Fans at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca FIM World
Superbike/MotoAmerica event got some extra treats during the weekend. Yamaha
introduced the new, 2020-model YZF-R1 on Saturday with the help of Josh Hayes
and Michael van der Mark. Ducati publicly unveiled its new Panigale V4 25°
Anniversario 916 with the assistance of four-time former Superbike World
Champion Carl Fogarty, who did parade laps on one of the limited-edition
machines. And if that wasn’t enough star power, former 250cc Grand Prix World
Champion and former Superbike World Champion John Kocinski, two-time former
Superbike World Champion and three-time former AMA Superbike Champion Fred
Merkel, former 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz, and three-time
former AMA Pro Superbike and former Superbike World Champion Ben Spies all
attended the event.
(Above) Four-time Superbike World Champion Carl Fogarty in the Aruba.it Racing Ducati garage at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
(Above) Former World Superbike and AMA Superbike Champion Fred Merkel (second from right) on the World Superbike Superpole podium with Chaz Davies (far left), Jonathan Rea (second from left), and Tom Sykes (far right). Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
(Above) Former 250cc Grand Prix World Champion and former Superbike World Champion John Kocinski (left) listens to MotoAmerica Superbike racer JD Beach. Photo by David Swarts.
(Above) World Superbike racer Michael van der Mark (left) with four-time AMA Pro Superbike Champion Josh Hayes (right) during the 2020-model Yamaha YZF-R1 presentation at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Photo by David Swarts.
Toni Elias Pays Tribute To Wayne Rainey With Special Helmet
Former MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Toni Elias paid a
tribute to his childhood hero, three-time 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Wayne
Rainey, by wearing a special, custom-painted helmet during the
MotoAmerica/World Superbike event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“Wayne has always been my idol,” said Elias, a former Moto2
World Champion. “I have had this idea in my mind since a long time ago. My
friend Lluis Costajr (@StudiMoto) is a painter in Spain. I told him my idea,
and he said, ‘I love it. You have to do it. I will paint it for free.’ So OK.”
Costajr painted one of Elias’s HJC helmets to resemble one
of the iconic helmet designs Rainey used during his career.
(Above) Toni Elias (left) showing his new tribute helmet to his idol, MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. Photo by David Swarts.
Upon seeing Elias’ new helmet, Rainey pointed out to Elias
that he never lost a race while wearing that helmet design at Laguna Seca. Ever
confident in his ability, Elias wasn’t as concerned about maintaining the paint
job’s record of success as he was about people’s perception of his gesture.
“I don’t want the people to see this as ‘Wayne, Wayne, Wayne,’”
said Elias, gesturing as if he is stroking someone’s back. “No. Wayne was my
idol and always will be my idol. Whether he is our boss [President of
MotoAmerica] or not, Wayne is Wayne.”
And In Other News From The MotoAmerica Paddock…
By Michael Gougis
Supersport racer Jaret Nassaney proposed to fiancee Maclay Daniel in the
paddock at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Nassaney, of Altus, Oklahoma, races
a Suzuki GSX-R600 for Altus Motorsports, and had been discussing marriage with
Daniel for some time. “I finally just made it happen,” said Nassaney,
21, an aircraft mechanic with the civil service, working on C17 transport jets for the U.S. Air Force. “We were doing a team
picture and I popped the question.” While the couple had discussed the
idea of getting married, the timing of the proposal caught Daniel off-guard.
Jaret Nassaney (left) and fiancee Maclay Daniel. Photo by Michael Gougis.