The best from the WSBK trip to Laguna Seca



We were at the WSBK over the weekend for their round at Laguna Seca.  Here we take a look at the overall action from the weekend with quotes from selected teams. This has been a massive week for RacerViews as we had people covering races in three countries.  Not bad for a site like this!  We have more to come…


The ninth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, at Laguna Seca in the USA, saw Tom Sykes secure a podium place in race one and then follow it up with his eighth race win of the 2014 season, to extend his championship leading advantage once again. Loris Baz scored good points in each race and David Salom edged the EVO field in both races to put himself into an even more commanding lead in the EVO class.

After a long summer break, only punctuated by an official test session at Portimao between 21 and 22 July, the championship has its next appointment at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, on September 7th.

Tom Sykes: “An eighth win of the year and one more point ahead in the championship. I knew this circuit would be difficult for us after last year, and then again after race one this year, so if you had offered me that deal on Saturday night I would have taken it. I thought my points gap may have been reduced after this round. In race two, with all the red flags and a short race it was a case of go big! I was motivated after race one and the bike was working well. We made changes for the first attempt at race two and we improved it, and then for the first restart it was better again and then for the final part we made another change and it was better again. I am very happy to have extended my championship lead and a great pleasure to take the win. I can go into the summer break very relaxed and very motivated.”

Loris Baz: “We have been strong in all rounds this season but this one was not the same. We saved some points and we are still not so far from the riders immediately in front of us in the championship. I am not sure what was wrong in race one but from lap two until the end I could not enter the turns, could not exit the corners the way I wanted. I cannot understand why because we have changed the bike settings a lot. I have tried to change my style but our result is very similar and it is very strange. In race two we found some things that worked better for us but not quite enough. It was a strange weekend but we made a recovery in race two and for sure it was better than race one.”


The US Round of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship was one to remember for the Aprilia Racing Team, for different reasons. Marco Melandri, following the impressive win of Race 1, crashed on the opening lap of the second encounter while he was in the lead. Guintoli, on the other hand, was twice second at the chequered flag, edged first by his teammate and then by Tom Sykes, who still leads the way in the title race with a 44 point margin on the Frenchman.

Marco Melandri: “My start in Race 1 was great even if I was a bit nervous in the first laps since Tom usually tries to pull the pin straight away. When he made that mistake at the Corkscrew I thought that was the right opportunity to push it to the limit. I set my pace, staying focused and not making any mistakes. It’s a shame about Race 2. I made a few gear changing mistakes on the third start that made me think there was a problem with the ratios and that cost me my concentration. When I realised that everything was fine I decided to push hard but I went long at the last turn. I’m disappointed because a double win was definitely within reach, but I’m still happy about the work we did this weekend.”

Sylvain Guintoli: “I gave 100% like I always do. In Race 1 I had a good pace and I didn’t make any mistakes. In the first laps I was feeling good and I probably could have attacked Marco, but I preferred to stay behind him. From the halfway point on he was really fast. He rode very well and I wasn’t able to match his times. The red flags in Race 2 reminded me of last year and I thought maybe I could overturn the result, but Sykes is really unbeatable in a short dash. We are definitely in it and we won’t give up, but during the summer break we’ll have to work hard to come back even stronger for the season finale.”


Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea took his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP to third place in a truncated race two at round nine of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Laguna Seca in the USA yesterday afternoon. The two races were won by Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes with Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam scoring two seventh place finishes.

Next week, both Pata Honda riders will fly to Japan to join other Honda CBR1000RR-powered teams in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours race on 27 July before an extended summer break, with the World Superbike Championship re-grouping for round ten at Jerez in Spain on 5-7 September.

Jonathan Rea: “I feel we should have been stronger in race one , but that was a knock-on effect of my mistake yesterday in Superpole. But the red flags definitely helped me in race two by improving my grid position but they gave me a bike today that was pretty good. In the second part of the race, I felt like I had a bike that could compete right at the front had I been there from the first lap. Unfortunately, Laguna is really hard to pass at so I had to make some bold manoeuvres but I enjoyed it! It’s how I like to ride and I’m excited to leave here with a podium, which almost feels better than my race win last week in Portugal. I’m excited to go into the summer break and come back strong for the last part of the year.”

Leon Haslam: “In race one I felt pretty good – I got a good start but really struggled with front grip from lap one. I was hanging in there for a top five finish but in the last six or seven laps my pace dropped off quite a lot as I was really struggling with the front grip. In race two we didn’t change anything but the front grip came back and it was really good, but we struggled more with rear grip. On the three starts in race two the grip got worse and worse and I was over a second slower than I had been on a 20-lap tyre on Saturday. We need to analyse why because the bike was the same and the boys have worked really well this weekend and we’ve been making good progress, especially on old tyres. To be that slow on new tyres in those re-starts was not what we wanted.”


