Irishman puts the hammer down and wins twice to gain on championship rivals
The way things are going in the World Superbike Championship as of now, a Kawasaki or an Aprillia rider will win this year’s title, with an outside (unlikely though it may seem) chance of a BMW rider being crowned as well.
Which Aprilia rider will take the fight to Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was, however, thrown in doubt after Ireland’s Eugene Laverty.
Over the four races at the Nurburgring and Istanbul rounds of the championship Sykes and Guintoli, the top two in the riders standings, scored top five finishes. Sykes scored a win and three podiums in total to open up a slim eight point lead over Guintoli.
Laverty served notice to his presence in the championship fight though by following his disappointing 15th place finish in the first race at the Nurburgring with a second place finish and wins in both rounds at Istanbul.
Sykes and Guintoli’s points tally for the season now stands at 323 and 315 points, respectively with Laverty’s charge taking him to 297.
Former MotoGp rider Marco Melandri has been solid for BMW though and four top four finishes along with three podiums (two second places) means that the final six races in the season can’t yet be called for a particular rider within the top four.
It would, of course, have been a longer drawn out title fight had the WSBK field still have been touching down in India for the season finale.
However, fans of the series would have already been treated to its return to one of the classic motorcycle racing venues in the world; Laguna Seca.
The American purpose-built road course situated in California is home to a corner that is up there with the most iconic in motor sport along with Spa-Francorchamp’s Eau Rouge and Monaco’s Casino Square.
The ‘corksrew’ is a left-right section in which the circuit elevation drops faster than one can say “yikes!” It’s a section that has also been immortalized thanks to daring overtaking maneuvers in both four and two-wheel racing.
Alex Zanardi’s ‘the pass’ in 1996 and Valentino Rossi against Casey Stoner in 2008 have cemented the section’s place in motor sport history.
The circuit was first a WSBK venue in 1995 and its popularity ensured a spot on the calendar till 2004. Events at the uninspiring Miller Motorsport Park have now given way to Laguna Seca. Hopefully for years to come.