2019 Buriram WorldSBK Preview Press Releases

Press release previews ahead of the Thai round of WorldSBK this weekend:

#THAWorldSBK: Time to race in the heat for WorldSBK

Expectations rise ahead of the second WorldSBK round of the season in Thailand

After Round One in Australia left mouths agape across the motorcycling world, focus in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship now shifts over to Chang International Circuit and the Pirelli Thai Round, World Superbike’s fifth trip to the south-east Asian nation. Tropical heat, rapturous fans and stellar racing are on the menu this weekend, a triple treat to match the mouthwatering three WorldSBK races that will take place around the 4.554km track.

At least one man will land in Buriram, the ‘City of Happiness’, with a grin on his face. Álvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) hat-trick of triumphs Down Under raised as many new questions as it answered. The Spaniard was incredibly ruthless in Race 1 and Race 2, winning both full-length races by double figure gaps – as well as emerging victorious from a bruising Tissot Superpole Race battle with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). No one expected such sheer domination, with the Ducati rider only really showing his hand once the lights went out. So, all bets are off in Buriram, a venue Bautista is nonetheless much less acquainted with than Phillip Island having only raced there once before. Can Bautista re-create that debut magic in Thailand?

After such a scorching performance, the Spaniard will have a target on his back – and Rea himself taking aim. These are uncharted waters for the reigning world champion, who was in damage limitation mode throughout the entire weekend in Australia. From that perspective, it was a fantastic round for Rea, with three runner-up spots keeping him only 13 points below the new championship leader (in 2018 he sat 19 behind after Round 1). But rest assured that the Northern Irishman will not be satisfied with remaining best of the rest for another round. Chang International Circuit is a happy hunting ground for the 31-year-old – his results there since 2015 read 1st-1st, 1st-2nd, 1st-1st, 1st-4th – and Rea will be out to make a statement of his own. There is perhaps no one more capable of rising to the challenge than the Champion.

Australia was a mixed bag for the other men in green and red. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) showed anything but complacency in a phenomenal Race 2 duel with Rea, yet a tumble in the opening race left him with a bittersweet taste leaving Victoria. Haslam’s adaptation to the ZX-10RR has been nearly flawless and the Englishman will be eager to prove it again in Buriram, where he picked up two second-place finishes in 2015.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) meanwhile made significant gains in the last of the opening races, making it to seventh after a tough week on the timing sheets. The Welshman knows not to put too much weight in any Australian results – he no-scored in his 2011, WorldSSP title-winning campaign, then missed out both races in 2012 due to a broken wrist and has often struggled since. His season starts anew in Thailand, the scene of his penultimate win in WorldSBK.

And what about Yamaha? At Phillip Island, four YZF-R1s lined up on the grid. Three finished inside the top six in every race; all four inside the top eight. The key to success is consistency and both Pata Yamaha and top independent team GRT Yamaha seem to have it in spades. The latter can even boast the leading Yamaha in the championship standings, as Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) sits level with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and one point clear of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). All three have scored podiums at Chang International Circuit in the past two seasons and are ready to tussle again – with rookie Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) closing the gap after a hugely impressive WorldSBK debut.

BMW Motorrad meanwhile roll into South East Asia after an eye-catching return to WorldSBK. Sunday struggles in Australia for Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) might have slightly dampened the mood but the new S1000 RR’s potential – aided by the 2013 World Champion’s world-class talents – was on display all weekend. Controlling an already solid package, don’t be surprised if the swift Yorkshireman or Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) have saved some tricks up the sleeves of their white leathers.

Lessons will have also been learned inside the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team after an intriguing week on the Island. Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari started testing on the Monday without a reference point and finished Sunday inside the points, the former even breaking into the top 10. Further steps forward should be taken under the Thai sun.

The Destination of Speed awaits from 15th-17th March, as the second round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship gets underway! Catch the first of three exciting races from 16:00 local time (GMT+7).

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team on the starting blocks in Thailand for Round 2 of the Superbike World Championship

After rewriting history at Phillip Island, with a triumphant debut for Álvaro Bautista and the new Panigale V4 R, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be back in action this weekend at the Buriram circuit in Thailand for the second round of the Superbike World Championship scheduled for 15-17 March.

Due to its particular layout and the torrid heat present in south-east Asia, the Buriram track undoubtedly represents a tougher proving-ground for the two men in the Italian squad, Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies. For the Spanish rider it will however not be a brand-new circuit, as the 34-year-old already took part in the MotoGP race last October, when he finished in eighth place.

