FIRST SUPERBIKE RACE
WSBK United States (1): winning return for Davies
Injured in the back three weeks ago during the first WSBK 2017 round of Misano, Chaz Davies had missed the second Italian round … But the n ° 7 Ducati did not miss the first Superbike race of Laguna Seca: he is imposes in front of Kawasaki n ° 1 and n ° 66 !
Departure :Tom Sykes gets off to a good start and dominates his front row mates. Chaz Davies stays on his side of the track and embarks on an unlikely but prolific exterior on Jonathan Rea Himself! The official Ducati n ° 7, sparkling in its "Final Edition" livery, sits between the two factory Kawasaki.
Behind the inseparable trio, Eugene Laverty leads the peloton made up of Marco Melandri, Leandro Mercado, Xavi Forés, Leon Camier, Lorenzo Savadori, Jordi Torres, etc. Jack Gagne on the Honda (of Nicky Hayden …) rolls in penultimate position. His teammate Stefan Bradl is just two places ahead.
Melandri veers past Laverty at the end of Rahal’s straight which leads to "Famous" Corkscrew! In front, Rea attacked Davies under braking of the eleventh and last corner. Sykes is almost a second ahead of his two pursuers at the end of the 1st lap.
Chaz and Jonathan fight again at the bottom of the bowl, in the sequence between the second and the third turn. The "Lucky # 7" is a little cleaner than the "Number One": Davies pulls away slightly from Rea on the 2nd lap and joins Sykes’ backsplash on the 3rd lap. Rea stays in touch, Melandri is a second away.
At the controls of his Aprilia Factory, Eugene Laverty can not match the times of the "fantastic four" and must watch his rear: Xavi Forés and his private Ducati are in his aspi! Leon Camier on his F4 "Hayden", Lorenzo Savadori on the second RSV4 Milwaukee, Jordi Torres on his S1000RR Althea all eyeing the fifth place of the Irish n ° 50 !
Also in contention for the Top 5, Alex Lowes loses the front of his R1 in the 6th lap and ends this first heat prematurely, in the gravel of turn 5. Second official Yamaha rider Michael van der Mark inherits tenth place from his teammate…
The laps of the small Californian circuit follow one another quickly (you have to complete 25 in all …). The three leading men circulate in close formation but do not open fire. Marco Melandri attacks all he can but gradually loses ground on his targets…
At the end of the 9th lap, Melandri is two seconds behind Sykes, Davies and Rea, but five seconds ahead of Laverty who is constantly under pressure by Forés! Seventh to a second and a half of Aprilia n ° 50 and Ducati n ° 12, the MV Agusta n ° 2 tries to get rid of Mercado and Savadori…
Overtaken by Xavi Forés at the start of the 10th lap, Eugene Laverty cracks and falls in the third corner! Jake Gagne for his part, having fun like crazy: he passes Krummenacher’s Kawa at the start of the climb to Corkscrew and now aims for his teammate Stefan Bradl’s Honda !
In the lead since the red lights went out, Tom Sykes was surprised by Chaz Davies’ magnificent braking attack on the same Corkscrew a lap later! Jonathan Rea gets on the outside of Tom in the bump and turns in front of his teammate on the next acceleration…
The halfway mark is barely crossed and Davies is already trying to escape. Rea was six tenths behind at the end of the 13th lap, but the gap between the leader and the ruthless "JR" was reduced to nothing by a mistake by Chaz in Corkscrew! Tom "Super" Sykes on the other hand, does not take the opportunity to put the duo back together.
Marco Melandri is still in a lonely fourth place, four seconds behind his phenomenal teammate. The Italian rider has six seconds ahead of Torres, nine seconds over Camier and thirteen over the peloton: Torres, Mercado, Savadori and Van der Mark fight for seventh place !
More at ease in the hyper-fast first half of the Californian layout, "Chazie" was caught by "Johnny" on the second, more winding portion. Rea is particularly quick in the descent of Corkscrew and the following sequence but the "Number One" is careful not to launch an attack.
Tom Sykes is gradually giving way to his comrades: six laps from the end, the English Ninja seems to give up the gas to secure the podium. He has nothing to fear from Melandri who also takes place, five seconds behind the 2013 WSBK champion.
More than thirty seconds behind the two best enemies of the championship (Davies and Rea, "who else?"), Stefan Bradl progresses to twelfth place, just behind Raffaele de Rosa and Roman Ramos … Jake Gagne is able to score his first point in his very first World Superbike race.
The end of this first American round is certainly not lively in terms of classification, but the drifts, slides, rebounds of the machines tirelessly wrong World Superbike pilots in master gloves ensure a pleasing spectacle !
Chaz Davies clinches a magnificent victory at Laguna Seca, just three weeks after being accidentally hit by the No.1 Kawasaki on the final lap of the first round at Misano. The Ducati rider is back !
"Chazie" recorded his fourth success this season and the 24th of his career in World Superbike: he equaled Carlos Checa, the previous n ° 7 Ducati, world Superbike champion on the 1098. During his lap of honor, however, it was to Nicky Hayden whom the Welshman pays homage by seizing a flag bearing the legendary n ° 69.
Jonathan Rea finishes in the wake of "Davies-iozo" and further increases his lead overall. The double world champion – soon to be triple ?! – is 54 points ahead of his teammate Tom Sykes who accompanies him on this first podium.
Before going on vacation, the Superbike riders will be able to compete in a second American race: the start will be given this Sunday evening (11 p.m. French time). Full report in the wake, to read on Site: stay connected !
Result of the 1st WSBK 2017 race in Laguna Seca
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