Press releases from the series organizers and some of the teams after Sunday's World Superbike and World Supersport races at Donington Park:
Sykes takes maiden 2015 win in Donington opening race
Great battle for the top step with Rea as Davies completes an all-British podium.
Tom Sykes has won the opening 23-lap WorldSBK race at Donington Park in dry but cold and overcast conditions after a race long fight with his KRT team mate Jonathan Rea. The pair swapped positions for virtually the whole race after getting the better of early leader Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils). The final podium place went to Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) who also passed Haslam with six lap to go as the Aprilia rider had to settle for fourth.
Sykes – who ended a 16-race winless drought today - has now won the last five WorldSBK races at the Leicestershire circuit and is one win short of six Donington wins, an accolade held by fellow Briton Carl Fogarty.
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) showed incredible pace in the closing stages to snatch fifth at the flag from Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who had difficulties in keeping a competitive pace over the race distance.
Jordi Torres (Apriilia Racing Team – Red Devils) finished 7th on his Donington race debut ahead of reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) who were 8th, 9th and 10th respectively. The final point scorers were Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati), Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati), Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawsaki), Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), and Niccolò Canepa (Grillini SBK Team).
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) crashed out early on, eventually being disqualified after parking the bike in the garage and then re-entering the track, while Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) made an unscheduled pit stop to change tyres; the Italian, who started on the front row finished 17th and out of the points.
Sykes does the Donington double for third time in a row
Lap Record tumble as the Briton dominates. Rea and Davies to complete the podium.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) made it two wins from two starts as he dominated WorldSBK race 2 at Donington Park to equal Carl Fogarty’s six race wins record in the series. The former champion, who has now won every race at the 2.5 mile circuit for the last three years, made it a clean sweep, adding the fastest lap in race 2 to the Tissot-Superpole that he secured yesterday, to win by over 9 seconds. Today’s double is the first for Sykes after almost eleven months, the last one dating back to Misano 2014.
Series leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) saved what could have been a huge crash as rounded Coppice Corner on lap 2, the championship leader lucky not to fall. He regrouped with some great overtaking moves to salvage second ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) who finished third for the second time today. This is the first race day of the year with Rea off the top-step of the rostrum in both encounters.
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) was fifth after being passed by Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) on the penultimate lap. The British rider overcame the pain and discomfort of cracked ribs to finish fourth. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) claimed another strong sixth place finish after running third in the early stages.
The top ten riders were rounded out by Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who battled race long, as they had in the opening encounter. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) was in the top ten again in ninth with Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati) tenth.
Roman Ramos (Team GO Eleven Kawasaki), David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati), Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Santiago Barragan (Grillini SBK Team Kawasaki) were 11th to 15th respectively.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) crashed out of sixth at the Esses on lap 4, while Nico Terol (Althea Racing) and Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) were taken to the Medical Centre after falling off their respective machines halfway through the race. Reigning World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike) had to pull out of the encounter due to technical issues.
Double podium for Davies and the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team today at Donington Park
Donington Park (UK), Sunday 24 May 2015 – a well-deserved double podium for Chaz Davies and the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team at the Donington Park circuit in the UK today; racing at his home round, Davies crossed the line third in both of the day’s races. A more difficult day for Davide Giugliano, who was seventeenth and fifth across the line.
Race 1 –cold but dry conditions for this first race of the day. Chaz, sixth on the grid, was strong off the line and lying fourth through the opening laps, behind Haslam, in third, and the two Kawasakis. Lapping with similar pace to Haslam, Welshman Davies was able to pass him on the sixteenth lap to move into third place, a position that he then held to the line, powering his Panigale R to a strong podium finish.
From the front row of the grid, Giugliano positioned fifth through the early stages of the race. Unfortunately, on lap nine, a rear tyre problem forced him to return to the pitlane where his technicians put in a new tyre. The Italian then rejoined the race but was only able to do so much from last position and despite his best efforts, with too much time to make back up, Davide crossed the line in eventual seventeenth place.
Race 2 – in the opening stages, Davide was lapping third while Chaz was lying fifth behind Lowes. After some swapping of positions, at the mid-race point the two factory Ducatis were in fourth (Chaz) and fifth (Davide), with both riders chasing down Haslam and Rea just up ahead. Davies got past Haslam on lap seventeen and, able to manage the final phase of the race effectively, concluded the race in third position once more. Giugliano battled with Haslam in the final stages of the race, crossing the line in final fifth place.
