The Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha team will run this special livery for Sunday’s races. The bodywork will then be auctioned off with the proceeds to go to research to cure Rett Syndrome.
It was another gorgeous day at Laguna Seca Saturday and fans steadily funneled inside for the second day of this year’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix combined MotoGP and AMA motorcycle racing weekend. Activities on track consisted of final qualifying practice to set the grid for Sunday’s races. Behind the fence we bounced around the track moseying around Ducati Island as well as having the opportunity to visit the Fiat Yamaha and Monster Tech 3 team garages. We also spent some saddle time at the controls of Zero Motorcycles new Zero S electric motorcycle.
In the AMA Superbike scene, the Pat Clark Motorsports squad unveiled some special livery they are planning on racing for tomorrows AMA Superbike race. After the race the bodywork, and rider’s leathers and helmets will be auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. EBay bidding for these one-off items begins Monday. Make sure to check out www.emmafoley.com for the eBay link.
Compared to Friday, foot traffic through Ducati Island ramped up considerably. Some of the highlights were a fashion show in which Ducati models strutted down the catwalk wearing casual and riding apparel for the Ducati Performance catalog. The finer female models also showed off some new two-piece Ducati swim wear for when you’re motorcycling to the beach.
Ducati has announced another EVO model release, with its 2011 Ducati 848 EVO middleweight sportbike.
Later in the day, Ducati also unveiled the new 2011 Ducati 848 EVO Superbike. The new bike is dressed in full stealth fighter-style matte black bodywork and features an up-spec liquid-cooled 848cc L-Twin engine. It also gets Brembo’s premium monobloc calipers as well as Pirelli’s fantastic Diablo Supercorsa SP street/track day tires. The best part however is that the price hasn’t gone up a cent and will still cost $12,995.
Other noteworthy news is that Yamaha and Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway have extended their partnership for another four years. This means that Yamaha will continue to sponsor the Laguna Seca MotoGP round until 2014.
“Without the support and counsel from our friends at Yamaha it would never have been possible to bring MotoGP to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca,” said Gill Campbell, CEO for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “Yamaha is a leader in motorsports and their support provides us the opportunity to continue taking the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix forward. Their investment and partnership are signs of their commitment to the sport and to our loyal fans.”
(Above) The Doctor’s office: The cockpit of Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1. (Below) More carbon fiber than a Lockhart Phillips USA catalog. The 2010 Yamaha YZR-M1.
“This in an important marketing component of the Yamaha brand in North America,” added Bob Starr, Communications Manager of Yamaha Motorsports Group. “The continuity of the partnership with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will build on the past six years of being the Official Motorcycle and sponsor of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. It is great to have such an iconic race track that we can call home.”
Yamaha was also gracious enough to let as sneak inside the garages before the final MotoGP qualifying session of the day. Once inside we got to see the beauty that is Yamaha’s YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes. It’s crazy how well made these bikes are. Each part looks like it was made by hand and the amount of carbon fiber used on many of the parts has to be seen to be believed.
After our quick tour of the Yamaha garages we checked out the Zero Motorcycles booth situated right next to the Yamaha Marketplace next to Turn 5. There, they were allowing folks to actually demo ride their new $9999 electric motorcycle dubbed the Zero S. Having never ridden an electric bike I was skeptical on how it would perform. But from the moment I pinned the throttle I was surprised by not only how much get up and go this engine-less bike had but how easy it was to ride.
There’s no clutch so operating it is much like a scooter, only it has instant torque as soon as you twist the throttle. The throttle settings are very well calibrated so it’s a smooth transition from stop to moving and the bike doesn’t feel that heavy or large between the riders legs. I spent a good portion of the day on it motoring… er, riding it around the paddock and the battery drained only 33%. Not bad considering how hard I was accelerating not to mention all the steep hills that I was climbing in order to get to all the excellent viewing spots on the track. This motorcycle was extremely well suited to getting around the racetrack and I look forward to getting a chance to ride one at home.
Finally, in AMA Superbike qualifying, our boy Steve Atlas qualified in 20th position on our Yoshimura built Suzuki GSX-R1000. One of the problems that held him back from a faster time was that first gear stopped working which made it hard to get a good drive onto the front straightaway coming out of Turn 10.
That’s it from Saturday at Laguna. If you plan on coming out to the races tomorrow make sure you stop by the MotorcycleUSA booth inside Ducati Island and pickup the latest copy of the MotoUSA magazine. See you at the races.