2017 Donington Park WorldSBK Preview Press Releases

A whole host of press releases from the WorldSBK paddock, previewing Donington and paying tribute to Nicky Hayden:


Sykes the man to beat at Donington Park - WorldSBK ride for Hayden at Pata UK Round

Whilst riders will be working to find the best set-up around Donington Park, a shadow will be cast over the Pata UK round as Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) continues to fight in hospital following a training incident last week. [Editor's note: this press release was issued by Dorna on 22nd May, before Hayden sadly died as a result of injuries sustained.] The American rider is in the forefront of everyone's thoughts, as the WorldSBK paddock sends support and best wishes to Hayden and his family.

Set in the rural hills of Leicestershire, Donington Park is the host for the sixth round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and there’s one man with a target on his back, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). The historic circuit hosted the very first World Superbike race in 1988 and is a circuit which holds a special place in the hearts of many. Split into two halves, from fast and flowing to stop-and-go, the style of the circuit lends itself to many manufacturers meaning fans are treated to strong racing throughout the field. But with Sykes heading to Donington unbeaten since 2013, it will be hard to stop the Yorkshireman in front of his home fans.

Bouncing back from an illness which has plagued Sykes since the third round of the season, the British rider has only been off the podium three times so far in 2017 and his pace is one which is hard to challenge. Sykes and Donington Park seem to go hand in hand, and it’s a winning combination; taking pole position four times in the last five years and winning every race since 2013. However the 31 year old is yet to take a race win in 2017, and he will face stiff competition from his Kawasaki team-mate.

Looking to be the man to stop Sykes’ UK run is reigning world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who will also be hoping to impress in front of his home fans. Beating Sykes around Donington would be a huge boost for Rea and for his championship charge overall. Holding the race lap record around the 4.023km circuit and last taking the victory in 2012, Rea is yet to win around Donington Park on a Kawasaki. In a season which has seen him win seven out of 10 races it will be difficult to rule out Rea to bring the fight, especially with the backing of his home crowd.

Coming off the back of a stunning weekend around the historic Imola circuit and what was an important round for Ducati, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) looks ahead to Donington; an important race as his home fans descend in support for the Welsh rider. Not a circuit which lends itself to Davies and his riding style, he has had a tough time at Donington in the past – his best result in WorldSBK being a double podium finish in 2015 with two third positions, whilst he took a second in WorldSSP.

Hailing just a stones throw away from Donington Park, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) has a vast amount of experience around the circuit. The 26 year old will certainly be looking to secure his first podium of 2017, and with the support of his home crowd there may be a lot to cheer about from the blue box. Taking a podium finish for Suzuki in 2014, Lowes was forced to sit out of the British Round last season with injury which means he will come out even more determined than ever. Himself and his team feel they are just one step away from getting the YZF-R1 on the podium, and Donington would be the perfect setting.

Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) comes off the back of a tough weekend at Imola, but it was also a round in which he started to make some strong steps, fighting up towards the front. Starting his career out in the British championship’s means Camier is another rider with a lot of experience in Leicestershire, with his last podium appearance being in 2011 with Aprilia.

Following a big crash on Saturday at Imola which Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) was able to walk away from unscathed; the Irishman seems to have made progress with the Italian machine. Following a tough start to the season, himself and his British based team are keen to try out their updates at their homecoming around Donington Park. Taking his last podium at the Leicestershire circuit in 2013, Laverty has struggled around the circuit but can he put the past behind him?

Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) heads to Donington Park with a best result of seventh around the track and still recovering from an illness which sidelined him on Saturday around Imola. The Spanish rider will be looking to make the step into the top five as he tackles his S 1000 RR around the fast and flowing circuit. Lone Honda rider Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) will face a tough weekend both with his bike set-up and with his team-mate Hayden in mind. Continuing to understand the Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2, and heading to a circuit where the German rider has a tough record around, Donington Park will be a round Bradl will need the support of the loyal British fans.

An updated time schedule greets WorldSBK in the UK and the top class will compete at the end of the day, unlike in the rest of Europe. Race One will be at 15:00LT on Saturday, as Race Two ends the weekend’s action at 15:00LT.


Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team prepares for an emotional UK round

UK Round

Donington Park, United Kingdom

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has reached Donington Park to take part, with heavy hearts, in the sixth round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. The whole team will be remembering and celebrating the life of the late Nicky Hayden by doing what he liked the most: racing. His Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine will be present within the pit-box throughout the whole weekend alongside the one of his team mate Stefan Bradl, who will be the sole rider on track for the team at this round.

Bradl returns to Donington Park for the first time since 2009, when he was racing in the 125cc World Championship; that was, in fact, the last time the East Midlands Circuit hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix event. The 27-year-old German rider will have to re-learn the track on the much more powerful 1000cc Honda WorldSBK-spec machine.

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team and series promoter Dorna will pay tribute to Nicky Hayden through various initiatives, including a minute’s silence on the grid at 14:00 local time (GMT +1) on Saturday, which will involve riders, teams and fans.

