World Champion Jonathan Rea took a dominant Sunday win at Race 2 of the Laguna Seca round, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) also on the podium.
Rea came from eighth on the grid to take a dominant win over the rest of the field with the KRT man beating his nearest challenger – teammate Sykes – by 2.887s, to open up a 59-point advantage at the head of the standings going into the summer break. It is the Northern Irishman’s second win at the American venue and he dedicated the victory to the late Nicky Hayden.
Davies did his best to pursue Sykes for second place over the final laps but just could not catch the Yorkshireman and had to settle for third, following his comeback win in Race 1. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) completed the top five in the hot conditions at the spectacular Californian track.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) bounced back immediately from his Race 1 DNF for a good sixth place finish, with another Aprilia equipped rider Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) in seventh. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was just behind Laverty and Mercado on the Aprilia RSV4 RF in eighth place, with the top ten completed by Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team colleagues Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark.
Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) and Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) all suffered crashes, whilst there was an early retirement for Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse).
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) – 1st
“It was awesome to win today and we did it by putting 25 good laps together. Right from the first lap Tom got away and I found it hard coming through at that stage. But when I got clear I put my head down and I knew it was game on. As soon as the opportunity presented itself and went through into the lead, and set my rhythm. We made a real step with the set-up overnight. On yesterday’s pace I felt good but I felt it was a difficult opening race. I left the changes for today to Pere my crew chief and did not go into too much detail. He came up with a good plan in warm-up and it seemed to work. Everything seemed to be coming easier and during the race I did not change anything, just played a little bit electronically with the engine braking settings. I want to thank all my team for giving me a great package and this is a good way to go into the summer break.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) – 2nd
“I was in a bit of a hurry to get to the front in race two and I was hoping to be going there alone. I came out of the last turn, looked at the big screen and saw my team-mate there. I wanted the riders behind to battle for a while but it wasn’t the case. The bike was very consistent and we stayed in the high 1’23s to low 1’24s all race. I made a couple of mistakes on one lap trying to adjust the rear brake and engine mapping, just to try something different. We have to be happy with second because yesterday and today I gave it everything on track. Credit to the boys in the garage as today’s pace was faster, the race was faster and had a lot safer feeling. I am a little disappointed to lose some points in the championship but there is still a long way to go.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 3rd
“It was a mostly lonely but still difficult race. Our start wasn’t bad, but our rivals’ was better. It will be something to work on during the summer break. The bike was making a lot of noise today, so we’ll look into that, but I’m not sure it affected our performance. Our rivals rode a great race nonetheless. I was struggling with grip on the first touch of gas, at high lean angles. I tried my best to take second place, but we would have needed more laps. Now we’ll take a break, which will be important to resume training and get back to 100 percent, even though my physical conditions were decent here. Then, we’ll go test at Lausitzring, which will be very important for the second part of the season.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 4th
“For sure we expected a better result after practice. Yesterday’s race was a bit strange, while after WUP today we thought we found the right direction to take at least the podium, but once again we struggled during the race. It seems that our base setup is really competitive but doesn’t work as well in hot conditions, where we struggle with grip. We need to understand why. Anyway, it’s been a positive first half of the season. I gradually adjusted to the bike and I feel progressively more comfortable. Of course we wanted to do better here after winning at Misano. The tests at Lausitzring will be very useful. We’ll get better, my team is working really hard and I’m optimistic for the future.”
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) – 6th
“It was a positive result today considering that we had to start from P10, and the reverse grid rules didn’t help us this time. I had some good scraps and I felt pretty comfortable on the bike. The big improvement today was the front tyre; yesterday there was some problem with it that wasn’t normal, but today it functioned correctly and I was able to push a lot more. Perhaps 5th would have been on the cards if we’d started higher, but I still think that was our best race of the year. Heading to the test at Lausitzring we have a good basis from here to work with. The improvement on the front was a big benefit as we showed here in Free Practice, and our aim is to take another big forward step with the RSV4 RF.”
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) – 8th
“I’m quite happy with the result today. Even though P8 is not where we want to be, I was able to set some quick and consistent laps. When I caught the other riders I could stay in their rhythm, but I still found it hard to pass them. We need to focus on the positives from this weekend. On Friday I struggled with the bike and rhythm, but we found some improvements and step by step I know that we can be even better for the next race. We have a lot of work to do for the test at Lausitzring. There are some areas that we have struggled with recently that we need to make better, and I know that the team are working very hard to make sure we can improve for Germany.”
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) – 9th
“It was a very difficult race. I didn’t feel comfortable with the bike but after everything that we have experienced this weekend it was good to at least finish and get a result. I’ve really struggled with front-end confidence here at Laguna Seca and those 25-laps were very hard work but I did what I could. I couldn’t push hard, it was a question of just riding as consistently as possible and trying to understand what we can do to improve our pace at this track in the future. It is clear that as a team we haven’t had the best setup this weekend, so now it’s time to get some rest from the WorldSBK calendar and come back stronger and fighting for podiums, which is what we have already shown we can achieve, at the next race in Germany.”
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) – 10th
“It was tough today, I felt a had a good start but straight away from the first lap I didn’t have a good feeling with my R1. It is quite strange because we changed a lot again for the race. It has been a tough weekend; the only really positive session was Saturday morning but then the track temperatures were a lot cooler. As soon as the temperature started rising we struggled a lot. It is difficult to understand why we can do the same pace from the first to the last lap but not be quick enough at the start. We have to understand why this is and of course, we are not happy, but we will work hard during the break to ensure we come back fighting at the Lausitzring.”
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) – 11th
“For me it was a good race and surely better than yesterday’s. Obviously another 11th place is not what I was looking for, but riding-wise we did improve. The weekend in itself has been challenging because of the changes we had to make, which made it a bit more difficult to find the feeling with the bike. Surely, 17th position on the grid was a bit of a handicap because it didn’t allow me to try and stay with the front guys, but at the beginning I was able to push hard on the front tyre because we made some steps forward in that department. I made a little mistake halfway through the race when I was fighting with Lowes and van der Mark which cost me some tenths and, after some more warnings, I had to settle down a little and ride the bike home in 11th. We seem to have found a direction now so I hope things will improve some more at Lausitzring. I will now go to Japan for the Suzuka 8 Hours and it’ll be interesting to try that Fireblade, so I’m looking forward to this new experience!”
After the summer break the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders will return to action at the Prosecco DOC German Round over the 18th-20th August weekend.
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