These just in:
Melandri heads Aprilia one-two in first race
Laguna Seca (California, USA), Sunday 13 July 2014 - After 25 thrilling laps, Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) has won the opening race of the day at Laguna Seca. The Italian rider adds another victory to his tally of 16 WSBK race wins reaching the likes of Giancarlo Falappa, Neil Hodgson and James Toseland.
Starting from Pole Position it was Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who initially took the holeshot into turn one ahead of the works Aprilia duo of Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli who both passed the reigning champion at the end of lap one after Sykes made a mistake at the Corkscrew.
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) crashed spectacularly from 4th on lap two as the leading three began to edge away from the fast starting Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who was promoted to fourth after the Ducati rider's departure.
By quarter race distance the circuit lap record set in 2013 had been smashed and the top three riders had a comfortable gap over the chasing pack.
As the race entered the final third, the tense battle at the front intensified as Guintoli applied the pressure to his Italian team mate with Sykes watching the action unfold in front of him before the Italian broke away.
At the flag it was a rather spread out affair with Melandri taking the win, his 3rd of the season ahead of Guintoli and Sykes who claimed the final podium place.
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) finished a solid 4th with Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) completing the top 6.
In the battle of the EVO riders it was David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) that took the honours coming home in a solid 10th with Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) 11th and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia) 12th.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was classified 15th and took the final championship point on his debut for the Italian team.
Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) was a notable retirement as were Ayrton Badovini (Team Bimota Alstare), Aaron Yates (Team Hero EBR) and Peter Sebestyen (Team Toth BMW).
Results: 1. Melandri (Aprilia) 25 Laps/90.250 km in 35'07.782 average 154.143 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 0.905; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 6.627; 4. Giugliano (Ducati) 13.574; 5. Elias (Aprilia) 13.855; 6. Rea (Honda) 15.575; 7. Haslam (Honda) 18.820; 8. Lowes (Suzuki) 20.184; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 34.479; 10. Salom (Kawasaki) 37.463; 11. Canepa (Ducati) 45.440; 12. Barrier (BMW) 47.538; 13. Staring (Kawasaki) 49.750; 14. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 55.420; 15. Camier (MV Agusta) 58.449; 16. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'08.922; 17. Rizmayer (BMW) 1'17.853; 18. May (EBR) 1'18.084; 19. Ulrich (Honda) 1 Lap; 20. Morais (Kawasaki) 3 Laps; RT. Pegram (EBR); RT. Sebestyen (BMW); RT. Yates (EBR); RT. Laverty (Suzuki); RT. Davies (Ducati); SH. Iddon (Bimota) 48.321; SH. Badovini (Bimota).
PRILIA TAKES A WIN AND TWO PODIUMS AT LAGUNA SECA.
VICTORY FOR MELANDRI AND AN EXTRAORDINARY RSV4 ONE-TWO WITH GUINTOLI SECOND IN RACE ONE.
GUINTOLI SECOND AGAIN IN RACE TWO.
Laguna Seca (California - USA) - 13 July 2014 - Aprilia Racing wins at Laguna Seca. Marco Melandri dominated Race 1 and crossed the finish line ahead of team mate Guintoli. A crash stopped him in Race 2 when he was in the lead once again.
Race 1 on the exciting Laguna Seca track was a triumph for Aprilia. Off to an excellent start, Melandri and Guintoli took the race lead in the first lap, taking advantage of an error by Tom Sykes at the "corkscrew". The three immediately showed that they had a completely different pace than the rest and the progressively opened up the gap at the front. Before the midway point the two Aprilia standard bearers, with Melandri in the lead, progressively increased their advantage over Sykes until, in the second half of the race, Melandri set a pace that his team mate was unable to keep, crossing the finish line first for the third time this season after his double win in Malaysia. For his part Guintoli was able to maintain his lead over Sykes, taking an excellent second place.
The second race was also marked by Marco Melandri's consistent domination with him taking a solid lead when the race was red flagged due to a crash by Lowes. At the second start Melandri took the lead once again ahead of Sykes and team mate Guintoli, but the race was suspended again because of an accident involving Barrier. For the third start Melandri got another great start in front of everyone and established an authoritative lead. All signs pointed to a second win for the rider from Ravenna - whose feeling with the reigning Manufacturer World Champion RSV4 is increasing from race to race - when a sliding crash 5 laps from the end put the brakes on his hopes for victory. It was a result that does not change the fact that Melandri was a true protagonist of the Californian weekend. With just a few laps left Guintoli chalked up another second place finish which confirms the Frenchman's great competitiveness and consistency, lying firmly in second place in the Championship standings.