Stefan Bradl 6

This weekend is going to be very difficult for everybody. Nicky was a racer, was born and raised into a racing family and all his life was about enjoying racing, so we will be here to keep his passion alive and pay tribute to him the best possible way. Donington is a track I know from my time in the 125cc World Championship, and I have raced here twice already. As I said it won’t be an easy round, but we will do our best in his name.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Pieter Breddels

Obviously, this is not going to be a round like any other: everything we have been doing a million times at a racetrack will have a whole different meaning and feeling to it. We will all stay strong together and give our best support to Stefan, who has the hard task to go out there and give it all. And, of course, we will pay tribute to Nicky in the best way we know and we hope to make him proud.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team


Donington Homecoming For Sykes And Rea

As the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship reaches round six in a few days’ time official Ninja ZX-10RR riders Jonathan Rea (KRT) and Tom Sykes (KRT) will enjoy the thrill of competing at their home venue of Donington Park.

After five rounds of competition in 2017 Jonathan Rea leads the championship, and by a wide margin, after scoring seven race wins from ten attempts. His team-mate Tom Sykes is third overall, just one point from second place, with seven podium finishes added to his career tally already in 2017.

It has been a remarkable start to the season for 2015 and 2016 champion Rea, featuring not only his seven race victories but also three second places. This early combined success gives him a points total only 15 less than an absolute maximum at this stage.

Jonathan’s Donington record in WorldSBK also includes one race win, in 2012. The Northern Irish rider’s ambition at his home round this year is to add more victories to his current career win tally of 45.

Sykes has been suffering with a significant bacterial infection in his intestine for some time now but has seen a marked improvement in his overall fitness in the past few days.

Looking for his first race win of 2017, Sykes can stand no better chance of taking full points than at Donington Park. The Yorkshireman is the most successful WorldSBK competitor ever at the 4.023km circuit near his adopted home. He has recorded eight wins in front of his home fans - and all eight were taken in succession, from 2013 to 2016.

In all, Kawasaki has won 13 individual races at Donington Park since it all began in 1988. The previous five Kawasaki wins, before Sykes’s amazing run of victories, were seized by 1993 World Champion Scott Russell.

The WorldSBK Championship first got underway at Donington Park way back in April of 1988. This season’s race weekend will mark the 25th time this venue has hosted the series.

The WorldSBK community and KRT will also reconvene at Donington not just to compete but to celebrate the life of MotoGP champion and fellow WorldSBK competitor Nicky Hayden, who passed away on Monday 22nd May after being involved in a road traffic accident while cycling in Italy last week. Kawasaki sends out its sincere condolences to Nicky’s family and friends.

This season the races will take place on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May, with unusual starting times of 15.00 local on each occasion. After the British weekend has been completed the championship will then move to Italy for the second time in 2017. The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli will host what will be the halfway point of the 13-round/26-race season, with WorldSBK racedays of 17th and 18th June.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I'm really excited about coming back to Donington Park after a great start to the season. The track itself is a lot of fun but it is also challenging to find a good balance between stability in the heavy braking areas, and agility in the fast and flowing parts. After Imola we have a better understanding of our bike and I'm looking forward to putting some new set-up ideas in place. I have received great support at the past at Donington and I know a lot of people are travelling from Northern Ireland, so it will definitely have the 'home race' feel. It's been a long time since I won at Donington so putting that right is the main target of the weekend.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “Going back to Donington Park is obviously very exciting. It is a track where I have had some success and done well in the recent past. This year I feel we are fairly well set up after having had a good weekend at Assen and then again in Imola. Now we start to go to some circuits where I have performed better in the past - Donington being one of them. My health has been improving and the preparations are better than previous rounds as a result. Touchwood, the sickness and so on has not been there for the past few days, so I am quietly confident we will not have an interrupted race weekend.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “Life must be lived with intensity, and only those who achieve such intensity can say proudly that they have lived it. I am sure Nicky was one of those people. For the last two seasons he was one of our competitors, a strong one, but he always had a smile on his face when you looked at him. Not many of us have had the pleasure to know him deeply but I’m sure all of us know him as a good person, as a fair guy. He was someone with values and a good upbringing. All of us in the Kawasaki family want to give him a warm salute and to pass on our best wishes to Tommy, Roger and all his family and close friends. We will never forget him.”


Pata Yamaha Ready for Home Round at Donington Park

Setup

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team arrive at their home round of Donington Park, for round six of the FIM 2017 Superbike World Championship, aiming to continue the impressive progress they have made this season. After another set of solid results at Imola the team are looking to put on a performance worthy of their fans at their home round, with Alex Lowes particularly out to impress at a circuit he lives just ten miles from.

Lowes cannot wait to get out on track at Donington, the British rider admitting it is one of his favourite circuits in the world. Living just ten miles from the track means it really is a home round for the 26-year-old, and he knows that the British fans will be cheering him on in their droves. After finishing race one at Imola in eighth place, Lowes improved to cross the line sixth in race two, and after working hard between rounds he is keen to continue this progress. Lowes currently lies fifth in the championship standings with 94 points after five rounds and will be looking to close the 30-point gap to Marco Melandri in fourth by putting on a show for his fans at a track that he feels will play to the strengths of his R1.

