These just in:
WSBK Press Office
Laverty wins after an intense race-long battle
Laguna Seca (US), Sunday 29 September 2013 - Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) has won the second race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in spectacular fashion in front of 41.175 excited spectators. After passing Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Team) at Turn 5 with two laps to go, the Irishman made the exact same move on Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) on the following lap, breaking the spell that was holding the Brit at the front for most of the race.
Eugene Laverty: "It was not an easy race. I'd like to thank my team because they made some set-up adjustments to my bike that worked perfectly. I pushed to the limit on the last lap, Davide (Giugliano) and Tom (Sykes) were really strong but I'm happy for the win. It was an unexpected result, but now I'm now second in the standings ahead of two very different rounds. I would like to dedicate this win to my track engineer Marco Bertolatti, who's just become father."
Sykes, on the other hand, tried everything he could to defend his position under braking, but once he lost the lead he was passed by both Giugliano and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), crossing the line in fifth place. The works BMW rider successfully stayed ahead of the Championship leader for third, while Giugliano did the best he could to snatch his first WSBK race win, eventually settling for second.
Tom Sykes: "It was great to win yesterday and I led for a long time today but that was the first time we have struggled all weekend. We were six or seven tenths off our best times in the same track conditions and we have to think about why that was. We know what our potential was here again today. We can keep improving and we have a couple of good circuits coming up so we will move on with confidence. In less than a week's time we will be in France and doing it all over again."
Sylvain Guintoli did not manage to catch the leading pack to be in contention for the win, but the end result today helped him stay in touch with Sykes in the standings, as he ended up fifth ahead of fellow Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia) wildcard Roger Hayden (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki) and David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team).
A disappointing race for Team Ducati Alstare, as both Niccolò Canepa, who running 4th, and team mate Ayrton Badovini suffered crashes, while Welshman Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) had to pull in due to a technical problem on the second lap.
After today's results, Sykes is still the Championship leader with a 23 point advantage over Laverty who has jumped to second position in the overall standings. Guintoli is now third, a point behind his team mate while Melandri is now 42 points short from the lead.
Results: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 26 Laps/93.860 km in 36'44.555 average 153.272 kph; 2. Giugliano (Aprilia) 0.112; 3. Melandri (BMW) 2.051; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 2.304; 5. Guintoli (Aprilia) 2.959; 6. Cluzel (Suzuki) 10.187; 7. Elias (Aprilia) 17.789; 8. Hayden (Suzuki) 20.602; 9. Salom (Kawasaki) 22.055; 10. Fabrizio (Honda) 23.472; 11. Haslam (Honda) 24.118; 12. Young (Suzuki) 29.563; 13. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 32.565; 14. Eslick (Suzuki) 51.777; 15. Canepa (Ducati) 1'05.824; 16. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'23.892; 17. Allerton (BMW) 1 Lap; RT. Badovini (Ducati); RT. Davies (BMW); RT. Sandi (Kawasaki).
Standings (Round 12 of 14): 1. Sykes 361; 2. Laverty 338; 3. Guintoli 337; 4. Melandri 319; 5. Davies 259; 6. Baz 180; 7. Fabrizio 177; 8. Rea 176; 9. Giugliano 169; 10. Cluzel 160; 11. Camier 114; 12. Badovini 114; 13. Neukirchner 84; 14. Haslam 83; 15. Checa 80; 16. Sandi 47; 17. Elias 38; 18. Aitchison 29; 19. Iannuzzo 26; 20. Clementi 18; 21. Canepa 12; 22. Salom 12; 23. Lundh 10; 24. Hayden 8; 25. Lai 8; 26. Young 8; 27. Reiterberger 7; 28. Allerton 6; 29. Uprak 5; 30. Smrz 4; 31. Stauffer 4; 32. Ercelik 3; 33. Eslick 2; 34. Akiyoshi 2; 35. Haga 2. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 460; 2. Kawasaki 415; 3. BMW 390; 4. Honda 225; 5. Suzuki 212; 6. Ducati 152; 7. Yamaha 4.
A fantastic race for Giugliano who takes second at Laguna Seca!
The second race of the twelfth round of the World Superbike Champoionship took place today at the Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway in California. In yesterday's race Davide Giugliano and team Althea Racing put in a solid performance, closing in sixth place, after a difficult race that was interrupted twice by red flags. After this morning's warm-up, in which Giugliano recorded the fastest time (1'23"927), the race got underway at 2pm local time and ran over 26 laps on a dry track and in sunny conditions.
