Countdown is on for Laguna Seca return
The FIM World Superbike riders are ready for action on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship will be back this weekend to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, for the twelfth round of the season. The last time the 3.601m spectacular and challenging Californian track hosted a round of the series was on July 10th 2004, with former WSBK regular Chris Vermeulen who stole the show by winning both races - onboard the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR.
The US Round will feature a revised schedule compared to the usual two-race format on Sunday: Race 1 will be contested on Saturday afternoon (after the morning's Tissot-Superpole), while the second and final race of the weekend will take place the following day.
With the title chase being a 4-way battle, Championship contenders Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), second and fourth in the standings respectively, will try and take advantage of their track knowledge, having previously raced there in MotoGP.
Points leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) – having a "one-off " team mate in WSS regular David Salom, substitute rider in USA for Loris Baz - is eager to get to grips with the iconic "Corkscrew" corner, likewise Istanbul's double race winner Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), who managed to narrow the gap to the top from 40 to 26 points in the last event.
Blake Young will replace injured Leon Camier in the FIXI Crescent Suzuki Team: the rider from Wisconsin is at his second-ever participation to a WSBK round - first one was in 2009 at Donington Park, with Alstare Suzuki.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) is the only current WSBK rider who raced before at Laguna in a World Superbike event (2004). Michel Fabrizio and him are hoping for some good results for the Dutch team at the North-American venue.
New recruit for Team Red Devils Aprilia Toni Elias is looking for another strong performance, after the successful debut in WSBK during the last round, while Niccolò Canepa will step in for Carlos Checa to join Ayrton Badovini in the Team Ducati Alstare. Canepa already raced this year with the Belgian squad at Donington Park.
Local riders Roger Hayden – former WSBK rider with Team Pedercini Kawasaki (2010) - and Danny Eslick will be wildcards for the event, onboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Michael Jordan Motorsports Team. Moreover, Aussie Glenn Allerton (Next Gen Motorsports BMW) will be again on track as one-event participant, after the Season Opener at Phillip Island.
World Superbike will be in action tomorrow morning at 11:45 local time for Free Practice, before a double qualifying session in the afternoon.
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team is ready to challenge the "Corkscrew" turn
Melandri and BMW leave it late to head first qualifying in Monterey