Van der Mark is looking forward to riding his R1 at Donington for the first time, a track that he also feels will suit the Yamaha. The Dutch rider has enjoyed a solid start to the season, but after a tricky weekend at Imola, where he came away with a seventh and a ninth-placed-finish, is looking to regain focus and return to the top six. The 24-year-old, who occupies seventh in the Championship standings after five races with 78 points, loves the passionate British supporters and is relishing the chance to perform at the team's home race.

Located near Castle Donington in Leicestershire, Donington Park hosted its first motorcycle race in 1931. Requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1939 at the start of the Second World War, it reopened its doors to racing in 1973. The 4,023km circuit has 12 corners in total, seven right-handed and five left-handed, plus a start/finish straight of 550m in length, and is known for its fast-flowing corners, dramatic elevation changes and its two hairpins.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK team takes to the track for FP1 on Friday at 10:45am local time in the UK, with race one scheduled for 15:00pm GMT on Saturday, and race two at 15:00pm on Sunday.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

“I can't wait for the Donington Park weekend! I live ten miles from the track so it's a real home race for me. Even if it wasn't, it's a great circuit that I really enjoy. The section from Redgate to Coppice, for me, it is one of the best sections of track in the whole world. I'm optimistic of challenging for a podium. I think the circuit will suit the R1, unfortunately, I missed the event last year due to injury so I'm hoping to make up for it this year. It's always amazing to race in front of the British fans and public and it's something I really miss from my BSB days. Thanks to everyone for the support, I can't wait to get started, and I’ll see you there!”

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

“Imola was a difficult weekend for the team and me, but we just have to move on and I am very much looking forward to Donington. It’s a completely different track to Imola and I think the R1 will work well there, as the track suits our bike. It’s a nice race for me, I love the British fans plus it’s the team’s and my teammates home round! This always makes it more exciting, and we know how supportive the fans will be. We have been making good progress all season, but Imola was difficult, so we need to regain focus and we will be ready to fight at Donington.”

Paul Denning

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal

“The season so far has been generally positive, with the performance of the R1 and the riders consistently moving in the right direction. Imola was surprisingly difficult, but an important lesson in knowing where we need to improve in order to take the next steps forward. Donington Park is a flowing circuit that should suit both the R1’s chassis and engine character much better, and the team and riders are looking to get back to challenging the podium contenders. Of course, it’s Alex’s “home round” which always adds to the excitement, but there are many British riders at the front and WorldSBK has been coming to Donington for many years, so any advantage is perceived rather than genuine. The level at the front of WorldSBK is brutally competitive this year, but Yamaha is closing the gap and we are confident that both Alex and Michael will show very strongly at the team’s home event this weekend.”


Next stop Donington Park for Althea BMW

Rome (Italy), Wednesday 24 May 2017

After the mixed results of the Imola round, the Althea BMW Racing Team hopes for a simpler time this weekend at Donington Park during round 6 of the 2017 Superbike World Championship.

It will undoubtedly be a very difficult weekend for everyone, after the recent passing of Nicky Hayden, but the entire Althea BMW squad will be racing at Donington to honour the memory of the American rider, so loved by so many.

Jordi Torres was conditioned by gastroenteritis ten days ago at Imola, while all riders had to deal with a stream of red flags that came out during the practices and races, across all categories. Both Torres and his team-mate Raffaele De Rosa hope for a less complicated weekend in the UK, at a track which both of them enjoy. While the Spaniard scored a best result of seventh at last year’s British edition, the Italian won his race in the Stock1000 class. Marco Faccani, Althea BMW rider in the Stock1000 championship this season, will aim to complete a good race to improve his position in the general standings.

After the first five SBK rounds, Jordi Torres lies eighth in the standings with 65 points, while De Rosa is 19th with 5 points. In the Stock1000, Faccani positions fifth with 22 points.

Jordi Torres

“I really like the Donington track; we’ll continue our work and hope to be able to do a good job, though it’s never easy in the UK as the many British riders are always so strong at their home track… I’m feeling 100% again after my Imola illness and so hope we can work effectively right from Friday so that we’re well- prepared to race on Saturday and Sunday.”

Raffaele De Rosa

“After the tough Imola round, we head to Donington, a great track and one of my favourites, where I was able to win the Stock race last season. I hope to find the right sensations to be able to improve on recent results. We’ll continue to work step by step and will see if we can bring home some good results.”

Marco Faccani

“This time we’re at Donington and, though not among my favourites, it’s a good track. Last year Raffaele was very strong there with the BMW Stock so that leaves me feeling confident. I hope we can have a good weekend and fight for the positions that count, also taking that small step that would allow me to fight for the podium and the win…”


The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team back on track at Donington for the sixth round of the WorldSBK Championship

Back from a double win at Imola with Chaz Davies, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to resume action for the sixth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for May 26-28 at Donington (U.K.). The British track marks the home race for the Welshman, who scored three third-place finishes there with Ducati in the past two years. Marco Melandri, who last week concluded a one-day test at Mugello with positive feedback, secured two wins and two further podiums at Donington during his career in WorldSBK.

