Press releases from the series organizers and teams after Race 1 at Laguna Seca, as well as the MotoAmerica series:
#USAWorldSBK – Day 2: Rea conquers Race 1 at Laguna Seca as Bautista crashes again
With the Ducati rider down again, Rea extends championship lead with his eighth win of the season ahead of Davies and Razgatlioglu
The 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship title race took yet another twist and turn around the undulations of the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. In a dramatic opening few laps, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) led the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati pairing of Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista, before another unthinkable error blew the championship wide open once again.
Off the line, it was a strong start from Rea, and the reigning four-time WorldSBK Champion held the advantage from Bautista and Davies. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) made a blistering start and was fourth by Turn 5, whilst Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), despite an initially good start, was back in fifth. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) held his own off the line. Into the penultimate corner on the opening lap, Davies got ahead of Bautista and went in pursuit of Jonathan Rea.
New lap records came thick and fast, with Davies initially setting it on Lap 2 before his teammate bettered on Lap 3, becoming the first rider to set a 1.22s lap in race trim. One lap later and it was a disaster for Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), as the British rider hit the deck at the Corkscrew.
At the beginning of Lap 5, Davies challenged Rea and through Turns 1 and 2, the Welshman took the lead but ran wide, with Rea slicing back through and sitting the Ducati rider up. Alvaro Bautista was right in the mix and beginning to get into the swing of things but then, a disaster. Bautista crashed once again in the early stages of the race on a full tank of fuel. The Spaniard tucked the front at Turn 5 and his Ducati Panigale V4 R was in the gravel once again.
With Bautista re-joining but out of the leading group, Jonathan Rea edged clear of Chaz Davies, with the top two stabilising until the end of the race, with Rea taking his race lead up to five seconds. Toprak Razgatlioglu was up in third place and despite a mid-race charge from Sykes, he held on to complete the top three.
Battles were strewn all the way through the field, starting with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) pipping Jordi Torres for fifth in the final few laps. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) put in a strong ride to seventh from 15th on the grid, getting ahead of Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha).
Further back, Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) recovered from his worst Tissot Superpole in 17th to get to ninth. Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) was enjoying a good battle with Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) over 11th. The battle for 13th went the way of Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team), who pushed ahead of Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK).
Back at the front, it was an eighth win of 2019 for Jonathan Rea, who romped home ahead of Davies and Razgatlioglu. Tom Sykes was fourth ahead of Alex Lowes, whilst Jordi Torres took his best result of the season in sixth, with two Independent riders inside the top six. Van der Mark and Baz were next up in seventh and eighth, whilst Marco Melandri and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) completed the top ten.
The championship advantage now increases for Rea, with a 49-point lead over rival Alvaro Bautista.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I want to thank all my crew, they gave me such a good bike here, and I felt good. Physically I was just heading my points and I could have ridden the bike all day long because I was having so much fun. The tyre dropped a little towards the end, but I had the job done. As soon as I snapped the cord, I was able to focus on myself and hit the point. It is a massive privilege to be here in the U.S., racing here under the sun, and I love this track, so let's see tomorrow if we can try to repeat this performance, but it is going to be tough for sure".
P2 - Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing - Ducati)
"We had a testing few rounds with a lot of difficulties, so it's great to be back in parc fermé again. I missed this place! It was a tough race actually. I chose the soft rear tyre, which maybe wasn't the best move, but it was a risk I wanted to take since I don't have a lot to lose. So, I thought that I'd try to go away and try to use that tyre to the best effect in the early laps, but in the end, Johnny was in front, and I couldn't see a way around. Then my tyre dropped, and I only had to try staying a little bit more constant. Nother than less, it was a good effort compared to the last few races, and I am really happy to be up here again".
P3 - Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
"I am extremely pleased with this result today. Last year I suffered a big crash here, and this year we are on the podium! I knew that today getting on the rostrum would not be easy to achieve, but we took advantage of Bautista's mistake. I tried to follow Johnny and Chaz then, but my bike was moving and sliding a lot. Maybe for tomorrow, we will make some changes to the bike setup to improve the tyre consumption, but for today I am really happy".
Clear Race Win For Rea At Laguna Seca
The resurgence of Jonathan Rea continued on Saturday at Laguna Seca as he won his 20th career Superpole before going in to take his eighth race win of the season and extend his championship lead to 49 points. Leon Haslam (KRT) fell on lap four and no-scored but top independent rider Toprak Razgatlioglu was third today after starting from seventh on the grid.