Six rounds in to the 2015 championship and Davies retains fourth place in the overall standings, with 155 points, while Giugliano positions fourteenth, having earned 40 points. Ducati, thanks to today’s double podium, moves up to second in the manufacturer’s standings with 196 points.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 3rd, 3rd
“I’m really pleased with today’s results. The weekend wasn’t easy but we worked hard and to finish both races on the podium here is very positive. Today we simply weren’t on the same level as the Kawasakis and doing any better than third was difficult. In race two I didn’t have much grip and also had a small problem off the line that fortunately sorted itself out right away. Let’s say I’ve done all I could here today and we can only be happy, especially considering the fact that this has always been something of a bogey track for me. Thanks to my whole team for their great work this weekend and now we’ll focus on the next races in which I hope we can score some more strong results.”
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 17th, 5th
“Of course I’m very disappointed with the race 1 result. I was really struggling with the grip and so decided to come into the pitlane and get the rear tyre changed. Doing this meant I lost too much ground and there was no way to catch up once back on track, but at least we understood what the problem was. In race 2, I was hopeful that I'd be able to do better but from mid-race the grip dropped off and I was unable to ride as I wanted to. A pity because I was sure we had everything set to be able to complete two strong races here at Donington.”
Serafino Foti – Team Manager
“All in all, today has been a positive day, in that Chaz has completed two strong races. To reach the podium in both shows stability and the continuous growth of the package. Today, in reality, the Kawasakis, and especially Sykes, had something extra. Davide, having put in a good qualifying performance, was unlucky in the races, but he nevertheless make a good second race, fighting for a podium place until a few laps from the end. We need to be prepared for the upcoming Portimao round and so the work will continue, strengthened by our experience here this weekend.”
LEON HASLAM GRITS HIS TEETH AND TAKES A DOUBLE FOURTH PLACE, HOLDING ONTO 2nd PLACE IN THE RIDER STANDINGS
GREAT COMEBACK IN BOTH RACES FOR JORDI TORRES
SUPERSTOCK 1000: APRILIA AND SAVADORI DOMINATE THE CHAMPIONSHIP, THIRD WIN IN A ROW
Donington, 24 May 2015 – The much feared rain never arrived to shuffle the deck, but Donington was the setting of an exciting World Superbike round anyway.
On his Aprilia RSV4 Leon Haslam got off the line well from the second row in both starts, demonstrating grit and determination despite the pain from his injury at Imola. Joining the pack of British riders who monopolised the top spots, Leon kept a good pace until about the mid race point when he was forced to give in to fatigue.
Despite the difficulties, the tough British rider valiantly defended two fourth place finishes which earned important points for him and gave the Aprilia Racing – Red Devils team yet another useful result. Haslam holds onto second place in the overall rider standings and fully intends to be a key player in the coming races which are more favourable to the characteristics of his RSV4 RF.
Leon Haslam: “I'm fairly pleased with the results today considering my conditions. Obviously I would have liked to have been on the podium for my fans, but I think that in the end two fourth places are the most we could have aimed for. I started well in both races and then I started feeling the fatigue. In spite of it all, even here we showed that we are in the game. I'm looking forward to some tracks that are more favourable for us so I can perform at my best. Now we'll start thinking about Portimão, a track which should cater well to my RSV4.”
The best Superbike 2015 rookie, Spaniard Jordi Torres, started from the fifth row of the grid but in the two races he managed to gain positions as soon as the red lights went off, continuing his comeback throughout. Overtaking often on an unfamiliar track for him and against decidedly tough adversaries, Jordi finished the two races in seventh place. This is a double result which, after analysing the weekend, leaves the Spanish rider quite satisfied.
Jordi Torres: “The truth is that I'm pleased with these two seventh places. I started from way back but I fought in both races, bringing home important points on a difficult track. We knew that it would be hard here. The English riders are doing very well and they are on their home pitch at Donington, but we managed to improve in each session. This is a strange track because it brings out both our strong points and our weaknesses, so finding an optimum setup for the RSV4 wasn't a simple thing. Portimão will also be a new track for me, but since it is more uniform and smooth I think it might make life easier.”
SUPERSTOCK 1000: APRILIA AND SAVADORI DOMINATE THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Third win in a row for the Aprilia RSV4 RF and Lorenzo Savadori in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. The Nuova M2 Racing Team Italian duo dominated the race from the first lap, finishing the 15 laps with a gap of almost 3 seconds ahead of the closest contender. Kevin Calia also performed well, finishing seventh at the chequered flag.
