News 14 Jul 2015

Laguna Seca the next stop on WorldSBK schedule

Kawasaki's Rea on target for record-breaking season.

Source: WorldSBK.

Source: WorldSBK.

Round nine of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship season takes the field to the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the 13th time.

Set on the outstanding Pacific coast of Central California, the venue first hosted ten consecutive WorldSBK events between 1995 and 2004 before returning to the calendar in 2013.

Having dominated the season so far, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) has won 11 of the 16 races and finished second in the other five. Almost unbelievably, he is yet to claim a race victory on any of the five circuits that remain on the 2015 calendar (Laguna Seca, Sepang, Jerez, Magny-Cours and Losail).

Rea is currently on a run of 17 podium finishes. Only Colin Edwards has ever racked up more successive rostrum results, with 25 in 2002, but Rea will beat this should he finish inside the top three up to and including race one in Qatar.

Should he win seven more races this year (with 10 still to go), he would also beat Doug Polen’s long-standing record from 1991 of 17 race wins in a single season.

In terms of Laguna Seca and the current field, one looks to Tom Sykes for success. The 2013 title winner is the only rider on the grid to have previously won at the undulating track, taking one win from each of the previous two years.

Staying on the topic of history, it is Australian and American riders who have won more times than any other nationality at Laguna Seca. Competitors from the southern hemisphere country have taken the chequered flag at Laguna on no less than nine occasions, while Americans have won in California seven times.

This is not set to change in 2015, with neither Australia nor the United States represented in the category at present. Racing-Ducati SBK Team’s Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano have both finished in second place at Laguna Seca, in the pair of 2013 races. In the Italian’s case, he missed out on victory to Eugene Laverty by just one tenth of a second. Nevertheless, Ducati remains the most successful constructor at Laguna Seca, with 10 race wins in total.

Another manufacturer in a position to celebrate a significant number this weekend is Kawasaki, which will equal Yamaha’s 74 World Superbike wins should it claim the top spot one more time. With two victories, Kawasaki would become only the third constructor in WorldSBK history to claim 75 race wins after Ducati and Honda.

As for Leon Haslam, just taking part in race one will be enough for the Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils man to move into a select club of nine riders to have started 200 races in the World Superbike class.

By the time the second race comes, he will equal compatriot James Toseland on 201 starts and only Carl Fogarty would then have more starts to his name as a British rider, as the four-time World Champion competed in 219 races.

With a cushion of 133 points over teammate Tom Sykes, many argue that Jonathan Rea already has one hand on the title. The same could be said for Kawasaki, whose advantage over nearest rivals Ducati in the manufacturers’ standings is 122. This confirms that no title can be sewn up in America this weekend, with a maximum of 250 still up for grabs between now and the end of the season.