Having qualified sixth in yesterday's Superpole, the Althea rider started today's race from the second row of the grid. He made a good start and was lying in fifth place during the initial laps. On lap three Giugliano passed Davies to move into fourth position. By lapping fast and avoiding mistakes, the Althea rider was able to record the fastest lap of the race on lap seven (1'23"707), also passing Guintoli to move into third place. With grit and determination, Davide chased Laverty and at the mid-race point he was able to pass him and move up to second place. He held this position until the final stages. At two laps from the end of the race, Laverty passed both Giugliano and then Sykes, taking the lead, but the Althea rider didn't give up and passed Sykes, positioning himself right behind leader Laverty. On the final lap Davide stuck with the factory rider but was unable to pass him, nevertheless closing the race in a fantastic second position.
It was one of the most thrilling races of the 2013 season and it was team Althea's rider, scoring second place, who made it so spectacular. The next round of the World Superbike championship will take place in a week's time at Magny-Cours in France.
Davide Giugliano: "I'm so very happy! It was an amazing race and I battled first with Sykes and then with Laverty. I think we have done a great job here at Laguna, both me and my team. We have obtained a great result after a few disappointing results in previous races and so this is very satisfying. We have demonstrated that when everyone works well together and with the right mentality anything is possible. I thank my entire team that has worked so hard this weekend and also my family and my girlfriend Claudia who is always here for me. Now we must continue like this. From now until the end of the season we hope to take more strong results. I thought it would be hard to be in the front but now I realise that I could have won this race. A mistake made out of inexperience and that will serve well on another occasion."
AFTER HIS PODIUM IN RACE 1 EUGENE LAVERTY WINS RACE 2 AND MOVES INTO SECOND PLACE IN THE RIDER STANDINGS.
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI STRUGGLED TO FIND HIS PACE IN THE PACK AND FINISHED IN FIFTH PLACE, REPEATING THE RACE 1 RESULT.
APRILIA'S DOMINATION IN THE MANUFACTURER CHAMPIONSHIP CONTINUES.
Laguna Seca, 29 September 2013 - The determination shown in the Race 1 finale at Laguna Seca yesterday was almost a foreshadowing of the way Eugene Laverty would perform today. Rocketing to the front as soon as the red lights went off, the Northern Irish rider then found himself riding in third place behind the exhaust of Sykes and Giugliano in the first phase of the race. Eugene bided his time throughout the middle portion of the race, staying in contact with the leaders without taking any pointless risks, also taking into consideration the less than excellent grip.
Laverty's strategy paid off when four laps from the end he launched his attack on Giugliano for second place and then overtook Sykes two lap later. The grand finale had him controlling his rivals and flying across the finish in the lead. His seventh victory of the season and the third place in Race 1 take him to second place in the rider standings, 23 points behind Sykes with two more rounds (four races) left to go.
Thanks in part to Davide Giugliano's podium finish, an excellent second place ride on the Althea Racing Team RSV4, Aprilia strengthens their dominating lead in the manufacturer standings. The advantage in front of Kawasaki is now 45 points, 70 ahead of BMW, 235 over Honda, 248 above Suzuki and 308 in front of Ducati.
Eugene Laverty: "This was anything but an easy race. Yesterday I struggled quite a bit to keep up with the front runners and I managed to finish on the podium by overtaking twice in the last lap. I want to thank my team because we worked a lot on the bike and took a big step forward that allowed me to ride better in spite of the grip issues. I pushed hard from the first to the last lap and Davide (Giugliano) and Tom (Sykes) didn't make this win an easy one! This is a result that I really didn't expect which now takes me to second place in the rider standings, but we have two very different rounds ahead of us. I struggled last year at Magny Cours, but my RSV4 has grown a lot so things could change, whereas Jerez is our test track so I could have an advantage there. In any case I'll need to give 100% in every session for the next two weekends. I'd like to dedicate my win to my engineer Marco Bertolatti who became a father just a few hours ago."
It was another difficult race for Sylvain Guintoli, dominator in Race 1 before the second red flag. After an imperfect start from the first spot on the grid thanks to winning Superpole yesterday, the Frenchman had to surrender the pace to Melandri and Giugliano. Relegated to fifth place, Sylvain struggled in the first part of the race to keep pace with the lead pack, finally settling into a good pace. However, the gap behind the four leaders kept him from improving his position, which repeats the result from yesterday but certainly does no justice to the performance demonstrated during the practice sessions. Sylvain is now lying third in the championship, just one point behind his team mate Laverty, a position that keeps him well in the running for the final victory.
Sylvain Guintoli: "To be honest this was a disappointing Race 2. I expected much more and, all things considered, the start was good. I felt like I could pass Tom and Eugene, but instead I came under attack from Melandri and Giugliano and dropped back behind the lead group. The pace was really fast and when you lose a few metres it's hard to make up that gap. Like yesterday, when I'm in the middle of the pack I'm lacking something. I'm unable to maintain the same pace that I can set when I'm riding by myself like I was in the first two starts yesterday. It's something I need to work on because we didn't make any changes to the bike compared to yesterday. I need to get focused again, I'm not lacking in speed since yesterday when I was out front I was able to be very fast. Magny Cours is coming up in just a few days and that's my home race where I hope to make up some important points".
