The annual visit of WorldSBK to Laguna Seca in the USA is one that the entire paddock looks forward to, and none more so than the KRT riding duo of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
The eighth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship will take place close to the beaches of California this weekend, at the world famous Laguna Seca circuit.
Home to the unique ‘Corkscrew’ downhill section, Laguna has enjoyed two periods of inclusion in the WorldSBK calendar. It has already hosted 30 individual WorldSBK races and will host its next two on Saturday the 23rd of June and Sunday 24th of June.
The current adoption of the 3.610km long hillside circuit in the WorldSBK calendar re-started in 2013 and has delivered success for both KRT official riders. Tom has won three races at Laguna, with Jonathan scoring two wins, including race two last season.
Having taken an all-time record 60th career win the opening race at the last round in Brno, and despite a subsequent race two non-finish, Rea leads the championship by 65 points. Sykes is fourth; after he also no-scored in race two at Brno. So far in 2018 Rea has scored six race wins with Sykes taking a single at Assen.
Kawasaki enjoys a handsome 35-point championship lead in the Manufacturers’ Standings, with most points being collected by either Rea or Sykes. The top Ninja ZX-10RR points scorer in race two at Donington, however, was rookie Turkish WorldSBK competitor Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who finished runner-up in only his 12th race in the class. He is currently eighth in the championship rankings.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) sits in 15th position in the standings, with Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) one place behind and Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 19th.
After the Laguna Seca weekend there will be one more round before the long summer break begins. The seaside-circuit of Misano on the Adriatic Coast of Italy will host round nine, between the 6th and the 8th of July.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Laguna Seca is a great venue for Superbikes and I’m very excited to go there after Brno where we had been very strong. The American fans always bring the atmosphere, so if we can organise some good weather we are in for a great weekend. The circuit itself is very demanding and we have to concentrate on Friday to understand the bike and enable us to challenge for wins. Turn one is one of the most thrilling corners on any circuit so I’m already looking forward to my first lap!”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I am ready for America. The whole journey to the USA is a pleasure and the fans are absolutely fantastic. Laguna Seca is an adrenaline-pumping circuit and it certainly gets the blood flowing. In places like turn one you have to be pinpoint accurate. At another few corners, including the top of The Corkscrew, there are some blind entries. It is such a short track and very demanding, so there is absolutely no place for rest. You have to be on top of your game there.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 14, Wins 6, Podiums 11, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 60 (45 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 123 (81 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 14, Wins 1, Podiums 6, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 106 (105 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 45 (45 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 116 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 366 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 78 – second overall