SBK: Round 6, Donington – Weekend preview: World Superbike, World Supersport, Superstock 1000

 In News, World Superbikes


World Superbike


The legendary Donington Park circuit will play host to the sixth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend. The English venue is located in the East Midlands, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Derby and 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Leicester. It was inaugurated in 1931 and became a permanent racing circuit two years later.

Donington is particularly special in World Superbike history, as it hosted the very first race event in 1988. Home rider Roger Burnett picked up his first and what proved to be only pole position before Italians Davide Tardozzi and Marco Lucchinelli triumphed in the two heats, with Lucchinelli coming out the overall winner. This would prove to be the only round split into two heats, with the two-race format known today coming in for the following event.

Heading to England in 2015, four British riders head up the World Championship, but only two of them have ever won at Donington. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) is the second most successful rider at the track after only Carl Fogarty, having done the double for the last two years. Sykes also impressed in 2008, finished second in race one as a wildcard rider while Troy Bayliss celebrated victory.

Without doubt, KRT’s Jonathan Rea is the British rider generating headlines this season. Perhaps his best Donington memory is that of 2012, when he won the second race after the BMWs of Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri came together at the last corner. Haslam will certainly be hoping to avoid such drama this weekend; he heads to Donington off the back of three ‘bogey circuits’ for him in Aragon, Assen and Imola, with his second race in Italy having featured one of the biggest crashes of his racing career. The Aprilia rider is now attempting to put the title attack back on track in front of his many fans, friends and family members at Donington.

Elsewhere, Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) has become the first Spanish rider to collect a World Superbike podium trophy since Carlos Checa. However, he has another new track to learn. On the other hand, Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) will be praying for race finishes and a strong haul of points following two very costly race retirements – both because of matters beyond the rider’s control – last time out. The Welshman’s team-mate Davide Giugliano took the paddock by storm two weekends ago, dramatically clinching pole position before picking up a Race 1 rostrum finish; all the more impressive considering this was his first round back since his pre-season testing crash.

The UK Round could be a telling one for the respective Pata Honda World Superbike Team and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki; both are still looking for the consistent rate of success they yearned at the start of the campaign. For the Suzuki outfit, based in Dorset, the learning curve has increased in size since the introduction of a new electronics package from the Aragón Round onwards. Last year, Alex Lowes finished on the podium at Donington.

Randy de Puniet last raced in Donington Park in 2009, when he clinched the second of his two career MotoGP podium finishes, taking third behind current MotoGP front-runner Andrea Dovizioso and two-time WorldSBK Champion Colin Edwards on a very wet day.

At Honda, memories of the longest ever run of consecutive points finishes are but a distant memory for reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli, who at Imola registered a second non-finish of 2015, while Michael van der Mark also had a difficult weekend following the heroics of Assen when the Dutchman clinched top three finishes in both of his home races.

Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) is another rider with a Donington Park podium to his name, having finished on the rostrum racing alongside Max Biaggi at Aprilia in 2011. The Kent rider had made his World Superbike debut at the circuit two years earlier, as a wildcard with the Airwaves Yamaha Team with which he won the 2009 British Superbike crown.

Expected to return to action is Nico Terol, who was replaced at Althea Racing by Michel Fabrizio for Imola. Terol had been injured in the previous gathering at Assen and now hopes to be back in action at a circuit he knows from his Grand Prix racing days. Others are looking to back up a strong Imola performance as Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati), Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) and Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven) strive for success.


World Supersport


Heading to the Land of Hope and Glory, Donington Park will bring the curtain down on the first half of the World Supersport season for 2015. Last year at the British circuit, it was Michael van der Mark who triumphed after a last-lap pass on Cluzel. The Dutchman would go on to take that season’s title prior to his switch to the World Superbike class.

As for Frenchman Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), he is attempting to fight back to the front of the championship, having led it after his Phillip Island victory at the top end of the season. He finds himself 40 points in arrears of Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and still feeling the effects of costly engine problems in Thailand and Aragon. Sofuoglu, on the other hand, sealed a very impressive win at Imola despite the knowledge that his baby son was critically ill in hospital; a true mark of the Turk’s determined character.

Another rider still in the fight and not to be forgotten is P.J. Jacobsen. The New Yorker has impressed this season and is officially Sofuoglu’s closest challenger. The Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki rider heads to Great Britain off the back of two podiums and a pair of fourth place finishes; he sits 37 points behind the championship leader with a maximum of 175 points up for grabs between Britain and the Qatar season finale on 18 October.

Back on the podium in his home race, Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) seems to have readjusted to his F3 675 motorcycle, while British riders Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) and Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) are keen to impress the home crowd. In Smith’s case, this will be his first race since debuting as a television commentator, having provided the soundtrack to Imola’s round of the Pata Junior Cup powered by Honda. Another rider looking to iron out some ups and downs in World Supersport is Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE’’ Motorsport Thailand Honda), who has gone through a poor patch of form since winning for the first time at Buriram.

Finland’s Niki Tuuli will take advantage of the break in the STK600 calendar by making his World Supersport debut with his Kallio Racing Team, while Alexey Ivanov will return to action after his encouraging thirteenth-place finish in a one-off ride at Aragon last month. British wildcards Kyle Ryde (Pacedayz European TrackDays Yamaha), Luke Stapleford and Sam Hornsey (Profile Racing Triumph) elevate the number of entries for the UK round to 28. Stapleford and Ryde currently sit atop the British Supersport Championship table.


Superstock 1000


Lorenzo Savadori (Nuova M2 Racing Aprilia) heads to the fourth round of the 2015 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup after clinching a second consecutive victory of the season at Imola. However, Donington Park could present a more difficult challenge for the Italian, who has raced there on only one previous occasion: 125 Grand Prix racing in 2009.

The last FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race at Donington came in 2009. Xavier Simeon started on pole position with a Ducati, winning the race from Claudio Corti’s Suzuki and Honda-shod Maxime Berger.

This time round, Savadori holds the advantage points-wise, helped by the crash that took erstwhile championship leader Roberto Tamburini (MotoxRacing BMW) out of the Assen race earlier this season. Similar happenings have affected the likes of Ondrej Jezek (Triple-M by Barni Ducati), Kev Coghlan (MRS Yamaha) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea Racing Ducati), who are all in contention but have lost points through an assortment of incidents.

Out of action completely will be Coghlan’s team mate Florian Marino, who will be replaced by fellow Frenchman Mathieu Gines. As spectacular as his Imola highside was, the Frenchman was left with an arm fractured in two places which means he misses Donington and hopes to be back for Portimao. Since the Imola race, he has undergone surgery in Italy before heading home.

The Superstock 1000 class will be the only Superstock class racing at Donington, as the Superstock 600 riders had two races in Aragon as they do not compete at the UK Round.

Source: WorldSBK

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