Double podium glory for Kawasaki Racing Team at Laguna Seca
Continuing their stunning 2017 form, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) completed the podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, standing in second and third position on the podium in the searing American heat.
Rea, who took his first victory around the 3.610km circuit last season, was locked in a fight for the victory with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in the closing laps after a slower start to proceedings. Looking to be locked in a battle for the lead as the race hit the half-way point, the Northern Irish rider was unable to keep up with Davies, as he suffered with a lack of rear tyre grip.
Planning to make a few changes ahead of Sunday’s race two, Rea explains: “I’m never happy to not come out on top but it was the best we could do today. We really suffered in some areas but I’m happy with the effort, as I gave everything. In the mid-part of the race I felt really good but as we went into the last part of the race, my rear tyre had nothing left on corner entry. I decided to open my engine breaking which was sending me wide on the corners I had issues in. But congratulations to Chaz, he was making no mistakes, and I’m happy but I hope we can improve the bike tomorrow”
Sykes was able to get into the lead as the lights went out and led the race with a strong pace in the opening ten laps. Despite his initial lead he was unable to hold it as the riders hit half-race distance around the legendary Laguna Seca, and the pole position man lost some rear grip with his ZX-10RR. Able to salvage third position, Sykes looks forward to race two tomorrow where he hopes some overnight improvements will give him a boost to fight with the front pack.
“It was difficult from bike performance,” begins Sykes. “We had a good start and in the first 10 laps it was good and from half race distance we started to struggle with entry grip from the rear side of the Kawasaki, I wasn’t expecting that. The two guys in front did a great race but we need to try to improve, Chaz is always very strong here. Tomorrow we need to utilise our speed, we’ve got it but we are just missing out on some areas in consistency. For sure we need to try to improve the set-up. I’m not expecting miracles but something will improve especially with these hot temperatures.”
Keep up with all the on track action in tomorrow’s Geico US Round with the WorldSBK VideoPass, as riders battle it out in the intense Californian heat.