MONTEREY, Calif. (July 20) – A thick sea fog that enveloped Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday morning kept the pros in the GoPro Daytona SportBike class from pushing the limits in the final qualifying session for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Dane Westby was no exception as he played it safe and relied on Friday’s best time of 1:28.681 to earn the No. 7 position on the grid.
“It was so moist out there I actually had this little cloud effect going on inside my helmet,” Westby said. “So visibility was an issue, but the main thing keeping me in check was the top of the corkscrew. I just couldn’t keep the front end. It was up in the clouds over there and I think it was wet. I didn’t want to lose the bike.”
Despite the soggy conditions, Westby was only slightly off Friday’s time, posting a best of 1:29.010 in Q2.
“We are really, really good chassis-wise, and we’re getting better and better with the motor,” crew chief Chuck Giacchetto said. “It’s exciting because Dane can ride aggressively and safely, so I’m really pumped up right now. I’m even getting compliments from other people out here on his riding.
“This crew is working so hard right now on this Honda. We’re just a push away from being in the top of the pack. Everyone wants it so much.
“It was wet out there this morning and that definitely hampers the grip of the tires. We tried a couple of different tires, one soft and one medium, but when the racing surface is slick the riders lose confidence in the turns.”
Westby, Giacchetto, and crew will now turn their attention to race day. Due to the ongoing Moto GP race, there will be only one Daytona SportBike race this weekend, a 20-lap affair taking place at 11:15 a.m., Sunday.
“I think we’ll have a good race,” Westby said. “Usually by 11 o’clock the fog has burned off but it’s still cool outside so we should have a nice, tight track. I’m ready to deliver a good result for these guys. Everyone is working double-time for me, and I want to pay them back for their exceptional effort.”