2015 Laguna Seca World Superbike Race One Results: No Passing Places

After a wet warmup this morning, the track had dried out, and the race would be twenty five laps of the shortest circuit of the series at a cooler temperature than usual.

Chaz Davies took the lead from pole position as his Ducati teammate Davide Giugliano's second place start got swallowed up by the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes and the Aprilia of Jordi Torres. Rea went wide, letting Sykes through and Torres took the opportunity to pass Rea as well, but Rea passed him back very quickly, retaining third place.

As all this was going on, Matteo Baioccio stalled his Ducati on the grid and dropped it on its right hand side as everyone behind him swerved to avoid him. A lap later, he would run on entering the corkscrew with what looked like a braking issue, probably caused by his bouncing the bike off the tarmac.

After the first lap, Davies led Sykes and Rea while Giugliano looked for a way past Torres, showing quicker pace but being unable to pass, a common problem at Laguna Seca where the straights between the corners aren't long enough to pass onto or out of.

At the start of the third lap, Davies had built a visible lead of eight tenths of a second from Sykes while Rea was a similar distance from Sykes, but a lap later, Rea had caught Sykes while Davies added a couple of tenths to his lead. Another lap, another couple of tenths, and Davies set the fastest lap of the race on the fifth lap and kept teasing out his lead.

By lap nine, Davies had a two second lead while Sykes and Rea were in the same position, with Rea looking at ways to pass, but not seeing any. Over three seconds back from them, Giugliano was having the same problem with Torres, still not able to find a way past.

With two bikes in the same team, finding an advantage to press to pass is normally difficult, and this is doubly true of Laguna Seca, with no obvious places where you can put in a block pass or power out past a defensive rider and it looked like the gearing on both green bikes was the same and Tom Sykes being good on the brakes, possibly the best in the series, made it even more difficult for Rea to get past and Rea tried at every corner.

On the fourteenth lap, Giugliano finally squeezed past Torres into the corkscrew, dropping the altitude ahead of the Aprilia and retaining his forth place through the following corners. Torres couldn't match the Ducati's pace and Giugliano was finally able to set his own pace, albeit almost eight seconds off the Kawasaki battle in front and ten seconds off his teammate in the lead.

Jonathan Rea started trying passes at every corner, strange lines into the corkscrew, trying to square off the Andretti hairpin, pushing through back markers, risking it all at the final corner, but Tom Sykes had a parry for every thrust. As Chaz Davies held a four second lead with laps rapidly running out, Rea knew that the best he could hope for was second place, and for that he would have to pass Sykes. And that was proving harder than he wanted.

Leon Haslam, fighting to retain his championship standing, crashed out of sixth place at the hairpin but rejoined the race in fourteenth place with four laps left.

On the penultimate lap, after trying the lap before to pass outside the Andretti Hairpin, turn two, Rea tried a pass instead at turn three. Again, Sykes had it covered. every corner, Sykes had it covered. A long run through the corkscrew that gave him speed into turn eleven, Sykes had it covered and, three seconds behind Chaz Davies, the Kawasaki pair started their last lap.

All lap, no matter what Rea did, Sykes had an answer, and, as Sykes made a clean run from the downhill of the corkscrew onwards, he got enough speed up that Rea couldn't make the planned blocking lunge into the last turn and, as Davies won the race from his first ever pole position, Sykes would finally hold off Rea to his worst finish of the year.

Jonathan Rea finally had to settle for the lowest step of the podium.

Chaz Davies's victory elevates him to third place in the title chase, passing Haslam whose thirteenth place finish only netted him three points. Tom Sykes closed the insurmountable gulf to Jonathan Rea's lead to 129 points with nine races left.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap Best Lap Speed
1 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R   1'23.739 251,0
2 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10R 1.798 1'24.010 253,4
3 65 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10R 2.107 1'23.852 256,4
4 34 D. GIUGLIANO Ducati Panigale R 15.954 1'24.358 252,2
5 81 J. TORRES Aprilia RSV4 RF 19.661 1'24.458 252,2
6 22 A. LOWES Suzuki GSX-R1000 24.431 1'24.547 251,0
7 1 S. GUINTOLI Honda CBR1000RR SP 26.971 1'24.745 250,4
8 60 M. VD MARK Honda CBR1000RR SP 35.428 1'25.266 245,2
9 36 L. MERCADO Ducati Panigale R 41.261 1'25.415 250,4
10 2 L. CAMIER MV Agusta F4 RR 44.383 1'25.529 246,9
11 14 R. DE PUNIET Suzuki GSX-R1000 52.748 1'25.728 248,7
12 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10R 54.906 1'25.403 244,1
13 91 L. HASLAM Aprilia RSV4 RF 1'18.150 1'24.497 256,4
14 23 C. PONSSON Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'20.220 1'26.924 238,1
15 45 G. VIZZIELLO Kawasaki ZX-10R 1 Lap 1'27.420 238,1
16 10 I. TOTH BMW S1000 RR 1 Lap 1'28.708 240,8

