MONTEREY, Calif. (July 12) — GEICO Honda road racers Chris Ulrich and Jake Zemke completed final preparations for the FIM World Superbike Championship, GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round with some solid riding during Saturday’s final practice and qualifying sessions.
Ulrich turned a best lap of 1:27.228 on the 11-Turn, 2.2 mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca course. The time was just a fraction of a second slower than his official qualifying mark of 1:27.169 set Friday afternoon. He’ll start in the 26th spot on the grid.
“We’re really happy with today’s work,” said Ulrich, a wild-card entry in the World Superbike Series this weekend. “Our times were right there with what we ran in yesterday’s third session and it feels like the bike is dialed in pretty well. Most of all, we’re representing GEICO Motorcycle at a race they are sponsoring that will be seen by a worldwide audience. That’s pretty cool.
“Realistically, we’re hoping for a top-20 finish. The World Superbike guys have at least 20 horsepower on us and that’s a lot. We’re hanging in there, though, and we have two 25-lap races tomorrow. I’m anticipating some attrition and hoping for even a little more from our Honda CBR1000RR.”
The two World Superbike Championship races will take place at 11 and 2:45 p.m. PT, Sunday.
Veteran rider Zemke used Saturday’s final round of Daytona SportBike qualifying to lower his quickest time to 1:27.860, placing him eighth overall. Zemke will grid in the middle of the third row.
“It felt really good out there today,” Zemke said. “It was slightly cooler and everyone was picking up a little time and fortunately we were able to stay right there with them. Any time you finish qualifying this close to the top guy (Jason DiSalvo at 1:26.771) you feel like you have a chance.
“I salute the guys on this GEICO Honda team. They’ve continued to work night and day on these bikes to make them better. We’ve been progressing every race and seemingly every round so we’re going in the right direction. Some times racing requires patience and these guys are dealing with it very well.
The 20-lap main event for Daytona SportBike will begin at 1:25 p.m. PT, Sunday.