With Tissot-Superpole to contend with after the early morning FP3 practice session, Jonathan Rea came within a whisker of setting a new track best on his official Ninja ZX-10RR to secure his 20th WorldSBK pole position. He made it four Superpole wins in 2019 in the process.
The 25 minute Superpole session was run in two parts after a crash with a few minutes on the clock punctured the air fence safety barrier at the bottom of the famous Corkscrew corner, necessitating replacement before action got underway again.
Rea used his ideal grid position well to lead all the way from turn one to the final lap, scoring full points as his only real championship rival at this stage, Alvaro Bautista, fell and no-scored despite rejoining the race.
Rea had Chaz Davies for close company for the first nine laps, but led across the stripe each time and started to grow his advantage from lap ten of the 25 lap race. By the end, and even after losing some push from the rear end in the last laps, Rea had a final advantage of 5.693 seconds over Davies at the flag.
Haslam, who was fifth in Superpole, fell at The Corkscrew corner on lap four and no scored, hurting his left hand and banging his head in the fall. He fully intends to race on Sunday and will be reviewed before taking to the track in morning warm-up.
Rea extended his lead by a further 25 points in Race One and he now has two more opportunities to win races at Laguna Seca on Sunday 14 July. First there will be a ten-lap Tissot-Superpole contest and then a final full race in the afternoon, which is scheduled for 25 laps.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I felt my pace all weekend was solid. I could feel the Ducati riders getting closer but I still felt like I was the reference. I wanted to go at the beginning and put my head down from the start. I just had that small advantage of the grid position because I could come across and get track position into T1. It is a difficult track to pass so I just tried not to make any mistakes. It was very difficult in the beginning because the wind picked up a little bit more than this morning. Yesterday was very windy but this morning not, so it took me a few laps to get my rhythm in the race. As boring as it is to say, it was a case of ‘make no mistakes, keep hitting my points and make my rhythm.’ Physically, I felt great and I could have ridden the bike all day long. The team gave me a good bike, very stable and I had a lot of mechanical traction at the start.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “I got a bad start and got stuck a little bit behind Loris, but I was struggling from lap one. The package felt very different from what I had all weekend in terms of corner entry. In the change of direction at The Corkscrew I fell on lap four and head-butted the floor really hard. I have a slight contusion on my left hand but I should be all right to ride tomorrow. I have to analyse the data and see what was going on. It is frustrating because I definitely felt we had a good rhythm for third place – obviously not to go with Chaz or Johnny - but that third place was on the cards and that would have been nice for the championship.”
Seventh placed Superpole qualifier Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) continued his strong podium run with third place in Race One today, maintaining a safe gap to the fourth place rider over the final few laps of the 3.660km circuit.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, stated: “Yesterday in FP2 I did not have a good feeling on the bike but this morning we changed the set up a little and it felt good. My qualifying in Superpole was not so good but I was happy on the race tyre and felt strong. In the race I tried to follow Johnny but it was not possible. After I saw Bautista crash I checked my board for the gap to the rider behind me, because I realised I would be on the podium again. I am happy today because last year I had a big crash but today I finished on the podium.”
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) had a season-best sixth place race finish today after running in fifth for much of the 25 laps. He was only caught by Alex Lowes in the final five laps after his rear tyre had given its best by that point. It was a strong Saturday for Torres as he had been seventh after combined practice and sixth in Superpole.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 12th in both Race One and Superpole today, scoring more valuable championship points. Now he and all his peer group look forward to two more races on Sunday.
Chaz Davies back on the podium in Race 1 at Laguna Seca with a good second place, Álvaro Bautista finishes in 17th place after a crash
The first race of Round 9 of the Superbike World Championship at the Laguna Seca Raceway reserved a few surprises for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team. After Superpole, which saw both riders qualify on the front row of the grid behind Rea (Kawasaki), Chaz Davies and Álvaro Bautista had all the right cards to run a good race.
Unfortunately, only Chaz was able to get onto the podium, the Welshman finishing second in a race that was won by his Northern Irish rival, who led from start to finish.
Bautista, who also powered away well from the front row, was fighting for the leading positions but unfortunately on lap 5 he was victim of a harmless crash at Turn 5. The Spanish rider managed to get back onto his bike again, but finished in 17th place.