Team-mate Chaz Davies, following a difficult start to the season, has yet to express his true potential, but he is convinced he can make a major step forward by improving his performance on a track where he won last year.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be out on track on Friday morning at 10.30 local time (CET +6) for the first free practice session of the weekend.

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st (62 points)

“Australia was a dream weekend and I couldn’t have asked for a better start in World Superbike. In Thailand I got a good result last season in MotoGP, so I’m feeling confident but Buriram is a track that has different characteristics to Phillip Island because there are more mixed sectors. For sure our rivals will be tough to beat, so we have to remain focussed and work really hard during the weekend. Anyway we will go to Thailand with the same mentality, I know the right feeling with the bike now so I will try and find it there as well. The Panigale V4 R is still a completely new bike, and the potential is high but we’ve got a lot of work to do to get it to 100%. I don’t know if Buriram is a Ducati track or not, we’ll just have to see what happens.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 8th (15 points)

“The next race is Thailand, where I think we’ve probably got a bigger bank of information now so that’s something to work on. As for me, from a comfort point of view and understanding the bike, I’m going into Thailand knowing it much better than what I did when I turned up at Phillip Island, which is positive. We had a win and a third place last year which were good results so it shows we’ve got pace there, it’s just a matter of getting the bike in the ballpark. I’m looking forward to Thailand and I think that we can do a lot better than what we did in Australia as long as we can put the information to good use.”

The Chang International Circuit

Designed by the German architect Hermann Tilke, the Chang International Circuit opened its doors in 2014 and this year will be the fifth time the circuit hosts a round of the World SBK championship. Situated around 400 km north-east of the capital, Bangkok, the city of Buriram in the state of the same name, literally means the ‘city of happiness’, and its hot and humid climate is a typical characteristic of its South-East Asia location. The 4.554 km track incorporates 12 turns and its facilities can accommodate more than 100,000 people, with several grandstands around the circuit offering a virtually complete view for fans.

Round Two Beckons For KRT Duo

After podium showings at the opening round of the 2019 WorldSBK championship in Australia last month the Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam approach the next round of the championship full of ambition and confidence.

The forthcoming second round of the 2019 WorldSBK Championship will be held at the 4.554km-long Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, with race weekend running from the 15th to the 17th of March.

Once more four-time champion Rea and 2018 BSB champion Haslam will face a race weekend that comprises three races; two regular distance contests for full points and one ten-lap Tissot Superpole race on Sunday morning, which scores points for the first nine riders home. The ‘sprint’ race also determines the final race’s starting grid slots for the top nine riders.

After finishing in second place in all three WorldSBK races at Phillip Island Rea is keen to get back to winning ways at the first opportunity and extend his all-time record total of race victories to beyond his current tally of 71. Rea has an enviable record of six race wins and one additional podium finish in eight race starts at Buriram.

Haslam has already scored two podium places on his return from a successful BSB career, in the sprint race and the second full-distance race at Phillip Island. Leon’s previous WorldSBK experiences have included one weekend at the Chang International Circuit, where he scored two second places.

As well as the new-look KRT riding line-up for the 2019 season, there is a new Ninja ZX-10RR, with a higher-revving engine and other developments to make it even more potent in road and race trim.

After the Thai round of the championship there will be a run of six consecutive European-based events, starting with the Spanish round at Motorland Aragon between the fifth and the seventh of April.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Thailand is a great venue and one that always welcomes a lot of fans, especially Kawasaki support. The circuit is one of two halves; the first being fast stop-and-go sections and then the flowing final sectors, which play to the strength of the Ninja ZX-10RR setup. Friday will be important to nail that setup and understand our level. I’m excited to start. We have enjoyed some great success there in the past, so the goal is to build on our results from Phillip Island. I’ve spent a few days in Bangkok already with Kawasaki Thailand, visiting their factory and taking part in the Kawasaki Day, so the atmosphere is building nicely.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “I am really looking forward to Thailand. The last time I was here was 2015, and I took two second places behind Johnny. I felt like I had good pace and I really enjoyed the circuit. It is always a challenge with the temperature and the humidity but I am looking forward to going here again this weekend. Round one in Australia was a good battle and I really enjoyed the racing there and I am looking forward to taking that on to Thailand.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) will be looking to capitalise on his sixth place finish in race one at Phillip Island this weekend in Thailand. He sits 11th overall, two places ahead of Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki). Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is expecting to make more progress as he takes part in his first Kawasaki season inside WorldSBK. There will be a strong Thai wildcard representing Kawasaki this weekend, as Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Thailand Racing Team) takes part in his first ever WorldSBK race at his home circuit.