Thanks to today's win Savadori strengthens his leadership in the rider standings, with Aprilia leading the manufacturers.
Sykes Does The Double As KRT Riders Go 1-2 Again
In the sixth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, held at Donington Park, Tom Sykes (KRT) scored a home double for his first race wins of the season so far. His team-mate Jonathan Rea was second in race one and again in race two, extending his championship lead to over 100 points.
Sykes has now won the last six WSB races at Donington, all for KRT, as he found his best machine set-up of the year to win in relatively cool conditions. He equalled the record of six Donington WSB race wins held by Carl Fogarty and took his career victory total to 24.
Sykes also set a new lap record of 1’27.640 in race two, giving him the perfect weekend when his raceday performances are added to his in Superpole qualifying success, at new track best pace on Saturday.
In race one Sykes and Rea had an often-tough battle for supremacy, passing each other regularly to share the lead until near the end of the 23 laps, when Sykes pushed on and Rea had to settle for second.
In race two, with Sykes out front at the start, Rea was ready to make his drive forward but almost fell on lap two at the fast Coppice corner, dropping to seventh place. He kept his composure and despite a severely bent rear brake lever he moved forward, contesting third place by lap 11. Rea was to get to second place after 23 laps, finishing 9.772 seconds behind Sykes.
In the championship Rea is still the clear and convincing leader, with a total of 280 points after scoring eight wins and four second place finishes in 12 races. Sykes is third, only one point behind second place, with a total of 178 points.
Portimao is the next round on the calendar, with raceday on June 7th.
Tom Sykes: “A full set this weekend - two race wins, pole position and a new lap record. After some battles in race one I had a clean start in race two and I went a little bit faster down Craner and into the Old Hairpin to stop any passes, and away we went. The bike was really nice and I made some 1’27s in the beginning. When I saw that the gap was increasing I just had to be careful in how to manage the race. I was really happy with the race performance because Marcel my crew chief and all the boys have been working really well. It is good to win all the last six races here at Donington but there is no real reason why. We are getting there now and I am able to do a little bit more of what I want to with the bike, and it showing.”
Jonathan Rea: “I did not accept defeat before the races but Donington is one of those circuits where if there is one place where my team-mate was going to really excel it was here. I had a big moment in race two and I was really lucky. When I found a rhythm I realised that Tom was on a different racetrack today but I could finish second because I knew the pace of the Kawasaki in the second part of the race would be strong. I just put my head down and put some laps together and took second. Pere my crew chief has just told me that the championship points gap is in three figures, which I cannot believe. It is incredible, so we just need to keep doing the same.”
David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) took tenth and 12th place finishes at Donington and is now 15th in the championship. Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) was 13th in race one and 11th in race two, placing him 13th in the points standings.
Guintoli pleased with Donington progress
Sylvain Guintoli scored two eighth place finishes in today’s sixth round World Superbike championship races at Donington Park in the UK, both of which were won by local rider Tom Sykes.
Pata Honda rider Guintoli used much of the weekend’s practice and races to evaluate a revised frame and swingarm combination on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine and the 32-year-old declared himself happy with the positive effect these new components had on his overall performance.
By contrast, his Pata Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark endured a torrid race day, crashing out of race one and then being forced to retire from the second 23-lap outing at the 4.023km Donington Park circuit with a technical issue.
The team will re-group for the seventh round WSBK meeting at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao in Portugal in a little under two weeks seeking further positive progress with the CBR package.
Sylvain Guintoli - 8th & 8th
It’s was a weekend to assess quite a lot of new parts and there are some good points to take from it. In the second part of the lap we were doing some quite good times and we gained stability under braking. We managed to be quite fast there so that’s good, but there are still areas where we struggled. In race two we managed to keep a much better pace at the end of the race. It was not faster at the start but much faster and more constant at the end, so that’s an improvement. I also had a good battle with my ex-bike and unfortunately just lost that by a tiny bit! The front runners were quite a long way from us today, but we have to keep fighting and keep improving the package for the rest of the season. We’ll keep the new frame and swingarm for Portimao to develop it more there.