During this weekend, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is taking part in the event with a special ‘old-style’ livery, to celebrate both the 25th anniversary of the 916 and the launch of the exclusive new Ducati Panigale V4 25° Anniversario, which evokes the 916 with which the multi-titled British rider Carl Fogarty, present at Laguna Seca as testimonial, won the 1994 Superbike World Championship title.
Tomorrow the ten-lap Superpole Race will be held at 20.00 CET, with Race 2 starting at 23.00.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 2nd
"The race was a decent one. On the grid I went with a soft rear tyre, which felt good in the early stages, but in the later laps it was just hanging on and I wasn’t able to find stability or grip and I lost contact with Rea. Despite this I’m happy about the result and feeling good about the races tomorrow. We have definitely made a right step forward this weekend and it’s great to be back on the podium again, for me and for the guys in my team because they’ve worked so hard to try and get me a good feeling with the bike.”
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 17th
“Unfortunately we’ve been hit by bad luck in the last few races. Today I crashed without really knowing the reason why, in addition at that moment I wasn’t even pushing to the limit. After a good start I was fighting with Chaz and Jonathan but I suddenly lost the front at Turn 5 and crashed out. I feel pretty bad about it because I think I could have had a chance of a win. This is racing, we must now look ahead, not give in and continue to work hard.”
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at Laguna Seca: Tom Sykes in the top four on Saturday.
Fourth place in Superpole and race one for Tom Sykes on the new BMW S 1000 RR.
Eleventh place on the grid and 15th in the race for Markus Reiterberger.
Marc Bongers: “We are pleased with the solid fourth place”.
Laguna Seca. The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team enjoyed more strong results with the new BMW S 1000 RR on Saturday at Laguna Seca (USA). Tom Sykes (GBR) secured fourth place on the grid in Superpole qualifying, and went on to finish fourth in the opening race. Markus Reiterberger (GER) qualified eleventh in Superpole and came home 15th in the race. Laguna Seca hosts round nine of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).
In the closing minutes of Superpole, Sykes was able to take advantage of the faster qualifying tyres to secure fourth place and a spot on the second row of the grid. Shortly after the start of the race, the Brit briefly sprinted into second place on his RR, however then dropped back to fifth in the turmoil of the first few corners. When Alvaro Bautista (ESP / Ducati) crashed in front of him, Sykes moved back into fourth place and never looked back. Reiterberger, back in the team after a severe viral infection and making his first appearance at Laguna Seca, improved consistently. He ended Superpole in eleventh place, before picking up one point for 15th place in the race.
Quotes after race one at Laguna Seca.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We are pleased with the solid fourth place. Finding the right set-up for the bike was far more difficult here than at recent events. However, the result is once again very satisfying. Markus improved consistently as he learned more about this complex circuit throughout the sessions leading up to qualifying. In the race, however, he had difficulties. We must now analyse how we can help him in tomorrow’s race.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We went into Superpole with some unknowns what the best setting would be. Anyway, Tom did a great job. He put the qualifying tyre in and managed to secure P4 on the grid which was fantastic. It was on his second lap which is quite unusual; we did not expect to get two laps out of the tyre. On Markus’s side we made some over night changes. He made a big progress and a good job in the Superpole. In the race, Tom got a great start, he could have cut across the two Ducatis into turn two but it could have been a bit of a risky move. Anyway he played it safe which was wise. He consolidated the race after Alvaro went out and got a good fourth position. I think it just epitomises the kind of approach from Tom. We’re making progress; we don’t want to put it in the gravel trap but be able to gather valuable data. Markus’s race was very difficult. He struggled, he ran off the track. We have to work hard to find a good setting for him to go into Superpole race tomorrow and we see where we go from there.”
Tom Sykes: “We gambled for today’s race one by going with the ‘X’ tyre and you could say it paid off considering we got a fourth place. On the other side of that the tyre did drop off pretty early which meant we had to manage the tyre from midway through the race so you could argue that with a harder tyre we perhaps could have gone faster. However, with that being said a P4 on paper is not bad at all considering how early we are into this project. I was trying my best to close the gap to Toprak and at one stage I was doing that but I was just riding on the limit especially with the front tyre. But like I said I am happy with fourth place, the team did a great job in getting the electronics and traction control right today so let’s see if we can build on this heading into tomorrow’s two races.”