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."
On hand below the podium to comment on the triumph in Race1 of the Italian bikes was Michele Colaninno, CEO of IMMSI and member of the Piaggio Group Board of Directors: "This is the victory of a team which has never stopped believing in results, a winning team in World SBK for five years in a row. Seeing the two Aprilia RSV4s flying by in front of everyone in this country and on this track which has such a great history is a great satisfaction, not only for me, but for the entire Italian motor sports community."
WSBK Press Office
Sykes wins a hectic Race 2 at Laguna Seca
Laguna Seca (California, USA), Sunday 13 July 2014 - The second WSBK race at Laguna Seca was as hot on track as the air temperature as after two red flags and restarts, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) came out victorious in the 7 lap sprint race that put an end to the ninth round of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship, which saw a total 49,408 attendants during the three days. Thanks to his 22nd career win, the reigning champion added one tiny point to his championship lead over Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), second at the flag and now 44 points behind the reigning champion.
Tom Sykes: "The aim was to win the race. Obviously Race 1 was a big disappointment but we made a number of changes on the Ninja for Race 2. The bike felt OK, better than in the first race and then with every red flag we added little tweaks. What can I say, I got a fabulous bunch of guys working for me. My wife sent me some inspiration, I had some great pictures of my daughter which put a great smile on my face. I'm sure people watching back home enjoyed it as much as I did. I've got a few days to really enjoy myself here in California, I've got some big events coming up with Kawasaki and I can't wait to go into summer break."
Sylvain Guintoli: "This is not a loss. We were looking for some points, but Tom is very strong in a short race like this one. About the two red flags I thought maybe this is destiny, like it happened last year. In the first restart Tom was fast and I just tried to hang on to him, but in a seven lap race is very difficult, I just tried everything but I was never in a position to attack him. Once again I gave my best. These are two strong results, but for me are not enough. We have to work during the summer break to come back really strong."
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Championship) completed the podium of the second encounter, finishing on a high note in what has been his first ever visit to Laguna Seca.
From the first start it was Sykes who once again grabbed the holeshot into turn one and as the packed field sorted themselves out around the first few turns it was Guintoli and race one winner and team mate Marco Melandri who slotted himself into second and third ahead of the fast starting Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
Guintoli applied the pressure immediately and after following the reigning champion for a couple of laps made his move, taking the lead into turn 6 on lap 5 only to lose it straight afterwards as Sykes successfully fought back. Melandri also seized the moment to take advantage of an off line Guintoli to move into third as the battle at the front now raged between six riders after Davide Giugliano (Ducati SuperbikeTeam) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) looked to get in on the act.
Lap 11 saw the red flags shown after Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) suffered a spectacular crash at the Corkscrew. The British rider was taken to the medical centre for further checks but fortunately the reigning BSB Champion got away with no fractures.
After a short delay the race was restarted over 7 laps with grid positions decided by the race positions prior to the stop. That meant Sykes was still on Pole with the Aprilia duo of Melandri and Guintoli alongside. Row two for the restart saw Laverty, Elias and Giugliano.
When the race resumed the action was fast and furious but after only one completed lap the red flags were out again as Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team - EVO) crashed out on the start and finish straight. The Frenchman, who was conscious and alert, was taken to the Medical Centre for further checks that revealed a dislocated and fractured left subtalar joint.
However and at the third time of asking the race distance was completed with Sykes taking the win ahead of Guintoli and Jonathan Rea who completed the podium places after Marco Melandri crashed out of the lead, followed a short time later by Davide Giugliano who had been charging through the field. A disappointing end of the race for both Italian riders, especially for Melandri who looked capable of taking his second double win of the season.
Marco Melandri: "I got a perfect start in race one, even though I was a bit worried because Tom usually tries to pull away in the early stages. When he made a mistake at the Corkscrew I thought it was the right chance to push to the limit. I set my pace and kept focused, trying to avoid any mistake. It's a shame about Race 2, at the third restart I made a couple of mistakes whilst shifting gears and I thought there was a gearing problem on my bike. I lost my concentration and when I realised it was all OK, I went too hot at the last turn. I'm really sorry for that, because I think the double win was within our reach, but I'm happy of the way we worked this weekend."
Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) rounded out the top six whilst in the EVO category the best classified rider was once again David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) who finished a respectable 8th overall.
Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 7 Laps/25.270 km in 9'51.346 average 153.839 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1.014; 3. Rea (Honda) 2.793; 4. Laverty (Suzuki) 3.681; 5. Elias (Aprilia) 4.165; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 7.160; 7. Haslam (Honda) 7.331; 8. Salom (Kawasaki) 15.061; 9. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 15.674; 10. Camier (MV Agusta) 17.015; 11. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 18.338; 12. Staring (Kawasaki) 19.270; 13. Morais (Kawasaki) 20.040; 14. Pegram (EBR) 23.845; 15. Rizmayer (BMW) 25.592; 16. May (EBR) 26.688; 17. Ulrich (Honda) 31.893; RT. Giugliano (Ducati); RT. Melandri (Aprilia); RT. Canepa (Ducati); NS. Barrier (BMW); SH. Badovini (Bimota) 14.560; SH. Iddon (Bimota) 14.892.
Standings (Round 9 of 13): 1. Sykes 325; 2. Guintoli 281; 3. Rea 261; 4. Baz 253; 5. Melandri 217; 6. Davies 159; 7. Giugliano 153; 8. Elias 137; 9. Laverty 134; 10. Haslam 133; 11. Lowes 119; 12. Salom 88; 13. Canepa 51; 14. Camier 37; 15. Guarnoni 33; 16. Barrier 21; 17. Andreozzi 17; 18. Morais 17; 19. Scassa 16; 20. Foret 14; 21. Corti 13; 22. Staring 12; 23. Allerton 6; 24. Bos 5; 25. Goi 5; 26. Russo 5; 27. Pegram 2; 28. Toth 2; 29. Fabrizio 2; 30. Rizmayer 1; 31. Lanusse 1. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 342; 2. Aprilia 318; 3. Honda 261; 4. Ducati 220; 5. Suzuki 200; 6. BMW 58; 7. MV Agusta 20; 8. EBR 2.
Fans Descend on Monterey for Superbike World Championship Racing Weekend
Attendance up 20% over 2013
MONTEREY, Calif., July 13, 2014 ?Motorcycle and road racing fans soaked in the action under sunny skies at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend. The international racing series' only U.S. stop attracted 49,408 people, which is 20 percent more than last year's crowd of 41,175.
And what a show the fans saw. Tom Sykes of Kawasaki Racing Team thrilled Saturday crowds by scorching the track and setting a new World Superbike Championship track record of 1'21.811. Sykes' time was .582 seconds shy of the 1'21.229 track record set in 2012 by MotoGP Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa.
Two Tissot Superpole battles on Saturday and two races on Sunday provided fans with plenty of World Superbike action. After 25 thrilling laps, Italian Marco Melandri of Aprilia Racing Team won the opening race of the day ahead of Aprilia teammate Sylvain Guintolo of France. Reigning world champion Britain's Tom Sykes of the Kawasaki Racing Team took the third podium spot.
Race two on Sunday featured two restarts, daring passes, several crashes that brought out red flags and a stunning finish that carried Tom Sykes across in first. Second went to Guintolo and third to Britain's Jonathan Rea of Pata Honda World Superbike.
"The World Superbike fan experience is one of the best in motorsports," said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "Riders are accessible and press conferences open to the public, which attracted enormous crowds, and the overall atmosphere is filled with equal parts racing and entertainment."
The AMA Pro Road Racing was compelling over the three days and featured the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona Sportbike, AMA Pro Superbike and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Each race had numerous lead changes and hard-fought battles for the lead.
Adding to the weekend's appeal was the Marketplace that featured scores of vendors, motorcycle manufacturer displays, autograph sessions and an off-road driving course. Saturday evening was capped off with the Kawasaki Ninja Nights Fan Party.
It was a celebratory homecoming for Kawasaki, not only for Sykes' victory, but for the world debut of the Kawasaki Ninja 30th anniversary edition. Kawasaki first introduced the Ninja at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1984 and returned to commemorate the occasion to the delight of Kawasaki owners.
"The weekend attracted an international audience to the Monterey Peninsula who filled hotels, restaurants, purchased goods and supplies in our stores, and experienced the true charm of our coastal community," added Campbell. "Then when you add in millions of television viewers who devoutly tune in for each race, the amount of exposure Monterey received is invaluable."