Michael van der Mark - DNF & DNF
There’s not really much to say because it’s been the most disappointing weekend for me on a superbike. I felt like we made some progress during each session except in Superpole yesterday when I could not get the qualifying tyre to work. That left me quite a long way back on the grid so I was pushing hard in race one to make up some places when I crashed. I’m not sure what the problem was in race two but there was a technical problem with the front of the bike that meant I could not continue. It’s a shame but we will learn from these issues as we always try to and move forward to Portugal.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Michael has not had a good day with a crash in race one and then in race two he had a mechanical problem with the front of the bike which we tried to fix but he had to retire. Sylvain found some good chassis improvements this weekend and he finished eighth in race one. We made some changes to the geometry for race two because he was losing out a lot in the second sector and that worked out better as well. It meant he could maintain a much better pace overall until the last few laps when he had to let it go a little. But it’s been a positive weekend with good steps and he’s feeling more happy with the bike, so we’ll take that to the next race in Portugal.
Strong performance by Lowes and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki at home
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s spirits were lifted at Donington Park today, as Alex Lowes fought his way to a stunning double sixth place finish in the afternoon’s two races.
Dressed for the UK round with patriotically designed Shark helmet and RST leathers, Lowes put up a determined effort on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R in the opening Superbike race – taking fifth place from Ducati’s Davide Giugliano on the fourth lap and matching the pace of the podium runners for the majority of the 23-laps. Holding the all-British top-five position for much of the race, a lack of grip in the closing stages eventually saw the local racer succumb to the approaching BMW of Ayrton Badovini, crossing the line in sixth for ten well-deserved points.
A strong start to the second race also saw Lowes hard on the back of the leading pack, fighting his way to fourth and then third place by the close of lap four. His podium aspirations may have been short lived, thanks to the factory Ducati paring of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano, but the Suzuki racer continued to hold on to his top-six position, claiming a further haul of ten points and elevating himself up to eighth position overall in the Championship standings.
Starting in 18th on the grid, after a difficult qualifying session yesterday, Randy de Puniet brought his Suzuki GSX-R1000 home in 14th in both of the day’s races. Continuing to struggle with engine braking, he ran off the track on two occasions during the late afternoon encounter but the Frenchman dug deep, securing four championship points and promoting him up a place in the rider standings.
A surprisingly dry, but cold Donington Park hosted a 30,000 strong crowd as Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes recreated his 2014 visit with a double victory. His team-mate Jonathan Rea claimed second from Davies in both of the day’s battles.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki now returns to its UK base this evening to begin preparations for the seventh round of World Superbike competition, at Portimao in Portugal, in a fortnight’s time.
“I’m happy enough with today as the boys – and the bike! - worked well and I did my best to be as competitive as possible. I was struggling with grip in both races and with some confidence on corner entry which lost me some time, but the second race felt better than the first. We’ve made some big steps forward, so now we’ve got something to build on to keep improving further for the next race. I did all I could and the team did a fantastic job, and as ever the support here was great. I always enjoy racing at Donington, and to fight a bit with the top guys, get two consistent finishes and some solid points here was good.”
Randy de Puniet:
“The bike has improved a lot but still not an easy weekend. After a good start on Friday, yesterday we struggled to change gear and this morning unfortunately I broke one engine during warm-up so I was not able to find the best setting for the race. In race one I still had some downshifting issues and the engine brake was far from perfect so I finished 14th. In race two the gear change was a little better but after seven laps I struggled with the engine brake and I ran off the track twice. Everyone in the team has been giving their best and we were unlucky with the engine this morning, so I really hope now we can improve more in Portimao.”
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
“Donington has been a positive step forward and we’ve finally turned a corner with the Marelli electronics system - the bike is responding to changes in the way it should. The basic operation of the engine is more stable and easier for the engineers to manage and so finally we have been able to begin working on more normal race weekend details. In that respect this has really felt like the first proper test with this system, as over the last three events the team’s only focus has been to try and get the bike functioning.
“Given the lack of set up time and lack of race rhythm we’ve had since March, Alex’s two sixth places today were great results, backed up by a solid fifth on the grid. Taking race two as an example, we were only beaten by the factory Kawasaki’s, factory Ducati’s, and Leon on the factory Aprilia – so we have to put the result into context. Congratulations to Alex and to the whole team across both sides of the garage for making this step and for keeping focused and positive. Now we can start to work on understanding how to make the bike faster over race distance and as Alex’s confidence regrows, we will be looking for these types of results and better.
“Two 14th places for Randy isn’t something to be excited about and he’s disappointed, but it’s two points scoring finishes, which again is a step forward by comparison to the last races and we will keep doing everything we can to improve the bike for him so that he can improve his pace.”