Markus Reiterberger: “We improved a lot today compared to yesterday. Yesterday was all about getting to know the circuit and finding the set-up for the bike. Today, I was far quicker in the third practice session and Superpole. We improved consistently and I was able to secure a place on the fourth row of the grid which was not too bad. Unfortunately, we possibly opted for the wrong tyre in the race and changed the settings a little, which did not have the desired effect. I had more issues again and also had a little run-off after a front-wheel slide. That is why I only finished 15th. I am still struggling to ride tight lines and we will do our best to find a solution here. I’d like to thank the team for all their hard work.”
Lowes Leads the Way for Yamaha in Challenging Race 1 at Laguna Seca
It was Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Alex Lowes, who led the way for Yamaha today at Laguna Seca, with the 28-year-old Briton qualifying eighth in Superpole this morning before improving to finish fifth in this afternoon's 25-lap WorldSBK Race 1. Michael van der Mark fought his way through the field from 15th position on the grid to finish a respectable seventh. Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, was the next Yamaha rider home in eighth position, with Marco Melandri securing a top ten finish in ninth aboard the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK R1. Sandro Cortese struggled throughout the race with a left shoulder injury sustained at Donington Park but managed to ride through the pain to pick up points in 14th position.
Lowes was the only one of the five Yamaha riders to enjoy a trouble free Superpole session, although the Pata Yamaha rider was disappointed to qualify only eighth and to miss out on a place on the front two rows of the grid for Race 1 this afternoon. Superpole was red flagged after just five minutes when Baz crashed at the Corkscrew and damaged the air fence. The stoppage allowed his bike to be recovered and the Ten Kate mechanics managed to get the bike rebuilt before the end of the session, with Baz managing one fast lap in the final five minutes to secure ninth position on the grid.
Van der mark wasn't so lucky. The Pata Yamaha rider crashed at turn four shortly after the restart and, with his bike stranded at the side of the track, was forced to sit out the remainder of the session, which he ended in 15th position. Both Cortese and Melandri struggled to find a good feeling in Superpole, with the two GRT Yamaha riders eventually qualifying in 13th and 17th positions respectively.
It proved a challenging Race 1 for Lowes, who got a good start from the third row of the grid to slot into sixth place. As the field spread out in the closing stages the Pata Yamaha rider managed to catch Jordi Torres ahead of him, passing the Kawasaki rider for fifth place at turn seven and then holding the position to the chequered flag. The result means that Lowes closed the gap to his teammate van der Mark in the championship, with just 12 points now separating the Briton from third place in the standings.
A good start and some aggressive overtakes saw van der Mark inside the top ten at the end of the opening lap. By midrace distance the 26-year-old was in eighth place but moved up one more place with a pass on fellow Yamaha rider Baz with 11 laps to go. Van der Mark managed to pull away from the Frenchman in the closing stages to finish seventh, with Baz following him home in eighth place.
After fighting his way through heavy traffic from 17th position on the grid in the early stages, Melandri then had a lonely race to a top ten finish, with the veteran Italian taking the chequered flag in ninth place, less than two seconds behind Baz.
The physically demanding Laguna Seca circuit took its toll on Cortese, with the reigning Supersport World Champion struggling with a left shoulder injured in a crash last time out at Donington Park. Cortese gritted his teeth and rode through the pain to finish in the points in 14th position.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P5 - Championship Position - P4 - 203 Points
"It was a tough race today and although I finished top five, it's frustrating to finish with such a big gap to the winner. I didn't really have the pace that I expected to be honest. I had a good battle with Jordi Torres, who was riding a good race, but he struggled for grip a bit at the end and I managed to pass him for fifth. It's proving a tough track for the Yamahas and we've not been as competitive at Laguna as we have been elsewhere this season. In the race I knew I had to get a good start and then try maximising what I had. I learned quite a bit in the race, especially in which areas we need to improve the R1 here. Now we know that, it gives us something to work on to be stronger tomorrow."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P7 - Championship Position - P3 - 215 Points
"I made a mistake in Superpole and crashed, which meant I had to start Race 1 from 15th position on the grid, which is not ideal but, fortunately, I have a bit of experience starting so far back this season! I got a good start and was up to tenth after the first lap. I felt a lot better with the bike and it was easier to follow the guys in front of me. When Leon Haslam crashed, I was sat behind Loris Baz and I followed him for quite a few laps because I didn't feel that I was quicker at that point. With 11 laps to go I managed to make a pass stick and then pull away a little. My pace was consistent but nothing special and I was starting to struggle a bit towards the end, but I think everyone was the same. We know where we need to improve for tomorrow, but after a difficult Superpole I think we can be relatively satisfied with the race result today."
