RAPP FIFTH FOR TEAM VALVOLINE EMGO SUZUKI
While Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s Steve Rapp’s two-race Superstock victory streak was snapped at Laguna Seca on Sunday, he still managed to impress. Rapp was the innocent victim of a first-lap incident in the Andretti Hairpin and was forced off track — spoiling his hard-earned front row starting position — but finished fifth in the AMA National held between World Superbike races.
The 30-year-old refused to give in despite being dropped to the back of the field on the opening lap, and proceeded to charge through the field to an eventual top five placing. Rapp worked his Michelin-shod GSX-R750 up to 27th by the end of lap one and picked up more than 20 additional places over the next ten laps.
“It was unfortunate that I got pushed off course there at the start,” Rapp commented. “But it was a great race after that. The bike was really working, and I was putting in lap times as fast as the guys at the front. We’ll just have to try to start up a new streak at Mid-Ohio.”
Teammate Chris Ulrich put a second Valvoline-backed GSX-R750 in the top ten. Ulrich was hampered by his injured shoulder once again and will see Dr. Ting immediately after the race weekend concludes. Despite the pain, Chris fought through to claim tenth.
Matt Furtek came home 20th in his Laguna Seca debut weekend. The teenager essentially used the visit as an extended practice, learning the difficult northern Californian circuit.
Team manager Keith Perry reflected on the Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki riders’ days. “That was a heck of a charge by Steve,” he said. “He really had nothing to gain, being at the back of the pack. But he wouldn’t quit and got us back to fifth. He’s got a lot of heart, and you can always count on him giving 100%.
“Chris rode a pretty strong race. He’s still fighting the shoulder injury, but he was generally happy with the bike and the tires. For Matt, it was learning experience. It was another track he’d never seen before, and he only got around 45 laps all weekend to learn this difficult track.”