I couldn't control the bike.
I'm so sorry to everyone in the team, there was a chance to get some more points today which I am disappointed not to get. Of course I am very happy for the team with their first podium and for Eugene, it was a great result for him.
Now I am looking forward to Misano and racing with my home fans, and I think we can have some good results."
Pata Yamaha Fight for Double Top-Five Finish in Race 2 at Laguna
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team continued their strong run of form in Race 2 on Sunday at Laguna Seca at Round 8 of the 2018 MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship. Alex Lowes followed up his Race 1 podium with another superb ride - starting from seventh on the grid he fought his way through the pack, hunting down his teammate and passing him with two laps to go to secure fourth place. Michael van der Mark had a great start from fifth on the grid and rode an excellent race, battling for the podium in the early stages before crossing the line in fifth.
Lowes pulled off a stunning ride in Race 1 at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday to finish third and secure his third podium of the season, at a circuit where the team had not previously enjoyed success. Starting at the head of the third row for Sunday's Race 2, the 27-year-old British rider got a good start and was battling hard in seventh on the opening laps. Picking his way past a number of riders as the race progressed, he showed superb pace and by lap 5 he was up to fifth and hunting the group ahead. On lap 10, Lowes found himself behind his teammate and the two pushed hard to try and join the battle for the podium.
Lowes patiently bided his time behind van der Mark before pulling off a sensation pass on lap 23 to move up to fourth and with open track ahead of him, he set his sights on trying to hunt down Eugene Laverty in third. Unfortunately, there was just not enough time and Lowes greeted the flag in fourth place, just 1.3s behind Laverty, and securing 13 championship points to add to the 16 he received for his Race 1 podium. This sees the 2013 British Superbike Champion now just 13 points behind Tom Sykes in the championship in fifth overall with 183 points.
Van der Mark struggled with grip issues on his way to a battling eighth-place finish in Race 1 but after an overnight setup change, when the lights went out on Sunday for Race 2, the 25-year-old Dutch rider got a blistering start from fifth on the grid and was up to second place by the end of the first lap. He fought hard in the podium battle, before dropping into the sights of his teammate Lowes by the mid-way point of the race.
After pushing on the limit for a number of laps in an effort to close down Laverty ahead and also keep his teammate at bay, van der Mark succumbed to a superb move from Lowes with just over two laps to go. Despite this, he pushed right to the line to secure a strong fifth-place finish despite not having the easiest of weekends. After collecting 19 points over the weekend, Van der Mark remains third in the championship standings 215 points, 30 behind Chaz Davies in second.
Up next for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team is Round 9 of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship at Misano on the 6th-8th of July.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 4th +8.011s
"The race was good! It was fantastic to have another battle with Michael. Fair play to him because he has had a more difficult weekend but he turned it around in Race 2 to have a really strong pace, which was really nice to see. I actually felt really good in the race, I just didn't get the best start. I tried to be a bit aggressive and struggled a bit at the start but I managed to pass a few guys, keep my pace really strong, and I think if I had just managed to get past Michael six or seven laps earlier, maybe I could have challenged for the podium. I think my pace was good enough, which is a compliment to my guys on this track, so a massive thank you to them. A third and a fourth is a good job and I look forward to trying to close the gap to Johnny and Kawasaki in the next race!"
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th +9.746s
"I am really happy with today's result! The guys worked really hard to find a solution to all the problems we had yesterday and this morning I felt a lot better in Warm Up in the cooler temperatures. In the race, I had a good start and made my way up to second and was so much faster than I was yesterday. I had some issues with the bike stability on corner exit but this is normal because we changed the bike so much and then just went into the race with it. Alex passed me a few laps before the end and I think we must be really happy with P5 after all the difficulties we have had here. So, a really positive result after a difficult race yesterday, and I am looking forward to Misano!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"It is always a pleasure to be in California and in particular the Laguna Seca race track. Even though last year we suffered badly with our performance here, the race today has confirmed the huge improvements made in the R1's performance and in the overall competitiveness of the project. It was great to see Michael and Alex entertaining everybody with extremely hard but fair racing and both riders did a great job from start to finish. We closed the gap significantly to the winner and with a couple more laps of the race Alex could have potentially have backed up his podium from yesterday. Thanks to the team, to Yamaha, and to the riders for their hard work and expertise. We look forward to going to Misano in two weeks where we were extremely competitive last year!"