However, the racing aspects in these moments are overshadowed by the news regarding Nicky Hayden’s premature passing: the thoughts of the whole team go to the American rider, to his family and friends, and to his squad, in the hope of honoring his memory with two spectacular races, regardless of the results.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action at 09:45 (CET -1) on Friday for the first free-practice session.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)

“After some good results at Imola, it’ll be nice to head to Donington with some momentum. In the past few years, we’ve been getting progressively closer to the mark and more competitive there, where Sykes has been the benchmark. Last year, despite having missed one hour of practice on Friday, we got a podium, so I’m up for the challenge. That said, I feel devastated over the loss of somebody who wasn’t only a respected and established motorcycle racer and world champion. Nicky’s character spoke for itself. He was a great guy, friendly and determined, who deserves so much respect. We lost a real legend, on and off the track.”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)

“The day spent on track at Mugello last week was really intense and important, because in the official post-race test at Aragon we couldn’t ride after a crash, and most of all because of the issues encountered at Imola. I think we made some steps forward under several aspects. I really like the Donington track, and I hope the weather will be good. We head there with confidence, but most of all sadness after receiving the news of Nicky’s passing. It’s really hard to make sense of what unfolded in these circumstances. He will be missed dearly. My thoughts are with him and his family.”


Manufacturers ups and downs at Donington

Will history repeat itself for the teams at the UK WorldSBK?

Aprilia recorded eight podiums at Donington, but they are yet to win their first race here. They have finished second three times, the last one was in 2013’s Race 2 with Sylvain Guintoli. Last year Aprilia's best results were recorded by Lorenzo Savadori: 6th in Race 1 and 4th in Race 2. Despite at least one top-4 spot on the grid from 2012 onwards, an Aprilia bike has never qualified on pole at Donington. Last year Savadori started from 3rd on his Aprilia.

BMW recorded their first WorldSBK win here in 2012’s Race 1 which was a double Melandri-Haslam. They were in the position to repeat that in Race 2, but a final corner contact between Rea and Haslam knocked off both works BMWs. BMW claimed a third podium spot here in 2013 Race 1 with Melandri taking second after passing Rea and Guintoli. Last year BMW’s best results came from Jordi Torres in Race 1 (7th) and by Josh Brookes in Race 2 (9th).

Ducati is the most successful manufacturer at the Donington track with 17 wins to Kawasaki's 13. Their last one came in 2011 Race 2, with Carlos Checa. Both last year and two years ago, Ducati have claimed one podium finish in each race here: Chaz Davies was 3rd on three occasions and Davide Giugliano was 2nd last year in Race 1. In 2014 Giugliano recorded the last of the 15 Ducati poles here, also a record at the track.

Honda have won seven times at Donington, with no less than 6 different riders: Fred Merkel, Aaron Slight, Colin Edwards, James Toseland, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Jonathan Rea. The only Honda rider who has won twice at Donington is Colin Edwards (1999 Race 2 and 2000 Race 1). After their last win with Rea here in Race 2, 2012, they are yet to record a podium finish at Donington. Last year Nicky Hayden took the honour of being the best Honda at the flag, with a 5th in Race 1 and a 6th in Race 2.

Kawasaki is second only to Ducati for Donington wins: 13 to Ducati's 17. They boast a unique feat though: they are the only team to record eight straight wins at this historical track, all courtesy of Tom Sykes, in the last eight races. Kawasaki have finished 1-2 five times in the last six races at Donington: in 2014 with Sykes and Loris Baz, in 2015 with Sykes-Rea and again in Race 2 last year. In Race 1 last year, Sykes won and Rea finished in 3rd.

Yamaha have won 7 times at Donington: the last one came in Race 1, 2011, courtesy of Marco Melandri. Last year they endured a very hard weekend as both their works riders, Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes, were sidelined by injuries. Yamaha called in from the United States Cameron Beaubier to replace Lowes: he finished 9th in Race 1 and 10th in Race 2 in his only WorldSBK races so far.

Last year MV Agusta was right behind the podium spots with Leon Camier, 4th in Race 1 and 5th in Race 2.


Catch me if you can

Sofuoglu is a man on a mission in WorldSSP

FIM Supersport World Championship is in full swing as the 32 riders head over to the iconic Donington Park Circuit in Great Britain, for the sixth round of the season. Fast and flowing, the 4.023km circuit lends itself to the stunning nature of WorldSSP racing and if history is anything to go by fans are set for a show.

Reigning world champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continues to stamp his dominance throughout the WorldSSP championship, as the Turkish rider secured his second consecutive victory at the Motul Italian Round. Taking his 40th victory in the WorldSSP in classic dominant style, Sofuoglu is on a strong run in 2017, and heads to a track of which he has an impressive history around. Winning the last two races around Donington Park and holding the lap record around the track, he will be a hard rider to stop on his ZX-6R.

Currently leading the championship standings, Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) heads to Donington Park fresh off the back of a podium at the Imola Circuit, and will hope to improve on his 2015 performance in the UK, where he has struggled at in the past. Consistency is key in WorldSSP, and the Frenchman has finished on the podium in all but one of 2017’s races, hoping to secure his second win of the season at Donington Park.

