2014 Laguna Seca AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Results
Jake Lewis won his first AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday. The 18 year-old started strong and won a difficult but decisive victory on his Motosport.com/Meen Yamaha entry in the 20-lap final.
“It’s just a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Lewis. “It’s been an up-and-down year. Last year, I was close to winning and this year I’ve been close to winning, so it’s just a huge weight off my shoulders to get the first win. Qualifying fifth – I was a little bit disappointed with that, but I knew it was going to be a heck of a race.
“I was sitting on the grid thinking, ‘I’m going to win this race,’ because last year I was so close to winning. I got off to a good start, went into the lead in Turn 2 and never looked back. That’s been my weakness throughout my career – looking back – so I just put my head down and stayed focused and clicked off lap after lap and got into a good rhythm and brought home the win.
Lewis beat second place finisher JD Beach on the Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha machine, making it three runner-up finishes this year for Beach.
“Jake was riding great and he got his first win,” said Beach. “I was really wanting that win, but it was a really good race. Hopefully, next weekend we can put something together. I have one of the best bikes out there so all I need to do is get a little bit better of a start and do fast laps and hopefully we can get the win.”
The battle for third was a war between Danny Eslick and Jake Gagne, two previous race winners this season. Eslick and Riders Discount Racing Triumph beat Gagne and RoadRace Factory/Red Bull by defending passing attempt after passing attempt over the final three laps.
“Being up here on the podium is huge,” said Eslick. “Obviously, I had the big win at Daytona and that’s been the top of the year for me. But all I could think about were the races I’ve been losing since Daytona and not being on the podium. Yeah, Daytona was awesome but I want to be up here week-in and week-out with these guys. It’s just huge for the Riders Discount team and Attack Performance. … It’s just good to be up here on the podium.”
Gagne was third before losing ground when the leaders hit traffic. By the time he could regroup, Eslick had made his way past.
“We had a great battle but I couldn’t make a pass stick,” said Gagne.
Dane Westby and Yamalube/Westby Racing snatched back fifth from Beach’s teammate Garrett Gerloff. Westby regained the spot with two laps left to finish in front of the factory rider.
Polesitter Jason DiSalvo tagged onto Westby early, but lost further ground after Gerloff came by. DiSalvo finished the contest a shade over 21 seconds back, but ahead of Blake Young (GN Gonzalez Racing) and Jake Zemke (GEICO Motorcycle Racing). Benny Solis rounded out the top ten.
Kaleb De Keyrel was the top AMA Pro SuperSport regular in the race, taking 17th spot on his De Keyrel Racing entry.
AMA Pro Road Racing will be back in action next weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend on July 19-20.