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Jul 11, 2014

Davies Quickest In World Superbike FP3 At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Updated)

Chaz Davies (7).

eni FIM Superbike World Championship

GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Monterey, California

July 11, 2014

Free Practice Three Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:23.293

2. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:23.314

3. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:23.397

4. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:23.573

5. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:23.623

6. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:23.629

7. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:23.638

8. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:23.922

9. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:23.934

10. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:24.514

11. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), EVO, 1:24.518

12. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:24.649, crash

13. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:24.799

14. Sylvain BARRIER, France (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 1:24.827

15. Christian IDDON, UK (Bimota BB3), EVO, 1:24.916

16. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Bimota BB3), EVO, 1:25.133

17. Alessandro ANDREOZZI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:25.497

18. Leon CAMIER, UK (MV Agusta F4 RR), 1:25.599

19. Bryan STARING, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:25.970

20. Sheridan MORAIS, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:26.073

21. Jeremy GUARNONI, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:26.080

22. Geoff MAY, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:26.087

23. Larry PEGRAM, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:26.302

24. Gabor RIZMAYER, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 1:26.506

25. Aaron YATES, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:26.999

26. Chris ULRICH, USA (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:27.169

27. Peter SEBESTYEN, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), EVO, no time recorded

Combined Practice Results (top 20 advance to Superpole):

1. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:23.293

2. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:23.314

3. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:23.397

4. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:23.462

5. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:23.573

6. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:23.629

7. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:23.638

8. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:23.922

9. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:23.934

10. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:24.402

11. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:24.514

12. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), EVO, 1:24.518

13. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:24.799

14. Sylvain BARRIER, France (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 1:24.827

15. Christian IDDON, UK (Bimota BB3), EVO, 1:24.916

16. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Bimota BB3), EVO, 1:25.133

17. Alessandro ANDREOZZI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:25.497

18. Leon CAMIER, UK (MV Agusta F4 RR), 1:25.599

19. Bryan STARING, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:25.970

20. Sheridan MORAIS, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:26.073

21. Jeremy GUARNONI, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:26.080

22. Geoff MAY, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:26.087

23. Larry PEGRAM, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:26.302

24. Gabor RIZMAYER, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 1:26.506

25. Aaron YATES, USA (EBR 1190RX), 1:26.999

26. Chris ULRICH, USA (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:27.169

27. Peter SEBESTYEN, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 1:27.226

More, from a press release issued by GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing:

GEICO Motorcycle riders Ulrich and Zemke wanting more from their Hondas in Laguna

MONTEREY, Calif. (July 11) -- The opening day of the FIM World Superbike Championship, GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round left teammates Chris Ulrich and Jake Zemke wanting a little more from their CBR Hondas. Fortunately, the duo and their race team will have another full day of qualifying to find a little more speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca before racing for the trophy Sunday.

Ulrich, a wild-card entry in the World Superbike Series this weekend, turned a best lap of 1:27.169 during Friday's three timed practice sessions. The elapsed time around 2.2-mile, 11-turn course placed him 26th in the field.

"These guys are world-class and the speed and pace they run is impressive," Ulrich said. "We've got a lot of work to do but we did improve in each of today's three sessions, which was cool. The rules package and the things they can do to their bikes in this series isn't drastically different from how we normally run in AMA Pro but when the field is separated by hundreds of a second, every little thing counts.

"It took a few laps to get used to Pirelli tires but once we got past that barrier in the first practice session I was able to put my head down and ride. We're not quite where we want or need to be, obviously, but we learned some things today, especially in the third session, and I know the guys will be working hard tonight to make us faster."

World Superbike will hold one more non-timed session at 10 a.m. before shifting to Superpole action from 1-1:40 p.m. PT. The two World Superbike Championship races will take place at 11 and 2:45 p.m. PT, Sunday.

Zemke continued his season-long battle in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike, completing the day's lone qualifying session in eighth place with a best circuit of 1:28.319. His time is less than a second off leader Jake Lewis' pace, giving Zemke plenty of optimism heading into Saturday's final qualifying round, scheduled for 10:40 a.m. PT.

"I seem to say this every weekend but the bike is getting better," Zemke said. "We've improved on what we had at Barber and it showed out there today. The guys have been pecking away at the set-up and we're trying to get everything we can out of the bike.

