Post Race: What The Teams Said About Laguna Round

Bobby Fong won the Supersport race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The following is from Team Hammer…

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong concluded the combined WorldSBK/MotoAmerica Superbike weekend at Laguna Seca in spectacular fashion with a wire-to-wire victory in a one-sided MotoAmerica Supersport race.

Fong sprinted into the lead from the start and never looked back. The Californian shot to an immediate gap on the opening lap as he hustled his GSX-R600 racebike around the undulating circuit and then proceeded to apply the pressure on his pursuers from the front with his sheer pace.

Fong’s nearest rival crashed out while in pursuit, clearing the way for a blowout victory. Fong worked up a four-second advantage before easing his way to a 1.603-second margin of victory at the flag.

The win was Fong’s fourth of the season and gave him an 18-point lead in the MotoAmerica Supersport championship standings.

The victory also marked the team’s 75th AMA Pro and MotoAmerica race win.

Fong said, “Honestly, I had one of the best bikes out there – again – thanks to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. It’s good to get the win for Suzuki, I know they wanted it here at Laguna Seca, one of their home races.

“We’ve got the championship lead now, so we’ve just got to keep the ball rolling as we move on to my home round at Sonoma Raceway in a month’s time.”

Teenager Sean Dylan Kelly continued to impress in his rookie season of racing in MotoAmerica. The second M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Supersport pilot left the grid in seventh at the start of the 19-lap race, and gradually worked his way into fourth position.

Meanwhile in Superbike, Jake Lewis followed up his Saturday top-five with an eighth-place ride in Sunday’s race aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Lewis got away in his qualifying position of seventh and held that spot over the race’s opening half before solidifying eighth.

The 2019 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship will resume in just under a month as the series arrives at Sonoma Raceway on August 10-11.

JD Beach wrapped up his busy weekend at Laguna with a fifth-place finish in the second EBC Brake Superbike race.

The following is from Attack Performance Estenson Racing…

Five Superbike races in two days was automatically understood to be a difficult task. After mixed results on day one, a DNF due to a technical issue in World Superbike and a solid fourth-place finish in MotoAmerica, Attack Performance Estenson Racing’s JD Beach was looking to come out swinging on day two. Unfortunately, he got collected in a crash caused by another rider in Laguna Seca’s famous corkscrew during the 10-lap World Superbike Superpole race.

A bit beat up, Beach got the go-ahead from his team to sit out the race in order to focus on his national championship effort in MotoAmerica, but he chose to race the entire weekend as planned. He rode in a championship point-paying position for most of the race, but the gamble to go with a softer rear tire didn’t pay off, and he ultimately crossed the line 16th.

Shortly after, Beach lined up for MotoAmerica Superbike race two. The two-time Supersport Champion got off to a solid start and was right there in fifth, in touch with the lead pack for the whole race. In the final laps, Beach made his move to take fourth, but he had to settle for the top spot as a non-factory finisher.

Next up on the calendar for MotoAmerica is Sonoma Raceway on August 10-11, but before then, Beach will be strapping on his steel shoe for an American Flat Track doubleheader during the Sturgis Rally at the Buffalo Chip TT on August 4 and the Black Hills Half-Mile on August 6.

“In the World Superbike Superpole race, I felt like I was in a pretty good spot going up into the corkscrew. I braked like I normally would before I went to turn left to go into the corkscrew. The next thing I knew, I was flying off the track and went over the bars, which really sucked. I got my knee really good into the bars and kind of messed up my shoulder a bit.

“After the Superpole race, we were kind of on the fence about World Superbike race two. Since we weren’t really going for points there, I kind of thought about not doing it, but the team did a great job to get the bike back together quickly. Richard [Stanboli] and I talked about it. He said, ‘If you want to race, the bike is ready to go.’ I went back in the truck, and I had about 30 minutes to get dressed. I’m like, ‘You know what? This is what I’m here for. I signed up for it and we’re going to finish this race.’ I got my suit on and went back in the garage, and the team was actually a little surprised to see me. I was definitely beat up, but we were there to race. I got off to a decent start. I was running about 14th or so. I felt okay. I got passed by one person, so I went back to 15th. I was glad with that, because we’d still get a point. With about five or six laps to go, the rear tire dropped off a lot. We kind of gambled going with the soft tire, and it didn’t work, so we ended up 16th and missed that point, but it was good to get to finish the World Superbike race.

“I think it was good that I didn’t at least just sit around waiting for the MotoAmerica race. I was definitely sore, but I think if I had just sat around, it would have made it worse. I knew we had a great bike at the front. I got off to a really good start, but just kind of got stuck on the outside of a few people and got shuffled back to about sixth or so. I made my way back up and was fighting for the lead. Then Garrett got out front and broke away. I just kept battling throughout the race. Then it came down to me and Josh [Herrin]. I tried to pass him a couple times and I got by him once, but then he got back by me. We got into a lapper and Josh got enough of a gap in the last three or four laps that I couldn’t really do much. I just brought it home safe and. with how the day went and how I was feeling, I’m happy with that. I think we made a good improvement with the bike, so I’m really looking forward to Sonoma.”

Toni Elias had a successful weekend at Laguna Seca with a win and a second place.

The following is from Yoshimura Suzuki…

Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias had a highly successful weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca during the combined FIM Superbike World Championship/MotoAmerica event in picturesque Monterey, California.

Elias took victory aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 in Saturday’s race one. It marked his sixth win of the season. He then finished second in Sunday’s race, but most importantly he kept his closest series rival behind him in both races. That means Elias, who came into the weekend with a 26-point lead, leaves the Monterey Bay with a commanding 39-point lead in the MotoAmerica Superbike standings after six of 10 race weekends.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin crashed out of Saturday’s race while battling near the front, but came back strong Sunday, ran with the leaders most of the race, and finished fourth. It was his sixth top-five finish of the year.

Elias qualified third in Superpole, but in Saturday’s race got another of his patented great starts, and rocketed to the lead early. He was then involved in a fierce battle, which saw four riders officially lead laps, including Elias and Herrin. As the race progressed Elias gradually gained control of the race in the final laps and won by 0.778 seconds. He celebrated on the podium bringing up his infant son.

In race two Elias was locked in a great last-lap battle for second and came through with impeccable racecraft in the final turns leading up to the checkered flag.

“This was an incredible weekend,” Elias said. “We worked hard on setup and in Saturday’s race when I went out on the track I knew we hit it perfectly. I was so confident with the bike. I knew I was in a good position to win the race, even from the first lap. My team did an amazing job. My family is here. My son is here. It’s his first race ever for him.

“Then today Garrett (Gerloff) had a great race. I congratulate him for his first win. Finishing second was important for the championship. Of course I would like to win every race, but we are building a lead again and that’s all I can ask for. I am happy and excited about our progress, but I must stay calm. There are still many, many races to go.”

Herrin leaves Laguna Seca looking for better results in the upcoming rounds.

“I had a pretty serious crash on Saturday and thank goodness my Alpinestars airbag really saved me,” Herrin explained. “I didn’t feel a thing when I fell and that gives you confidence when you get up, that you can go out and ride hard again. On Sunday I had a pretty good race going. I was battling with Toni and Cameron (Beaubier). I lost them about three-quarters of the way through the race. I finished out with some good lap times, but couldn’t reel them in. I’m looking to Sonoma to have a good weekend from start to finish. Right now my hope is to get things figured out and have a strong finish to the year.”

Yoshimura Suzuki and the MotoAmerica Series next visit Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, on August 10-11. The races are televised nationally on Fox Sports 2. Check your local listings for times.

Mathew Scholtz bounced back from a crash on Saturday to finish sixth on Sunday.

The following is from Westby Racing…

After unfortunately crashing out of Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the Westby Racing team came back strong on Sunday, with Mathew finishing sixth aboard the gold-liveried #11 Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike.

Starting from the middle of the second row on the grid, Mathew got off to a good start and set about moving towards the front. However, sometimes when dissimilar brands of tire rubber meet each other on a racing surface, chassis setup problems can be the result. And, with a World Superbike (WSBK) race occurring just prior to Sunday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race, Mathew and the team were left wondering if residual rubber left on the track from the Pirelli tires that are mandated by WSBK may have affected the setup of Mathew’s Dunlop-shod Yamaha.

With Mathew feeling a lack of confidence almost from the onset of Sunday’s 23-lap race, he took a cautious tack in order to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s crash and crossed the finish line safely in sixth.

“We learned from race one where we needed to improve the bike, and we made some changes for the morning warmup, which were positive,” Mathew said. “We saw the direction that we needed to go with the bike, and we did a little bit more before the race, and I think some of it was positive, but I wasn’t getting good feedback from the bike. I don’t know, maybe it was because the track surface wasn’t as hot or the Pirelli rubber on the track from the World Superbike races changed the way the bike felt, but I wasn’t feeling my usual confident self in the race, and the bike just didn’t feel right. I made a couple of mistakes in the opening laps and almost tossed it away so, with yesterday’s crash, I decided to take things easy. I’ve got to thank the Westby team. It’s been a difficult weekend for us, and they worked really hard to give me the best bike possible. Luckily, we’ll be staying through tomorrow for the trackday, and hopefully, we’ll be able to test one or two things for our next round at Sonoma. That track definitely suits our bike better, so I’ll use this break to train hard, and we’ll come back our strongest.

The Westby Racing team will get ready for round seven of the 2019 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, which will be a two-day event at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California on August 10th and 11th.