Fabrizio moves forward at Laguna
A change to the front end of his Pata Honda CBR1000RR helped Michel Fabrizio secure a top ten finish in today's second 12th-round World Superbike championship race at Laguna Seca in the USA.
As in yesterday's opener, the 29-year-old Italian started from 13th place on the grid but his crew had raised the front end of his machine following this morning's warm-up which allowed him eventually to overhaul his Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam. His result also moves him to seventh in the championship standings, one point ahead of injured Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea.
Haslam himself started from 12th on the grid after electronics gremlins hampered yesterday's Superpole 2 and the 30-year-old British rider suffered further engine management problems which restricted him to 11th place at the end of today 26-lap race.
The Pata Honda team will re-group at Magny-Cours in France in just three days to prepare for the penultimate round of the 2013 World Superbike championship next weekend, 4-6 October.
Michel Fabrizio - 10th
Starting from the fifth row was difficult but after the changes that we made after warm-up this morning, my confidence in the front was much better and I was able to do 1m24s laps in the race, so I was very happy. I felt much more comfortable on the bike and although the result is not perfect I think I could have finished higher with a better starting position. I am happy that we were able to make these steps forward after the problems earlier in the weekend.
Leon Haslam - 11th
It's been another frustrating race day and I was more than a second a lap slower than the times I was doing yesterday. I had a lot of traction control problems and not so much grip from the rear. I was also suffering a little from the affects of yesterday's crash, but it's definitely not what we were looking for. My pace yesterday was good for top four or five but I wasn't close to that, so it's not been good.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Leon had problems yesterday so we tried to make some changes in warm-up this morning. The grip level was down a bit so we made more alterations for the race. We still need to check the data but he had some problems in the race and could finish no better than 11th. Michel got tenth after some changes to his bike that were in the right direction. They allowed him to do some decent lap times and at least race the bike, but there is clearly still more work to do.
A disappointing race result for Team SBK Ducati Alstare in today's Superbike race at Laguna Seca
Monterey (USA), Sunday 29 September 2013: Team SBK Ducati Alstare was unfortunately unable to secure the kind of results it had hoped for in the second Superbike race taking place today at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California, USA; substitute rider Niccolò Canepa crossed the line in fifteenth place, having rejoined the race after a small crash, while injured Ayrton Badovini unfortunately ended his race in the gravel.
After yesterday's difficult race, in which Ayrton concluded in ninth position and Niccolò crashed out, the Ducati Alstare riders again lined up in fourth (Niccolò) and ninth (Ayrton) position on the grid for today's second race of the weekend. Conditions were once again warm and sunny and, unlike yesterday, the 26-lap race ran uninterrupted from start to finish.
Niccolò made a great start and was in fourth position through the first corners. At ease on the bike, he demonstrated a strong pace and was running with the leading group. Unfortunately during the second lap, through turn two, Melandri's pass forced him off line and, not wanting to lose ground, Canepa pushed hard on the front which caused the front to lock and the rider to crash. The young Italian was able to return to the track and continue the race but his gear shifter was broken and, from 18th position and 50 seconds behind, it was difficult to make up the lost ground. Lapping however with a consistently fast pace for the duration of the 26-lap race, he didn't give up and was able to cross the line in final fifteenth position. Badovini, ninth on the grid, was lying thirteenth at the end of the opening lap. Ayrton demonstrated good pace in the initial stages of the race but during the second half he had more difficulty keeping up with those immediately ahead of him. During the course of the nineteenth lap, the Ducati Alstare rider went long at turn six, unfortunately crashing in the gravel in order to not hit the barriers. He was unable to return to the track and his race therefore came to an end there.
Ayrton Badovini: "I'm ok and haven't done any more physical damage luckily, I just went straight and finished in the sand. Physically my foot wasn't so much the problem, I was just getting tired because I haven't been able to train properly in recent weeks. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile for all its help and support this weekend. I'm not happy because we're worked on the bike but we haven't been able to find the right set-up. We'll need to work more on the set-up at Magny-Cours in order to understand which direction to move in."
Niccolò Canepa: "It's a pity about the race results, especially race 2 as I felt good and was keeping pace with those in front without too much difficulty. The changes we made this morning were very useful and the front of the bike gave me a good feeling. Unfortunately Melandri forced me a little wide through the second turn and, not wanting to lose ground, I pushed too hard and crashed. Luckily the bike was ok even if the gear shifter was broken, and I was able to return to the track and finish the race. Summing up the weekend I think we've done a good job here, considering our performance in the practices and qualifying. We were able to place inside the top five in several sessions, and qualify fourth. I think we've demonstrated this weekend that the bike can run up at the front and, if we had more time and more races during which to work, it would surely become easier and more enjoyable."