Benny Solis Race Report - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
NEWS August 1, 2012
Photo by Brian J Nelson
Courtesy of GoPro Daytona SportBike rider, Benny Solis:
(August 1, 2012) - So although Laguna was a tough weekend at the beginning, I feel like we ended up doing alright for the issues we had on and off the bike. I was quite excited to go out there in first free practice and start off at a fast pace but I couldn't get the bike to turn the way I needed it too. After sitting down with my dad, Robert Ward, Dave Brite and Lenny from Ohlins, we all agreed on a setup change that we were sure would help us get a good position in qualifying!
We were supposed to have our first qualifying the morning of Saturday, but unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side and we weren't able to turn any laps. Later that day though we were able to go out and run our qualifying session. I was quite motivated to get a good position since its every important for the race.
Immediately as I went out, I felt right away that the changes we made were a big positive change. My goal was to get a hot lap immediately and while I was pushing hard, I made a huge mistake on my side and I ended up high siding while coming down the world famous cork screw. I was seriously bummed when I stopped rolling because my first thoughts, other than my knees were hurting, was, "damn, I seriously messed up my chance to get a decent position on the grid."
It was quite frustrating for me but all I was focused on was taking care oh my knees the rest of saturday so I could ride hard for Sunday's race because I knew I was going to start from somewhere in the back, and I would need to make up many positions.
I was gridded in 17th position since my lap time from first practice was used. I jumped on my B bike for Sundays warm up and the bike felt great since the same set up as my A bike was put on. It was still very foggy and misty but I was able to get a good feel for the bike and I was excited for the race.
So for the race, I got a pretty good start and started making up positions right away. I had to be real aggressive because there was many riders in front of me. With about 5 laps to go, I was in 9th place and on the last few laps I charged hard because I was in a battle with 4 other riders and I had a chance to get into 6th place. I was stoked on some of the passes I made and I moved up to 7th place with 2 laps to go. On my final lap, I made a move going into the corkscrew for 6th place but I broke a little too late and ran wide. So I was back in 7th place and thats where I finished! It was definitely a fun race :)
I was hoping for my first top 5 or podium at Laguna, but I put myself in a tough position when I went out and crashed in qualifying. Like I said though, for the way the weekend started, I feel like I learned a lot this last weekend and I matched my best finish. I'm really excited for New Jersey though since I learned the track last season for the final, and now I learned from my mistake in qualifying at Laguna. So I'm shooting for a much better qualifying out there for me so I have a better shot to be closer up front for the race. I'm happy with the set up I have on my bike and I'm going to be training real hard so I show up at NJ as prepared as I can be. I'm hoping to get some track time in, also some dirt riding, and just working in my physical fitness. I'll post another update soon! Stay tuned everyone :)
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