Press releases from the organizers and teams after qualifying and race 1 at Donington Park:
Donington Park Day Two
Sykes secures victory in dramatic WorldSBK race
Sykes wins ninth race in a row at Donington, wildcard Haslam and Lowes on podium, crashes for Rea and Davies
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) took a brilliant win in Race 1 of the PATA UK Round in a dramatic race which brought crashes for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati). Wildcard Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) made it an all-British podium, as Sykes took an amazing ninth successive victory in his home race at Donington Park.
An incident-packed race saw provisional leader Davies go down in the early stages at turn 12, after he lost the front end. He picked his Ducati up to rejoin, eventually finishing eighth having crashed at the same corner as he did in last year’s Race 1 at Donington and this latest incident will be a big blow to his World title aspirations.
With 6 laps to go Sykes got through on his teammate Rea to lead and within just over a lap he had opened up a two second gap on his Northern Irish teammate. Rea then suffered a high speed accident at turn 3, crashing out of the race, but was soon back on his feet and was taken back to the pits on a scooter.
A superb ride by Haslam on his return to the series saw him take a highly creditable second place, whilst Lowes took third thanks to a late move on Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati).
Dutchman Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) completed the top five, with Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) making it four Brits in the top six to further delight the home crowd.
In seventh place Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) crossed the line a couple of seconds ahead of Davies, with Spaniards Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) and Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) completing the top ten after 23 breathtaking laps around the exciting 4.023km Donington Park Circuit.
The riders and many of the fans in attendance carried stickers and flags in tribute to the late Nicky Hayden who tragically passed away earlier in the week after a cycling accident in Italy, with Sykes quick to pay his condolences to the Hayden family after the race in parc ferme. The podium finishers all wore t-shirts carrying Hayden’s famous number 69 in honour of the Kentucky Kid.
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) and Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing) unfortunately suffered technical issues and ended up with DNFs.
The riders will be back in action on Sunday with Race 2 at the PATA UK Round at 3pm local time.
1st - Tom Sykes(Kawasaki Racing Team)
"Fantastic, I had to work for it, but I need to pass my condolences to Nicky's family. It's very strange to not have my next door neighbour here with his great smile so it's been slightly strange all weekend. In a small way this is basically for him, and overall the weekend has been good and it's nice to continue our form."
2nd - Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
"Yesterdays pace, I felt comfortable to fight for the podium but today we had a bit of a problem and with the track temperatures changing it was behaving very differently. Obviously Chaz and Jonny crashed but I was just working my way through, working my own race and I'm so happy for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing."
3rd - Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
"Leon came up the inside, I went off track and Eugene hit me, that's expected from Leon with a wildcard, hes one of my best mates off track. It was a fantastic base and the bike was great, we had the pace for fourth but with Marco on the last lap, you've gotta go for it."
#UKWorldSBK at Donington Park: Race 1
1. Tom Sykes Kawasaki
2. Leon Haslam Kawasaki +16.500
3. Alex Lowes Yamaha +19.170
First Win Of The Year For Sykes
On a dry track surface at Donington Park Tom Sykes (KRT) won his first FIM Superbike World Championship race of the season by a clear 16.5 seconds to close the points gap on his team-mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea (KRT) to 50. Rea was finally not able to compete for the win himself after a problem caused him to crash at Craner Curves, without injury.
Tom Sykes scored his ninth successive win at Donington Park for Kawasaki with his 32nd career victory today, after a race filled with drama and unexpected twists and turns.
In the morning, before the start of the first race, Superpole was won by Sykes - the 39th such success of his career and the first this season. Sykes set a new track best of 1’26.641 to record his Superpole win. Rea had qualified second in Superpole and lined up right beside his team-mate on the front row. Kawasaki MXGP rider Tommy Searle was a guest of the team this weekend and was on the grid for the start of race one, to offer support to his fellow Kawasaki riders.
At the beginning of the opening 23-lap contest Chaz Davies took the lead, from Sykes and Rea, then after one lap of the 4.023km track Rea slotted into second place, and then the lead, after Davies crashed out on lap seven.
Having been down in fourth place for a short period, after trying to pass Rea for second but running wide, Sykes found himself behind eventual podium finisher Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
Sykes, the 2013 champion for KRT, steadily worked his way into the lead at his favourite circuit and eventually had a clear run to victory.
