Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty finished fourth in a dramatic sprint race climax to the eni FIM Superbike World Championship weekend at Laguna Seca in America.
After a strong battle to fourth in the opening stint of the day’s second race, two red flags saw Laverty resigned to a seven lap sprint race aboard his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R. A difficult start dropped the Irishman to seventh at the first turn but Laverty dug deep to regain his earlier position, moving through the front pack in the opening three laps before retaking fourth on the penultimate lap to claim 13 points.
Starting strongly in the first race - running sixth and battling for fourth – Laverty suffered a technical issue resulting in a trip through the gravel at turn two on lap eight and an eventual early retirement five corners later.
After a tough start to the day, Alex Lowes rode to a brilliant eighth position in race one - having suffered a big accident in warm-up. His Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team worked tirelessly to build a new GSX-R in the hour-break before the commencement of the opening contest, and the British racer repaid the effort by jumping three places from his starting position to bring home eight points.
Race two saw Lowes holding 10th for the opening 10 laps and looking to progress to the top six, before a crash at The Corkscrew brought out a red flag and the end to his weekend.
A bright and blustery day saw the California track bathed in 21°C sunshine for the opening action, as Aprilia’s Marco Melandri saw off his team-mate for the victory. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes eventually took the win in the second outing.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki now looks to enjoy the long summer break while returning to its UK headquarters in preparation for the first of the four remaining rounds, as the World Championship returns to Jerez, in Spain, on Sunday September 7th.
“We have put in a lot of good work all weekend but race one was over before it started; we had a technical problem and managed a few laps hanging in there but the bike was on its way out, so on lap eight it was done. In race two I managed to hang in with the front guys even when our bike isn’t as strong with a full fuel tank and new tyres. Then the GSX-R started to feel really good and I knew I could come towards them but the red flag came out. The restarted seven lap sprints don’t really suit us as we are always better at the end of the races. We as a team had the potential for podiums today, the guys worked so hard this weekend so we all deserved it before the summer break - fourth was not really the reward we were looking for.”
“It’s been a difficult, painful day and I’m disappointed with its conclusion. I got a good feeling and understanding with the GSX-R today and my team has done a great job this weekend so it’s a shame we couldn’t come away with more. I’m looking forward to the summer break; it will give me the time to recover and continue my training so we can come back strong and ready to fight in Jerez.”
Laguna Seca – eni FIM World Superbike Championship – Race One: 1. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 35’07.782: 2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.905: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +6.627: 4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) +13.574: 5. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +13.855: 8. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +20.184. DNF Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
Laguna Seca – eni FIM World Superbike Championship – Race Two: 1. Sykes 9’51.346: 2. Guintoli +1.014: 3. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +2.793: 4. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +3.681: 5. Elias +4.165. DNF Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
World Championship Classification: 1. Sykes 325: 2. Guintoli 281: 3. Rea 261: 4. Baz 253: 5. Melandri 217. 9. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 134. 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 119.