TOOELE, Utah (May 24) — Road racing veteran Jake Zemke will contest the third and final leg of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout from the No. 6 spot on the Pro Sportbike starting grid after qualifying with a best lap of 1:31.963 Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park.
Chris Ulrich, Zemke’s teammate on the GEICO Motorcycle Honda team, one-upped his friend with a fifth-best time of 1:29.385 in Pro Superbike.
It was a decent result for the team, considering both riders had less track time than they had hoped as morning rain and cool temperatures kept everyone in the pits during a scheduled early-morning practice session. In the end, most riders used just one practice period to prep for the lone qualifying round.
“We certainly were a bit limited by time today,” Zemke said. “No one even went out this morning because it was wet, and that probably hurt all of us a bit. I know for us qualifying really didn’t quite work out like we had hoped. We took a couple steps back, actually, after making some changes to the rear shock that didn’t pan out.
“We didn’t get our best run in there today but we’re still on the second row for the race, and I think we’re going to be OK. It’s not like we’re a mile behind the guys in front of us. We’ll work on the bike tonight and try to improve it for race day. We do have one more practice session in the morning and although it will probably be a bit cooler, we’ll be able to work on some things. I’d personally like to have the bike turn a little better. I have complete confidence in the guys. They’ll have this thing ready to race.”
Ulrich tempered his enthusiasm after qualifying inside of Row 2, pointing out that a few of the tour regulars had skipped this race to prep for next weekend’s AMA Pro event at Road America. Still, he was very pleased with the progress of his team’s efforts.
“It’s encouraging because we closed the gap on a lot of really good bikes that had put time on us in the first two rounds of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout,” Ulrich said. “We went home and found some thing with the forks that needed changing and it’s helped quite a bit. I have a lot more confidence with the front of the bike.
“We made another change between practice and qualifying today and it didn’t feel as good but we were quicker. We closed right up on the guys in front of us and even passed a few, so we’re encouraged by that, not only for this race but for next weekend and beyond.
“I think we can make this latest configuration more comfortable and stay just as quick. I’m a comfort rider; I like to feel good when I’m riding. If I feel good I’m able to push harder.”
The Dynojet Pro Sportbike race will begin at 2:25 p.m. MT, Sunday, immediately followed by the RaceFuelZ Pro Superbike race at 3:10 p.m. Both races are slated for 18 laps each.