A ninth place finish in Race 2 rounds off a successful weekend for the Californian rookie
Good things often come in pairs. Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) faced his return Stateside with no top ten finishes to his name in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, but one weekend later, he leaves the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with two.
In Race 1, the 2010 Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion found his way up to tenth at the flag from sixteenth on the grid. Heading that row six again in Race 2, the 25-year-old American went one better, fighting his way up to ninth in the opening third and keeping that personal-best position with ease. There was a small scare for Gagne in lap 22 when he went wide through the gravel at Turn 2, even then the gap he had built with Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) in tenth was too large to concern the Red Bull rider.
Gagne was expected to step up at his home race, and he leapt to the challenge: “Our goal was to be in that top-10 and we made it happen! I had a couple of good races, a couple of lonely races actually. Being that far back on the grid was tough for those first couple of laps, I didn’t get off my best start today, but I’m happy. We made a lot of progress throughout the weekend, the Fireblade is feeling really good. To put in a good result here for everybody was awesome.”.
Gagne’s first full year in WorldSBK has been one full of trials and tribulations, a steep learning curve with challenges and setbacks. Not every step along the way has been as enjoyable as at Laguna Seca, but Gagne is relishing each race weekend: “A couple of rough weekends early on in the year kind of set us back, and I’ve made some mistakes along the way, but I’ve learned a lot through the whole thing. I’m just having fun, trying to take it step by step”.
“My riding style has adapted since I was here last year”, he adds, at the anniversary of his WorldSBK debut. “With these World Superbikes, there’s a lot of things we can change, everything from electronics, chassis, suspension… There’s so many different things, so I’m learning how to set up the bike, how to go about these weekends, and figuring out what our priorities are to go faster”.
Relive the American’s best weekend in the WorldSBK paddock, with highlights and both full races available thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.