KRT riders looking to leave stormy last race behind under the Californian sun
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads west for round eight of the season with the Kawasaki Racing Team in high spirits, ahead of one of the most thrilling weekends of the calendar year. The GEICO US Round is an old-favourite in the WorldSBK paddock, and there’s no exception for the men in green. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) have both tasted glory in the blazing Laguna heat and are amongst the favourites to win again in 2018.
The last outing for the Kawasaki Racing Team was less than ideal however, to put it lightly. Both riders crashed in the early laps and were left out of the points for the first time since they became teammates in 2015. Perhaps more troubling for the team was that Rea’s DNF – a first since Magny-Cours last year – came as a result of a race incident with Sykes, and after the race tensions were running high.
Two weeks on, the hatchet seems buried for now. The ZX-10RR’s astonishing pace and consistency has given the team a small margin for mistakes entering the second half of the championship, and Laguna Seca is one of both Brits’ most beloved tracks.
Rea will be looking to make it three on the trot after winning here in 2016 and 2017 – and could dream for a first double on US soil. It will be tougher than ever for the defending champion however, if the previous rounds are anything to go by: astonishingly, six wins this year is Rea’s worst return going into a Laguna race since joining Kawasaki.
With a 65-point advantage over Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), Rea enters Laguna as focused as ever: “Laguna Seca is a great venue for Superbikes and I’m very excited to go there after Brno where we had been very strong”.
“The circuit itself is very demanding and we have to concentrate on Friday to understand the bike and enable us to challenge for wins”, continues the Northern Irish rider. “Turn one is one of the most thrilling corners on any circuit so I’m already looking forward to my first lap!”
Sykes is equally thrilled at the prospect of returning to Laguna, where he has won three times before (2013, 2014 and 2016). A short, technical, and truly challenging track: “In places like turn one you have to be pinpoint accurate. At another few corners, including the top of The Corkscrew, there are some blind entries. It is such a short track and very demanding, so there is absolutely no place for rest. You have to be on top of your game there”.
“The whole journey to the USA is a pleasure and the fans are absolutely fantastic. Laguna Seca is an adrenaline-pumping circuit and it certainly gets the blood flowing”, says the man from Yorkshire, who dropped to fourth in the championship standings after Brno weekend.
WorldSBK goes stateside for Round 8! Catch the full action from the weekend, including two of the most exciting races of the season, thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.