2018 Superbike World Championship Round 8 - Superpole & Race 1:
Jonathan Rea (KRT) won the opening race of the WorldSBK Laguna Seca race weekend, by almost three seconds, to record his 61st career victory. Tom Sykes (KRT) was a front row starter but slid backwards from a podium position in the early laps to finish seventh.
After qualifying third fastest in Superpole on Saturday morning, Jonathan Rea spent the early laps right behind eventual race one second place rider Chaz Davies, before pouncing to lead on lap seven. Davies had run wide at the entrance to the famous Corkscrew chicane, Rea instantly took his opportunity on the inside line.
Rea built his lead from then on to ease out to an eventual clear advantage of 2.978 seconds after 25 intense laps, on a tricky track surface that rose to over 50°C under the hottest conditions of the weekend so far.
Rea extended his championship lead over Davies to 70 points with his latest win, with one more race to come at Laguna on Sunday the 24th of June.
Front tyre grip issues for Tom Sykes saw him go from third on lap one to seventh on lap 18, defending his final finishing position in the last few laps to score valuable championship points.
Kawasaki is now 40 points ahead in the Manufacturers’ Championship, with 15 of the scheduled 26 races now complete.
Race two at Laguna is scheduled for a 14.00 start, local time in California.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “In the early laps I felt good behind Chaz, although his pace was really fast. I knew as soon as he made that mistake I wanted to go through, set my rhythm, and tenth-by-tenth slowly build up a lead. It was not easy, much more difficult than I expected. The front grip was dropping quite a lot at the end so I just had to ride accordingly. We have not had that issue all weekend but the temperature change today, that extra ten degrees on the track, was massive. We learned some things from the race today to be a little bit stronger tomorrow.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “We had a decent start but even on the first laps I knew I was in trouble. I was having a lot of understeer from the front of the bike and I lost the front in many corners. Then about from lap four, that was it really. That was the end of the game. It was over the limit from then on and there was no way I could maintain the lap time any more. Definitely, we had an issue with the front tyre. Our lap time was so far from what we did in practice. We lost a lot of time. Our pace should have been enough for the podium today and I feel we could have had a good battle, considering where we were in all the practices and the build-up to the race.”
2018 Superbike World Championship Round 8 - Race 2:
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored a famous double win at Laguna Seca after winning race two from his nearest championship rival by 5.099 seconds. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) had a tough day and finished eighth, not finding a race set-up to compete at the level he expected.
In cooler conditions than those experienced during race one on Saturday, today’s 25-lap WorldSBK race saw Sykes start from the second row and Rea from the third row, under the reverse grid rules for race two at each event.
Rea had got up to fifth on lap one and then into the lead by lap eight at the intense 3.610km long hillside circuit. He found a set up on his Ninja ZX-10RR that allowed him to ride with his desired natural flowing style and he ran out the clear winner. It was his eighth victory of the season, giving him a 50% winning record for the season so far. Jonathan reached the landmark of 125 career WorldSBK podiums today.
It was a difficult second race day for Sykes, who went sixth after one lap but was down to ninth after two laps. He ended his day in eighth place, for eight championship points.
In winning for a fourth time in his career at Laguna Seca, Rea extended his championship lead to 75 points over runner-up in race two, Chaz Davies. Sykes is still fourth overall, 19 points from third place, with 16 of the scheduled 26 races completed.
In the Manufacturers’ Standings Kawasaki enjoys a lead of 45 points.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 11th in race two and is 16th overall. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 12th but sits one place and two points ahead of Mercado in the championship.
Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) rode to 15th today and took the last point on offer at what was an intense and well-attended eighth round of the season. After injuring his left foot in a race one crash, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) did not make the start of race two.
Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, on the Adriatic Coast of Italy, will host the next round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, between the 6th and the 8th of July.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “An incredible weekend. I expected to be strong here but I had no idea how strong. Two weekends in a row now, Brno and here, we have been the reference. Weekends like that do not happen all the time so we have to really absorb it and enjoy the moment. A double win at Laguna in the sunshine - it does not get much better. There are so many people out around the track. A massive thanks to all my crew, especially Pere because even though we won yesterday with a margin, last night he changed the bike completely and gave me some more confidence in the front. It worked a dream. It was one of those races where I could absorb what was happening, the crowd, the weather, where I was; it really was an incredible race.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We just did not get the set-up. We changed a couple of things but the only positive is that we confirmed that the front tyre yesterday was an issue. Today we had a relatively good front set-up but unfortunately it looks like a small change to the rear did not help. I just struggled really when it came to the races, which I am disappointed about. There is nothing much more I can say. The only strange thing is that during practice we had good speed and felt we were capable of a much stronger result today.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 16, Wins 8, Podiums 13, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 62 (47 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 125 (83 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 16, Wins 1, Podiums 6, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 106 (105 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 45 (45 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 118 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 368 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 78 – second overall
2018 Superbike World Championship Points after Round 8:
- JONATHAN REA 320 KAWASAKI
- CHAZ DAVIES 245 DUCATI
- MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 215 YAMAHA
- TOM SYKES 196 KAWASAKI
- ALEX LOWES 183 YAMAHA
- MARCO MELANDRI 168 DUCATI
- XAVI FORES 154 DUCATI
- TOPRAK RAZGATLIOGLU 91 KAWASAKI
- EUGENE LAVERTY 89 APRILIA
- JORDI TORRES 80 MV AGUSTA
- LORIS BAZ 79BMW
- LEON CAMIER 75 HONDA
- LORENZO SAVADORI 75 APRILIA
- MICHAEL RUBEN RINALDI 54 DUCATI
- ROMÁN RAMOS 49 KAWASAKI
- LEANDRO MERCADO 47 KAWASAKI
- JAKE GAGNE 37 HONDA
- YONNY HERNANDEZ 24 KAWASAKI
- PJ JACOBSEN 21 HONDA
- LEON HASLAM 14 KAWASAKI
- DAVIDE GIUGLIANO 11 APRILIA
- KAREL HANIKA 5 YAMAHA
- BRADLEY RAY 3 SUZUKI
- LUKE MOSSEY 2 KAWASAKI
- ONDREJ 2 JEZEK