Laguna Seca (USA), Thursday 26 September 2013 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship kick-started the twelfth round of the season, the first at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for nine years, with a pre-event press conference involving some of the biggest names in World Superbike, the American wildcard riders as well as representatives from the AMA Championship.
Josh Herrin and Cameron Beaubier (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) were initially joined on stage by the Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki wildcard pairing of Roger Hayden and Danny Eslick, who spoke briefly ahead of the weekend’s track action.
WSBK regulars Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) were then invited to the stage to give their feelings of taking on the infamous “Corkscrew”, which for some of them is an unknown challenge.
Leon Haslam, who is the only rider to have raced WSBK at Laguna before, is optimistic on his chances, given a new electronics package, and the fact that Honda took a double victory with Chris Vermeulen the last time the series was here.
Sylvain Guintoli, who is still recovering from the shoulder injury that has affected his performance in recent races, is expecting the Californian track to be a tough challenge, with a much more spread out field, whilst current Championship leader Tom Sykes is relishing the opportunity to make some Rossi/Marquez moves on his rivals at the Corkscrew.
Marco Melandri has fond memories of Laguna Seca and hopes the track will suit his BMW well in order to make up some ground on the other championship challengers.
After the courageous attempt to ride in Istanbul, Ayrton Badovini will once again try to race here in America despite the injury, and with new parts for his 1199 Panigale R he aims to perform well on a track that’s still new to him.
Jules Cluzel joined the press conference after the bicycle ride organized by his team. The Frenchman is keen on continuing his run of form and hopes that the laps completed on the Playstation, together with the advice given to him by his one-off team mate Blake Young will stand him in good stead.
World Superbike will be in action tomorrow morning at 11:45 local time for Free Practice, before a double qualifying session in the afternoon.