The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has completed the first day of action for the eighth round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship, which is currently underway at the Laguna Seca raceway in California. Stefan Bradl and new recruit for the American event, Jake Gagne, were 14th and 17th respectively in the combined times of today’s two free practice sessions and will therefore start tomorrow’s qualifying from Superpole 1.
Bradl got an OK start to the round by completing the first session in ninth place on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine. In the early minutes of FP2, however, the 27-year-old German tucked the front-end of the bike entering the Corkscrew; he then slid onto the gravel side by side with his motorcycle and ended up back onto the track. After the crash, red flags were deployed and not long after the restart – given the limited damage taken by the bike – Stefan was able to return to the track. Bradl could not improve on his morning’s lap-time and therefore ended the day in 14th place.
Bradl’s team mate for the US Round, Jake Gagne, made his much-anticipated World Superbike debut and used the majority of the track time getting to grips with the WorldSBK-spec version of the Fireblade as well as the Pirelli tyres. The 23-year-old American steadily improved lap after lap throughout the two sessions but he also ended up crashing unhurt – in the final minutes of the Free practice 2 – at the Corkscrew, with the dynamic of the accident that it was almost identical to the one occurred to his team mate earlier on.