Heading for a big homecoming, Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will have his eyes on repeating his wildcard performance of 2015, which saw the local rider take a stunning podium finish around his home circuit. Now back with a full time ride for the championship winning team, Ryde is yet to finish on the podium in 2017 but currently sits in seventh in the standings with some consistent results. Coming off the back of a tough weekend at Imola, the 19 year old will look to impress in front of his home fans and make that all important step onto the podium.

It’s not just Kyle Ryde the British fans will have to cheer for, the trio of Kyle Smith (Gemar Team Lorini), Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) will be out in full force to impress the hoards of fans as they descend on the Leicestershire banking.

Smith is searching for redemption after mistakes around the Chang International Circuit saw the British rider miss out on the victory, and he has been fighting for the podium ever since. Taking a top six finish at Donington Park last time out, Smith will be hoping his Honda has the power to take him to the podium at Donington Park. Rea is continuing to struggle on board his Kawasaki machine, and has a mixed history in the East Midlands but the support of his home crowd certainly won’t slow him down. Taking a third position back in 2011, Donington holds some strong memories for Rea and he will be looking to take a points scoring finish next weekend. Local rider Stapleford will certainly have the home support to back him in what has been a tough season so far. Living close to the British circuit, he will be looking to get some solid points on the board.

Locked in the championship fight are front runners Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Sheridan Morias (Kallio Racing) and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse). Cluzel was unable to secure a podium finish last timeout but is continuing to show a consistent pace on board his Honda machine as he hopes to move up the championship standings. Morais was hindered by the tyres following the restarts at Imola but he is confident he can make that extra step in order to fight for the victory around Donington Park which is a circuit Yamaha’s tend to run well around, but the British circuit is one he has struggled around in the past. Jacobsen was unable to turn his pole position into a win last time out as himself and his team are working on finding the perfect pace. With a strong record around Donington Park – taking second position last season – Jacobsen will have the familiar support of the British fans around him.

With an updated timetable for the Pata UK Round, World Supersport will be out on track for Superpole one at 12:00LT on Saturday 27th May, and the race gets underway at the same time on Sunday 28th May.


British Round Draws Near For WorldSSP Riders

As the sixth round of the WorldSSP championship approaches at the British circuit of Donington Park Kenan Sofuoglu and Kyle Ryde (both Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) have the same podium ambitions; but for Ryde it also his home round.

After the first five rounds of the season reigning champion Sofuoglu is ready to make another push for the top step of the podium, having won the most recent events at Assen and Imola.

Three enforced no scores in the first three rounds, through injury and then the actions of another rider, leave Sofuoglu fourth overall at present. He is only eight points from second place despite his early bad luck as he attempts to add to his record of 40 career race wins this weekend in the UK. Kenan has a good record at Donington Park, and has won both the most recent WorldSSP races held at the 4.023km venue in England.

Sofuoglu’s record of five championship wins is the most obvious measure of his overall dominance of this branch of the sport but he also has the all-time records for podium places (80), pole positions (31), front row starts (96), fastest laps (28) and total championship points (1,935).

At a home round, and at a circuit where he had already recorded a WorldSSP podium as a wildcard in 2015, Ryde is looking for his first top three since becoming an official Kawasaki rider this season.

Having been as high in the championship as fourth after the first three rounds, a 12th at Assen and a no-score at Imola, now see Kyle seventh in the championship, but only five points from the top five.

The competitive nature of the Donington Park race weekend will be as strong as ever but the action will be conducted against a backdrop of collective sadness after the loss of top WorldSBK competitor and 2006 MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden, who recently passed away in hospital after a cycle accident in Italy. The entire Kawasaki effort in WorldSSP racing offers its condolences to Nicky’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Once the Donington Park round has been completed seventh round of the championship will take place at Misano, in Italy, with raceday on Sunday 18th June. With no WorldSSP race during the Laguna Seca WorldSBK weekend, there will be a summer break of eight weekends before the subsequent round in Germany, on 20th August.

Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “We are going to Donington next and it is a good track for me and the bike. Since I joined Kawasaki I have been fast at Donington and I think the bike likes it there. For me it is also a nice track layout to ride. I am not sure what the weather forecast is but I hope that it is going to be good. It is not a problem either way, wet or dry, but it is not going to be an easy weekend given the circumstances.”

Kyle Ryde, stated: “At Donington I feel confident that I can take a good step compared to last couple of races. I got a third place here two years ago, and there is some pressure on me to do same thing again. I have been there or thereabouts all year so there is no reason why I cannot be able to compete at Donington. The team have got their heads around the set-up of the bike on the opening day of practice but it is just me right now. I think Donington will be the place where I can make a step as I know the track better than any other one. If I do the job properly on the opening day it should make the rest of the weekend easier.”

Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) is a convincing 11th in the points after scoring four times out of five races, including a strong fifth place at the Spanish round in April.

Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) is 18th, Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 21st and ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) 22nd.

Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) is 23rd overall, Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 27th and Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) is on the score sheet after some early bad luck this year.


Mahias Marches on to Donington Park

Setup

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team’s Lucas Mahias arrives at Donington Park for round six of the 2016 FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend aiming to increase his 27-point lead in the standings. His teammate Federico Caricasulo is looking to bounce back after his DNF at Imola and get his championship aspirations back on track.