Gagne caps successful WorldSBK homecoming with ninth place in Laguna Seca Race 2
Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, United States
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Jake Gagne scored a career-best ninth place in Race 2 at Laguna Seca while Leon Camier fought back from an early crash to recover to P13 and secure valuable championship points.
After claiming his first ever WorldSBK top-ten finish in Race 1 yesterday, Gagne lined up in P15 for today’s race and in carbon-copy style to yesterday, showed great pace in the early laps on his CBR1000RR SP2.
Gagne worked his way up into the top ten by lap five and maintained a strong pace throughout the second half of the race, bringing his Fireblade over the finish line with an emphatic wheelie in ninth place.
For Camier, it was another frustrating race with the Briton crashing at turn 2 on the third lap, however he recovered brilliantly to catch up to the pack and made several passes to ultimately finish in the points in P13.
With five rounds remaining in the 2018 WorldSBK season, Camier is twelfth place on the championship table with 75 points while Gagne is in seventeenth place with 37 points.
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team will next be in action at the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini round at Misano Circuit from July 6-8.
Leon Camier 2
Not an ideal end to the race weekend, but it was good that after my crash I could get back on my bike and had a good pace and could grab some points in thirteenth place. After yesterday's race, we made some changes to the position of my gearshift lever, but unfortunately I missed a shift in the race, ran wide and came off the bike in turn 2 which prevented me getting a better result. Although it wasn't the race we wanted today, on the plus side we found a good direction with the chassis and I felt better on the bike. We'll keep pushing for improvements in Misano.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake Gagne 45
A couple of top ten results at my home track made this the best weekend of the season so far. It was really great racing in front of my fans, friends and family and today I felt really strong on my Fireblade. I didn't get off to the best start, but after a few laps I was able to make some passes and make my way into the top ten, and then for the second half it was a long, lonely race. I had a couple of moments in the second half of the race but I managed the gap to the riders behind me and brought it home in ninth place.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake built on what he achieved yesterday to score his best ever result today in Race 2 and with two strong races this weekend we're really proud of what he has done as a rookie at his home round. He showed what he's capable of here at Laguna Seca and we hope to see more of this at the remaining rounds. On the other side of the garage it was another tough race for Leon as although we could find a better chassis setup for him at this track, he had a small crash at turn 2 early in the race. However, he showed true fighting spirit to come back to thirteenth place. Now it's time for Misano in a couple of weeks time where we will want to improve again and get good results before the summer break.
Top ten for Baz in Race 2 at Laguna Seca
Monterey (USA), Sunday 24 June 2018
The Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team and rider Loris Baz have concluded round eight of the Superbike World Championship at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, scoring a tenth-place finish in race 2.
Superbike - Race 2 – today’s race took place in sunny conditions with slightly cooler temperatures compared to yesterday. Again twelfth on the grid, Baz lost a couple of places off the line, fourteenth at the end of the opening lap. Using a new set-up for today's race, the Frenchman lost ground in the early stages before starting to recover in the central phase. Up to twelfth by lap ten, Loris continued to make progress, earning another position on lap fifteen. Maintaining a good pace all the way to the line, Baz scored a top ten finish, crossing the line in final tenth position today.
Eight rounds into the championship and Baz retains eleventh position in the general standings with 79 points scored thus far.
"The day got off to a bad start in the warm-up but my team continued to work to try and find some solutions for the race, a new set-up in fact, and it went a little better. I fell back a little at the start as there was some confusion within the group I was in, but after that I was able to pick up the pace and start to recover. It’s only a shame about the beginning as that limited how much I could make up later on. We’ve scored some points anyway, and I really want to thank the team for their hard work, considering the crashes too. They always keep smiling and continue to give 100%, so I want to thank them for that.”