A very difficult day for the Ducati Superbike Team and riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies yesterday at Laguna Seca. Giugliano earned good points in race 1 thanks to a fourth place finish but he then crashed in the second. After a crash for Davies in the first race, he was declared unfit to participate in race 2.

Davide Giugliano
: “Race one went quite well but unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep pace with the guys ahead of me. We had a small problem during braking, and I made a lot of mistakes because I didn’t have the right feeling when braking and this meant that I was going long in certain places. I lost some time because of this but final fourth place was not bad.

We were lucky that race 2 was stopped for the first time as we were having problems with the rear tyre that wasn’t giving me the usual level of grip. After the second restart I was catching up fast – I was the fastest guy on track and knew I had a chance to win. I reached Tom, and wanted to attack him through the Corkscrew but, to avoid contact with him mid-corner I had to go right over on the inside, touching the kerb which caused me to crash. A real pity, I thought we’d be able to do a lot more today.”

Chaz Davies: “It was a strange crash as I didn’t feel like I was doing anything different to normal. The rear just came around on me and I fell awkwardly on my head. It seems as if the doctors made a decision based on the fact that I was dizzy and disorientated. A huge disappointment because I feel ok and wanted to race of course. Anyway it’s ultimately the doctors decision but a really disappointing end to what started out as such a positive weekend.”


Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racer Eugene Laverty finished fourth in last Sunday afternoon’s dramatic sprint race climax to the eni FIM Superbike World Championship weekend at Laguna Seca in America.

Eugene Laverty: “We have put in a lot of good work all weekend but race one was over before it started, we had a technical problem and managed a few laps hanging in there but the bike was on its way out, so on lap eight it was done. In race two I managed to hang in with the front guys even when our bike isn’t as strong with a full fuel tank and new tyres. Then the GSX-R started to feel really good and I knew I could come towards them but the red flag came out. The restarted seven lap sprints don’t really suit us as we are always better at the end of the races. We as a team had the potential for podiums today, the guys worked so hard this weekend so we all deserved it before the summer break – fourth was not really the reward we were looking for.”

Alex Lowes: “It’s been a difficult, painful day and I’m disappointed with its conclusion. I got a good feeling and understanding with the GSX-R today and my team have done a great job this weekend so it’s a shame we couldn’t come away with more. I’m looking forward to the summer break it will give me the time to recover and continue my training so we can come back strong and ready to fight in Jerez.”


Having just missed making it into Tissot-Superpole Geoff May, Aaron Yates and Team Hero EBR were optimistic of securing a strong finish and after two hard fought races they were rewarded for their continued perseverance with two solid race results.

With the sun beating down on the Californian track for race one, both Team Hero EBR riders maintained their positions off the start before being involved in their own personal race long battles. Aaron retired on lap 14 while Geoff on the other hand continued to swap places with the riders around him until the flag, eventually finishing in 18th. Claiming one of his best result so far this year and once again narrowly missing out on a point scoring finish the mood in the garage ahead of race two was one of optimism.

Geoff May: “I gave 110% today. I really wanted two solid results here at home, for the fans, for the team and for everyone at EBR. I love riding here at Laguna and the results today are for the whole team who have worked so hard all season long and have never given up. I hope that we can continue with the steps forward in the last four rounds and hopefully at Jerez I can also take us into Superpole for the first time.”


Team Bimota Alstare’s racing weekend at Laguna Seca was a good one, with Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon well on the pace in race two. Both riders mixed at the front with the rest of the EVO field and were able to edge them up to the finish line.

Ayrton Badovini: “In the first race we had a small fuel pump problem and I was forced to pull into the pits and get it fixed. In fact, I pitted twice, but after the second time, I was able to ride normally. I didn’t have a very good feeling about the bike set-up in Race 2, but when it was red flagged we had a chance to make some changes to the bike and it definitely felt better. We then had another red flag and this time we took the opportunity to change the tyre and try one with a different compound. This gave me a better felling straightaway and I could push much harder. I had a good fight with Christian and although he led me for four laps, I managed to pass him on the last lap. The first race was not such good, but I am very, very happy with the second.”

Christian Iddon: “Race 1 was quite difficult. We had made a small change to the front but I couldn’t feel what was going on with it. I rode as hard as I could, but couldn’t push any harder because I didn’t know what the front end was doing. Race 2 had lots of starts and each time I was at the front – or thereabouts – of the EVO group. The last restart was the best for me and I was really enjoying leading the EVO charge. I really thought that I was going to edge my teammate, but then I made a small error at Turn 5 and Ayrton passed me. Having led the class for most of the race, it was a bit hard to take getting beaten on the last lap. This afternoon, the bike has been really good and that is thanks to all the guys – they have been brilliant!”


Want to know the results? Click here


(c) Jim Fonseca,  July 2014

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