Mahias recorded his fourth podium in five races at Imola after finishing in second to extend his championship lead. The French rider is looking forward to riding his R6 around the fast and flowing Donington track, a circuit he enjoys despite not finishing his only race there in 2015. The 28-year-old championship leader is relishing the chance to get back on track and is focused on extending his lead even more at Donington.

His teammate Caricasulo recorded a DNF at Imola, after re-breaking his collarbone in a crash during Warm Up. The Italian has spent the time since working hard to ensure he will be fit enough to ride at Donington and is confident that the track will suit the characteristics of his Yamaha YZF-R6. The 21-year-old is currently eighth in the championship standings with 35 points after five races, and is keen to get his season back on track to try and reduce the 50-point gap to his teammate.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team get underway at Donington with FP1 on Friday at 11am GMT, qualifying is scheduled for midday on Saturday, while the 20-lap race is due to start at midday on Sunday.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team

“Imola was a great result for me and the championship and I can’t wait to get back to the action at Donington. I like the track because it is very fast and flowing. I didn’t finish in my only race here back in 2015, but my first impressions were very good, I like it. My target is the same as it was at Imola, to try and get the best result for the championship, and I will try and take maximum points. I always like riding in England and the fans there seem to like my riding style, so I hope to do well. The R6 is such a good bike, and the team have prepared an amazing package, so it should suit the Donington track.”

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team

“I'm ready for Donington! I think it will be a good track for my Yamaha R6. Imola was not the easiest weekend, and we have been working hard to make sure we can bounce back at Donington. My aim is to make it as good a weekend as possible, and it is always nice to ride in front of the British fans.”

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

“We are ready for Donington, we are hoping to confirm the good performance from Lucas at Imola, and maintain the championship fight. The R6 should suit the track, and Lucas is feeling confident. Federico is looking to fight back after Imola. He has been training hard, and his shoulder is feeling better, and as always, he will try and get the best result. He was very unlucky to re-break his collarbone in Imola, the important thing is that we are constantly looking to improve and to ensure something like that doesn’t happen again. We have a great package with the R6, and the team have been working very hard to make sure we are always making progress with the bike, so we feel ready for a good weekend.”


CIA Landlord Insurance Honda are coming home

Posted on 24th May 2017

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda are at home this weekend for Round Six of the World Supersport Championship at Donington Park in the UK.

Frenchman, Jules Cluzel is lying 6th in the Championship going into the Pata UK Round and the 28-year-old is confident in the speed of his machine to move him up the leaderboard at the fast and flowing 4.023km circuit.

Jules said: “I think we can be strong at Donington Park. The bike looks like it will be quick, it looked strong here last year and we should have some reference for what we need. I need to concentrate and be strong. I feel really fit, I’m training really hard every day so physically I am confident I am at full power so I will give it my best shot.”

Hikari Okubo arrives at Donington Park off the back of a confidence boosting top ten finish last time out at Imola and the 23-year-old is determined to improve again at the team’s home round. He said: “I was happy with the race in Imola but I need more good results. I understand my riding style was not good in the race so I have a target. I have been training hard and I believe I can ride better in the UK.”

Robin Mulhauser makes his debut at Donington Park this weekend and the Swiss rider is looking to regain the pace that has eluded him at recent rounds. He said: “Donington will be a new track for me. I’ve already ridden it a lot on the Playstation but I’m sure it must be much better in real life. The weather is looking amazing, (for England), and I can’t wait to meet the British crowd and race on the home track of the team!”

Hiromichi Kunikawa also arrives at Donington Park for the first time and the Japanese rider is aiming to build on the solid progress he made at Imola where he finished the race inside the top twenty. Hiromichi said: “We were able to improve at Imola however I know that it is not enough. Of course Donington Park is another new circuit for me but I studied last year’s video of WSS and I think it is a very interesting circuit. I will do my best to get a good result at the home of the team.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “We need to start well in FP1 on Friday with Jules and then work with that set up. We were fast at Donington last year with Kyle Smith and I am sure Jules will have a great chance to score his first victory of the season on the team’s home soil.”

“It was good to see Hikari much stronger again at Imola and our aim for him has to be a top six finish at Donington Park.”

“I am sure Robin will stick to his task learning the circuit and be much stronger at this round.”

“Hiromichi also faces learning the track but he had a boost to his confidence at Imola and we aim to build on that progress this weekend.”

The World Supersport action from Donington Park gets underway with Free Practice One on Friday 26th May at 11am (local time).


Deroue looks for redemption in the UK

WorldSSP300 head to Donington Park

Round three of the new FIM Supersport 300 World Championship threw up many surprises as the championship took on the iconic circuit of Imola. With racing as close as ever, the unexpected was provided for fans and the series lived up to its name with the sensationally close action. Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) continues to lead the championship standings, but a tough weekend at Imola proves anything can happen in WorldSSP300. Heading to Donington Park for Round Four, a track again which will be familiar to some but brand new to others in the field, all is to play for in the series.

Dutchman Deroue will have a lot of experience at Donington Park as he hails from his time in the domestic British championships, meaning he will certainly be out to redeem his result from the technically demanding Imola circuit. Kawasaki’s are proven bikes around the Leicestershire circuit meaning Deroue will be stood in good stead with his machine, and with a 14 point championship lead he will be looking to increase the gap at a circuit he will be pushing at from the opening free practise session.