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P8 - Championship Position - P14 - 64 Points
"I felt good this morning, but I was happy we could make at least one fast lap after the crash in Superpole, as the race is always easier from the third row rather than the last, so thanks to the team for rebuilding the bike so quickly. So, in the race I was expecting more, but we seem to have a problem when the track temperature rises and the other guys managed to have better pace than us. From the start I wasn't able to follow Jordi Torres and Alex Lowes and when Michael van der Mark came past me, I wasn't able to stay with him. In the end I just brought it home for another top ten finish and more championship points. It was good to finish eighth and closer to the other Yamahas, but as we get better our expectations also increase."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P9 - Championship Position - P9 - 131 Points
"The race was a lot better than qualifying this morning, but I can't really be happy because I'm struggling a lot. There was a lot of traffic in the opening laps and anyway, even when I had a clear track, I couldn't ride how I wanted to. I just miss confidence and I couldn't find my line; it was so difficult. When the tyre dropped down, I felt a bit better because the bike was a bit softer, but still not ideal for me. I was fighting all the race, trying to do my best but it's not enough. Tomorrow we're looking for a top nine finish in the sprint race, but it won't be easy."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P13 - Championship Position - P10 - 98 Points
"It was a very tough race today and I had much more pain in the left shoulder that I injured at Donington than I was expecting. In practice over four or five laps it was fine, but seven or eight laps into the race I had so much pain. All I could do was try to finish the race today. I'm sorry about this, as I wasn't expecting the shoulder to be a problem. Even with treatment from the Clinica Mobile nothing really helped to improve the shoulder, so now I can only aim to finish the two races tomorrow and then head home to recover fully during the summer break."
WILLPOWER AND DETERMINATION: THE LESSON OF EUGENE!
Five days ago, in Donington, Laverty was forced to raise the white flag; today he wrote a unique challenge. No one could bet that he would end the race, and it was even more unthinkable that he would end in top ten!
As a man of steel he has denied everyone: after so many months of convalescence, the smile can finally return to his face. Eugenio is back and in the second part of the season, once the injury has been swept away, he can really be competitive!
The morning of Laguna Seca is inaugurated under a threatening sky, with low clouds that limit the view of the riders on the track.
The asphalt, however, is immediately faster, with almost all the WorldSBK protagonists able to improve Friday's laptimes.
Free Practices 3: P 15 1'24.733 + 1.644
In Superpole the team experiences a new set-up compared to FP 3, which aims to modify load transfers. Laverty immediately feels at ease, he manages to push hard without having to risk more than he should and improves his laptime. With the "race" tyres he improves his best time by more than one second; with the qualifying tyre he managed to smooth his performance, entering the tenth position!
A remarkable performance, considering the still limited mobility of the right wrist.
Tissot Superpole: P 10 1'23.232 + 1.356
At 2.00 pm the Eugene real challenge begins.
It is one thing to do 4/5 laps and stop, the race is another matter: 25 laps to complete on a track that never lets you breathe like Laguna Seca.
Eugenio cautiously starts in the first laps, trying to stay out of trouble and setting the race on a consistent pace. Lap after lap feels better on the bike and recovers several positions.
Towards the middle of the race it has a slight decline due on the one hand to the recurrence of pain in the wrist and on the other hand to the decline of the rear tyre.
In spite of everything the Irish rider has been able to manage the situation in the best way, also responding to the numerous attacks of the rivals!
Great race considering his current conditions and great lesson of life: never give up, guys, never!
Race 1: P 11 E. Laverty +46.792
Eugene Laverty (Rider):
"Today was really nice to make such a step for the lap time. The Superpole was amazing: do 1'23.2 after yesterday I didn't think I could manage that!
So Qualifying in top ten was fantastic and I did it completely alone.
The race was more difficult but I just tried to keep consistent pace for 25 laps. I finished the race and that was my goal for today.
Let's see if tomorrow we can get inside top ten in the two races!"
