Two riders dead after accident in MotoAmerica superbike race at Laguna Seca on Sunday

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Two riders have died following a multi-bike incident at the start of the MotoAmerica Superbike Superstock 1000 race at Laguna Seca on Sunday.

Bernat Martinez, 35, and Daniel Rivas Fernandez, 27, were both transported to local hospitals following the incident, where they succumbed to their injuries.

Laguna Seca (pictured in 2013) hosted the 13th and 14th races of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship last weekend in support of the World Superbike Championship round at the track near Monterey, California.

MotoAmerica issued the following statement in the early hours of Monday morning:

A chain-reaction, multi-bike incident on the first lap of today’s second MotoAmerica Superbike/Superstock 1000 race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has resulted in the deaths of two competitors.

Bernat Martinez, of Alberic, Valencia, Spain, was transported from the raceway by ambulance to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) in Monterey, where he succumbed to his injuries. He was 35.

Daniel Rivas Fernandez, of Moana Galicia, Spain, was transported by REACH Medical Air Services to Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, where he also succumbed to injuries. He was 27.

MotoAmerica president Wayne Rainey sent his condolences to the families of both riders and the superbike paddock members.

“I really don’t have any words to describe what we all feel,” Rainey said.

“First and foremost, is the loss to the families and loved ones. Our sincere condolences goes out to each and every one of them as well as the MotoAmerica family. They are in our thoughts and prayers.”

“We are deeply saddened to learn the news of the passing of Bernat Martinez and Daniel Rivas,” Laguna Seca CEO Gill Campbell said.

“Our prayers and hearts go out to their families and teams.”

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

Petit Le Mans championship
IMSA
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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”