Searing temperatures and on track battles the story at Laguna Seca
Heading stateside ahead of the summer break, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was shaping up for a thrilling Geico US Round. With Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) returning from injury, Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) making his debut and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) hoping to continue his run of form, it was not a round to be missed.
Scorching temperatures on Saturday led to a lot of crashes around the 3.610km circuit, and it was survival of the fittest heading into race one. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) took pole position ahead of Rea and Davies, as the track conditions hit just under 60 degrees. Getting a stunning start off the line, Sykes took the lead and dominated early on, but it didn’t take Davies long to catch up with the leaders and take the lead on the 12th lap. A late comeback from Rea brought a challenge to Davies, but he was able to hold off the Kawasaki and cross the line over a second ahead of his rivals. Going from bed ridden to the top step of the podium in a matter of weeks, Davies was thrilled to take the win and celebrated with a Nicky Hayden flag, keeping the Kentucky Kid in WorldSBK’s hearts.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) secured pole position for race two, joined by Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) on the front row. Despite the nature of Laguna Seca making it difficult to overtake, the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Sykes and Rea didn’t waste any time and were up fighting for podium positions by the end of the first lap. Spaniard Fores put in a stunning display to keep up and fighting with the front runners in the early laps, but he didn’t have the full race pace to stick with Rea. Soaring off into the distance, the Northern Irish rider was unable to be caught, and it left Sykes and Davies to battle it out for the final spots on the podium. Despite a short fight back in the closing stages, the Welsh rider settled for third position behind Sykes.
Heading into the summer break with a 59 point lead, Rea looks to be closing in on his third title on the bounce, but he faces a strong fight as Davies heads to the circuits in which he put in a stunning run last season to take seven victories in the final eight races. Keep up with any summer break news on WorldSBK.com, or relive any races so far with the WorldSBK VideoPass.