Pata Honda riders target Californian boost

The Pata Honda team is preparing for round nine of the 2015 World Superbike championship which takes place this weekend (17-19 July) at Laguna Seca in California, USA.

French rider Sylvain Guintoli, 33, knows the 3.61km Laguna circuit well and collected two second place finishes at the iconic Californian track last season on his way to the 2015 World Superbike title.

After two ninth place finishes last time out at Misano in Italy, Guintoli is looking to make further development steps with his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine which has benefited from the recent addition of revised chassis components, such as a new swingarm.

For Pata Honda team-mate, Michael van der Mark, this weekend marks his first-ever visit to the United States and is the first stage of a demanding three-week racing schedule. Following the Laguna Sec a SBK event, the 22-year-old Dutch ace will fly directly to Japan to contest the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race, which he has won for the last two seasons.

From Suzuka, van der Mark, will make the relatively short hop to Malaysia for round 10 of the World Superbike championship at Sepang, near Kuala Lumpur on 2 August.

Set in a scenic national park a little under 200km south of San Francisco and just 16km off California`s stunning coastal Highway 1, Laguna Seca is a 3.61km roller-coaster of seven lefts and four rights and the nearby town of Monterey is a delight for visiting race fans.

Featuring perhaps the most infamous corner in racing – the legendary Corkscrew – Laguna has secured its own place in motorsport heritage. But the Californian circuit is much more than just one corner, even if it is one of the most daunting corners in world motorsport.

2015 World Superbike championship, round nine
Laguna Seca Raceway – California, USA
Event schedule (local times GMT -7):

Friday 17 July
11.15-12.00 – Free practice 1
15.00-15.45 – Free practice 2

Saturday 18 July
09.45-10.30 – Free practice 3
12.30-13.00 – Free practice 4
15.00-15.15 – Superpole 1
15.25-15.40 – Superpole 2

Sunday 19 July
09.15-09.30 – Warm-up
11.30 – Race 1 (25 Laps, 90.250km)
14.30 – Race 2 (25 Laps, 90.250km)

Sylvain Guintoli
I really like going to America where everything is just big and different. It starts at the hire car desk where they usually give you the biggest car available! Everything about San Francisco and California lets you know that you`re in a very different place and Laguna Seca is like nowhere else that we race. I really like the track, every aspect of it is fun and exciting, and I had a couple of good results there last year. Of course, we still have work to do to be up where I think we should be and where we deserve to be considering the hard work that everyone in the team is putting into the CBR package. We will keeping concentrating on getting the best setting with the recent chassis changes and do our best to be closer to the front on Sunday.

Michael van der Mark
I`m really excited about this weekend because I`ve never even been to America before! Of course, I`ve seen some of the amazing races that have taken place at Laguna Seca and I`m really looking forward to riding the circuit for the first time myself. The Corkscrew is one of those corners that everyone wants to ride so I can`t wait to see it for the first time. It`s going to be a tough three weeks with the 8 Hour race on the weekend following Laguna and then Sepang the week after. I had a test on the Suzuka CBR last week with my new team-mate for the 8 Hour, which was good, but I`m really looking forward to getting back on my SBK Fireblade this weekend. I`ll start by learning the Laguna track on Friday and then doing my best over this first weekend.

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