A difficult day for Team Althea at the sixth round of the World Superbikes at the Donington Park track, but a very positive one in the Superstock 1000 camp.
On this track, a technical limit made its presence felt, with riders unable to find much grip, partly due to the track’s characteristics and partly due to the Ducati that suffers somewhat between acceleration and braking. Matteo Baiocco did the best he could but unfortunately in race 1, while pushing to catch up, he crashed while in ninth position while in race 2 he concluded tenth, collecting more good points for the championship in which he currently positions seventh.
Matteo Baiocco: “I’m sorry I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped in the races. In race 1 I unfortunately crashed and in race 2 I preferred not to risk making further mistakes. The team has worked really hard and now I go to Portimao with a good base from which to continue working.”
Nico Terol wanted to compete here even if not at 100% fitness. The Spaniard, who has demonstrated courage and determination, didn’t give up and proved to be able to face up to the challenge. In race 1 he finished twelfth, in race 2 he lost feeling in this tired hand and crashed while he was lapping with a constant rhythm that would have given me a good result.
Nico Terol: “Coming back with the wrist injury I knew I’d have to grit my teeth against the pain. But in the race I had problems changing direction, unable to push with my wrist. It was a shame about the race 2 crash, but I’ll be ready to do better in a few days’ time at Portimao. The team deserves good results, to repay their encouragement and great work that they always do for me and I’m keen to achieve this as soon as possible.”
A great race on the other hand in the Superstock 1000 category where qualifying yesterday saw Raffaele De Rosa line up on the front row and Luca Salvadori on the fourth. De Rosa was quick off the line, immediately setting the two fastest laps of the race, after which a serious spinning problem made it difficult for him to accelerate out of the corners and he was losing a few tenths to his rivals. He nevertheless reached the podium, scoring a fantastic third place.
A somewhat surprising race for Luca Salvadori as, having only completed four races in this category, is already at the level of rivals who have a lot more experience. He is growing a lot from race to race, the team believes in his talents and the work completed until now is bearing fruit race after race.
Genesio Bevilacqua: “We’ve had a difficult Sunday for sure. Terol’s physical condition is still not ideal and Baiocco had a few problems which we didn’t expect after his positive qualifying. We hope we can make up for this at Portimao. We are now at round seven and both team and riders must be spurred into action. We are seeing the best results in the Superstock class in which De Rosa is continuing to progress. Despite having strong rivals, with bikes that seem more highly performing, he was been able to finish in third place, which has boosted the team, repaying them for their great work completed over the weekend. De Rosa is a main player in this championship, it was a pity about the Imola crash but he is still in the running for the title. Salvadori is also doing well, proving that he is not scared of his more expert rivals. He improves from race to race and has already finished in the top ten on two occasions. He could also be one of the surprises among the youngsters in the championship.”
Two difficult races for Pedercini Team Racing in Donington Park
David Salom finished both races despite the arm injured in Imola, managing even to take ten excellent points.
A typical English morning welcomed the riders for the warmup. Low temperatures, wind and overcast light. No rain, so the Team Pedercini riders Racing could concentrate on the latest little changes on the bikes for the afternoon races.
The first race 15°C in the air and 21 on the tarmac under a constant threat of rain. David Salom did not manage to make a good start losing 3 positions, then losing immediately another one shortly after becoming fourteenth. After a few laps of adjustment, David begins a nice comeback gaining eleventh place, where he started a fierce battle with compatriot Ramos. The two Spaniards remain close almost till the checkered flag, under which Salom will have the best ending in a discreet tenth position. Good start instead for Chris Ponsson but he shortly after fails to maintain its position, slipping to 19th place. A fairly constant race for the Frenchman, always in pursuit of Canepa for a position in the points, but 6 laps from the end, he did a slight mistake, losing about ten seconds and failing to improve its position with a 16th place under the chequered flag.
Race 2 was held under the same atmospheric conditions despite a theoretically hottest time of the day. David Salom did a decent start fighting to keep the starting position, finishing the first lap in 12th place. In subsequent laps highlighted a good race pace and managed to gain precious tenths lap after lap, but from mid-race on the pain in his arm became stronger, forcing him not to force too much. Team Pedercini Racing's rider close the race in eleventh place, earning in each case important points in the standings. Chris Ponsson has succeeded in another good start, but on the seventh lap, the Frenchman lost control of his Kawasaki and, trying to avoid the rider in front, of fell down at the last corner. Luckily for him, no physical consequence despite bad crash.