Rea had experienced some vibration issues late in the race and had been forced to slow his pace, but was to crash at high speed as his tyre deflated with three laps to go.
Haslam, a wildcard rider for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team and riding with the blessing of his JG Speedfit Kawasaki British Superbike team, took his Ninja ZX-10RR to second place after Rea’s misfortune, but was already in line for a podium finish close to the end of the race after making a strong start.
With one more 23-lap WorldSBK race to go this weekend Sykes has closed the gap on long time championship leader Rea to 50 points.
Tom Sykes, stated: “That was a fantastic race and I enjoyed it. It turned out to be very difficult and not necessarily what I had in the plan but that is part of racing. We had a good start but during the attempted pass on Chaz I had a full fuel load and was just a little bit on the limit, I ran wide and did again on Jonathan. I lost a lot of time there but today’s experience has been a blessing in disguise really, because I now have a better understanding of the race bike set-up while riding with the others. All weekend I have been fairly much alone on track and doing my own thing and had some great results. But today being behind other riders was hampering the lap time. Overall to win here and continue my form at Donington is fantastic. ”
Jonathan Rea, stated: “About a lap before Tom passed me I started to get a lot of vibration entering the corner off the gas. I had a lot of chatter from the front and the rear. When Tom passed me it started to get worse and worse. All I was thinking about was to finish the race and get some points. In hindsight I should have pulled over because I would have saved my bike because it was completely destroyed. The team will have to build me a new bike for tomorrow so that is frustrating for the mechanics as well. I am really disappointed, to be honest.”
Lowes Delivers Sensational Donington Comeback for Maiden Yamaha Podium
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Teams Alex Lowes produced the ride of his season so far to secure his maiden podium for the team in race one at Donington Park, round six of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. The British rider put on a sensational comeback for the home fans after he was forced wide at the first corner, pulling off overtake after overtake to recover from 22nd place and cross the line in an incredible third. His teammate Michael van der Mark also rode superbly as he charged from 11th on the grid to secure a top five finish.
Lowes lives 10 minutes away from the Donington Park track and it was where he got his first taste of road racing, therefore it was fitting that it was the scene of his best ever rides. Starting from fourth, another rider made contact with him heading into the first corner, forcing Lowes wide and almost off the track. The British rider was down in 22nd, right at the back of the field, but instead of letting the situation get the better of him, the 26-year-old got his head down and started picking off riders one by one.
On lap three he had made his way up to 18th, then he put the hammer down, lapping over a second quicker than the riders in front of him. His charge continued into the points having passed another three riders and Lowes was soon battling for the top ten. With four laps to go he moved up to sixth, then one lap later he passed his teammate for fifth. A rider ahead of him crashed out, promoting him to fourth and the podium was on. When he crossed the line to start the last lap Marco Melandri was 1.2s ahead of him in third, but Lowes somehow managed to bring this gap down to less than half a second in the first two sectors. Then a mistake from Melandri left the door open and Lowes blasted past to claim his first ever podium for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team, crossing the line in third to top off a simply remarkable comeback and sending the home fans wild.
His teammate van der Mark got a solid start from 11th on the grid and immediately settled into a good rhythm. The Dutch rider was up to ninth by the end of the first lap, and producing his usual consistent lap times he also pulled off some stunning overtaking manoeuvres to fight his way through the pack. By lap eight he was in sixth and he started to hunt down Tati Mercado in fifth, eventually catching and passing him a few laps later. When his teammate Lowes came past him with three laps to go, he valiantly fought back, but eventually had to concede the position. Determined for the best result possible van der Mark managed to keep pushing right to the end, securing a hard-fought fifth position.
