FIM Superbike World Championship – Moto Madness in Monterey
If you were to ask us what the FIM Superbike World Championship series tour stop at WeatherTech Laguna Seca sounds like, our answer would be simple: it’s a soundtrack of high pitched, high revving insanity. It’s sensory overload as the bikes whiz by, beer cans being cracked open, and the echo of an announcer’s robust play-by-play of the day’s events. All of this happens against cool mornings of fog, followed immediately by hot, sunny afternoons.
While the FIM Superbike World Championship series is the main attraction of the weekend’s events, there were tons of other goings-on around the track, including races in MotoAmerica Motul Superbike, MotoAmerica Twins Cup, MotoAmerica Liqui Moly Junior Cup, and more. The non-racing docket included Ducati parade laps, vintage exhibition laps, and obviously the vendor presence off track. All the names we know and love, like Suzuki, Indian, Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and others had their own setups with displays of their newest models and well-loved fan favorites. Riding demos were available for both child and adult riders alike, which made for a truly family friendly feel.
We could talk all day about point standings, podium finishes, whose contract is up next and who will be replacing them, and so on. Those subjects are easy, black and white, and the details are pasted across every Moto media outlet that pops up from your Google search. What is most interesting to us is the human element that works in conjunction with the mechanical side of the sport.
On paper, FIM Superbike World Championship racing is madness. It sounds like insanity to cocoon yourself in a riding suit (wherein you become drenched with sweat), pull on a helmet, and perch yourself on top of what is essentially a beefy bicycle frame with a pissed off engine strapped to it. Your fuel, engine and tires are basically between your legs. Then, your job as a motorsport athlete is to take that bike up to speeds north of 160mph, while leaning into your turns and just barely missing the pavement with your knees.
Racing isn’t done on paper, though. It’s done by riders who crave adrenaline and competition. It’s what some might call a special kind of crazy, but as the track announcer put it, “The people outside of this track might never understand why these riders do that they do, and that’s perfectly okay.”
The mornings opened with the usual paddock activity as teams prepared for their practice laps. The first FIM World Superbike Championship free practice on Saturday was held at 9:00AM, and was followed by the MotoAmerica Motul Superbike free practice. Between these practice laps, we wandered through the paddocks to observe everything that was happening behind the scenes.
By the time Race One came around, the sun was hot and everyone was in their various positions. Twenty-five laps may sound like a long time, but somehow it really isn’t. When the bikes scream past you on the straights at full throttle, you aren’t really concerned with how long it’s been or what lap they’re on. You’re simply overwhelmed. It’s an enveloping feeling, full of intensity and a hint of anxiety.
The podium celebration for Race One was full of excitement and high emotion. Getting to see riders pull up and embrace their teams really is a wonderful feeling. It’s a kind of happiness that radiates to the crowd. Photographers and journalists crowded each other to get as close as they physically could as P1 Jonathan Rea, P2 Chaz Davies, and P3 Alex Lowes all rejoiced in their victories. Then, finishing with the standard champagne spraying parade lap, it was all over. Everyone began to prepare once again for another race the next day.
FIM World Superbike Championship is an exhilarating event to witness, and we hope our readers get the chance to make it out to one of their races if they’ve never done so before. After all, who can deny the insanity and thrill of two wheeled competition?