"It's encouraging to see the top group so close on the timing sheets. If we can squeeze just a touch more out of it than we could gain positions very easily. We do run much early tomorrow so maybe the cloud cover will help us. As long as it's dry we could be very quick."

The 20-lap main event for Daytona SportBike will begin at 1:25 p.m. PT, Sunday. 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna WSBK Press Office:

Chaz Davies heads the WSBK field on opening day

Laguna Seca (California, USA), Friday 11 July 2014 - Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) has set the fastest lap in the Free Practice combined times today at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1'23.293s, edging second place Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) by only 21 thousandths of a second. The Welshman, who has raced on this track in three different championships (AMA, MotoGP and WSBK) has shown great speed and consistency on the opening day of action.

Other factory Aprilia rider Marco Melandri was third, ahead of points leader and reigning champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and an impressive Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who was able to finish within 0.3s of the leader and to edge teammate Eugene Laverty in what was his first day on the Californian track.

Pata Honda duo Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) completed the top 10.

The Spaniard lost the front end of his RSV4 machine a the corkscrew in the early stages, with the crash leading to a red flag situation. The former Moto 2 World Champion then proceeded with the help of the trackside marshals to shake the sand and gravel from his Aprilia before returning to the track for the final 22 minutes after some speedy from his team.

For the riders placed 11th to 20th on combined times they will take part in Superpole 1 with the top 2 in that session progressing to join the already seeded top ten.

Eleventh overall after today and narrowly missing out on a top ten placing was Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), only 0.004s ahead of the best classified EVO rider Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Team Ducati).

Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) adapted well to his new machine ending the day 18th overall.

It was also a good day for Team Hero EBR who narrowly missed out on Superpole by 0.014 with Geoff May taking 22nd after an encouraging day for the all American outfit.

More, from a press release issued by EBR:

Team Hero EBR Miss Out On Superpole At Laguna By 0.014s

Team Hero EBR riders Geoff May and Aaron Yates were all smiles after the opening session on track at Laguna Seca after both Americans were comfortably inside the top 20. Geoff, 16th and Aaron 20th declared themselves satisfied and were optimistic at the prospect of progressing into Tissot-Superpole for the first time.

It was clear from the opening 45 minutes that their track knowledge would play a huge part in allowing them to find a solid base setting from which to work, but after failing to improve in FP2, there was disappointment for the team as the day drew to a close. Aaron suffered a technical problem after improving in the first part of FP3 while Geoff who rode superbly in FP3 ended the day in 22nd position overall missing out on Superpole for the first time by 0.014s.

Ahead of the on track action today, Aaron was involved in yesterday’s media event at the Monterrey Aquarium, taking the time to join the other represented manufacturers on a tour of one of the world’s largest open sea exhibits.

Aaron Yates: “It has been nice to be back in Laguna and ride finally in a track I already know. Unfortunately we did not make it to Superpole despite this morning’s good performance. I hope tomorrow we can find some new improvements. I want to congratulate Geoff for his performance today, he missed Superpole by the narrowest margin which shows our hard work is paying off.”

Geoff May: “It was a hard this FP3 because we missed our first Superpole by nothing and it is unbelievable to be so close. Anyway, we made another step forward and now we must continue to improve the bike in FP4 and for the races. Thanks to the whole team for continuing to work so hard”

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda Superbike Team:

Rea and Haslam in Laguna mix

Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam finished in seventh and eighth places overall respectively after today’s three Free Practice sessions at Laguna Seca in round nine of the 2014 World Superbike championship.

For Rea, who missed last year's races through injury, it was a new circuit to tackle on his Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP but the 27-year-old took to the 3.610km track instantly, finishing his opening session in fifth place and ending the day just 0.3s from the provisional pole position time of fellow Brit, Chaz Davies.

Haslam, too, was in good form today, a further three-tenths back from his team-mate but generally with more positive progress than on his last visit to Laguna Seca with the team last September.

With weather conditions changing through the day - starting with cloud and drizzle and ending in bright sunshine - today’s three session were all timed for tomorrow afternoon’s Superpole. This will determine final grid positions for Sunday’s two 25-lap races at Laguna Seca, with both Pata Honda riders progressing automatically to Superpole 2 tomorrow thanks to their top ten results today.