More points for Delbianco in race 1 at Laguna Seca
Monterey (USA), Saturday 13 July 2019
Rider Alessandro Delbianco has concluded the first SBK race making up this ninth round of the Superbike world championship at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in thirteenth position.
After a final practice session during the morning, the Superpole got underway at 11am local time. On a dry track, Delbianco made the most of the 25-minute session, completing thirteen laps. His best lap time, a 1’24.479 set in the closing stages, saw him finish the qualifying session in eighteenth position, which meant a place on row six of the grid for the Italian in SBK race 1.
At 2pm, and in warm and sunny conditions, the lights went out on the weekend’s first Superbike race. Delbianco made a solid start, lying seventeenth through the opening stages. Earning one position on lap five, the Italian held sixteenth until lap thirteen when he moved up another place. In the final phase of the race, Alessandro continued to improve, reaching and passing Cortese to ultimately cross the line in thirteenth position.
“I’m really pleased with today’s race, in fact I would go as far as to say I consider it my best of the season so far in dry conditions. As I said yesterday, I really like the Laguna Seca track and I think that this result is encouraging ahead of tomorrow. I can’t wait to get back on track for the Superpole race and race 2, and I’ll be doing my best to improve on today’s performance. Thanks to my team for all their support so far this weekend.”
Sixteenth place for Ryuichi Kiyonari in Race 1 at Laguna Seca
Ryuichi Kiyonari experienced a tough day at the Laguna Seca circuit today, having been unable to sufficiently improve on his pace after having made a solid start to the weekend.
His qualifying time of 1’24.701 was more than a second faster than his best effort during free practice but the improvement was not enough, and he was forced to settle for nineteenth place in the Superpole session, while Race 1 saw him cross the line in sixteenth place.
The US race weekend will conclude tomorrow with the Tissot Superpole Race, kicking off at 11am, followed by Race 2 at 2pm.
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
“I’m really sorry about today’s result which is far from what we want to achieve. I was not able to find a good pace or ride as I would have liked. I struggled in braking and could not keep the most effective lines. Tomorrow I’ll do my best to do more and score a better result”.
Elias Wins Race One At WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
De Keyrel, Lee Win Twins Cup And Stock 1000
MONTEREY, CA (July 13, 2019)- Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias may not have led any of the practice or qualifying sessions at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but he led the only thing that paid points today as the Spaniard raced to his sixth EBC Brakes Superbike win of the season in the Championship of Monterey.
Elias won a battle between himself and the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Garrett Gerloff and Cameron Beaubier, the Texan getting the better of his three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion teammate Beaubier to finish second, and .778 of a second behind Elias.
With Elias winning and Beaubier finishing third, the points gap has grown to 35 points, 226-191, heading into tomorrow’s second of two EBC Brakes Superbike races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It’s been a really nice day,” Elias said. “Yesterday we tried many ways to understand what we need here. We know from earlier years, but every year is different. So today we put everything together. From the first lap, it was so good. I was super confident for the race. I know Cameron (Beaubier) had an incredible few laps here because every time he go in, he was struggling on the first lap, being super quick on race tires. That was our strategy. We tried to stop that. In the first lap I passed four riders.
“I’m happy. My team did an amazing job. My family is here. My son is here. It’s his first race ever for him. Thirty-five points now in the lead of the championship, but as you all know, you can’t get too comfortable. Mistakes can happen. You’ve got to stay calm. There’s still many, many races to go. Today has been a really good race but doesn’t mean anything tomorrow. These guys will improve some details. The championship is so long, and many things will happen. My championship lead had some advantage riding in one race in MotoAmerica, and then in the corner of the race I crashed. So, I lost almost everything. But we are increasing it again, so that’s good. Let’s keep doing every race like this, keep going, working like this. We are doing a great job.”
Gerloff finished on the podium for the eighth time this season and for the seventh race in a row. It was also his third runner-up finish of the year as he searches for his first career Superbike win.
“That was the most frustrating part, just seeing him pull me in the first section and me catching the back of him the last three (sections),” Gerloff said. “And not being able to make any ground. That was frustrating, but I felt like I had a really good race. I felt good battling with these guys and the first couple laps we were definitely putting it in there every other corner. You don’t want to get in the back of these guys because they’ll eat you up. I was just trying to stay towards the front. I’m pretty happy. This guy (Elias) is going quick. I feel pretty strong for tomorrow, so we’ll see.”