Italian Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) had a strong race in front of his home fans around Imola, and is slowly chipping away at Deroue’s championship lead. With some strong performances around the British circuit in the past in the European Junior Cup, the young Italian put on a mature performance at his home round and will be looking to take this momentum forward to the tough circuit.

Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) is yet to reproduce the stunning performance from his home round at MotorLand Aragon which saw him make a step onto the podium as one of only three Honda’s on the grid. Qualifying on pole position last time out at Assen, the Spanish rider was unable to convert this into a podium in the highly competitive field. Proving he has the pace, and heading to a track he has won at in the past it will be an exciting battle to unfold as he fights to get his Honda on the podium.

On top of the championship fight, the British riders in the WorldSSP300 class will be hoping to impress their home fans for the first time and put on an unforgettable show. Alex Murley (Team Toth), Chris Taylor (MTM HS Kawasaki) and Hopkins Racing are building on their experience built up so far throughout the start of the new championship. With a loyal fan base of Brits behind them, it is bound to be a memorable round.

WorldSSP300 action gets underway on Friday 26th May at 12:15, ahead of Superpole on Saturday 27th May 13:00, and the race is now at an earlier time of 11:05LT.


Rinaldi on the run

Can the STK1000 Ducati rider be stopped going into Donington?

Getting into the swing of the 2017 season, the European Superstock 1000 Championship heads to their fourth round at Donington Park and stunning racing action is guaranteed around the Leicestershire circuit. Dominance continues to be the key in the STK1000 series; with riders clearly beginning to feel comfortable on board their bikes and finding the correct set up is key to taking the lead and breaking from the ruthless pack.

Leading the championship is Italian Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it – Junior Team), who returned to the top of the podium in front of his home crowd last time out at Imola. With a 16 point lead in the standings after just three races, Rinaldi is the man to beat heading into Donington. However having only recorded a top five finish at the circuit last season – 10 seconds off the winner – can the Italian bring his pace forward from the opening rounds to tackle the tough Donington Park.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) sits in second position in the championship standings with 54 points – his racing number. Taking his first win around Assen for round two, the Turkish rider secured another podium last time out and will be hoping to impress in front of the British fans.

Lap record holder Roberto Tamburini (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team) is still searching for his first race win of the season, after taking two podium position finishes so far this season including an Italian dream in front of his home fans last time out. Taking pole position at Donington Park in 2015 with BMW, the Italian missed out on the victory but has proved he enjoys battling around the 4.023km circuit. Team-mate Florian Marino (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team) has finished on the podium two times out of three so far in 2017, as he continues to adapt to the pace of his YZF R1. But with a steady pace around the British circuit so far in his career, fans will be promised close and tense racing for the podium fight.

With 34 riders lining up on the grid around the British circuit, it is set to be a stunning weekend of racing action for the STK1000 riders. With the key to the key to the weekend finding out who can stop Rinaldi and bask in British glory, they descend on a circuit which holds so much history for the championship.


Tamburini & Marino Hunting for STK1000 Podium at Donington

Setup

Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team riders Roberto Tamburini and Florian Marino are looking to continue their excellent start to the season at Donington park this weekend, round four of the 2017 FIM Superstock 1000 European Championship. Both riders have two podiums to their name after three races this season and are firmly in the hunt for the championship title.

Tamburini rode bravely at Imola, despite a neck injury sustained at Assen, and crossed the line in second to record his second podium of the season. The 23-year-old Italian is currently third in the championship standings with 43 points, just 27 points behind the leader after three races.

Marino unfortunately crashed out of the race in Imola meaning he missed out on the podium for the first time this year after recording podiums at both Aragon and Assen. The French 23-year-old is now determined to make up for the lost points at Donington and currently finds himself fourth in the championship standings with 36 points, seven points behind his teammate.

The Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team hit the track on Friday at 8.45am GMT at Donington for Free Practice 1, with Saturday’s qualifying scheduled for 16:00pm and Sunday’s 15-lap race at 13:15pm.


Next stop Donington for the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team with Rinaldi and Jones

After a memorable weekend at Imola, capped with a win by Michael Ruben Rinaldi, the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team is ready to resume action for the fourth round of the European Superstock 1000 Championship, scheduled for May 26-28 at Donington (U.K.).

Rinaldi, who collected 70 out of 75 points thus far with two wins and one second-place finish, is keen to confirm the consistency that has allowed him to build a small gap at the top of the rankings. Mike Jones, after two unlucky rounds where he was involved without fault in racing accidents, is determined to bounce back on a track that theoretically suits his riding style.

The whole team, however, is first and foremost deeply saddened by the news of Nicky Hayden’s premature passing, and would like to extend its most sincere condolences to the champion’s family, friends and team. The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will be back on track on Friday, May 26th, at 09:00 (CET -1) for the first free-practice session.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #12)

“After two wins and a second place, it’s important to head to Donington without resting on laurels. Our mindset needs to stay the same: keep working hard, because the championship is long. I like the track, last year I raced there for the first time and finished in fifth position, but now I’m more prepared and at ease with the bike, which has also improved since 2016. We have what we need to aim high, even though the weather will be a key variable”.