The 16 points Lowes collected now sees him fifth in the championship table with 110 points, closing the gap to Melandri in fourth to just 27 points, and he will start Sundays race two from seventh on the grid. Van der Mark's result delivered 11 championship points and sees the 23-year-old seventh in the championship standings with 89 points, having closed the gap to the rider in sixth to just one point. He will start race two from the middle of the front row.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
It is always fantastic to race in front of the home fans, it is the only chance we get in the year so I wanted to do something special! I thought it had all gone wrong at the first corner as someone hit me from the inside and I nearly went off the track. I thought, Oh no! But I managed to stay calm, and stay focused. From then on it was one of the most enjoyable races I have ever had, because I was passing people for the whole 23 laps, so the race felt really short. The R1 was great, I enjoyed it a lot. We got a bit of good luck on the last lap when Marco Melandri made a mistake and we managed to get on the podium. It is nothing more than the team deserves, they work so hard and I am really happy to have been able to give something back to them. I expected to be the next fastest guy after the championship leaders, that is where I have been lately when I have a good feeling with the bike, I knew I could keep my pace until the end of the race. It is one of the strengths we have had all year, being strong at the end of the race, we have just been too far behind from the start. I thought that would be the case today, but obviously, it worked out better! I am looking forward to tomorrow and we will see what we can do in race two. We have all been riding this weekend in Nicky Haydens memory and I was actually hoping today, when I was sliding the rear so much after the tyres went off, that he would have approved.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
We must be happy with the result, especially after starting from 11th on the grid. On Friday we had quite a good pace and we knew we could be in the top five. The start was not really what I wanted, but I recovered and had a good first lap and step-by-step I started to overtake people. My pace was really consistent, but I was not really happy with the feeling, I struggled with the front, so I found a safe pace and kept pushing. I was getting close to Melandri, but not close enough, and then Alex passed me and I tried to hold on to him, but I had to go over the limit so I decided to focus on my race and finish in P5. Alexs podium was amazing, it was a really good result for the team. I hope tomorrow I can get the feeling from Friday back and also be in the fight for the podium.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
Alex said directly after the race that it was the best ride of his career, and it is very difficult to argue with that! After the first turn incident, he was last going down Craner Curves, which is never a good situation to be in, but he displayed great patience in dealing with the traffic at the start of the race. All these guys are fast, it is not a question of simply riding past your competitors, they all deserve respect and they are all pushing hard. So, to make so many passes and then to display such fantastic pace in the middle of the race, matching the two front runners who were fighting for the win, was truly impressive. By keeping his focus and pushing so hard Alex was able to secure a superbly well-deserved podium at our home race. Alex has been working hard this year on his consistency, his feedback, and on his professionalism and step-by-step that approach has been rewarded and everybody in the Pata Yamaha Team couldnt be happier for him.
Equally, Michael rode a great race. He is super consistent, made some great passes and kept under control and stayed calm after Alex passed him towards the end, which is always a challenge because a top rider like Michael always wants to beat his teammate. Fifth place was a solid result and he starts from second on the grid tomorrow and with some improvements to his R1, in particular front tyre choice, he has a good chance of an even better performance in race two.
Melandri and Davies respectively fourth and eighth in Race 1 at Donington
After showing strong competitiveness in both practice and Superpole, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team didn’t achieve the results it hoped for in Race 1 of the WorldSBK Championship at Donington (U.K.). In radically different climatic conditions compared with Friday – the tarmac being more than 10 degrees colder, and with strong winds blowing across the track – Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies closed in fourth and eighth position respectively.
Melandri, fifth in Superpole, faced some difficulties in the early phases of the race, going down to seventh position before being able to find a more consistent pace. The Italian then climbed back to third position, which he lost with only one corner to go due to a wind gust that, together with the front lifting from the ground under acceleration, pushed him temporarily off the track.
Davies, who took first row in Superpole with the third-best time, got off a strong start and took the lead at the first corner to impose and impressive pace in the high 1:27 mark. The Welshman however crashed during lap 7 at turn 12, rejoining the race in fourteenth position before climbing back to eighth.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 09:50 (CET -1) for WUP. Race 2 is scheduled to start at 15:00. Due to the new grid regulations for Race 2, Davies and Melandri will start in 1st and 5th position respectively.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 4th
“Today, the wind hindered our performance. During the race, the bike was moving a lot and the front kept lifting from the ground. For this reason, a gust pushed me off the track during the last lap, but I’m more disappointed for the sensations on the bike than the missed podium itself. I lacked confidence on the front and didn’t have much grip on the rear. I couldn’t replicate the times I did during practice yesterday, when we still weren’t at our 100 percent. In these cases, you need to think too much while riding, and it’s hard to push as hard as you want and make passes. We’ll start from pole position tomorrow, but first of all we need to find a better pace. We’re working on it, evaluating several ideas.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 8th
“I’m disappointed for the crash, because we had a really good pace at the start of the race. Yesterday we lacked stability, but the crew worked hard overnight and I was able to push hard at the front and stress our rivals a bit. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the last corner, which is quite bumpy. I let go the front brake a little too quickly and the front unloaded too fast. It’s always a fine line between winning and losing. Looking at the bright side, we got back on the bike and salvaged some valuable points for the championship. Hopefully we can show a strong pace in Race 2 as well and make it to the checkered flag.”
Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director
“It’s been a difficult day, below our expectations. It’s a real pity that Chaz crashed out, because both before and after he showed a strong pace. Looking at the glass half full, we recovered 8 points for the championship. Marco unfortunately has some issues with both the front and rear, but we have room for improvement and we’ll do our best to bounce back in Race 2 with both our riders.”
MERCADO, STUNNING PERFORMANCE AT UK ROUND.
7th classified, always battled among the first group.
Pontone, “If I would have been able to set the same time I did yesterday I would have been ninth today”.
Donington Park, 27th of May 2017 . Iodaracing World SBK ‘ s Tati Mercado delivered a stunning performance at the UK round Race 1 held today. Despite the great difficulty this track means for many riders, and the adverse weather conditions, Mercado rode a brilliant race among the very first group, right behind the leading three. The Argentinean rider took the start from the third row of the grid, and put his Aprilia in the seventh position of the final standing, being the first of the venetian factory in the race.
LEANDRO MERCADO #36 – ROUND UK – GARA 1 – 7° –“I am so happy and so pleased. I just did not know to be able to manage this pace, mainly during the first part of the race. To be honest, I was slightly worried about our grip but my team has modified a couple of changes which have allowed me to push hard . I had a good start and I am satisfied with the first part of the race. It turned difficult by mid race because when the tyres drop our bike behaves completely differently. This is something we need to work on. It needs quite a physical approach!. All in all I am satisfied. Donington is a hard track for many of us so I think we are doing well. I wish to thank my team for their incredible work, and of course we are already at work for tomorrow’s race”.
Armando Pontone, not fully satisfied of this result in WSP 300 Superpole.
ARMANDO PONTONE #80 - ROUND UK – Superpole WSP300 – 22° in Starting Grid. "We are still making good progress in our settings. I was not able to make a good lap. We are too many in this class and traffici s a real problem. The last two corners are just crowded, and there are many riders standing there just waiting for somebody to catch up with. If I would have been able to set the same time I did yesterday I would have been ninth today”.
Difficult Race 1 for Milwaukee Aprilia at Donington Park
Donington Park 27 / 05 / 2017
It was a tough day of racing for Milwaukee Aprilia at Donington Park on Saturday as Race 1 got underway at the team's home round. Riders Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty both scored points, but emphasised that big progress still needs to be made with the Aprilia RSV4 RF.
After a promising Superpole 1 session saw Eugene join Lorenzo in the pole position shootout, the team were hopeful for Race 1 as Eugene reached the second row of the grid in P6. Lorenzo's session was more difficult, where he lined up P12.
Lorenzo made a good start, getting past Torres on the first lap to take P11. He defended well against Torres, Lowes and Ramos, but due to his race pace falling he was unable to stop them passing. Catching team mate Eugene on lap 11, he made a pass to take 13th place before a crash ahead moved him up to 12th, where he brought the bike home with 4 points.
As the race started Eugene was forced wide at Turn 1 by Haslam, nearly collecting Lowes in the process. He quickly reasserted himself and set about chasing the leaders, scrapping with Melandri and Van der Mark. As he struggled with his bike however he dropped back into the pack, including team mate Lorenzo. Benefiting also from the crash ahead, he moved into 13th and held position to score 3 points.
The team now have Sunday morning's warm up session to prepare for Race 2, where they will line up in P11 and P13 for Eugene and Lorenzo respectively.
The action continues on Sunday 28th at #UKWorldSBK with Race 2 at 15:00 GMT (+1 CET).