Yamaha Riders Ready to Turn up the Heat in Thailand


The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK riders, Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes, together with the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders, Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese, head to Thailand this weekend, for round two of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship, determined to build on the strong start they made to the season last time out in Australia.

Van der Mark and Lowes are both looking forward to returning to the Chang International Circuit in Buriram where, just 12 months ago, the two Pata Yamaha riders claimed their first podium finishes of the 2018 season, with van der Mark finishing second and Lowes third.

Lowes heads into the second round of the 2019 season lying fourth in the championship standings with 30 points, having secured three top five finishes during the opening round in Australia. Van der Mark lies fifth in the standings, just a single point behind his Pata Yamaha teammate, having also finished all three races in Australia inside the top five. Both riders head into the Thai weekend with their sights set firmly on the podium.

Third in the championship standings with 30 points, and currently the leading Yamaha rider, is Melandri. The Italian veteran got his 2019 season off a flying start in Australia with a third place finish in the opening race, to give the GRT Yamaha squad a first podium finish on their WorldSBK debut. Melandri is keen to repeat this success this weekend in Thailand, a track he likes a lot.

While Cortese knows the Chang International Circuit, having finished just off the podium in the WorldSSP race a year ago, this year the German will experience it aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 for the first time. A strong start to his WorldSBK career in Australia, where he achieved his goal of a top ten finish in each of the three races, means Cortese heads to Thailand fully motivated for the weekend ahead.

The Chang International Circuit was opened in 2014 and made its debut on the WorldSBK calendar the following year. Located in Buriram, the ‘City of Happiness’, 400km south west of Thailand’s capitol city Bangkok, the 4.544km circuit features a combination of seven right and five left corners with two long straights.

While the circuit itself is not particularly technical, the tropical heat and humidity in Thailand adds to the challenge for both the riders and their crews. This weekend the temperature in Buriram is predicted to reach almost 40 degrees centigrade, with humidity of around 80 percent, making for difficult conditions in all three races.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

"Buriram is always a fun place to race for WorldSBK. It's an interesting place to visit, very different to Europe, and the people are both passionate and welcoming. The Chang International Circuit isn't that technical; the first part is all about speed and the second part is more twisty, with each corner leading into the next. After a solid start in Australia I'm looking forward to building more momentum this weekend and challenging for the podium in all three races in Thailand. It's going to be hot and humid, which always adds to the challenge, but that's something I enjoy."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

"I'm looking forward to the race weekend in Thailand. I was second in race two last year, with Alex also on the podium, so I'm happy to come back to Thailand again. It's a completely different track to Phillip Island, but it's one I always enjoying riding at, especially in front of the passionate and enthusiastic Thai fans. The weather forecast is promising hot weather for the weekend, which adds to the challenge for both the riders and the crew as we work to set up the bike, but I like it a lot when it's hot!"

Marco Melandri

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK

"I'm really happy to head back to Thailand. It's a track I like a lot, even if it's not the most technical circuit on the calendar. On paper it's possibly not the best track for us, as there are two long straights and we still miss a little in this area, but I think the high temperatures we are expecting this weekend could play in our favour. I'm feeling good and confident after the opening round in Australia and my feeling is getting better day by day with both the bike and the team, so let's get started and see what happens. It will also be interesting how things go with no prior testing at the Chang International Circuit, to see if everyone is as fast as they were at Phillip Island. I'm excited to get the weekend started."

Sandro Cortese

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK

"I can't wait to get back to Thailand. Last year was my first time at the Chang International Circuit, but obviously I was racing in WorldSSP. Now I head back to race there in WorldSBK and I'm looking forward to seeing how the R1 feels on this track. I will just try to learn as quickly as I can. We don't have the test prior to the race weekend like we had in Australia for the opening round of the season, which will make it a bit more difficult to find a good initial set up. But in Phillip Island we were working in a good direction and achieved our goal of finishing all three races inside the top ten, so I'm sure that we can continue working in the same way this weekend in Thailand. The heat will be a major factor, with the forecast promising extremely high temperatures, but I'm completely motivated for the weekend ahead, so let's see how it goes.

Ready for the "hottest" Round of the year!

Go Eleven Team and the entire Superbike World Championship are hosted by the warm and welcoming Thailand for the second seasonal race!

Land of the smile, home of wonderful natural beaches and uncontaminated territories; on the border with Cambodia, in the region of Buriram, stands the modern complex of the Chang International Circuit.

4554 meters, 12 curves of which 7 to the right and 5 to the left, immersed in the sweltering equatorial climate.

