MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 27) – After Friday’s first qualifying session aboard the GEICO Motorcycle Honda, rider Dane Westby is in line to start the GoPro Daytona SportBike season finale from the second row at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the final stop in the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series.
Westby turned a best lap of one minute, 28.074 seconds to provisionally qualify seventh. He was just a fraction of a second off the pace for a front-row spot, and he believes that moving up in Saturday’s final qualifier is possible.
“We ran fourth most of the session,” Westby said. “We got a tow (draft) behind J.D. Beach, which is what we need to go faster at this point. I was able to see what he was doing and follow his lines.”
Westby’s chances for improvement will be strong because unlike most of the events on the schedule, where qualifiers are run at radically different times of the day, this weekend’s sessions will be run at similar times.
“It’s been an odd weekend,” Westby said. “Usually there’s fog and the track is wet in the morning. The weather has just been perfect. I’m excited to qualify at the same time. The track will be nice and warm, so we’ll go out and give it another shot.”
That time among the leading riders (Beach is provisionally third) has also given Westby confidence about Sunday’s race.
“I also saw we’re going to have a really good race pace,” Westby said. “If their pace doesn’t change, it bodes well for us. There were places where they were weak and we were strong. I think we’ll be able to strike.”
Westby said he could tell the team had made serious gains since the last race in New Jersey.
“The bike felt good as soon as we unloaded it from the truck,” Westby said. “This is the best the bike has felt yet. I know my guys have been working really hard to make it that way. I’m really pleased with my GEICO Motorcycle Honda; we’ve barely adjusted anything.”
The second Daytona SportBike qualifier gets under way at 3:15 p.m. PDT Saturday from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Sunday’s race starts at 9:30 a.m.