Neil Hodgson will be gunning for his first ever Laguna Seca win this weekend at round eight of the World Superbike championship. The current championship leader has never won a US round, and he’ll be leading the charge of Brits, including James Haydon, James Toseland and Chris Walker.
Hodgson’s biggest challenge will be his Michelin tyres as the firm only visits the circuit for the annual WSB event, whereas many top U.S. Superbike teams test Dunlop tyres there throughout the year.
James Haydon is raring to get back on the Foggy Petronas FP1 at the 3.6km track in California. Haydon is still recovering from a crash in Germany a month ago, and has missed the last two rounds in Italy and the UK. His last visit to the circuit was in 1994 on a 250cc GP bike.
" It’s coming on really well, but I’m not 100 per cent fit and am still suffering with problems caused by a prolapsed disc, " said Haydon. " I am just hoping that it won’t interfere with my riding as I’m desperate to get back into action. "
Fellow Brits, HM Plant riders James Toseland and Chris Walker, are also hopeful of a good result. Toseland is currently third in the championship, with one victory already this season.
The 22-year-old said " I love the circuit and have always enjoyed riding there. I’m fully recovered from that big crash at Misano, so I’m confident of a good result this weekend. "
Walker is also looking forward to the racing after a season plagued by injuries.
" The team has some good settings. It’ll be good to race against the wildcard riders on factory Suzukis and I’m desperate to do well so that I’m ready for the big one at Brands. "
The Brits face a serious challenge from AMA Superbike series header Eric Bostrom, who will be out for victory on his Kawasaki 750, and the Yoshimura duo of Mat Mladin and Aaron Yates.
The Californian track also hosts individual rounds of the AMA Superbike championship, as well as the star-studded inaugural AMA Supermoto championship this weekend, meaning three championships taking place, and at least four races for each of the WSB wildcards.
The racing will be shown on BBC and Eurosport. The races are live on UK Eurosport at 8pm, and highlights of the racing are on BBC2 at 11.20pm.
The next round will be the Brands Hatch World Superbike meeting on July 27, and there will be a special Brands supplement with MCN on July 23.
Make your predictions for the podium on the World Superbike discussion board by clicking on the link on the right. Find out more about the AMA Supermoto round by following the AMA Supermoto link on the right, or by visiting the off-road section.