Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s Steve Rapp faced a heavy Saturday afternoon schedule at Brainerd International Raceway featuring the Formula Xtreme race and the final Superbike and Superstock qualifying sessions. At the end of the day, he had a top ten and two impressive qualifying results to his credit.
After leading the way on Friday, Rapp narrowly missed out on claiming the pole for Sunday’s 13-lap Superstock final. The Californian took second in the session, just 0.084-second off the quickest time of the day, after running wide in one corner early in the session, dropping the front wheel off the pavement into a pothole, somehow saving what looked like a certain crash, and then riding slowly back into the pits with a badly bent front wheel–the incident made SPEED TV highlights. Rapp took on new wheels and went right back out to set his fastest time.
Rapp then followed that drama up by holding onto a second-row grid position for the Superbike final.
The 30-year-old rounded out his day with an eighth place finish in the Formula Xtreme race. He ran with the lead group early, but handling setbacks prevented him from fulfilling the potential he demonstrated on Friday.
“It was a good day on the whole,” said Rapp. “We struggled a little bit in the Formula Xtreme race with our set-up, but it was good to be where we were. Hopefully we can get some of the issues ironed out with the 1000 for the Superbike race. The Superstock bike feels great—I’m definitely aiming to get my second straight win in the class tomorrow.”
Despite having to run in the first of two split Superstock qualifying groups, Matt Furtek landed in the top 10. The teenager was easily the fastest man in his group and might have been able to run even faster if he had some equally quick riders to hook up with.
He commented, “Everything is coming together really well. It was good to be fastest in my session and nice to be on pole, even if it only lasted a little while.”
Chris Ulrich will join Furtek in the middle of row three tomorrow, qualifying 11th best for the Superstock race. Impressively, Ulrich set his best lap without the aid of a tow and on Michelin race tires, not on soft qualifying tires.
“This weekend is all about getting my confidence back with my arm finally working right again, and I’m well on the way,” Ulrich stated. “My goal is to come away with a top five tomorrow, and I think we have a good shot.”