In Superstock 1000 Team Pedercini Racing's riders found themselves facing various difficulties, with the only Bryan Staring to close in the points with the twelfth place. Cecchini finished 23rd, while Sebastyen had a crash during the first lap. Lanusse instead did not take part in the race for the coming back of the shoulder problem already occurred in Assen after the Saturday's crash. For the unfortunate French rider now opens the possibility of an operation to try to solve the problem permanently.
David Salom # 44 Racing Team Pedercini
The two races were very difficult, because after 6/7 laps the arm began to hurt. In race 1 I was not a very happy about my race pace, but after a good battle I managed to close the tenth position. In race 2 race pace was much better. By mid race my arm began to give me some pain, so I had to settle down and I finished 12th, but the important thing was to finish the race. Now there are two weeks before Portimao to get in better shape.
Christophe Ponsson # 23 Racing Team Pedercini
This morning I did a very good warmup, so I went into the race very convinced. In race 1 I started well, but then I was pushed out the trajectory and I lost several positions. My pace was not very good and I finished sixteenth race due to a mistake that made me lose about ten seconds. Also in race 2 the start was good, so I found myself in a nice handful of riders battling for points. To be able to stay with them I was pushing hard until I made a little mistake in the last corner, and I crashed. I'm very disappointed because it was a good weekend, but we'll make in two weeks in Portimao.
Donington Park WSS win goes to Sofouglu
The sixth round of the 2015 World Supersport championship has been won after 20 hard fought laps by Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), as cooler temperatures descended at Donington Park.
Starting from Pole, the Turk was initially overhauled by rival Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) before regrouping and retaking the lead to win for the fourth time in 2015, extending his championship lead in the process to 45 points. Despite piling on the pressure Cluzel would eventually finish second, taking the lap record in his efforts to chase down the Kawasaki-mounted Sofuoglu.
17-year old British wildcard Kyle Ryde (Pacedayz European Trackdays) had the huge crowd on their feet with his aggressive riding, the youngster climbing onto the last step of the podium ahead of Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse). Ryde fought until the end with the hard charging Italian.
PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) finished a lonely fifth ahead of the Profile Racing Triumph duo Luke Stapleford and Sam Hornsey, both wildcard rides at their home track. Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) and Andy Reid (CORE Motorsport Thailand) completed the top ten.
Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Marco Faccani (San Carlo Pucetti Racing Kawasaki) crashed out of contention, while Kevin Wahr (SMS Racing Honda) and Alex Baldolini (Race Dept. #ATK25) had to pull out of the race to technical problems.
Four Wins In A Row As Sofuoglu Dominates Donington
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rode to his fourth win in four races by taking victory at the Donington Park round of the FIM Supersport World Championship.
In a fight with his main championship rival Jules Cluzel and British wild card Kyle Ryde in the early laps, Sofuoglu took the lead on lap four and then held a gap to eventual second place rider Cluzel, easing up at the flag to win by 0.891 seconds.
His fourth win of the year in his Ninja ZX-6R made it 31 race victories in his WSS career. Kenan is now a strong 45 points ahead of second placed Cluzel at the halfway point of the season.
For PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) the appearance of strong local wildcards affected his podium push and he finished fifth in the race. He is now third in the championship, 51 points behind Sofuoglu but only six from Cluzel.
Christian Gamarino (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) scored points for 14th place but Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) was unfortunate to fall early in the race. Although he restarted he was forced to retire in the pits.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was on course for a good points scoring finish but had to retire, with his team-mate Aiden Wagner crashing out near the end.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “From the first day at Donington we were very strong and yesterday in the race simulation it looked like we had a good advantage. Today I was a little scared of the weather because it was quite cold. I had to be very careful on the entry of the left corners because it was not only a race to think about today, I am also riding for the championship. It was very important for me to stay on the bike. When I took the lead I looked behind and saw Cluzel. I tried to keep the distance to him, to be more relaxed. He had good pace but I think I had more if I needed it. I did not want to take any risks. I want to say a big thank you to Kawasaki and Puccetti Racing because this weekend we were very strong and we led almost all the sessions. You cannot ask any more than winning the races.”
No joy for Smith on UK debut
Britain’s Kyle Smith crashed out of today’s sixth round World Superport race at Donington Park in the UK, finishing off a difficult weekend for the Pata Honda rider on his UK racing debut.
