The Ducati Factory squad in World Superbikes will have been laughing all the way back across the Atlantic and to Bologna after Chaz Davies destroyed the field at round 9 of the 2015 series from Laguna Seca last weekend, storming to an inaugural double victory for the Italian manufacturer’s Panigale machine; ending Team Green riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes’ streak of victories.
Davies showed he was the man to beat all weekend, clinching an impressive pole position in Superpole on Saturday afternoon by nearly two tenths ahead of team mate Davide Giugliano. In such confident style, the Welshman flew off the line, building up to over a second’s lead by the end of the first couple of laps by which time it was game-set-match to the former World Supersport champion.
The battle behind him for silver trophy honours was between Kawasaki team mates Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, with Sykes coming out on top after a race long battle. Behind them Davide Giugliano and Jordi Torres rolled over the line with Alex Lowes not too far down the road in 6th, his best result of the season. His compatriot Leon Haslam fell off while battling for 5th with team mate Torres, while his replacement at Pata Honda, Sylvain Guintoli brought his CBR1000RR home in 7th ahead of team mate Michael van der Mark.
Much the same as race one, aside from where Haslam managed to stay on his machine, battling with Torres once more, losing out to come home across the line in 5th. Davide Giugliano had a violent change of fortunes for the second outing, battling for lower podium honours while his team mate checked in his bags at San Francisco airport, he managed to high side himself out of the race and into a tumbling dizzy state following a spouting of rain shortly after the lights went out. Sylvain Guintoli also fell on the same lap in an apparent collision with Alex Lowes who suffered a punctured front tyre and was pulling into the pits.
Davies brought home another 1st place trophy ahead of Sykes, Rea, Torres, Haslam, Badovini, van der Mark, Canepa, Mercado and Leon Camier in 10th.
Results for Race One can be found here and Race Two here.
1. Jonathan Rea 407
2. Tom Sykes 282
3. Chaz Davies 263
4. Leon Haslam 240
5. Jordi Torres 164
6. Sylvain Guintoli 136
7. Davide Giugliano 119
8. Michael van der Mark 114
9. Leandro Mercado 104
10. Alex Lowes 94
Chaz Davies thoughts on the weekend are hardly surprising: “I’m really, really happy with these results, and we’ve definitely seen the fruits of our labour here. The track here perhaps limits our weak points and plays to our strengths, and we were able to put together two really good races that went almost exactly to plan. I didn’t think we’d be able to lap in 1.23s but I was able to make some really quick first laps in Race 1, pushing hard for the first twelve or so and then it was all about gap management. We made a few small tweaks for race 2 and I think those changes were useful. I took a lot of risks with the rain, and was very worried about crashing but luckily the rain stopped and things went smoothly from there to the finish line. I thank my entire team, Ducati and our sponsors – it’s been a really solid weekend, and a lot better than last year’s outcome of course.”
Giugliano talks about that horrendous crash: “It was not my day. In race one I lost a lot of time trying to get past Torres and then, once I’d done that, there was no chance to catch the three guys up ahead and so I had to be happy with fourth. We made some changes for race 2 but they were not needed in the end as I crashed almost immediately. To be honest, I was really scared as I thought I’d hurt my back again, but the doctors assure me that I am ok. I’m really sorry as we had a good chance to do well…”
After a solid 6th position in race one, race two turned once again to disappointment for Alex Lowes, through no fault of his own: “I felt good in race one. I made a small mistake in the first turn, but I recovered from that and it was great to race, catch and pass Sylvain and close down on Leon on the factory Aprilia. The bike felt much better than it has done recently and we made good progress over the course of the weekend. The second race I was fully fired up for a good fight to try and get involved at the front but immediately on the first lap it felt like I had a front puncture, the bike was folding everywhere and I had no choice but to come into the pit. The bike itself felt perfect, the same as race one, but we will have to investigate the situation with the tyre Because it was spitting with rain and the race was effectively over having come in, we threw wet tyres on just in case the rain got heavy which would have allowed us to get back involved. Unfortunately the rain didn’t come, I was out for a few laps but it was clear there was nothing more to be gained. A disappointing end to a really good weekend but the first race has set me up well for the 8Hour next week and I will be coming back to WSBK in Sepang knowing that we can fight with the group.”
Sykes was pragmatic as ever: “Jonathan and I had a great battle for the entire first race. I had plus
zero on my pit board, so I just had to manage the situation. I felt the rear tyre drop and had to compensate in some areas, trying to do some things slightly differently. It was not ideal but overall I am happy with second position considering the circumstances. We made two small changes for race two and it was strange because at the beginning I felt I had a really good bike set-up but in the rain Chaz took a couple of more risks. It paid off because he made a big gap and I think that was probably the deciding factor in the race. We had a couple of warnings and I was just not able to stick with Chaz. Overall, I am fairly satisfied but we were just not close enough. Two second places are acceptable but another rider took the prizes this weekend.”
While Jonathan Rea was coming to terms with not winning at a round for once: “I tried a lot but there was nothing I could do to go through on Tom in race one. He also had a good pace but I am sure I had a higher pace. I just could not through him. I tried a few times and ran wide and it was very clear if I was to stick a pass it had to be an aggressive one and in the last laps I did not get an opportunity. He was riding quite smart. In the final corner I was a little bit behind and it was one of those where you had to be clever as well, because 16 points is a lot better than zero. We also had a good pace in race two but it was a little bit my fault because I made too many mistakes. Tom and I both lost a lot of time to Chaz when the rain was coming but we ended up with a really good pace together. Today we played the long game a little bit and third is where I could finish.”
Tweets of The Weekend
Round 10 – Sepang, Malaysia – 31 July – 2nd August 2015.
Sadly, the WSBK Laguna Seca weekend also came with some horrendous news from the MotoAmerica (formerly AMA) series accompanying the World championship as a support series. Following the start of the second MotoAmerica SBK/STK1000 race, a 5 rider pile up going into the first turn took the lives of both Dani Rivas and Bernat Martinez. Both were experienced riders hailing from Spain, with Rivas a regular in the CEV scene and a former Moto2 rider. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of both Rivas and Martinez. Godspeed, chaps.