Beaubier was visibly disappointed with third place and his ninth podium finish of the season.
“To be honest, it was a pretty frustrating race there at the beginning,” Beaubier said. “I knew I had a really good pace all weekend. My team and I have been working really hard yesterday and this morning. I felt like I had such a good bike underneath me. We got a little time now on race tires in practice, and for whatever reason I just couldn’t get down to anywhere close to where I was in practice. So that was pretty frustrating. I was just trying to find my way up front and try to put my head down, but none of these guys would let me. I felt (Josh) Herrin clip my right elbow. I looked over and he’s off the track. It was a wild race. Today wasn’t our day. Congrats to these guys. We’re going to go back and do our homework tonight and come back swinging tomorrow.”
Herrin crashed after making contact with Beaubier, the Georgian battling for the lead at the time.
Fourth place went to Attack Performance Estenson Racing’s JD Beach, the Kentucky resident in the mix at the front until the closing laps. He finished 7.8 seconds behind Elias but was well clear of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian racing to fifth all alone.
FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony was sixth, narrowly topping Omega Moto’s Cameron Petersen. FLY Racing’s Sam Verderico, Superbike Underground’s Jeremy Coffey and Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounded out the top 10 finishers.
In addition to Herrin, Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, Uribe Racing’s Jayson Uribe and Cycle Gear/SC Project/KWR Racing Ducati’s Kyle Wyman all crashed out of the race. Uribe and Wyman went down together in turn two on the opening lap with Wyman suffering a suspected broken wrist.
Twins Cup – DeKeyrel Gets His First
In Saturday’s Twins Cup race, former MotoAmerica Supersport racer Kaleb DeKeyrel returned to the series after a couple of years away, and aboard his 1833CJKnows/Roaring Toyz Yamaha, notched his first career MotoAmerica victory. DeKeyrel started from 12th on the grid, but through patience and determination, he moved to the front and passed the current points leader Michael Barnes aboard his Quarterley Racing Ducati and the race leader at the time, Roadracing World Young Guns Suzuki rider Alex Dumas. Dumas and Barnes ultimately finished in second and third, respectively.
"Qualifying obviously didn’t go so hot, so I knew we had to make some serious changes in order to be there for the race,” DeKeyrel said. “I put my head down last night. Was writing a bunch of stuff down, figuring a bunch of stuff out so, hopefully, we could come out here today and put on a show for the fans. We had an incredible bike for the race. I’ve got to give a huge shout-out to Roaring Toyz and 1833CJKnows for getting me out here. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be here.
“I drove over 110 hours just to make this race happen. But I also knew that the Yamaha was a great platform as far as handling and everything. So, I knew we would have a decent bike coming here. It would just be fine-tuning it for the track. But I’ve been training a lot. I’m training really hard with my buddy Garrett Gerloff, even though I haven’t been at the MotoAmerica races in a couple of years. I live down in Texas right next to him, so we’ve been training hard. I’m hoping I get more opportunities in the future to show my talent to the paddock.”
Stock 1000 – Lee Keeps The Momentum Going
Home cooking proved to be a benefit for Californian Andrew Lee as the Franklin Armory/Graves Motorsports Kawasaki rider won Saturday’s Stock 1000 race and extended his championship lead to 11 points over the day’s third-place finisher, Mesa37 Racing Kawasaki rider Stefano Mesa. Former World Superbike competitor Geoff May finished second in the race aboard his Ameris Bank Kawasaki.
Lee started from the pole with Mesa and May gridded right next to him on the front row, and the race was a battle from the get-go. As the laps wound down, Lee made strategic use of a few backmarkers and tiptoed through them to win by just under a second at the checkers.
“Coming into this weekend, I knew I had some momentum coming off of Utah, so I just wanted to really continue that,” commented Lee. “I knew it was going to be difficult with Geoff and Stefano right there behind me. I’m just happy I got to accomplish my goals this weekend. It was a really good battle. I knew coming through Rainey Curve that there were some lappers up-ahead going up over turn one, and I knew I had to get there before Geoff did. Coming into the last lap, there was a big group ahead of me. I was like, that’s going to be pretty intimidating. Thankfully, I got over the hill and got one backmarker in-between Geoff and me, and I made it down the hill and crossed the line first.”