 

Round Number: 
9
2015
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Total votes: 72

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Comments

Only 16 competitors left in WSBK?????? This is not good for anybody :-(

Total votes: 104

Only 16 competitors finished the race.

Total votes: 122

Someone needs to give Johnny Rea a copy of The Doctor, The Tornado and the Kentucky Kid so he can listen to Edwards explain how to overtake at the top of the Corkscrew. I know it might be the scariest place to overtake in the world, but it's definitely possible. Rossi has said it's the best overtaking place on the entire track and Sykes looked to have left it open lap after lap as Rea was able to close up at the top of the Rahal straight. I kept waiting for him to move inside but he looked clueless. :\

Total votes: 119

He tried once is race two. After Sykes had that moment coming out of 7. He ran in deep and Sykes took the place back after an exciting few corners. I think it wasn't his lack of trying or knowing how to pass there. It was more of Sykes braking skills keeping Rea from diving up the inside.

Total votes: 108

The inside block pass on the left hand side at the top of the corkscrew? You need a lot of practice for that as it's easy to get wrong, apparently. It was a favourite of all the US wild cards when they used to race at the front of WSBK races, and I was wondering if Chaz Davies knew the line, but we never got to see as Chaz never needed to overtake anyone.

Total votes: 107

Given that he has the WC in mind. It could be that he didn't want to chance it. But you look at Sykes and he is a demon on the brakes. The fact that Rea had the drive on him in race 2 on lap5 and tried to pass there but ran deep, then Sykes passed him back through Rainey no less.Proves that Sykes is hard to over take on the brakes. Rea is on the top of his game. He finally has a good bike under him but yet, at Laguna, he couldn't get passed Sykes. If the roles had been reversed. I think Sykes would have had a better chance of pulling that move off.

Sykes seemed to be strong through Rainey and all the way to the line. Rea looked like he was tying to line him up for 12 but never could keep close enough to get there. The one time he did, Sykes took it back straightaway.

It's a long season and I don't think Rea is going to try a Donnington 2010 pass with the WC on the line.

Total votes: 121

Identical bikes, not your favourite track, leading the championship, fighting the best braker in the championship? Rea tried where he could and it didn't work. No point in risking anything.

Total votes: 107

Pretty much sums it up. Rea rides with his brain.

Total votes: 98

...that Rea leads the championship by a hundred and whatever points. He probably just wanted to get out of there with body intact and minimal damage to points haul. Once he secures the title I expect we'll see a more aggressive Rea emerge again, hopefully in the next 1-2 meetings.

Total votes: 121

Agree X2
Rea put plenty of pressure on Sykes. No need to sacrifice life, limb and a championship on a few points. LOTS of race days have ended in the sand just past the fall in "just shoot for the top of that big tree off to your left" ten stories above the bottom of the corkscrew. In the middle of that descending chicane the suspension is decompressed and the chassis is unweighted. You get the bike turning right and THEN the suspension comoresses, allowing you to get on the gas to shoot it out and exit. Why would Rea make a move in which one of the two of you is so likely to end up off the track or worse?

Wisest move can be the one left untaken.

This track is really tricky. Rather than criticize Rea, how about praise Sykes instead. The chap found his pace. And while we are at it, Torres too, who got he and his Aprilia the into a courageously skillful laptime for his first time there.

Total votes: 108

Completely agree, MS. Sykes rode brilliantly in both races, and Torres truly hit his stride - I hope we see more of that, because Torres is totally hilarous in his interviews.

And Davies - I wonder whether Casey gave him a few tips on the fast line around Laguna, because he looked like he'd been riding that track all his life.

Total votes: 107

Davies cut his teeth in the AMA and has logged more laps at Laguna than anyone else in the field. Heck, he even rode the Pramac Ducati in the 2006 GP. He was in the booth during the 2008 GP and was talking about how much he loves the place. It was perfectly fitting for him to take the double on the "finally" competitive Panigale. Not the most memorable racing but I was happy to see Chaz on the top step. :)

Total votes: 86