Team Suzuki Press Office – July 13. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racer Eugene Laverty will start the U.S. eni FIM Superbike World Championship races from the second row after scoring sixth position in Superpole at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Running in the top five on race tyres for the opening laps of the early afternoon session, Laverty pushed hard on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R to maintain his pace on the qualifying rubber, clinching sixth position to round-out the second row for both races.
After a promising start to his American debut, a change in fortune saw Alex Lowes struggle to match yesterday’s second row potential. Setting his fastest lap of the day on his final rotation aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000, the British rider will start from 11th place on the grid.
Having both secured their Superpole 2 places on Friday afternoon, a brighter start saw Voltcom Crescent Suzuki take to the track under clear blue skies for the 30 minute non-timed free practice. Laverty consistently held his top-five position for the majority of the session before dropping to eighth at the flag, while Lowes rounded out the top-10; less than a second separating the first 11 riders.
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes took his 23rd Superpole of his career, breaking the best lap record with a 1’21.811.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki returns to the Californian circuit at 11:00hrs local time (19:00BST) tomorrow for the first of the day’s two World Superbike races, the final showing hitting the asphalt at 14:45hrs (22:45BST).
“Finally a decent qualifying result! It’s the first time we have been on the second row since Phillip Island, so we have made a good step as our task has been to improve our one-lap pace. I’m confident we will be strong over the race; it’s now just a matter of getting a good start and trying to go with the front guys. I’m looking forward to the races and to finishing at the front.”
“Eleventh is not where I want to be, so I’m disappointed. I was confident with the track and the GSX-R after yesterday’s performance, but today we seemed to struggle. I really like the Laguna circuit so hopefully we can work through some data this evening and come back fighting for the races.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Sixth, and on the second row, is not a result to get too excited about but compared to where we’ve been recently in qualifying it’s a very positive outcome and it gives Eugene a much stronger opportunity to show his very best in the races. The race tyre pace has been excellent all weekend and even in qualifying, the new race rubber allowed Eugene to be only a 10th from the fastest rider. Eugene’s confidence looks like it’s coming back, the Suzuki is working well at this track; and if we can put together a good couple of first laps I really hope that we can be in the fight for the top positions.
“Alex had a very positive first day here at Laguna but by comparison struggled a little bit today and couldn’t get the consistency of feeling out of the bike that he is looking for. Whether that is in the bike setting or in Alex still learning the circuit and how to maximise his own potential here isn’t clear, but we will keep working hard and trying to give Alex the best possible package and look for him, as he always does, to make a maximum effort to achieve the best result we possibly can.”
Laguna Seca – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’21.811: 2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.528: 3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +0.573: 4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) +0.611: 5. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) +0.893: 6. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.914. 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +1.751.