An epic pre-event, Corkscrew clashes and a superlative West Coast double all feature in our favourite bits from Laguna Seca
Pacific Ocean on one side, San Francisco Bay on the other. Marin County and the Muir Woods behind, the bustling Fog City ahead. And one famous landmark at the centre of them all. It doesn’t get much grander than the Golden Gate Bridge in California. On the Wednesday before the GEICO US Round, the strait was taken over by WorldSBK riders, who hopped onto their machines for an escorted ride over the bridge and into San Francisco. A true American Dream which you can catch here.
But enough sightseeing for now – let’s get racing! The WorldSBK riders reacquainted themselves with the Californian track early on Friday, with the world-famous Corkscrew occasionally dazing even the most experienced men on the paddock. That’s what happened to Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in FP1, when he slid all the way down the tarmac at Turn 8.
The Italian was lucky compared to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). The Turkish rider, on his first Laguna Seca visit, fell victim to a tremendous high-side going down the challenging bend, and was thrown viciously downhill, fracturing his left big toe. A lucky escape for the rookie all things considered, watching the crash back.
The Corkscrew is by no means the only challenging part of the circuit however. Lightning-speed bends, big decelerations, steep hills, strong tailwinds… There’s nothing quite like Laguna Seca, and the best way to appreciate it is onboard with California’s own Jake Gagne.
In Race 1, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) wrote another chapter in their endless rivalry, with the Northern Irishman pouncing after a mistake by the Ducati rider to take his first win of the weekend. Catch the full highlights from that race here.
On Sunday, the tables were initially turned, with both men starting Race 2 back in row three, and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) leading the grid. The mixed order would not last long however, as Rea turned his pace up a further notch to take the lead by Lap 8 with a fantastic pass over Laverty and seize a spectacular Laguna Seca Double. The Northern Irishman became the most successful rider at Laguna Seca in WorldSBK history, a feat which the four-time US Round victor celebrated in style.
Don’t want to miss any of these videos? Catch all of the action from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass!