For all things motorcycling
For all things motorcycling

2016 WorldSBK United States - Laguna Seca

Race 1

Round nine of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship truly got underway with a thrilling battle this afternoon as the Californian sun shone down on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Alex Lowes took his Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK to a fantastic fifth place in the first race on American soil with Niccolò Canepa scoring his third consecutive top-10 finish aboard the WorldSBK-spec YZF-R1.

A stunning start by Lowes saw him jump four positions in the opening lap as race one unfolded, holding sixth as he crossed the line after the first 3,610 meter dash. Maintaining his position for the initial laps the British rider joined the top-five on the fifth revolution, his sights set firmly on the podium. Picking up pace on his YZF-R1 as the mid-race distance approached, Lowes dug deep, repeatedly attempting a move on the third placed rider but failing to complete the pass successfully. The promise of a podium was not to be but with just a second separating him from third, Lowes met the flag in fifth position, collecting a further 11 points to retain his 10th place in the championship standings.

Commencing this afternoon's race from the third row of the grid, Canepa initially held his ninth position strongly. Losing out on the second lap, the Italian was briefly demoted to 12th before immediately increasing his pace and hunting down the riders in front. Refusing to be beaten, Canepa pushed hard on his Pata Yamaha, regaining his grip on the top-10 by mid-race and maintaining position for the remainder of the 25-lap contest.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team returns to Laguna Seca at 11:00 local time for Sunday's warm-up session ahead of Lowes and Canepa's final contest before the long summer break, on track at 14:30.

Race 2

Dramatic racing and a red flag were the order of the day for the final race of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship's weekend at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Niccolò Canepa secured a solid eighth place finish on his Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK YZF-R1 in the restarted 21-lap contest, after a red flag on the fifth lap of the opening race brought the afternoon to a pause. A final corner incident saw Alex Lowes complete his American visit in 14th.

Making his 75th WorldSBK start, Canepa initially dropped to 12th as the second US race began, before quickly finding his pace and returning to his starting positon of ninth. Fighting with the riders around him, the Italian promoted himself to eighth on the fifth lap and continued to chase the tightly-packed group in the battle for fourth. Showing consistent and impressive pace on his YZF-R1, Canepa maintained his position until mid-race distance before being outmaneuvered by his teammate, then choosing to wait and pick his moment carefully, regaining eighth on the final lap. A dramatic final corner incident had threatened to derail his progress but a clever save saw him consolidate his eight point finish at the line.

Strong off the lights from 10th on the grid, Lowes was running eighth on the opening lap as the final Laguna race restarted. Continuing his charge toward the front, the Briton held sixth in as many laps and was firmly in the hunt for fourth. An intense six-rider battle ensued for the mid-race distance, with Lowes ultimately holding eighth from his teammate for the closing stages when a mistake at the final corner saw him briefly grounded, picking up his YZF-R1 to finish 14th.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now returns to its UK base ahead of a long summer break. The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returns to action at the Lausitzring in Germany on Friday 16th September.

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