Laguna Seca: AMA Superbike | Preview
2011 AMA Superbike
With six rounds complete, the 2011 AMA Superbike series takes its final stop on the West Coast this weekend.
The AMA SBK grid will once again join MotoGP at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the 2.238-mile course that features the legendary corkscrew. And like Round 3 at Miller Motorpsorts Park, which was run in conjunction with World Superbike, the AMA SBK class will have only one, 23-lap race at the 11-turn Laguna Seca track.
Although there’s only one race, it’ll prove significant to the outcome of this year’s championship. Leading the points after taking a victory and podium two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio is Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young.
The Wisconsin native stood on the podium at every round except for race 1 in Infineon; out of the 10 races he was on the podium, he won six times. As for Laguna Seca, Young has one victory in 2008 AMA Supersport.
But a mere 11 points behind Young is the reigning American Superbike Champion, Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes. The Mississippian only has two wins under his leathers, but has garnered six second-place finishes, which keeps him in constant battle with Young. Hayes also has a win at Laguna Seca, which came in the former Superstock class (2003).
As Young and Hayes vie up top for the championship lead, 46 points behind Hayes is Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden.
The oldest brother of MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden, Tommy Gun arrives at Laguna Seca coming off his second win of the season, the Kentuckian taking race 2 at Mid-Ohio.
Tommy Hayden was on the podium at every single round except for Barber, where he faced many difficult conditions that caused him to finish seventh and 20th. As for Laguna, Tommy has four wins there: two in the Supersport class (1999) and two in the Superstock (2002, 2004).
Rounding out the top five in AMA SBK points is last year’s Daytona Sportbike Laguna Seca winner, and the reigning SportBike champion, Martin Cardenas (M4 Suzuki) and Larry Pegram (Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR).
One rider who everyone will be watching is Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom. The Redding, Calif., native won the AMA Superbike Laguna Seca race last season, and has garnered more wins at the track than any other rider on the 2011 AMA SBK grid – five.
His five-race win tally includes AMA Superbike (2010, 2004), Daytona SportBike (2009), Supersport (2008) and Formula Xtreme (2004).
But Laguna Seca will have some extra significance this season, as Bostrom will ride as a Wildcard rider in the MotoGP class; he’ll compete on the LCR Honda next to MotoGP rider and current Moto2 Champion, Toni Elias.
Also, Chris Fillmore will join the AMA Superbike grid aboard the KTM RC8 R. At KTM’s debut AMA Superbike race in Mid-Ohio, Fillmore piloted the RC8R to seventh and ninth.
2011 Laguna AMA Superbike on TV
SPEED TV will broadcast the AMA Superbike race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at 11 p.m. (EDT) Sunday.
Laguna AMA Superbike Event Schedule
Friday, July 22
- 3:10 p.m. / SuperBike Practice 1
Saturday, July 23
- 11:10 a.m. / SuperBike Qualifying 1
- 4:50 p.m. / SuperBike Qualifying 2
Sunday, July 24
- 8:30 a.m. / SuperBike Warm-Up
- 3:45 p.m. / SuperBike Race (23 laps)