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Grid: P12 Race: P12, 4 points
We lost time today in FP3 because of the rain, so Superpole was a little bit more difficult for us. I still had similar problems from yesterday with front grip and feeling.
I made a good start in the race and my pace was OK, but it was really difficult for me to pass other riders. I wasn't able to defend either, so I tried my best to just hold my position. I made some places up at the end, but we should have finished higher.
We know how to fix some of the problems I have with the bike, but it is not a simple solution and we have to focus very hard tonight and in the warm up. I hope in Race 2 we can give the team a better result.
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid: P6 Race: P13, 3 points
Qualifying was good compared to practice yesterday, the bike felt great and I was able to consistently set good laps on the race tyre. I didn't get as much from the qualifying tyre as I did the race tyre, so I was optimistic for the race.
In the race start I was pushed wide at the first corner which cost me some places. I managed to fight back up to P6 and was having a good scrap with Fores and Melandri. After that though I really struggled, I had no rear grip and I just couldn't put the power down.
We've really got to put our heads together tonight and figure out how to get on top of these problems. Right now we have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, because today was not acceptable for us.
Althea BMW with work to do at Donington
Castle Donington (UK), Saturday 27 May 2017
The sixth World Superbike round is taking place this weekend at Donington Park in the UK and, in today’s first SBK race, team Althea BMW closed ninth with rider Jordi Torres and fifteenth with Raffaele De Rosa. In the Stock1000 qualifying session, Marco Faccani has earned seventh position for tomorrow’s 15-lap race.
Superpole 1: Fourth and ninth respectively at mid-session, Jordi and Raffaele returned to the track with the soft tyre ready to complete their flying laps. In a very hard fought session, the Spaniard was able to complete a series of fast laps that saw him close third overall (1’28.554), just missed out on accesso to SP2 by one tenth of a second. A best time of 1’29.239 for De Rosa meant that the Italian finished eighth, which translated into 18th place on the race.
SBK – Race 1: From thirteenth on the grid, Torres gained one position almost immediately and a further two in the early stages to place tenth by lap six. Eleventh at the mid-race point, and lapping with a consistent pace, the Spaniard was able to pass Laverty, before fighting with Forés in the final laps to finish today’s race in ninth place. De Rosa, with work to do from eighteenth on the grid, was up to fifteenth after one lap. Lapping fairly consistently, he oscillated between 15th and 16th place for the duration of the race, crossing the line in fifteenth position.
STK1000 Qualifying: Faccani made the most of today’s 30-minute session, completing a number of laps with interesting lap times and fighting, particularly in the final stages, for a good position on the race grid. His best time of the day, a 1’30.468 was enough to see him conclude in seventh position, so a third row start for the Italian in tomorrow’s 15-lap race.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to solve the vibration issues on the bike this morning. I’m also sorry that I missed out on a place in SP2 by so little. In the race, I had quite consistent pace, which allowed me to pass a couple of riders. Considering the difficulties, finishing the race ninth wasn’t bad but tomorrow we have another opportunity and so I hope to be able to do more.”
Raffele De Rosa
"It was not an easy race, particularly with the strong wind. In the initial laps, I tried to make up a few places but it was tough. I spent most of the race lapping with Bradl who I think was having similar problems to me. I managed to finish the race but the tyre was pretty much destroyed, I need to continue to work to adapt my riding style in order to tackle some of the problems we’re having…”
"This qualifying session only went so-so. A problem with the bike meant I had to spend time in the garage but anyway, we’ll start the race from seventh position tomorrow. We’ll try to make a good start, as always, in order to be able to fight for the positions that count. I think we can do well here, I’m quietly confident.”
Bradl pulls out of race one at Donington Park
Donington Park, United Kingdom
The opening race of the UK Round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship was contested today at the Donington Park Circuit in central England, with Stefan Bradl forced into an early retirement after two thirds of the encounter.
The race got underway after a touching minute’s silence for the late Nicky Hayden, which took place on Donington’s start/finish straight. Nicky’s Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 #69 was surrounded by all Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team members, with an ocean of people made up of riders, fans, press and organising staff gathering around it.