Mike Jones (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #57)

“Physically, I’m feeling good and progressively closer to 100 percent, certainly better than going into the race weekend at Imola. The Donington round is going to be challenging. I’ve never been there before so it will be a learning experience. We’re still working to find a base to use across various tracks, but I’m happy with the package because it’s undoubtedly competitive and the team is working really hard to give me what I need, so I’m confident to be able to learn and adapt in order to get a solid result”.


Did you know? #UKWorldSBK in Numbers

WorldSBK hits the UK and theres some stats you won’t want to miss out on

2011 – The last race without a Kawasaki rider on the podium here was back in 2011.

1988 – Donington set the stage for the inaugural Championship round back in 1988: Davide Tardozzi (Bimota) and Marco Lucchinelli (Ducati) secured one win each on the 3rd of April.

52 – Ducati have built up 52 podium finishes in the 48 races held so far at Donington. Kawasaki are just behind with 30.

47 – In 48 races run at Donington, 47 different riders have stepped onto the podium.

18 – British riders have won 18 races here and they are currently unbeaten in the last nine: Race 2 in 2012 was won by Rea, then a string of eight for Tom Sykes. The last non-British winner here was Marco Melandri (Italy) in Race 1, 2012.

15 – Ducati have qualified on pole 15 times at Donington: all their rivals are on a combined 9 times.

13 – Troy Corser climbed onto the podium 13 times here, which is the record for the track: next up are Carl Fogarty and Tom Sykes with 11.

11-1 – In the last two race weekends held here in 2015 and 2016, British riders claimed 11 podiums, leaving only one position for other countries: the third spot in last year’s Race 1, claimed by Davide Giugliano (Italy).

11 – Tom Sykes has more than double the podium finishes than his closest current competitor Rea, who stands at 5.

10 – Tom Sykes has secured a podium in his last 10 races here. In WorldSBK history only Carl Fogarty managed a longer run of podiums on a given track: 15 at Assen from 1992 Race 2 to 1999 Race 2.

9 – If Tom Sykes wins Race 1, he will accomplish an unprecedented feat in WorldSBK history: winning on a given track for 9 straight times.

9 – The last win from ninth (or lower) on the grid here came in 2011, Race 1, by Marco Melandri. This will be put to the test this year in Race 2, with the re-shuffled grid format. So far in 2017, Race 2 winners have always secured the win from the 9th grid spot or lower.

5 – Tom Sykes will try to become the first rider to claim a fifth pole at Donington: he shares the record of four with Carl Fogarty. He is the only rider on the current grid to have started from pole here.

3 - There are only two riders in the current field who won a WorldSBK race at Donington: Jonathan Rea (1), Marco Melandri (2) and Tom Sykes (8). They are also the last three who joined the list of (24) Donington winners, respectively in 2012 (Melandri and Rea) and 2013 (Sykes).

2 – Donington has recently favoured breakaway wins: only two races in the last 16 were won with a margin smaller than one second at the flag (both 2012 ones).

1 – Donington was the stage of the first win of 4-times World Champion Carl Fogarty, back in 1992, Race 2. Fogarty is the all-time leader for wins – 59 - followed by Troy Bayliss at 52 and Jonathan Rea at 45.


1988 – WorldSBK is born

Take a trip down memory lane to the very first WorldSBK race

As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to Donington Park for the sixth round of the season, it’s set to be a pivotal round in the championships history. 2017 sees WorldSBK reach its 30th season of racing, and Donington Park was the host for the inaugural round of the championship back in 1988.

Historical for many reasons, the Leicestershire circuit will go down in WorldSBK history as the circuit which paved the way for 30 stunning seasons of bike racing action. WorldSBK.com will be re-visiting some of the most crucial moments the championship has seen over the years, and none come more momentous than the very first round.

British fans flocked to the circuit as a new era dawned on motorbike racing, and for the first time fans could see the bikes they ride on the roads racing on track and fighting for glory. The first round of nine was held on 3rd April, and for the only time that season results were combined from both races to determine one overall victor.

Racing on the shortened circuit layout – different to what WorldSBK race on today - British rider Roger Burnett secured pole position on a Honda with a lap time of 1.14.810. 25 riders lined up on the grid and it was Italian Davide Tardozzi who took the maiden victory on board his Bimota SpA, just .01.090 ahead of compatriot Marco Lucchinelli for Ducati. Road racing legend Joey Dunlop gave the British fans something to cheer about as he completed the podium in the 30 lap race one.

Race two saw Lucchinelli stand on the top step, as race one winner Tardozzi crashed out on the final lap, providing fans with true SBK drama. American Fred Merkel – the eventual world champion - took second position for Honda as Dunlop made it a double podium around the legendary circuit. Combined results meant Lucchinelli left the UK as the rounds overall winner, however these rules have never been seen again in WorldSBK.

Take a delve through the SBK archives and re-live the 30 seasons of the world’s fastest production-based motorcycle series, whilst WorldSBK.com continue to bring you insight into the last three decades of racing action.


Round Number: 
6
2017

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