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Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA

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For Immediate Release:

Mazda Raceway Laguna   Seca, Monterey, CA   

Coming into round four of the   AMA Pro Road Racing series, the team was optimistic about their chances to   make a spectacular showing in front of the world audience.   This   round was to be shared with the World Superbike riders and everyone was anxious   to see how the team would perform at the technical Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca   in front of the international audience.   After a decent weekend at   Barber, the team was looking to keep on a positive trajectory that would   boost them through the remaining three rounds of the season.    Unfortunately, things don't always go according to plan and sometimes, the   early morning fog, doesn't always clear up.

GoPro Daytona SportBike
 
  Corkfused...   

The World Superbike weekend is   an odd weekend for the AMA Teams.  Not only are the teams relegated to   limited track time the crews also have to hustle in order to put up the pits   and tear them down each session.  It's a lot of energy towards what   amounts to very little track time.  However, it is Laguna and it's the   only west coast round, so everyone was excited and wanting to put on a great   display for the World Superbike audience.

On Friday's practice session,   Jake Gagne was at the top of the timing charts for most of the session.    He was feeling good and the bike was performing well.  Some new   components (put on after Barber) had yet to be fully tested and the practice   session proved a perfect testing environment.  Tomas and his crew were   feeling good about their chances as Tomas loves Laguna and has a history of   going fast around the circuit and this was his first time around with a fully   prepped DSB bike under him. 

                   

Going into the first qualifying   session however, Tomas' crew had made some changes to the machine and for the   first time this season Tomas was smiling saying that was feeling really good   on the machine.  His times had him well within reach of the top five as   the top ten where only separated by a little over a second.  Meanwhile,   Jake's crew made only minor adjustments to his machine and once again, Jake   was running at or near the top of the timing sheets.  Still though,   there was a lingering feeling that something just wasn't going right.    As is normal, Jake was consistently improving his times, but other riders   were doing the same at a quicker pace and when the session was over, Jake   would be in a provisional fifth place while Tomas was back in ninth.

For the one and only on track   session of the day on Saturday, the crews of both Jake and Tomas had made   some changes that were confident would place their riders firmly at top the   timing sheets.  For Jake, the changes seemed to have worked.  He   was immediately quick and by the time the short session was over, Jake had   moved his RoadRace Factory / Red Bull Yamaha R6 to P2 for the start of the   race.  On the other side of the pit, Tomas and his crew were scratching   their heads as some form of mechanical gremlins had appeared.   The   guys spent most of the session in and out of the pits; this inconsistent pace   is a determent to running consistently fast lap times.  When the session   was over, Tomas was back in P10.  The team quickly rolled his machine   into to the transporter and immediately began the hunt for the gremlins.

With limited time to ensure the   changes were good, Sunday morning brought out a quick 20-minute warm-up   session.  Jake and his crew went about the business of eking out the   last few ounces of speed from his bike, while Tomas and his crew set about to   see if the changes were effective.  Unfortunately, the issues that   plagued him the day before, were still present and there was only a limited   amount of time to resolve them before the race.

                   

As the riders lined up for   their one race of the weekend, it was a guessing game to see if all issues   had been resolved.  Tomas admitted later, that on the warm-up lap he   could tell the issues were still there and he didn't feel he would have the   pace.  Jake was focused at grabbing the hole shot and staying up   front.  Flags were dropped and the riders took off over the rise for   race action.  Gagne was able to get a good start and was riding with the   leaders for much of the opening laps.  Tomas was circulating in the   second pack of about 8 riders. 

By mid-race, Jake was embroiled   in a battle with Triumph rider Danny Eslick.  The pair would battle it   out all race long for the final podium position as fellow Yamaha riders Jake   Lewis and JD Beach were pulling a gap on battling Eslick and Gagne.    Meanwhile, Tomas was leading the chasing pack riders a few seconds off the   pace.  Tomas lead the pack and seemed to be holding his own, unable to   pull a gap but no one was able to mount a challenge.  Clearly he was   riding around whatever issues he was having.

Coming down to the wire, the   battle with Jake and Danny was heating up.  With several passes by each   rider lap after lap, it was clear it would come down to the final few   corners.  From the pits, you could see they were side by side coming   down through the corkscrew and through Rainey curve.  Out of Turn 11,   Eslick got into the corner first and Jake had to adjust his line slightly and   that allowed the Triumph rider a better drive off the corner and Danny would   edge out Jake by only a few tenths of a second at the line.  The drama   would completely unfold however for Tomas.  As the pack he was leading   for most of the race headed into the final corner, a slower rider caused the   group to check up and a chain reaction of bumping and braking would   ensue.  Tomas would be the unfortunate victim of the last corner as he   as hit and taken down into the gravel.  He would remount and finish the   race in 22nd place.

Jake Gagne - 1st in Standings

"Definitely wasn't what had hoped for.  Got off to a decent start but I was struggling a little bit with the bike.  I was up there in third and doing ok.  After a several laps I came up to some lappers in Rainey (Curve) and almost ran off the track.  After that the top two guys had a good gap and then I got into a battle with Danny (Eslick) and we went back and fourth the last couple of laps.  Ended up fourth which isn't what we wanted, but we have Mid-Ohio next weekend and we'll redeem ourselves."

Tomas Puerta - 12th in Standings

"What can I say? This is a weekend to forget.  I was feeling competitive on Friday and was hoping to do good here.  But something happened with the bike and everyone is trying to figure it out.  For me, I feel like I didn't even race here, this weekend didn't happen and I'm just looking forward to Mid-Ohio.  I know my team will fix the problem and we'll be ready for Mid-Ohio for sure."

The Final Word - Danny Walker

"Hey, sometimes this happens in racing.  You can't win them all and once in a while, things just go sideways on you.  This is Laguna and it's a hard weekend for everyone because you can't really get into any kind of rhythm and I know the guys busted their butts.  Sometimes in racing things just happen, all you can do is find out why they did happen and ensure that they dont happen again.  I'm confident that we'll be back running strong for Mid-Ohio and if I know the guys, they've already found the issues with Tomy's bike and they'll get it fixed.  Onward to Mid-Ohio!"

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