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Jul 12, 2019

World Superbike: Chaz Davies Goes To The Top In FP2 At WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Updated)

Chaz Davies (7).

World Superbike Race Lap Record: Chaz Davies, 1:23.041, 2018

World Superbike All-Time/Pole Lap Record: Tom Sykes, 1:21.811, 2014

Motul FIM Superbike World Championship

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Monterey, California, USA

July 12, 2019

Free Practice Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Chaz Davies, UK (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:23.387

2. Jonathan Rea, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:23.419

3. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:23.650

4. Tom Sykes, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:23.797

5. Leon Haslam, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:23.852

6. Loris Baz, France (Yam YZF-R1), 1:23.925

7. Toprak Razgatlioglu, Turkey (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:23.943

8. Alex Lowes, UK (Yam YZF-R1), 1:24.212

9. Jordi Torres, Spain (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:24.339

10. Sandro Cortese, Germany (Yam YZF-R1), 1:24.405

11. Marco Melandri, Italy (Yam YZF-R1), 1:24.564

12. Michael Van Der Mark, Netherlands (Yam YZF-R1), 1:24.670

13. Leandro Mercado, Argentina (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:24.731

14. Eugene Laverty, Ireland (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:24.939

15. JD Beach, USA (Yam YZF-R1), 1:24.973

16. Markus Reiterberger, Germany (BMW S1000RR), 1:25.000

17. Michael Rinaldi, Italy (Duc Panigale V4 R), 1:25.501, crash

18. Ryuichi Kiyonari, Japan (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), 1:25.922

19. Alessandro Delbianco, Italy (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), 1:26.251

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

#USAWorldSBK– Day 1

Chaz Davies tops Day 1 at Laguna Seca ahead of Rea and Bautista

It is a three-way fight for supremacy at Laguna Seca, whilst four manufacturers are inside the top six

The 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship concluded day one at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with plenty of talking points. Racing to the top of the timesheets, Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of two action-packed race days, with a slender advantage over his rivals as the field tightened up at the end of day one.

Back to his best, Chaz Davies hit first position in the dying minutes of day one, making a happy return to a happy hunting ground at Laguna Seca. Davies looks like he may well be a real contender for victory this weekend, as he looks to find his mojo before the Summer break. Returning to the top three, teammate Alvaro Bautista found strong pace in FP2 to prove that Jonathan Rea wasn’t going to have it all his own way, finishing third, adding to the mouth-water title fight.

The most successful rider in the history of WorldSBK at Laguna Seca, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) set about his business immediately in FP2, with the Ulsterman spending much of the session resting on his FP1 time as the others went in pursuit. The four-time Laguna Seca race winner looks to continue his form from Donington Park and will set about seeking an extension to his championship lead, missing out on top slot after FP2 by just 0.032s. Teammate Leon Haslam made vast improvements in FP2, finishing fifth.

It was another strong performance from 2013 WorldSBK Champion, Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team). The 33-year-old Brit has won three-times at Laguna Seca and after more podium success at Donington Park last time out, he will go in the hunt for some success in the United States. Sykes improved his time mid-way through FP2, but his machine broke down in the final three minutes of the session, leaving him fourth overall. His returning teammate, Markus Reiterberger, was 16th after day one of his Laguna Seca debut.

Three Independent team riders made it into the top ten, with the first of them being Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) up in sixth position and was top Yamaha. The Frenchman has certainly found form in just his fourth round back in the WorldSBK paddock, with plenty still to come. Seventh place went to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), who made a solid start to his Laguna Seca weekend. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) completed the top ten.

In eighth position, it was the first of the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team bikes, with Alex Lowes. The British rider had a fairly quiet session, although will have a good platform to build on as the weekend looks set to progress. His teammate – Michael van der Mark – finished FP2 down in 12th place but on combined times, was up in ninth overall. With work to do for both of the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team machines, Saturday and Sunday will provide the perfect opportunity for them to refine their settings.

Honourable happenings outside of the top ten include Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) in 11th and top debutant, with wildcard JD Beach (Attack Performance Estension Yamaha) in 15th. Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) completed the field in 19th, just over 2.5s off of top slot.

More, from a press release issued by Barni Racing:

Rinaldi approached for the first time Laguna Seca

Laguna Seca (USA), 12th July 2019. MOTUL FIM WorldSBK Championship concluded the day one at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit where Barni Racing Team rider Michael Rinaldi was out on track for the first time ever.

In the Free Practice 1 which took place in the morning under the sun of California the debutant on the American soil faced the spectacular Corkscrew corner, where He was protagonist of an excursion on the gravel during free practice 2. With a quickest time of 1'26.094 Rinaldi was seventeenth, but his first goal was to take confidence in a track where experience is one of the key factor.