Under a cloudy sky and with strong winds blowing across the 4.023km British circuit, the 27-year-old German rider maintained his position at the start, and by lap nine he was up to to 14th. With a clear track ahead, Stefan had to defend hard from a resurgent Davies, who had crashed out of the lead the lap before. After heading a group of three riders battling for 15th place, Bradl started to lose ground and ultimately returned to the pit-box at the end of lap 16, where he retired from the race.
On-track action for the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park will resume tomorrow morning at 9:50 local time (GMT +1) for the traditional 15-minute warm up, with the second encounter of the weekend to begin at 15:00.
Stefan Bradl 6
There was a lot of wind out there and that surely added some extra challenge to the race. Already from the start I could not ride the bike the way I wanted and then I had a near highside at Turn 1, after which I found it almost impossible to keep going. We’re not sure what happened yet, but the team is looking into it and I hope we can bounce back for race two.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
First of all I would like to thank Dorna on behalf of the whole team for the amazing job they did for the minute’s silence. It was really a great tribute to Nicky, it couldn’t have been done any better and it was really good to see the fans involved as well. Regarding the race, unfortunately things didn’t go the way we wanted but we’re now investigating to find out what the issue was, so that we can get ready for tomorrow.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
WorldSSP: Super Sofuoglu on pole at Donington
Turkish rider to head grid for sixth WorldSSP race of 2017, with Mahias and Cluzel also on front row
At the PATA UK Round on Saturday afternoon it was WorldSSP World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who secured pole position for the sixth race of the season with a 1’30.904 lap of the 4.023km Donington Park Circuit on his Kawasaki ZX-6R. Frenchmen Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) are also on the front row.
The Turk notched his 32nd pole in the category and his second of 2017 so far as he showed his rivals he means business this weekend.
The rider in Sofuoglu’s sights at the top of the championship standings - Mahias – qualified in second place on the grid on his Yamaha YZF R6, just +0.067s off pole.
Making it three different manufacturers on the front row was Mahias’ compatriot Cluzel who qualified third, half a second behind the front two on the Honda CBR600RR.
SP1 leader Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) put another manufacturer towards the front of the grid in fourth on the Triumph Daytona 675, as the top British qualifier for his home race.
Just behind Stapleford on the second row is Irishman Jack Kennedy in fifth, also on the Profile Racing Triumph, with Friday’s fastest rider American PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in sixth.
On the third row are three more Britons, HALSALL Racing Team wild card Joe Francis in seventh, GEMAR Team Lorini’s Kyle Smith in eighth and Team Kawasaki Go Eleven man Gino Rea in ninth place on the grid for Sunday’s sixth race of the year.
Row four will feature Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) and Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) - who qualified 10th, 11th and 12th respectively.
The two riders to graduate from Tissot Superpole 1 before SP2 were
Stapleford and Francis, Stapleford topping the session with a 1'31.579 best time.
The 20 lap WorldSSP race at the PATA UK Round will take place at 12 midday local time at the Donington Park Circuit on Sunday.
Pole Position - Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
"It was a difficult day because this morning was wet and this afternoon was windy but anyway we make a good lap and got pole position. We have to be fighting tomorrow. Yesterday I make a very good pace for the race, and the same pace as today. I am very confident for the race. I cant say I did enough but that's good."
WorldSSP Tissot-Superpole 2:
1. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki 1.30.904
2. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha 1.30.971 (+0.067)
3. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Honda 1.31.485 (+0.581)
Sofuoglu Wins Superpole Again
Five-time WorldSSP champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) outpaced his rivals to record his second pole position of the season, and the 32nd of his career, at Donington Park today. He will now start Sunday’s race from the optimum leading grid position, with his team-mate Kyle Ryde ending up in 14th place for his home event.
After a blistering first day on track on Friday today the weather was in changeable mood, with the riders meeting wet conditions in FP1 and then dry asphalt again in Superpole 2 qualifying.
Irrespective of what he encountered at a circuit he has won the two most recent races at Sofuoglu overcame the challenge and took Superpole by just 0.067 seconds from French rider Lucas Mahias.
Extended his own all-time record of pole positions in WorldSSP to 32 today Sofuoglu will be going for his third race win of the season in succession on Sunday.
Hoping to be in the leading positions after Superpole Ryde now has to work his way through from 14th place on the grid. Kyle is experiencing more difficulties keeping up full pace on he faster parts of the circuit, but is much more at ease in the tight slower sections, and under braking.
