|5||Michael VD MARK||NED||49||-46|
With the recent leaked news of Suzuki's MotoGP test and Honda's press release discussing the test of their new Production Racer MotoGP machine, the first speculation of silly season is starting to appear. With so many seats already tied up - all four Honda seats, three Yamaha seats and one seat at Ducati - speculation is limited, though the imminent return of Suzuki to the fold opens up more seats for consideration.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the races at Donington Park:
Sykes Wins Both Home Races At Donington!
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored his first career double at Donington and in doing so moved to within four points of the championship lead after five rounds.
Having set a new track best in Superpole on Saturday Sykes rode brilliantly and almost faultlessly in each 23-lap race at Donington to score not only his first double win, but take a new lap record in race two, a 1’28.074, set on lap four.
The reduced grid in World Superbike really shows up when one or two riders are injured and cannot race. Losing both Leon Haslam and Carlos Checa from the competition today hammered home the reasoning behind Dorna's proposed financial limiting, especially after the predictable departure of Effenbert Liberty Racing. Seventeen riders competed for points in the second race, meaning only two of them wouldn't score points. With the good weather, there were luckily very few DNFs, which would have made it look even worse.
The ever-reducing grid was dealt another blow for race two as Carlos Checa decided, after his poor performance this morning, to sit the second race out, joining Leon Haslam on the scratch bench.
Tom Sykes dragged Jonathan Rea to the first corner again, but the Aprilias of Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty once again prised the Honda off second place, dumping him back to 4th. As Laverty took second place from Guintoli, the third Aprilia of Davide Giugliano slipped past Rea and Sykes set the lap record.
World Supersport benefits from the sheer volume of riders on near equal machinery and varying levels of skill. Normally, this means that the racing is cut and thrust and close, front to back.
Today, however, was different. Yes, there was action from second place back, but with Sam Lowes starting the race at almost a second a lap faster than everyone else, and finishing with an eleven second lead in a twenty two lap race, this cannot be described as anything but dominant. He leaves with the Gentleman's Set of pole position, lap record and race win.
Leon Haslam was withdrawn from the race by his team. It was obvious Haslam wanted to race, but cooler heads prevailed, taking the decision away from the rider. The good weather we were promised turned up and gave us the closest to a processional race that Superbikes can give us.
If you've ever walked around Donington, it's hard to consider it as a small track as it was described today by Sylvain Guintoli, and yet it takes around a minute and a half to get around on a Superbike as speeds over 60kmh slower than tracks like Aragon or Monza. It's a proper old track, resplendent with sweeps, undulations and a, as the French say, “So British” feel to it.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams and the series organizer after qualifying at Donington Park:
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team - WSBK - Donington - Superpole
Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 13 – 15 °C, Track: 22 – 40 °C
Number of riders participating: 19 from 11 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:28.800 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:27.378 min
Jules Cluzel set the outright lap record at Donington last year with a 1'30.931. With the conditions as good and the competition as high, the question was how many would be able to beat it today.
Glorious English sunshine ensured that Superpole would come down to the riders and their bikes, without the added chaotic element weather can bring.
In predictable fashion, Tom Sykes once again puts a gap between himself and the rest as he edges ever closer to the outright lap record. Once the qualifier tyres go on, that gap should disappear altogether. One second covers from second to thirteenth place, with Marco Melandri and Jonathan Rea managing to beat the Aprilias.
Randy de Puniet has completed his first two-day test on Suzuki's MotoGP machine. The Frenchman flew to Japan directly after the French round of MotoGP at Le Mans, to take part in the test organized at Motegi's Twin Ring circuit, home of the Japanese round of MotoGP, and a circuit owned by Honda.
Once again, Sam Lowes put himself on the top of the timing sheet ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu, and did so with an outright lap record of 1'30.903, three tenths quicker than that set by Jules Cluzel last year in qualifying. Jack Kennedy continues his good qualifying form, while title contenders Fabien Foret and Michael Van Der Mark languished in 23rd and 10th respectively.