Working to learn the right trajectories and to find a better setup for the very complicated layout of Laguna Seca, Rinaldi improved his best time in the second session of the day until the 1'25.501, but not his position in the timesheet which saw him seventeenth at the end of the day.

Marco Barnabo, Team Principal

We knew it would be one of the most complicated tracks of the season, maybe the most complicated: the rider has never faced it and we don't have any references with this bike. That’s why we are so far behind. Between the two sessions the bike has improved, but we are thinking about the moves to do to grow up again trying to catch up positions.

Michael Rinaldi

P17 (1'25.501)

Unfortunately we brought along some troubles that we faced also at Donington. As always We are working hard to escape from this situation and I hope that something could change for tomorrow because in these conditions I cannot express my real potential.

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Lowes and Van Der Mark Make Progress on Opening day at Laguna Seca

Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark enjoyed a solid opening day at Laguna Seca, with both Pata Yamaha WorldSBK riders finishing comfortably inside the top ten. Lowes set his fastest time in today's second free practice session to end the day eighth, while van der Mark's time from this morning's 50-minute session secured him ninth place on the timesheet.

A minor technical issue this morning meant limited track time for Lowes, but that didn't stop the 28-year-old Briton from leading the way for Yamaha with fourth place at the end of the first 50-minute practice. The time lost this morning meant that Lowes was playing catch up this afternoon, working to refine his race set-up rather than pushing for a one-off fast lap, but he still managed to improve his lap time to end the day eighth overall and less than a second from the top spot.

Van der Mark was also on the pace from the off this morning, finishing one place and just

0.016s behind his Pata Yamaha teammate at the end of FP1. The 26-year-old Dutch rider made some set-up changes to his R1 ahead of FP2 that didn't bring the improvements expected, which meant he was unable to improve on his previous best lap time and ended the day ninth on combined times.

It was a baptism of fire for Cortese today as, unlike his fellow Yamaha riders, the reigning Supersport World Champion has never previously raced at Laguna Seca. The GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider made steady progress in both of today's sessions, which he finished in 11th place and just over a second off provisional pole.

The bumpy nature of the Laguna Seca track caused some problems for Melandri on the opening day, with the GRT Yamaha rider unable to find a confidence inspiring set-up despite trying a number of different solutions on his R1. The veteran Italian, who announced this week that he will retire at the end of the season, will work through the data with his crew tonight, in a bid to find a solution for tomorrow that will allow him to improve on his 12th place finish today.

It was Loris Baz who ended the opening day as the highest placed Yamaha on the timesheet, with the Ten Kate Yamaha rider improving his lap time by over half a second in FP2 to finish in sixth place.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P8 - 1'24.212

"Today was pretty positive, despite losing quite a bit of track time this morning to a technical issue with the bike. This afternoon we didn't push too hard but instead tried a few things on the bike that we didn't get a chance to test this morning. I feel good on the bike, even if we didn't put our best set-up together today and, with my best lap coming after just five laps we haven't really shown our true potential yet. Overall, it was a reasonable day, but we need to work a to find a better front feeling, so I can get the corners set up a little better tomorrow. How you get out of the turns is key to a fast lap here, so that needs to be our focus in the final free practice session tomorrow."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P9 - 1'24.247

"We started quite well this morning, I had a good feeling with the bike, the pace was pretty good, and we knew where we needed to improve. Unfortunately, this afternoon, it seemed that everything we tried didn't really work as we expected. I was kind of hitting a wall where I couldn't improve any further, which was a bit frustrating, but I'm confident we can make a step tomorrow once we've been through all the data tonight."

Sandro Cortese

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P11 - 1'24.405

"Today was a positive start to the weekend, at a track that is completely new to me, and one that is very technical indeed. I always look to the other Yamaha riders as a comparison and, at the moment, the gap is small. But while it's possible to maintain this pace over two or three laps at the moment, tomorrow we need to work on our race pace as this track is very physically demanding and I'm still riding every lap a little bit differently. I'm confident that once I've had a chance to think about it tonight, I can find some improvements tomorrow. It won't be easy, but I'm already happy to have not lost so much time to the guys at the front, as I expected the gap to be bigger given how difficult this track is and the fact that it's the first time I've raced here."

Marco Melandri

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P12 - 124.564

"Today was pretty much as I expected. The track is very bumpy, and we know from previous races that this causes me some issues with the bike. We tried many things on the bike, but while the feeling changed the problem remained the same. I would like to feel more comfortable on the bike, but this has been my biggest problem since the start of the season, and one we're still working to solve. We will continue working and we'll see where we are tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Positive First Day For KRT Duo

KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam ended their first day of track action at the Laguna Seca round of the WorldSBK championship second and fifth fastest respectively as they worked on finding an ideal set-up to take forward to the opening race on Saturday afternoon.