Jonathan Rea - P7, 1m23.638s

I really enjoyed riding today – it’s an amazing track and, to be honest, the Corkscrew is quite intimidating! I think I’ve got it right about three times in all my laps today! The good thing is that my guys are making really good progress with the bike. All day we’ve chipped away and done a lot of work on used rubber. According to the data, it seems that the drop in lap times from new to old isn’t as harsh as last year. Tomorrow we need to make a really good Superpole because this is a difficult place to pass but, we’ll keep that in mind as we set up the bike and try to make it one that we can make some passes with. As I said, I’m really enjoying riding here and although the position isn’t that great, the gap to the front is not too big, so I’m looking forward to making more progress tomorrow.

Leon Haslam - P8, 1m23.922s

I’m feeling pretty good, really, and we’ve made some progress with the chassis. We made a change right at the end on a new tyre and it wasn’t quite the right direction so for tomorrow we’ll come back to where we were. But we’re not a million miles away, we’re pretty consistent and I’m happy with the progress we’ve made so far. I’m fitter this year and the package is a lot more consistent, too, even though we’re still suffering in a few areas. But this place is all about riding the track and attacking it with a bike that allows you to do that. I think that, with all that in mind, we’re making the right steps.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

Jonathan’s time of 1m23.6 is just a little bit from the front so, for his first time racing here, he’s had a really good day. There are still some things to try with the chassis and some electronics settings like engine brake and on-power to adjust but overall it’s quite positive. Leon did a 23.9 and this is also quite good. We see on the data some problems in the second corner so we need to improve that and there’s room for improvement in other sectors, too. But he’s quite a bit faster than he was last year and he’s quite close to the front so not a bad day for the team.

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Davies qualifies first for tomorrow’s Superpole at Laguna Seca!

Monterey (USA), Friday 11 July 2014 – The Ducati Superbike Team today participated in the three timed practice sessions valid for qualification to tomorrow’s Superpole at the Laguna Seca racetrack in California and results were immediately positive, with rider Chaz Davies scoring provisional pole!

In the morning’s first session, and under cloudy skies with a track temperature of 24°C, Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano wasted no time in getting down to work. Davies quickly moved into first position during the opening stages, with a fastest time of 1’24.300 that positioned him fourth at the end of the 45-minute session. Giugliano, slowed down by a technical problem that kept him in the garage for the second half of the session, closed tenth with a best time of 1’25.261.

Both factory riders made good progress during session two. Chaz continued to improve, completing a series of very fast laps with a best time of 1’23.616 which put him up into second position by the session’s end. Davide, working hard with his technicians to improve both his feeling during braking and level of rear grip, lowered his time by more than a second to close sixth (1’24.112).

The third and final timed session took place later in the day on a hotter track (43°C). A best time of 1’23.293, recorded by Davies in the opening stages of the session, proved unbeatable and assured the British rider of overall first position at the end of day 1. Davide, using the time available to work with his squad on making set-up changes to his 1199 Panigale, closed in ninth position. Today’s combined results mean that both Ducati Superbike men qualify directly for tomorrow’s Superpole 2.

Quotes after the day’s sessions:

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 1st (1’23.293)

“Today’s been a really good day, we’ve been strong in each session and have also worked our way up in each session too. We’ve made a few tweaks throughout the day and everything seems to be working well. I feel we’re having a good spell right now; after solid results at Misano and Portimao we’ve come to Laguna knowing that the Panigale should perform well here, and so far it’s all going well. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow in qualifying, as that’s not always my strong point but I’m feeling good and hope we can fight for a front row start.”

Davide Giugliano - (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 9th (1’23.934)

“We’ve not had an easy day today. I don’t have the right feeling when braking and the bike doesn’t close the corners as I want it to, so we’re behind with the work. We still haven’t found the right set-up and so we’ll work to find a solution this evening. On the other hand, Chaz is going really well which is good as it means the bike can work well here but it also means we must work more on set-up as for now the bike isn’t allowing me to ride as I want. There’s more for us to do tomorrow.” 

More, from a press release issued by Voltcom Crescent Suzuki:

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki on the pace at Laguna

In a solid opening day’s work for the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team, Alex Lowes set a flying last lap in the third eni FIM Superbike World Championship free practice at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to claim fifth position and secure his place in tomorrow's Superpole2.

The British rider had spent the majority of Friday’s action learning the American circuit on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R before setting a 1'23.573 in the dying minutes of the final practice. Despite missing a considerable part of the early afternoon session due to technical issues, Lowes is confident he can continue to learn more about the Laguna track and build on his impressive form as the weekend progresses.

