MCFADDEN AND ANDERSON SHINE FOR TEAM HAMMER AT LAGUNA SECA
Published: July 09, 2017
Team Hammer closed out the combined MotoAmerica/WorldSBK weekend at Laguna Seca with yet another trophy in hand, yet pondering what might have been.
M4 medAge Suzuki's Nick McFadden was the headliner for the squad on Sunday, claiming the fifth podium of his 2017 Superstock 600 campaign in the weekend's solitary Supersport/STK600 contest.
The fast-rising Kentucky pilot led the STK600 race early after qualifying fastest in class the day before on his GSX-R600. A miscue dropped him back a few positions and he found himself embroiled in a heated six-rider battle for position that waged deep into the 19-lap affair.
Despite still battling back towards full fitness after breaking his collarbone just over a month ago, McFadden ultimately took the STK600 checkered flag in third place (seventh in the combined order). He currently sits fourth in the Superstock 600 title fight with 120 points and two wins.
McFadden said, "It was a good weekend for us. I was on pole position and running up front for the first few laps of the race, but then I hit a false neutral and lost some time. I wasn’t able to catch back up to first and second, but it is great to be back up on the podium again.
"Now we have some time off and I can rest my collarbone area. This weekend was easier for me than Utah. There wasn’t as much pain, but the strength wasn’t there yet."
M4 Rickdiculous Racing Suzuki's Daytona Anderson was the racer who actually won out in the aforementioned six-rider fight aboard his Supersport-spec GSX-R600. After running second in the pack for much of the race, Anderson got a superior launch out of the race's final corner to spring ahead just as he hit the stripe. That enabled him to claim fourth in the overall results by a scant 0.033-second.
Anderson's perfectly executed strike also saw him elevated to fifth in the Supersport title rankings with 79 points to his credit.
Meanwhile, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Brandon Cleland finished well in the points and just outside the STK600 top 10 in 11th (17th overall). Cleland is also ranked 11th in the Superstock 600 championship, just two points removed from the top 10.
Unfortunately, the race ended early for M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Valentin Debise. The Frenchman got away strongly from his front-row grid position, but crashed out of third place in Turn 3 on the opening lap.
The DNF ended a three-race streak of podium finishes for Debise, including a victory last time out. Despite his misfortune, he's currently fourth in the Supersport points standings (124).
Debise said, "I went a little bit wide but wasn't too far off my usual line. I released the brake and crashed with no brakes, so I'm a little bit confused about what happened. Maybe I made a mistake that I don't understand. We'll have to look at the data to understand what was going on.
"It's really disappointing because this morning in the warm-up I was feeling really great on the bike and had really improved our race pace. It's a disappointing result but that's a part of racing."
It was also a disappointing day for M4 ECSTAR Suzuki's Jake Lewis. Lewis carried hopes of victory following Saturday's come-from-behind charge to the Superstock 1000 podium. However, despite getting a much better start on Sunday aboard his GSX-R1000, Lewis was ultimately forced out of contention while running in second position due to a mechanical issue.
Lewis is third in points despite today's DNF with 190 points and nine podiums, including a pair of wins.
The 2017 AMA/FIM North American Road Race Championship will now go on its summer break before picking back up August 11-13 for Round 7 as the series makes its long-awaited return to Sonoma Raceway, in Sonoma, California.
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