The race itself will start at 12 noon on Sunday for what are expected to be 20 intense and competitive laps of the 4.023km circuit.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “It has been a bit of a difficult day, honestly, because this morning was wet, but we achieved pole position. I cannot say I made such a good lap time but it was enough to take pole position. We have to be ready for the race tomorrow. Yesterday I had really good pace which is good to know for the race. I am very confident for Sunday. I cannot say that I did exactly what I wanted today but it was enough.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “Wherever on the track I struggled at Donington in 2015, when I got a podium finish, this weekend has been the complete opposite. I pass people with ease into the last two corners this season but when I get out the back it is impossible to ride the way I want to. Maybe I have to change my riding style to be more like Kenan, and go in a bit tighter on the brakes, but it is not quite happening for me right now. Before this weekend I thought I would be able to get into the top five in Superpole but I am 14th, which is not where I want to be.”
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was ninth in Superpole 2 and will now start from the third row of the grid for his home round. Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) rode to 17th place while Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) completed the top twenty positions. Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was 26th, with Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) 27th, Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 29th and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) 30th.
Front row start for Cluzel at Donington Park
Posted on 27th May 2017
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider, Jules Cluzel will start tomorrow’s World Supersport race at Donington Park from the front row of the grid in 3rd position.
Jules is confident his race pace is enough to challenge for his first win of the season in the 20-lap race at the 4.023km Derbyshire circuit.
Jules said: “I am happy to be on the front row after the difficult qualifying we had at the last 2 or 3 races. I think we can fight for the podium tomorrow because I was expecting maybe to do a little better in qualifying but I made a few mistakes and I struggled a little with the strong wind; I nearly crashed in 2 fast laps. I can be happy to be 3rd for tomorrow and I expect to be a bit better and be able to fight for the podium first, and then try to be better.”
Hikari Okubo finished Superpole 2 in 12th position. He had some problems selecting gear during the session so was unable to match his pace from yesterday. He is confident he will be on the pace in the race to challenge for a top six finish.
Robin Mulhauser improved in time slightly from yesterday during Superpole 1 but still couldn’t place higher than 23rd on the timesheet for the race tomorrow.
Hiromichi Kunikawa qualified 33rd in Superpole 1. Hiromichi tried a small chassis change from yesterday’s Free Practice 2 and will revert back to the previous set up for the race tomorrow.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “It was a really good qualifying for Jules, he made a couple of mistakes so there is more to come. We will see if we can make some small improvements in warm up tomorrow but we are in good shape certainly to challenge for the podium and I think Jules can maybe do a bit better, maybe he can challenge for the win.”
“A little bit disappointing for Hikari in 12th positon. We will check everything for tomorrow. He has got the pace, he proved that yesterday so let’s see what he can do.”
“I thought Robin would get into the 32s today – he hasn’t so we will analyse the data together as a team to see if we can improve in warm up and try to challenge for points in the race.”
“Hiromichi was lapping 34s in FP2 yesterday and managed low 36 today which is disappointing. We will probably go back to the set-up we had for him yesterday and see how far he can fight up the field in the race.”
Round 6 of the World Supersport Championship takes place at 12noon (local time).
Mahias Secures Front Row Start at Donington
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Teams Lucas Mahias secured his third front row start of the season today at Donington for round six of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. The championship leader only just missed out on pole position by 0.067s and will line up for tomorrow's race from the middle of the front row in second. His teammate Federico Caricasulo just missed out on making it through to SP2 and will start from 13th on the grid.
Mahias had earlier finished a wet FP3 in second and carried this form into a dry SP2. He immediately set a lap time that was good enough for a provisional front row start, but the French rider was not done there. He went back out after a quick pit stop, and improved his time lap by lap, pushing hard to secure his first pole position of the season. On his last flying lap, the 28-year-old made a tiny mistake at the final corner but still managed to set a 1:30.971, which was good enough for second on the grid.
Caricasulo is still suffering from an injured left collarbone after his crash in Imola. Despite this, the Italian bravely rode through the pain barrier in SP1 to try and make it through to the second qualifying session. After his first run he was on course to do just that, but in the end, he missed out on SP2 by the smallest margin after finishing SP1 in third and will line up on the grid at the head of the fourth row in 13th for Sunday's race.
