Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki found Thursday at the AMA National at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca to be somewhat of a mixed bag. While Steve Rapp was quickest again in Superstock and in his quest to win three consecutive races in the tightly contested class, a crash on his Formula Xtreme GSX-R1000 left the California with an injured shoulder. That left his younger teammates to uphold the team’s colors. Chris Ulrich was firmly in the top ten in Superstock and Matt Furtek was 21st in his first trip to the track.
“I don’t really know what happened with the crash,” Rapp said afterward. “There’s nothing broken but my shoulder feels like something’s pretty messed up. But I’m going to get a massage or some therapy and hopefully I’ll feel good enough to win my third Superstock race in a row. Things are going well and we want to keep it up.” Steve’s morning time of 1:29:235 is still the fastest Superstock time of the weekend and is under the lap record for the class.
Chris Ulrich his finding his podium form again and continued to progress after struggling earlier this season. “We’re competitive now,” he said after setting sixth best mark in the afternoon Supersport practice at 1:30.599. “I had a good rhythm going. I can do 1:30 lap times all day on the bike. Now we need to make my bike just a little better to get down in the ’29s and I can keep pushing it like I am right now. The bike feels good when I’m sliding it, which wasn’t the case earlier in the year.
“The Michelin tires seem to be working very well here at Laguna,” Ulrich continued.
Matt Furtek is still learning the difficult Laguna layout. With plenty of blind turns, experience is a must at Laguna Seca. “We kept knocking off a little bit of time,” Furtek said. “I just have to put in a bunch of laps and learn the track more.” His best time was a 1:35.345.