File photography by Brian J. Nelson
MONTEREY, CA, JULY 11 – “I’m more focused and ready to race this weekend,” a determined Jake Lewis said today after putting the Mees Motorsports Yamaha R6 on provisional pole for Sunday’s Daytona SportBike final at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Finishing second to Dane Westby at Barber Motorsports Park didn’t sit well with Lewis and he’s been seething over it every since. He said he’s made some changes to his mental outlook and he’s also taken the lap timer off his R6.
“It was pretty good,” Lewis said of his 1:27.452 that put him on provisional pole. “The first practice we struggled a little bit, but we made some changes to the bike which seemed to be better for qualifying. I came into the weekend with a lot of confidence after finishing second at Barber and also a little bit mad. I came in here with a little bit different attitude, changed some things with myself over the last couple of weeks and I’m ready to go for the race. Tomorrow I may have to go a little bit faster, but I don’t know what the conditions will be like. Right now I’m pretty happy with provisional pole.”
Lewis hasn’t won a Daytona SportBike race yet and his patience is wearing thin.
“After Barber I was pretty mad at myself and I’ve been staying with Roger Hayden and their dad Early has been a big help for me throughout my career and he’s been getting on to me a little bit,” Lewis said. “I changed my mental game a little bit, been working on that and staying focused more. We actually took the lap timer off the bike for this weekend. I’m just out there focusing on my riding and trying to click off lap after lap. I need to get that first win. It’s very important.”
Lewis’ best lap was just a hair quicker than the one turned in by Castrol Triumph’s Jason DiSalvo, the New Yorker putting in a best of 1:27.458 for second. The came the first of the Y.E.S. Graves Motorsports R6s with Garrett Gerloff clocking a 1:27.610 to sandwich himself between the Triumphs of DiSalvo (who was fastest in the first session this morning) and Daytona 200 winner Danny Eslick.
Then came championship leader Jake Gagne on the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha R6 and the second of the Graves Yamahas with JD Beach at the helm.
Yamahalube Westby Racing’s Dane Westby, who swept the doubleheader at Barber a few weeks ago, ended the day seventh with GEICO Honda’s Jake Zemke, RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s Tomas Puerta and Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph Racing’s Bobby Fong rounding out the top 10 on the opening day at Laguna Seca.
1. Jake Lewis (Yamaha) 1:27.452
2. Jason DiSalvo (Triumph) 1:27.458
3. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 1:27.603
4. Danny Eslick (Triumph) 1:27.610
5. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 1:27.765
6. JD Beach (Yamaha) 1:27.846
7. Dane Westby (Yamaha) 1:28.302
8. Jake Zemke (Honda) 1:28.319
9. Tomas Puerta (Yamaha) 1:28.578
10. Bobby Fong (Triumph) 1:28.770