The 20-lap race starts at midday GMT on Sunday at Donington Park.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
I am very happy, I pushed a lot for the pole position, but I just missed out! It was difficult to improve the bike this morning because of the rain, so I am very happy to get second, it is good for the race. Yesterday I ran a good race simulation, so I am feeling confident, but tomorrow is another day. Yesterday was hot, today was a lot colder, so we will wait to see what tomorrow is like, but either way I am confident I can do well. The bike is very good here, there is nothing really I can improve with it, just me, because the bike is perfect.
GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team
I am not happy because I need more time to set the bike up properly. The team and I will work incredibly hard so that we can fight during the race. I am determined to get the best result possible and I will push 100% throughout the race. I hope that if I get a good start I can push and hopefully score as many championship points as possible.
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
We are happy! Unfortunately for Federico, we have not been able to quite set the bike up as he likes, hence why he could not quite make it through to SP2. He pushed a lot but didnt want to take too many risks, so he did the best he could with what he had. If he gets a good start he could be in the mix for the race. For Lucas, he has been quick since FP1. He is so consistent, in every session he is right at the front, even if it is raining. He made a tiny mistake in the last corner, otherwise he would have been on pole for sure. He is very relaxed and happy at the moment, and we are very satisfied with the excellent job done by him and his crew. Tomorrow, I think he will be very strong in the race and will be fighting for the race win!
Team MF84 Althea qualifies twelfth at Donington
Castle Donington (UK), Saturday 27 May 2017
Team MF84 Althea is at Donington Park in the UK for the fourth round of the Superstock 1000 championship where, with rider Julian Puffe, they have qualified in twelfth position for tomorrow’s 15-lap Stock1000 race.
In yesterday’s practices, Puffe improved on his times throughout the day, closing the second and final session of the day with a best time of 1’32.442 which positioned him 17th. This morning a damp track after earlier rainfall prevented all riders from further lowering their times, meaning Puffe retained his position of 17th overall.
This afternoon, in cloudy but dry conditions, the MF84 Althea squad was back out for qualifying. Puffe was able to record several fast laps, the best of which he completed in 1’31.287. Thanks to that time, the Italian has earned the twelfth spot on tomorrow’s race grid.
“We had some difficulties in the first practice sessions, working to sort the set-up of my bike. In this morning’s practice the track, wet at first, quickly dried and we were able to take a small step forward. Then, in qualifying, we made further changes that helped me. I pushed right to the end, trying to set a good time. We’ve finished twelfth and I’m pleased, as we’ve improved a lot over the course of the sessions so far. I hope to be able to complete a good race tomorrow.”
WorldSSP300: Coppola fourth different rider to take on pole position
Italian thrilled to take his debut pole at Donington Park
Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) secured pole position at the Pata UK Round, in a hard fought session, and is the fourth different rider to take pole position in the new series.
Italian team-mates Paolo Grassia (3750 Made in CIV) made it through to Superpole Two narrowly ahead of Manuel Bastinanelli (3750 Made in CIV), heading for the fight for pole position at Donington Park. On board Kawasaki machines, their pace made it easy for them to narrowly sail through into SP2.
Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) will line up in second position on the grid, ahead of Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) at a circuit he is very familiar with. In a home debut, Chris Taylor (MTM HS Kawasaki) heads the front row, just under half a second off pole position. Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) lines up in fifth position at a windy Donington Park, ahead of one event rider Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing).
With a second splitting the top nine, its set to be a stunning race around Donington Park. To continue to follow the WorldSSP300 action on the WorldSBK VideoPass, as the high action racing will start at 11.05LT.
Pole Position - Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing)
"I am very happy to have taken my first pole position, it was a strong qualifying but very hard and I couldn't follow another rider, it was only me and tough to get a good lap. I was pushing in every sector and overall my lap was the best one, I pushed at the finish and overall I am very happy."
WorldSSP300 Tissot-Superpole 2:
1. Alfonso Coppola (ITA) Yamaha 1.46.150
2. Borja Sanchez (ESP) Yamaha 1.46.442 (+0.292)
3. Mika Perez (ESP) Yamaha 1.46.553 (+0.403)