Laguna Seca Preview



Yep its this weekend, when the AMA and WSB collide at Laguna Seca, isn't it great, for sure.

Mat Maldin will be a wildcard in the WSB race. He will be more focused on the AMA race but I want to see what he can do in WSB. You know he is fast. It will be interesting to see, I expect he will be a top 5 rider. Here is what some of the riders have to say...

Miguel Duhamel rider of the #17 Honda RC51:

On racing at Laguna Seca:

"Laguna Seca is a very difficult and technical race track. But it is one of the nicest tracks we race at here in America. It's beautiful now, with the new pit row suites and garages, the track is all one surface, it has really good run-offs in all of the corners, pretty much. It rates in the Top 10 in each category. If not a 10, at least an eight or nine in every category, making it the nicest track we go to."

Miguel attended last month's Grand Prix of Monterey Champ Car race, as a guest of pole sitter and race winner Patrick Carpentier. He was asked if he learned anything from watching that event:

"I learned that it's a lot of fun getting pole, leading every lap and winning the race! I was there to watch my good friend Patrick Carpentier pretty much dominate the race and that was exciting. It was fun to be a part of it and I was happy for him to get that win. But there is absolutely nothing to be learned from discussing racing at Laguna with him. The two (types of racing) are so different."

"Patrick and I are good buddies. We live just a couple of streets apart and we cycle a lot together. In fact, last Tuesday just before I went to Brainerd we were out riding and we got cut off by this truck with a trailer. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stop, but I did. He didn't - he races cars not bikes! - so he hit this trailer at like 30 mph and I thought for sure he was really injured. His bike was totally destroyed but he got up with just some scrapes and bruises."

Damon Buckmaster rider of the #6 YZF-R6 Yamaha:

On his season thus far:

The Supersport deal has been really good for us. The YZF-R6 is working really well. The team is working really well and everyone is confident in the bike and you can tell that in the results.

It's really exciting racing at Laguna. There is always a good crowd and it's really good for the manufacturers. The Laguna racetrack has been really good to me in the past, as well. I'm always looking forward to Laguna and putting in a good showing. Hopefully, we can come away with a big points lead in Formula Xtreme and close the gap or possibly pass Jaime (Hacking) for the points lead in Supersport.

Eric Bostrom rider of the #32 Ninja ZX-7R Kawasaki:

On whether the large legion of fans and family are a distraction:

"Not really, it's kind of like if you can imagine being at a ballgame or whatever and having an audience of 50 people or being in a huge stadium at a sold-out game. It just creates a totally different vibe. Its just so much better for me to have that good vibe."

On the additional task of racing in World Superbike:

I'm really looking forward to World Superbike. I do every year because it's a chance to compete against the World Championship regulars and to also kind of defend a piece of home turf. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to win the race yet. I think this year it is going to be difficult again because all of the competition will be on 1000cc machines while I'll be the lone 750(cc) out there. It's going to be very difficult. We're going to be out-motored and we're not going to be able to run the standard configuration that we normally run in the AMA Superbike Series where we are more competitive against the 1000cc machines. Honestly, it's going to be an uphill battle and we've got our work cut out for us."

Does the extra track time help or do you start to wear down over the weekend:

"Definitely four days is a bit much because we have to qualify on Thursday for the AMA Superbike race. It does wear on you but I think you've just got to turn all of that crowd energy into your energy. It kind of pulls you out. But definitely on Monday you feel it. You're not able to get out of bed, just completely resting. You feel like you were hit by a train the day before.

Any chance you'll be competing in the Supermoto?

"I would love to, but obviously there is no chance with the already busy schedule. Our priority is to win the AMA Superbike race and try to extend the championship points lead. We'll definitely be there. I just don't know how soon. I'll absolutely be at the Invitational race in Las Vegas. But I want to do more than just that one race.

Are there certain tracks where the Kawasaki is better than others?

"Certainly. I think that goes for every bike and rider combination out there. Laguna has been a high point. We've won it the last two years and we're looking forward to going back and winning again. I don't know exactly how to answer the question, because it is a little bit of an enigma in the sense that you wonder why if your package works good at one track and it doesn't work at the next race."

"It's mostly in the handling of the machine. You see that, for instance, in NASCAR racing. You've got a really good short-track car, but won't be able to get the job done on a longer track. That's often the case for us too. Laguna is just one of those places where the track agrees with us and doesn't give us too many problems. I love racing at Laguna. It's definitely the best race we attend all year. "

Aaron Yates rider of the #20 GSX-R1000 Suzuki:

On riding in the World Superbike race as a Wild Card rider:

"This year is my first to run only the Superbike class and sometimes I think it would better if I still rode the 600 (cc, Supersport class). For me, if I'm going to be there I want to ride as much as I can. The more track time I get it seems the better I get going. So that's a reason I'm looking forward to Laguna. I'm going to get a lot of track time and it's going to be on essentially the same bike, just a little different motor. It's just going to give us more track time with the bike, maybe try a few more changes and develop the bike a little more."

Ben Bostrom rider of the #155 Honda RC51:

On the season so far:

"It's been tough, so far. It's always difficult when you switch brands (from Ducati to Honda), but we're coming to grips with it. Fortunately, I've had some success at Laguna. It's my home crowd and I really like riding on the hill (referring to the elevation changes at the track) - up, down, through the Corkscrew (Turn 8) - a really famous corner. It home, basically. I have a little more motivation there than anywhere else and some tracks just fit your riding style. I just love that place."
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