2016 Laguna Seca World Superbike Race 1 Results

Kawasaki's Rea leads Laguna Seca SBK 2016
Kawasaki’s Rea

Heading into round nine of 2016 World Superbike at Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway, Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies was the favorite.

But things would end disastrous for the Welshman during race one of two at the Monterey track, allowing the Kawasaki Racing Team to easily earn another 1-2 finish. Claiming the win – his eighth this season – was the reigning World SBK Champion Jonathan Rea. The Northern Irishman was joined on the podium by teammate Tom Sykes and the sole American in World Superbike, Honda World Superbike’s Nicky Hayden, respectively.

As for Davies, the Welshman had doubled last year at the 2.32-mile-mile circuit containing 11 corners in Monterey, and led Friday SBK practice. But the times were tight; when Friday’s sessions were complete, the top-13 riders in FP2 were all within a second of each other.

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Come Saturday, Davies was quick, but his 1199 Panigale R couldn’t keep up the pace with the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Ninjas piloted by Sykes, the 2013 World SBK Champ, and Rea.

Sykes had earned the pole – his seventh this season and 37th of his SBK career – and was joined by Rea and the other factory Ducati rider, Davide Giugliano. As for Davies, he qualified fourth at the round before the long summer break.

Kawasaki's Sykes leads Ducati's Davies at Laguna Seca 2016
Kawasaki’s Sykes leads Ducati’s Davies

When the 25-lap race one began, Davies was quick from the outset, slotting into second behind Sykes on the opening lap. Davies was the quickest rider, setting the fastest lap before taking the lead on lap five. But while out front while under much pressure from Sykes and Rea, Davies tucked the front of his 1199 R, crashing out at turn six.

With Davies sidelined, Rea went just a bit deeper into Turn 8 – the infamous Corkscrew – and took over the lead, followed by Sykes and Giugliano. But Giugliano’s podium hunt was short lived; he crashed out on lap 13 at the Corkscrew.

Up front, Sykes was able to regain the lead on lap 17, but Rea wasn’t having it; with five to go, he passed Sykes, and held the lead to earn his eight win of the season, and 37th of his World Superbike career. This was Rea’s first-ever win at Laguna Seca, and he retained 100-percent podium finish this season. Sykes finished second 0.819 of second back, earning his 13th podium of 2016 World SBK.

Jonathan Rea says: “I am super happy to have won here and now that we have had 25 laps on the bike in race conditions we have good information for tomorrow, to try and improve again. I am happy with the result but it was, honestly, not my most beautiful race because I made quite a lot of mistakes.

“I am sure when I watch it back I will be quite upset with myself but the most important thing is the 25 points for winning. That is good for everything – for the morale of the team and the championship. We have one more race tomorrow and it will be important to do a good job then before the start of the eight week summer break.”

Tom Sykes says: “I think overall we had a fairly good bike set up but we just struggled with the last part of the turns and over 25-laps it adds up. I had to compensate in some other areas and that was not ideal, especially in the windy conditions. I think I am happy enough and I could not do anything more.

“Jonathan rode a good race and we just couldn’t get that extra little bit. We need to find a small change in the set-up tomorrow to improve in one area. Overall, I was happy with the performance at the start of the race and made some good lap times in the windy conditions. I think we have room for improvement tomorrow. Second is the best we could do today and second is not a disaster! We can build on this.”

Honda's Hayden at Laguna Seca SBK 2016
Honda’s Hayden

Nobody came close to the ZX-10R Ninjas – the 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden, who had earned to MotoGP wins at Laguna (2004, 2005), finished 12.296 seconds back at his home round.

Nicky Hayden says: “First of all, I want to thank the fans and the supporters for coming to Laguna this weekend; you can feel a great energy and support I’ve been given is amazing! I got a great start to the race and was fifth early on, but my pace was not as good as we expected.

“We ran into a few little issues and wasn’t able to brake properly, so I felt I was quite vulnerable in that area. I tried to be as smooth as possible despite the pressure from my rivals and keep a steady rhythm. Luckily I was able to hang on for the podium, but we need to have a look at the data tonight to come up with something for race two. Overall, we must be happy with our third place and we’ll try to do better tomorrow.”

Finishing just off the podium was Hayden’s teammate, World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark, who was followed by Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and IodaRacing Team Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori. Rounding out the top 10 were Barni Racing Team Ducati’s Xavi Fores, Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres, IodaRacing Team Aprilia’s Alex de Angelis and Pata Yamaha’s Nicola Canepa.

After nine of 14 rounds, Rea now leads with 368 points, 71 ahead of Sykes. Race two gets underway at Laguna Seca at 2:30 p.m. PT Sunday, July 10.

Photos by Ara Ashjian

2016 Laguna Seca World Superbike Race 1 Results

Pos. Rider Time
1 Jonathan Rea 35’18.180
2 Tom Sykes 00’00.819
3 Nicky Hayden 00’12.296
4 Michael van der Mark 00’13.067
5 Alex Lowes 00’13.335
6 Lorenzo Savadori 00’13.816
7 Xavi Fores 00’15.541
8 Jordi Torres 00’15.838
9 Alex De Angelis 00’19.999
10 Niccolò Canepa 00’22.832
11 Leon Camier 00’24.065
12 Anthony West 00’28.902
13 Joshua Brookes 00’39.957
14 Karel Abraham 00’46.552
15 Román Ramos 00’55.791
16 Dominic Schmitter 00’59.021
17 Peter Sebestyen 1 lap
18 Pawel Szkopek 1 lap

2016 Laguna Seca World Superbike Race 1 – Photo Gallery

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