Based on practice and qualifying at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the Yuasa Stock 1000 race was set to be a thrill-fest of epic proportions. Corey Alexander, however, had a different idea of how the race would play out and he turned it into a blowout, the Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC-backed New Yorker taking control from the get-go and never looking back.
The win was Alexander’s fourth in a row and fifth of the season and it gives him a 17-point lead over Hayden Gillim in the race for the MotoAmerica Yuasa Stock 1000 Championship.
Yuasa Stock 1000 – Alexander Dominates
The Yuasa Stock 1000 class had one race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and polesitter Alexander made the most of it. The Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing BMW rider expected a close battle at the front, but it never materialized, and Alexander led the 14-lap race from start to finish. The New Yorker’s gap at the checkered flag was nearly five seconds over second-place finisher Champ School BPR Racing Yamaha rider Bryce Prince, the former MotoAmerica regular returning to the paddock just for the Laguna Seca round. Disrupt Racing Suzuki’s Gillim, who is second to Alexander in the point standings, finished third.
“Once I saw plus three on my board, I kind of calmed down a little bit,” Alexander said. “Honestly, my whole plan was to kind of go out and ride a little more relaxed. I have a tendency when I go out those first couple laps just to over-ride and end up making mistakes, or just pushing a little bit too hard and ending up going slower. So, I was really forcing myself to go slower, but the times were coming a little bit easier that way. I just said I was going to go out there and ride the race and if those guys were coming with me, it was going to be a fun battle. If they weren’t, even better. That’s kind of how it turned out. Really just have to give a hats-off to the team because it wasn’t that easy yesterday. I was a little bit frustrated in Q1 just because we went around in circles a little bit. We made some pretty big changes and then went back to where we started and then went back again. So, that was a little bit tough. This morning we had our direction and things were working a lot better. Just happy to come away with that. Kind of like what I said at the last race – if I can just keep doing this, then the points will take care of themselves. That’s what I’m focused on. Really, really excited. I know the second half of the season is going to be more in Hayden’s favor, so I’m just kind of preparing myself for that. He goes good at Pittsburgh and some of those other tracks that are not always my best. We need every point we can get now. We’ll see how those races go in the future.”
Supersport – Herrin vs. Scott
After suffering a crash that was not his fault in Supersport final qualifying, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC rider Josh Herrin bounced back in a big way, notching his sixth win of the season and third victory in a row in the afternoon’s race. Keeping Herrin honest for the majority of the 19-lap race was polesitter Tyler Scott, the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider hounding Herrin, but eventually finishing second and a little over one-and-a-half seconds adrift of him.
Rocco Landers finished third on his Landers Racing Yamaha to make it three different motorcycle brands on the podium.
“When I saw a plus .7 or something at one point, I kind of settled into the pace I was doing thinking that I was going to be able to maintain the gap,” said Herrin. “I don’t know if it was Tyler the whole time or not, or somebody caught back up. I looked back and saw that it was Tyler. Then, the second time I looked back, I was just kind of trying to see if somebody else was behind him so I knew if he makes a pass on me, can we battle, can we not? I saw him wave. That stuff fires me up. I love that kind of stuff. To me, it’s kind of like a motivator and gets me having fun and forgetting a little bit about the pressure that’s on me. So, at the end of the race, I was just having fun waving back because it felt like it was a funny thing to do. Just having fun. That’s the whole thing about this year is having fun. I feel like when I’m having fun, I’m in that mode where nothing can stop me. The team has been very nice. The guys have been very nice, letting me do the stuff I do on the street and let me be me at the track. It seems to be working. After the crash this morning, I feel fine, luckily. My neck is just a little bit stiff. It might be a different story tomorrow, but luckily these races are a little bit shorter than the Superbike races. I’m used to those, and hopefully we can grunt it out tomorrow.”
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup – Drama Rules The Day
Saturday’s SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup race had a lot of drama with a couple of crashes changing the way things finished. In fact, one of the crashes involving SportbikeTrackGear.com Kawasaki’s Max Van and Altus Motorsports Kawasaki’s Kayla Yaakov led to a red flag with two laps left to go, and the race was called. Van’s teammate Joseph LiMandri Jr. took the victory by .513 of a second over Alpha Omega Kawasaki rider Cody Wyman. Bicknese Racing Kawasaki’s Hayden Bicknese was third, the Missouri-based rider celebrating his 16th birthday a few days early with his first MotoAmerica podium.
“Like I said on the podium, there was a high chance something was going to happen with how close the grid was,” LiMandri Jr. said. “I just wanted to get out front, put down laps. The pace was really off. I went almost a second slower than I did in qualifying, which is usually not like me. I usually go at least a second faster. The track didn’t feel that good. We definitely have some setup to fix for tomorrow. Honestly, it was a pretty good race. It just sucks that I won because a lot of other people crashed. But at least I was in front of the pack for the whole race. So, it’s not like I just randomly got it. It feels good to be back up here again.”
REV’IT! Twins Cup – Ventura, Finally
Saturday wrapped up with Twins Cup, which like Stock 1000, was their only race of the weekend. Cory Ventura, who podiumed twice at Laguna Seca in Supersport last year, proved that the home of the Corkscrew is home sweet home for him as he took the checkered flag in Twins Cup aboard his MP13 Racing Yamaha for his first win this season. N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto Yamaha’s Blake Davis finished second for his best finish since winning the first Twins Cup race of the season at Daytona this past March. Polesitter Kaleb De Keyrel, who started on the pole, rounded out the podium in third aboard his Veloce Racing Aprilia.
“It’s been one of those learning years for me,” said Ventura. “I had to take it one step at a time, rebuilding myself. I finally have put myself aside. I’m so stubborn. I’m like, ‘I can ride this thing like a 600. I’m going to make it work this way.’ When we were at the Ridge, I was like, ‘Yeah, it doesn’t really work like that.’ So, these guys have been schooling me all year. The team has built me an amazing motorcycle. Like I said, I did some testing at Thunderhill last weekend. Really nice to be home. It put me back in my place. One step at a time, we got our bike back.”