Roberts on the Front Row at Laguna Seca

NEWS July 20, 2013

Roberts on the Front Row at Laguna Seca

Photo by Brian J Nelson

Courtesy of Team Hammer:

July 20, 2013 - Team Hammer opened the highly-anticipated combined AMA Pro/MotoGP weekend at Laguna Seca in encouraging fashion on Friday, securing some impressive results while expecting further improvement to come.

California Superbike School Racing's Joe Roberts rejoined the squad this weekend for the second of his three-race AMA Pro schedule. The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup regular dropped jaws in his AMA Pro debut weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, dominating the AMA SuperSport class there from start to finish.

The 16-year-old Californian proved hugely impressive again on Friday, finishing his first-ever session at Laguna Seca in fourth while learning his way around the circuit's numerous elevation changes and blind corners. Roberts took another big step forward in QP1, claiming a provisional front-row grid position by lapping third fastest at 1:29.798 on his CBR600RR, a scant 0.062 seconds off provisional pole.

GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing's Dane Westby enjoyed a strong opening day as well. The Oklahoman made some highly productive set-up changes to his CBR600RR following practice, allowing him to drop a second off his lap time on a medium race tire. Westby qualified sixth provisionally for Sunday's Daytona SportBike race at 1:28.681.

Meanwhile, fellow DSB contender M4's Benny Solis endured a more difficult day. He crashed one of his bikes in the first practice and crashed his spare bike in the first qualifying session, only completing six laps. He still managed to secure a provisional third-row starting slot, 12th best at 1:30.163.

MPH Racing's Melissa Paris ended the day in 19th at 1:33.177 on her Team Hammer Contract Services Honda CBR600RR.

AMA Pro Superbike pilot Chris Ulrich flashed the potential to secure a strong result this weekend on Friday even though some minor issues prevented him from circulating as quickly as he might have otherwise during the day's sole Superbike practice session.

The M4 Racing rider was 13th in FP1 aboard his CBR1000RR at 1:28.815.

Ulrich said, "We had a small technical problem with one of the bikes in the session and that set us back. And then another part of the session we struggled with a bad rear tire that was losing air -- we don't really why that was. Those problems slowed our progress, but we're going to figure everything out. We have good information now, and we have a direction, which is good for the first day. And we've pinpointed areas where we can improve, so that's good, too. It was a lot easier to identify problem areas here. Now we're just going to work through those things and see what we can do."

About Team Hammer: In 2013, Team Hammer, Inc. is competing in its 33rd consecutive racing season, and is marking its seventh year of offering technical and logistical support through its Contract Services Department. Riders on Team Hammer-prepared racebikes have earned 56 AMA Pro National race wins; 132 AMA Pro National podium finishes; 5 AMA Pro Championships; 133 Overall National Endurance race wins; 13 National Endurance Championships and assorted other race wins and titles.

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