This weekend, I’ll be attending my first World Superbike race in person at the “MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round”. Now that’s a mouthful. Nathan and I are riding up early Saturday morning – will we see you there?
I’ll be riding up from Los Angeles on a MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR.
To be frank, I don’t follow WSBK nearly as closely as I follow MotoGP, so I’m excited to learn a bit more about the series and see how they put on the race on Sunday. On Monday, I’ll have the opportunity to ride Laguna Seca for myself!
Speaking of the track, here’s a bit of historical information regarding WSBK at Laguna, courtesy of the race organizers:
“Ducati leads the way with 13 wins and 41 podium placements at Laguna Seca. Their closest rivals at the American racetrack are Kawasaki with 9 wins and 22 podiums…still, Kawasaki is the machine to beat at Laguna Seca, as they won five of the last six races, missing out just in 2017 Race 1 (Davies, Ducati).”
The big story to me is Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) versus “rookie” Alvaro Bautista (Ducati Panigale V4R), though it’s a little weird to call him a rookie considering he’s started over 150 races in MotoGP. At the beginning of the season, Bautista was dominating in an almost embarrassing fashion – he won the first 11 races and Rea even called his rival’s dominance a “disaster” for WSBK. Isn’t that how every loser feels? To be fair, Rea’s argument here is more about how Ducati went crazy in building a WSBK-winner:
“Congratulations to them, but this championship is about balancing things, to help privateer teams be competitive. I’m worried about the future if Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki do the same thing with €40,000 road bikes.”
After the third round, FIM reduced the Ducati’s redline by 250rpm to help balance out the racing, but that hasn’t been the difference. In the last few races, Bautista has had some trouble (including crashing out of two races in as many rounds). Now Rea has the lead! Bautista recently said that Laguna Seca is not “one of the best tracks for [Ducati],” so it’s going to be interesting to see how this race goes.
If you can’t make it in person, you can either catch it on beIN Sports or by subscribing to the WorldSBK VideoPass, which allows you to watch online.
But if you will be attending, here’s a simple 2 page Fan Guide that provides a good summary of race weekend. Hope to see you there!