In sunny but not hot conditions, which still raised the tarmac temperatures by around ten degrees from FP1 to FP2, Rea worked on making tyre choices for the races. Finding particular improvements in his front tyre feedback Jonathan is now ready to make final preparations in his quest to add to his winning score of seven races so far in 2019.

With a short lap of 3.660km at Laguna Seca the track is particularly ‘busy’ for the riders, making a strong set-up for race distance the main focus in the two 50-minute Friday practice sessions.

Haslam has not raced at Laguna Seca since the 2015 WorldSBK season, making his return to the unique circuit, nestling in the hills between Monterey and Salinas, potentially tricky.

Rea and Haslam worked well together to find a positive machine set-up and evaluate tyre options, accelerating Haslam’s early top-five return to one of the most challenging circuits on the entire WorldSBK calendar.

The final FP3 session on Saturday will be followed by Tissot Superpole qualifying and then the opening race of the weekend, over 25-laps, at 14.00hrs local time.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I feel quite positive after day one because we arrived very fast this morning. The temperature of the track came up ten degrees in the afternoon and it just changed the feedback from the surface. I feel the grip level dropped a little bit but we were able to be very consistent this afternoon. We tried the two options of race tyres and confirmed the front. I did pretty much race distance with the front tyre. Last year I struggled with that but it seems like this year has given us a huge step forward in our front feedback. We are just working and trying to find the right balance on the bike. It looks like we are in the mix with our rivals so we will try one small step tomorrow morning to try to improve the package.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “FP1 was strange because although it has only been three years since I was here, going down The Corkscrew for the first time, it felt like a whole new track again. We made a good step from FP1 to FP2. We spent a lot of time evaluating different tyres; both front and rear. I did not get the chance to use the tyre that both Johnny and Alvaro used at the end, which they both found some time with, so hopefully we can try that option tomorrow. It is step-by-step at the moment and until the last few minutes of FP2 we were only a tenth off the top, so it is looking a bit better.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) placed seventh today, and was second fastest independent rider on the day, while Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) put four Kawasakis in the top ten after one day of action in the California sunshine. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 13th after FP2.

More, from a press release issued by Racing Ducati:

Positive start to the Laguna Seca weekend for the Racing - Ducati team, with Chaz Davies topping the timesheets and Álvaro Bautista third after the first two free practice sessions

Both Racing - Ducati team riders were right up at the front end of the action on the first day of free practice for Round 9 of the Superbike World Championship at the Laguna Seca Raceway. Chaz Davies topped the timesheets on his Ducati Panigale V4 R, while Álvaro Bautista finished third, just two-tenths of a second off the pace of his team-mate.

After a not particularly satisfactory FP1 session in which Chaz finished in sixth place, the 32-year-old Welshman made a major breakthrough in the afternoon thanks to some radical changes made to the set-up of his bike. As well as setting the quickest time of the day in 1’23.387, Chaz also showed excellent pace and constantly recorded fast times in the final part of the session.

Bautista also made a major step forward in the afternoon, moving up from seventh in FP1 to third in FP2 behind Davies and Rea (Kawasaki). The 34-year-old Spanish rider has not raced at Laguna since 2013 and so used the first session to regain confidence with the Californian track while during the second session he was able to push harder and lap in good times.

Tomorrow the third and final free practice session will be held at 09:00 local time (18:00 CET), followed two hours later at 11:00 (20:00 CET) by Superpole qualifying for the starting-grid line-up for Race 1, which gets underway at 14:00 (23:00 CET).

Chaz Davies ( Racing Ducati #7) – 1’23.387 (1st)

“It’s definitely a good start to the weekend even though it’s only Friday, and it was good to see that P1 on the pit board again. It’s been since Imola and we’ve had some trying times in between but we really felt like we turned the corner in that session. We changed some quite drastic stuff from the morning and just went in the right direction. Overall the bike worked really good, so I’m very happy and hopefully we can take another step forward tomorrow. This is a track where I usually go well at so the target this weekend is to be up there and challenge for the podiums.”

Álvaro Bautista ( Racing - Ducati #19) – 1’23.653 (3rd)

“Today was a positive day even though, as it’s been several years since I raced here with MotoGP, I had to modify my reference markers and revise a few lines. In the morning session we were struggling with the rear grip and had to work hard to improve this, but in any case we weren’t able to get a good feeling at the end of the session. In the afternoon run we focussed on the bike’s turning and stability, also improving the grip at the same time. I’m really happy because my sensations with the bike gradually improved during the day and I’m feeling confident for tomorrow.”

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