The next event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 14-17. This world-renowned historic car race features 550 authentic and period-correct race cars that span nearly every era of motorsports.
A disappointing outcome for the Ducati Superbike Team on race day at Laguna Seca
Monterey (USA), Sunday 13 July 2014 - a very difficult day for the Ducati Superbike Team and riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies today 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.
Race 1 - Giugliano did not make the best start from fourth on the grid but quickly made up for lost time, passing a couple of riders during the opening lap to position seventh at the end of lap one. He quickly moved up the field to fourth position, after passing both Haslam and Rea and was closing in on the leading group when a braking issue began to affect the Italian rider's lap times, meaning that he was unable to maintain contact with the leading group. He nevertheless held on to the fourth spot from lap four onwards, crossing the line just behind the podium sitters and taking some valuable points in the process.
Davies, from third on the grid, got away well and was lying fourth through the opening lap. Immediately up with the leading three riders, he was pushing hard when on lap 2 he suddenly suffered a highside out of turn 6 that threw him and his bike into the gravel. The British rider was transported to the circuit's medical centre for checks. With Davies having taken a blow to the head, and despite the fact that he felt able to race, the medical team carried out a further examination prior to race 2 and decided that it was too risky to allow the Ducati rider to participate in race 2.
Race 2 - This second race was halted twice with red flags after crashes for riders Lowes and Barrier. In the end, the Superbike riders completed a second race comprising just seven laps, with Giugliano lining up in sixth place on the grid, according to the standings at the moment in which the previous race had been stopped.
Sixth through the first corners, the Ducati rider passed Rea and Elias and was lying third by lap two. Lapping with a very strong pace, which enabled him to record the best lap of race 2 (1'23.403), he went to make a move on Sykes who was just a few metres ahead of him. Unfortunately however, on entering the Corkscrew a small mistake forced him to take more of an inside line than usual, causing him to touch the kerb in the process. Giugliano unfortunately crashed as a result, and his race ended there.
At the end of this ninth championship round, Davies is in sixth position in the general standings, with 159 points, while Giugliano is seventh with 153 points. Ducati lies fourth in the manufacturer's classification with 220 points.
Quotes after the races:
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) - 4th, DNF
"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 (Ducati Superbike Team #7) - DNF, DNS
"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."
Ernesto Marinelli (Ducati Superbike Project Director)
"Unfortunately today was a very difficult day. After two positive days we had very different expectations for today's races. But this is racing and the important thing is that neither rider suffered any serious injury as a result of the crashes. Both Chaz and Davide had the potential to do well, and with this knowledge we will continue to work and prepare as well as possible for Jerez. The Team has worked well, we have to concentrate on improving off the line because we cannot allow ourselves to lose positions at the start. This weekend did not go as we had hoped but we will definitely not stop trying."
Rea third in standings after Laguna podium
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 World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca in the USA this 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.
Starting from tenth place on the grid after his Superpole crash yesterday, Rea got a good start to the first 25-lap race around the 3.610km Californian circuit. However, while running in fifth place, the 27-year-old ran wide at turn three and dropped to tenth before fighting his way back to sixth place at the flag.
Race two was red-flagged after nine laps with Rea holding seventh place but a second red flag was shown immediately after the restart. Lining up seventh on the re-formed grid for a seven-lap sprint, he got another good start and a bold move past Toni Elias in turn 10 secured his 40th World Superbike podium.
Haslam had matched his team-mate's pace for most of the Laguna Seca weekend but front grip issues restricted progress for the 31-year-old in the first race, in which he finished three seconds behind Rea. The grip issue transferred to the rear of Haslam's bike in race two and he was forced to settle for another seventh place finish.
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 - 6th and 3rd
I feel we should have been stronger in race one today, 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 - 7th and 7th
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 yesterday. 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.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Leon had a good start in race one and was doing OK but the front grip went and he couldn't do the lap times any more. Race two was a bit hectic but he had no rear grip and was a long way off his lap times from the weekend. We're just investigating whether it was something with the tyre because all weekend he was matching Jonathan's times, which was encouraging. Jonathan also had a good start to race one but in his eagerness to catch the front runners he ran off the track at turn three and rejoined back in tenth place. He got back to sixth but was very close to the guys in fourth and fifth. The red flags in race two led to a seven-lap sprint but he got another really good start and then passed Elias with a nice move for third. We're really happy with that and we're third in the championship a nd still in touch with second. That's a good way to go into the summer break.