BMW have been waiting for a win in World Superbikes for a long time. Ever since they entered the series in 2009, the German factory has been edging ever closer to podiums and a victory, but they have always proved elusive. At Donington, they finally got what they had been waiting for for so long, and more: Not only did Marco Melandri become the first ever rider to win a World Superbike race on a BMW, but his teammate Leon Haslam finished 2nd, making it a historic 1-2.
As it should be, what was probably the last Portuguese Grand Prix for the foreseeable future left no one indifferent. Torrential storms became almost a tradition at Estoril, so nobody expected this edition to be any different after seeing clouds quickly come and go over the track from Thursday to Sunday. It would hardly have been a surprise to feel the rain start to fall at any given moment of the weekend, but thankfully, it held off.
Cheating in motorsports is as old as the sport itself. Whenever powered vehicles gather together to race each other, then someone, somewhere, will try to gain an advantage, either within the rules or, if that is not successful, outside of the rules. In all classes, and at all times, teams, engineers and riders have all tried to cheat in one way or another. Even the imposition of a spec engine in the Moto2 class hasn't prevented teams trying to cheat, and the paddock is awash with rumors regarding which teams are cheating and which teams are not.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Sunday's races at Donington Park:
Donington Park is renowned for giving fans exciting races. 48,500 of them turned up over the weekend to brave the cold wind and watch the most exciting racing Superbike races of the year. Crashes, surprises, upsets and spills were the order of the day while history was made and old enmities revisited.
World Superbikes race two at Donington Park was a five-way dice that was settled in the last corner of the last lap in thrilling fashion.
A long fought battle with three riders fighting for the win.
25 years ago, Donington Park was host to the first ever World Superbike race weekend. A quarter of a century on, it still provides exciting racing and the opening World Superbike race was no exception.
BMW took their first World Superbike race win today, courtesy of Marco Melandri. Leon Haslam backed him up with a second place while Tom Sykes took the last step of the podium.
A day of cold weather but clear skies and dry track gave us qualifying sessions that broke lap records and hinted at the promise of tomorrow's racing.
Tom Sykes took his fourth pole position out of five races this year and kept his Kawasaki much higher up the standings than it should be on paper. A fast rider and an enthused team is the best recipe for improving a racing motorcycle. Sykes looks like a rider on his way to his first dry win.
World Supersports qualifying took place on a cold dry day, with riders breaking last year's lap records.
In the early part of World Supersports qualifying, Sam Lowes set a time very close to his previous lap record. After a long visit to the pits, he set out to challenge his own time and was on target to set an even faster lap when he crashed out. His fellow PTR rider, Jules Cluzel then, to add insult to injury, took pole position off him.
Superpole 1 was, for the first time in a while, a dry Superpole, meaning three sessions, with 12 going through from the first one, and 8 qualifying for the last.
Marco Melandri opened with a 1'28.323 which, while beating the race lap record, was still a quarter of a second off Carlos Checa's outright lap record from last years qualifying. Even a valiant attempt by Jakub Smrz couldn't take the top spot.
Jonathan Rea set the fastest time, in spite of missing most of yesterday's free practice due to an early spill. He set the time at the end of a session that was topped by Carlos Checa for the majority of the time. Leon Haslam, who used to run race schools at this track, beat provisional pole man Jakub Smrz, although Smrz's earlier qualifying time of 1'28.740 is still the fastest time of the day.
Jules Cluzel and Kenan Sofuoglu topped the leader board ahead of the usual Sam Lowes and Broc Parkes while Billy McConnell and wildcard Glen Richards head off the South Africans Ronan Quarmby and Sheridan Morais. The weather promises not to be a factor in the afternoon qualifying, but Sam Lowes has a bout of food poisoning, probably caused by the Thursday white water rafting he did as part of a press-friendly event, that could affect his strength.
Jakub Smrz, yesterday's fastest man, was once again on top, snatching provisional pole from Tom Sykes at the last minute. Carlos Checa and Leon Haslam round out the front row with Marco Menadri, winner here last year, and Leon camier heading off the second row. None of the replacement riders made it through to this afternoon's Superpole.