Westby finishes sixth in second race back from spleen injury
NEWS June 3, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 2) - GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Dane Westby made steady improvement during Sunday's GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Road America. He finished sixth and made his quickest laps of the weekend during the second half of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America, the second stop in the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series.
"We did move forward," said Westby, who competed for the first time this season following a spleen injury. "We went faster than we qualified. We're still having some problems with myself and a little with the bike, but today was a step in the right direction."
Westby's biggest stumbling block of the weekend was reestablishing a confident feel for the front end of his GEICO Motorcycle Honda as it transitioned from Road America's long, fast straightaways into its tight corners. Westby didn't have the confidence in the front end to be as aggressive as the leaders through those sections.
"I'm going to try to get some more front-end feel any way I can," Westby said. "When I train at home, I'll ride my dirt bike or maybe lower the pressure in the front tires. I feel like this problem is me and not the bike."
Despite the mental hurdles, Westby still ran the fastest laps of the weekend on Sunday even though the track lost grip because of rain and a 30-degree shift in temperatures overnight. Westby's quickest lap on Sunday was 2 minutes, 20.919 seconds. During Saturday's race his best lap was a 2:21.469 on the way to an eighth-place finish.
"Before the next race we're going to change the way the power is delivered on the bike," Westby said. "I thought for sure I could pass Garrett Gerloff for fifth on the run to the line (on the last lap). I got a better drive on him and almost ran into him coming into the last corner and he just squirted away.
"There are a few things we need to iron out. Some of it sits with me and some of it is the bike. We're trying to make up for lost time. With the way my confidence has been shaken, I'm not able to fully tell them what's wrong with the bike."
But with a supportive crew and the next race at the familiar surroundings of Barber Motorsports Park, Westby said it shouldn't take long to return to form.
"Handling is this bike's strength," Westby said. "We've already tested at Barber and put up good times, so I think we'll be able to hang with these other bikes."
The next stop for the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series is the June 21-23 Triumph SuperBike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
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