American Round Eagerly Anticipated By KRT Riders
The ninth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, at Laguna Seca in the USA, will take place just a few short days after the previous round in Portugal and all three official KRT riders are keen to get back into action again.
KRT SBK riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz were each on the podium in race one at Portimao a couple of days ago before rain arrived for race two. Each official full SBK rider for KRT is focused to complete the American race in the best way possible and enter the subsequent summer break on a high note.
The same positive attitude is true of KRT SBK Evo rider David Salom, who will be out to add to his championship lead in the class-within-a-class Evo category at the naturally undulating circuit in California.
For Sykes the 2014 season took another step forward at Portimao, with his seventh win of the year in race one, and he will be out to try and replicate his 2013 season opening race winning performance at Laguna this weekend. Sykes is 43 points ahead on the eve of the ninth round of the year and intends to leave America with an even greater advantage by aiming for more race wins.
Sykes, the 2013 World Champion with Kawasaki, reached the milestone of 21 career race victories last time out and at Laguna he should reach another landmark in his career. After he begins race one in America he will have made 150 race starts in his SBK career. His statistics are already truly world class, with 44 career podiums including his 21 wins, 33 front row starts including 22 pole positions, and 21 fastest laps in races. His race victories have been recorded at 11 different circuits, with his first ever SBK win taking place at the German round in 2011.
Talented French rider Baz, still only 21-years old, has already won two SBK races with Kawasaki in his relatively short SBK career. He is still waiting for his first win of this season, however, despite some strong rides and taking eight podium finishes so far - the most recent a third place in race one at Portimao.
Baz is locked in a thrilling battle for overall second position right now, and is only five points from the rider above him, with another rider just one point behind him. Loris has never ridden at Laguna Seca after missing the race in 2013 through injury, but he is fully aware of the track’s legendary status and anticipates his first visit there as eagerly as any venue he has ever raced at.
In a strange quirk of fate Baz’s bad luck at not being able to race at Laguna Seca last year provided the opportunity for current KRT SBK Evo riders David Salom to take the weekend off from his regular WSS duties and compete for the full KRT Superbike squad. He finished 11th and ninth last year in America, which were more than respectable results on his first visit there.
In 2014 David is racing in SBK full time but on the official KRT Evo machine and he is currently the top Evo rider. He aims to be the Evo race winner – as he has been on many occasions this year – when it gets to raceday in America.
Laguna Seca was once a fixture on the SBK calendar, right up until 2004, which made its return to the class last year a highly popular reunion. At 3.610km long the Laguna circuit features many rises and dips, with the most famous sector being The Corkscrew. After a blind approach and entry the riders have to make a sharp left, which quickly becomes a drop down a steep gradient and then they have to make an almost immediate flick to the right to get around the final part of this unique chicane.
After Laguna the next race on the calendar is not until September 7th, and this will take place at Jerez in Spain.
Tom Sykes: “We had some success last year at Laguna. It was my first time there and we won race one but we had some issues in race two. These have been addressed since then, so I am very excited to be going back. I enjoy America, the way of life over there, the great circuit at Laguna, and I cannot wait to get going again. There will be no change of strategy and I hope we will be blessed with some sunshine. I am already looking forward to getting going there.”
Loris Baz: “We have America next, just a few days after Portimao. It is going to be cool because it is the first time I have been to Laguna Seca and I cannot wait to see the track. I know it is amazing already. I have to learn the layout but I sure it will not be a big problem. I am sure we are going to make something good there because it seems more or less like Portimao, up and down, and we have found some positive things for this kind of track. I am sure I am going to like Laguna Seca.
David Salom: “Laguna next and for me it is a very good track. I rode there last year with the KRT team in Superbike, as a substitute rider for Loris, and I finished very well. I like the track layout, the whole circuit itself, and I think it will be possible to fight for the Evo wins again.”