Reacquainting himself quickly with the Californian circuit, Eugene Laverty got up to speed on his Suzuki GSX-R and maintained a consistently strong pace throughout the demanding three-session schedule. The Irishman is confident of his race ability come Sunday, but will look to further improve his one-lap performance in the final free practice session ahead of tomorrow’s all-important Superpole qualifier.

Unexpectedly British conditions greeted the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team for the opening day of World Superbike action at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this morning as Lowes and Laverty got to grips with their respective GSX-R1000’s under grey and cloudy skies. As the Californian sun finally made itself known the temperatures rose for the afternoon sessions, rising from 18°C to 23°C and warming the track to a high of 43°C.

Ex-AMA rider Chaz Davies took the fastest time of the day with a 1’23.293 early in the third stint, while his EVO counterpart Niccolò Canepa set the benchmark for the class on his Althea Ducati.

With only the final non-timed free practice session scheduled for tomorrow, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will be back in action at the Laguna Seca circuit at 10:00hrs local time (18:00BST) ahead of the afternoon’s Superpole qualifying commencing at 13:00hrs local time (21:00BST).

Alex Lowes:

“It was a really difficult day being my first time here so there was a lot to learn. We had some problems in the middle session which affected my confidence but we bounced back well in the last practice. We’ve made some changes to the bike and I started to enjoy it so hopefully there is plenty to improve on for tomorrow. We still need to make a few steps but I’m looking forward to it.”

Eugene Laverty:

“We worked really well today! I think with the summer break looming we know we need to get a good result here. We’ve made some good steps with the GSX-R today and race pace is good. We still have a performance issue on a new tyre but for our race pace on the tyre we were really strong. I’m confident for the race but our focus for tomorrow morning is improving that rear setting to allow me to use the new tyre in Superpole. Last time out we should have been there fighting at the front but a bad Superpole cost us, so that is the key for tomorrow morning.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“A great performance by riders and the crew today, it’s been a tough schedule with three free practice sessions but the bikes have run strongly and we have improved the level step-by-step over the course of the day. Alex has done an incredible job to be fifth and the fastest of the Laguna rookies. It’s a great result, particularly after we had some problems in free practice two that had slowed down the progress a little bit.

“Eugene - or as they prefer to call him around these parts, the Toomebridge Tornado - has been really consistent all day and a 1’23.8 on tyres that had done 25 laps in FP3 gives us a lot of encouragement for the race. One free practice session in the morning and then Superpole tomorrow and it’s just everything crossed that both riders can keep the momentum going towards Superpole and that we can qualify well, which will be critical in terms of a decent race result.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Laguna Seca - The first day of practice at Laguna Seca shows that Aprilia is ready to play a key role in the American round of World SBK. On the Californian track which was the setting for three timed sessions on Friday, both Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri demonstrated a strong pace straight away, ending the day in second and third place respectively in the combined results of the three sessions.

Guintoli's feeling on the twisty American track is well known and the French rider confirmed it. Supported well by his RSV4, Sylvain finished all the sessions toward the top of the sheets, ending the day with the second best time. In the free practice session tomorrow which precedes Superpole Guintoli and his team will be testing some new solutions on the track to try and make further improvements, an essential task given the extremely small gaps in the final standings which show the top 10 riders all within just over a second of one another.

Sylvain Guintoli: "Today was a demanding day, but definitely a good one. My feeling with the bike is already promising and so are the lap times. We really worked hard on race pace and where that is concerned I think I've reached a good level. There are still a couple of configurations we need to test in the next free practice to try and shave off a few more tenths. The standings are tight but I'm pleased to be in the top positions. I'm ready to give it my all tomorrow."

Excellent performance in the number 33 garage as well. At the end of the day Marco Melandri expressed his satisfaction with the work done on the track where he focused mainly on looking for the best race configuration. The rider from Ravenna put in a lot of laps on used tyres without looking for the top time, clearly not an essential goal on Friday, but ending the day with a fantastic third best time anyway.

Now, with Superpole in mind, Marco will need to look for speed on his flying lap, a situation he'll be working on in the final free practice session in order to be in the best possible shape for the session that will decide the starting order on the grid.

Marco Melandri: "It was a long day and full of work. Three sessions are quite demanding. We've drawn some lessons from a few mistakes we made in recent races as well in terms of false sensations. We worked well on race pace and where that is concerned I think the settings are good. Now I want to find margins for improvement in the new tyre situation and we have the last free practice before Superpole to work on improving that aspect."

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