The Spanish-based Honda CBR600RR pilot had never ridden in the UK before this weekend and took most of the practice and qualifying sessions to get accustomed to the particular characteristics of the 4.023km Donington Park circuit.
A difficult qualifying session yesterday left Smith starting today’s 20-lap race from 12th on the grid but the 23-year-old got a good start and had climbed to eighth place before he crashed out of contention.
His DNF marked the second successive race that he has failed to score but he and his Pata Honda crew are determined to re-group and make amends at Portimao in Portugal where the seventh round of the series will be hosted in two weeks time.
Kyle Smith - DNF
It’s been a really bad weekend for me in my first race in the UK. Imola was pretty bad but this has been worse and I’ve not found a groove all weekend. The lap times have kept dropping but I’ve had mishaps like the crash in qualifying yesterday, which cost me some places on the grid. I got a good start like I needed and was just settling into the race when I lost the front like I did in Imola. There are a couple of issues at the front of the bike that I’m not comfortable with so I need to find a solution and re-group for the next race.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Kyle got a reasonable start and was trying to make his way further to the front and he crashed. He has not had good run lately and has had too many crashes so we’ll have to look at the settings on the front of the bike or his riding style. We’ll work hard to identify the problem though and come back fighting in Portugal.
Sunday's Words & Pictures
Tom Sykes (GBR)
Jonathan Rea (GBR)
Chaz Davies (GBR)
Tom Sykes #66 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Race 1 - 1st Race 2 - 1st
Facebook page: Tom-Sykes-66
“A full set this weekend - two race wins, pole position and a new lap record. After some battles in race one I had a clean start in race two and I went a little bit faster down Craner and into the Old Hairpin to stop any passes, and away we went. When I saw that the gap was increasing I just had to be careful in how to manage the race. I was really happy with the race performance because Marcel my crew chief and all the boys have been working really well. It is good to win all the last six races here at Donington. We are getting there now and I am able to do a little bit more of what I want to with the bike.”
Jonathan Rea #65 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Race 1 – 2nd Race 2 – 2nd
“I did not accept defeat before the races but if there is one place where my team-mate was going to really excel it was here. I had a big moment in race two and I was really lucky. When I found a rhythm I realised that Tom was on a different racetrack today but I could finish second because I knew the pace of the Kawasaki in the second part would be strong. The points gap is now in three figures, which I cannot believe. It is incredible, so we just need to keep doing the same.”
Chaz Davies #7 - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati SBK Team
Race 1 - 3rd Race 2 - 3rd
“I’m really pleased with today’s results. The weekend wasn’t easy but we worked hard and to finish both races on the podium here is very positive. Today we simply weren’t on the same level as the Kawasakis and doing any better than third was difficult. In race two I had a small problem off the line that fortunately sorted itself out right away. We can only be happy, especially considering the fact that this has always been something of a bogey track for me. Thanks to my whole team for their great work this weekend and now we’ll focus on the next races."
Orellana extends EJC lead at Donington Park
The fourth round of the 2015 Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda, took place at Donington Park in the UK this afternoon with series leader Javier Orellana notching up his third win of the season.
With 30 riders taking to the 4.023km Donington Park circuit on identical Honda CBR650F machines, Orellana was well placed from pole position to avoid a first lap crash which accounted for four of the leading riders, including Emanuele Pusceddu, who was victorious last time out at Imola in Italy.
Spaniard Orellana battled the remaining nine laps with French rider Guillaume Raymond but was able to open up a three-second gap by the time the chequered flag was waved. Raymond finished second with Italian rider Paolo Grassia third.
Orellana has now opended a 27-point cushion at the top of the table at the halfway point of the season, with Grassia moving up to second place at the expense of the unfortunate Pusceddu, who slips to third.
In the FIM European Women’s European Cup, local wildcard rider Charlie Oakland enjoyed a good battle with New Zealand’s series leader Avalon Biddle who emerged ahead of her rival in the final reckoning and continues to lead the championship.
I’m really, really happy, because it was a perfect race for me. In my mind I never thought I would be able to open such a gap. I started from pole position and I wanted get to the front as fast as possible because always on the first lap it is a little crazy. In fact, I got second position behind Raymond and we were leading for two or three laps. Then, with three laps to go I pushed for a really fast lap and I was able to open the gap to get my third win of the year. I saw the first lap crash on the big screen but I didn’t know it was Emanuele until I got to the podium. Of course it’s not good for him but it means a 28 point championship lead for me.
Gerry Bryce – series director
Another spectacular EJC race but the pack was split after an early crash in the left-hander at Craner Curves, which catches out so many riders in so many classes because it’s the first time on the left side of the tyre. Unfortunately we lost four of the front runners in that group, which left a battle between Javier and Guillaume. In the end Javi had that little bit extra to push and take the win and with it a commanding lead in the championship. Sadly for Emanuele Pusceddu he was injured, thankfully not too seriously but we’ll have to see how that affects the title race. Wildcard Charlie Oakland had a great race in the Women’s European Cup but Avalon Biddle showed again that she seems to be the favourite in that class. All in all, a great European Junior Cup weekend.
2015 Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda
Round four, Donington Park, UK – Sunday, 24 May
1 J Orellana (ESP)
2 P Grassia (ITA)
3 G Raymond (FRA)
4 D Laville (FRA)
5 S Wilford (GBR)
6 D Loureiro (POR)
7 A Coppola (ITA)
8 I Fernandez (ESP)
9 I Cipriettii (ITA)
10 H Soomer (EST)
Championship standings after four of eight rounds:
1 Orellana 91, 2 Grassia 64, 3 Pusceddu 57, 4 Raymond 53, 5 Laville 40, 6 Soomer 37, 7 Coppola 29, 8 Ciprietti 27, 9 Fernandez 17, 10 De Gruttola 24.
Next round: 7 June - Portimao, Portugal
Fifth Place for Coghlan on the YZF-R1M at his Home Round
At his home round in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup MRS Yamaha rider Kev Coghlan rode his Yamaha YZF-R1M to fifth place at Donington Park, having to give best to fellow YZF-R1M rider Jeremy Guarnoni (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) only in the final few corners of an intense 15-lap race.
Coghlan, who had qualified fifth, was aiming for a realistic fourth place but a great fight with Guarnoni on the final lap saw him eventually replicate his qualifying position in the race and finish just over ten seconds from the winner.
The two leading YZF-R1M riders passed and re-passed on the final lap with Guarnoni taking fourth by a small margin of 0.171 seconds as they flashed across the line.
With the other regular MRS Yamaha rider Florian Marino out of action due to an arm injury, top IDM rider Mathieu Gines was brought in for Donington. He found no luck in the race when he crashed out at the fast turn five, on lap six, restarting but finishing 28th after losing so much time in the gravel.
Coghlan is still fourth in the overall championship after Donington and only three points behind third place at the halfway point of the eight round season. He has 50 points, thanks in part to his podium finish in the opening round at Motorland Aragon.
Guarnoni's 13 points for fourth place today put him 6th overall, with 37 points. Sylvain Barrier (G.M. Racing Yamaha Team) fell at Donington and restarted to finish 19th, but out of the points. The unavoidably absent Marino is now 12th in the rankings.
The next race takes place at Portimao, in Portugal, on Sunday June 7th.
5th / +10.783/ 15 laps
"I noticed someone was there on the inside on the last lap so I tried to force it a little bit more going into the Melbourne Loop, ran a little bit wide and Jeremy managed to dive up the inside. I had another go at the final corner but I ran in a bit too hot and again he got past. I am a bit disappointed really, because I think overall I need to be first Yamaha rider home and that did not happen today. I think we were maybe a little bit closer to the podium here but we will see if we can work on something to help bridge that gap. It was not bad this weekend and we were a bit closer in qualifying and a bit closer again to the podium, so we are edging in the right direction and we will get there."
28th / +1’26.070/ 15 laps
"I pushed a bit, although my feeling was not perfect on the bike, because I did not want to lose time. I thought I could wait and fight at the end of the race but I lost the rear on a fast right. I was OK sitting behind some other riders and I though 'be careful' and when I exited the corner I gave the bike some gas and it started to slide. It did not stop and then fell. I wanted to restart to learn the track and I wanted to finish my weekend in Donington, because I like the circuit."
Adrian Morillas – MRS Yamaha Team Manager
"Jeremy Guarnoni was behind Kev for a some time and I think he saw where he could pass Kev. In the last lap Kev wanted to brake harder to defend his position, he went too wide and Jeremy passed, this is racing. There was a gap to the front riders and we will test before Portimao. We have been making progress and little steps but I hope before Portimao we can make a bigger step. Our weekend was not so bad because Kev is now only three points from the third place rider."