As now happens every time in this fantastic place the public of great occasions is expected. In the paddock, on the two main grandstands, you will breathe a unique air, of great joy and happiness for an event, the Superbike World Championship, for long-time awaited in the region; the atmosphere will be truly unique. Drums, banners, songs will animate the almost 90,000 spectators present every year on the circuit!

Go Eleven is preparing for Round 2 bringing innovative technical solutions, continuing the development of the Borgo Panigale jewel, with the aim of putting Eugene in the best possible conditions and at ease on our Ducati V4-R. The aggressive breaking and the accelerations they project on the two long straights will be the focal points of this track, points in which, however, the new Ducati seems to be quite competitive.

Highly influential variable on this circuit, however, will be the high temperature, we expect three days constantly over 40 degrees!

Engines and tyres will be stressed from the first lap, the riders will have to be able to better manage the race so as not to be in great difficulty just a few steps from the end.

How will our Red react to the first confrontation on this track?

Will Alvaro Bautista really be Jonathan Rea's first opponent or will other teams be back in the game?

Where to find the answer? Just stay connected ...

Camier and Kiyonari are warmly welcomed by Thai fans before heading to Buriram for Round 2

Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari enjoyed the warm and passionate welcome of the Thai people during a well-attended event, hosted by A.P. Honda, that took place in downtown Bangkok on the evening of Wednesday 13 March.

In the spectacular Honda BigWing facility located in the vibrant country’s capital, the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team riders were joined by Team Principal Midori Moriwaki as they met with local media and a crowd of enthusiastic Honda customers, dealers and VIP guests.

The Superbike World Championship is quite popular in the country and this was just a first taste of the passionate support riders and teams can expect to experience over the coming weekend at the Chang International Circuit in the Buriram province, where Round 2 of the championship will kick off on Friday morning, at 10.30 am local time, with the first free practice session.

Leon Camier 2

“Before heading to Buriram, we took part in a Honda event in Bangkok and were able to enjoy the great support of our fans, a real boost for us as we prepare for the next, challenging round. The Buriram track is actually a simple one, with just a few hard braking points and some tight turns but, at the same time, that makes it hard because every tenth can make a big difference. I remember that times were very close last year, so if you don’t get everything perfect you can find yourself struggling to make a good lap at this track. The temperature also makes things tough of course. Air temperatures of close to 40 degrees and a track temperature in the mid-fifties make it very challenging for us riders, both physically and mentally.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari 23

“I knew about the great passion that people in this country have for bike racing and so it was great to experience it first-hand while meeting many fans at the Honda Big Wing facility in Bangkok. It was really good fun, and I am looking forward to doing my best this coming weekend. I like the Buriram circuit, and the layout is quick enough to learn, with two long straights, a few hard-braking points and a few slow corners. With my riding style, I particularly like the tight corners. Having said that, it’s a tricky track when it comes to setting good lap times. Temperatures will be a further challenge of course, not so much for the bike and tyres but for the rider. I cannot really imagine how will it be to run three races, but it will be the same for everyone, so we just have to wait and see how it goes.”

Next stop Thailand for the new BMW S 1000 RR and the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.

Second round of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship at the “Chang International Circuit”.

Development of the new superbike to continue under race conditions.

Both Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger like the circuit.

Munich. Three weeks after its successful race debut at Phillip Island, Australia, the new BMW S 1000 RR is set for its second WorldSBK outing. This weekend (15th to 17th March), the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team is at the “Chang International Circuit” in Buriram (THA) for round two of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship.

The team, including riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER), will be focussing on the continued development of the brand-new superbike under race conditions. The RR production version was launched in November 2018, and with the road bikes as a basis, BMW Motorrad Motorsport and the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team had just three months to prepare the race bikes for the Superbike World Championship. The season-opener at Phillip Island produced the first good results, on which the team is now looking to build: Both riders finished within the points positions in both races.

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team’s race weekend kicks off with two free practice sessions on Friday. Saturday features Superpole qualifying and race one, which gets underway at 16:00 local time. The new ten-lap “Superpole Race”, which was introduced to WorldSBK this season, starts at 13:00 local time on Sunday. This is followed at 16:00 by race two.

Quotes ahead of the Buriram races.

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We have taken a lot of positive things from Australia, but we have also clearly seen in the races where we are still behind and which areas we need to focus on in terms of further development. Due to the short time between the two race weekends the fact that the equipment has not returned to the team headquarters between Australia and Thailand, we will only bring certain technical updates. These are aimed primarily at the reliability for the upcoming battle with the heat. We look forward to the next event where the atmosphere is always great, and we will be able to gather more important experience there on the way forward.”

Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It’s going to be a very tough weekend for everyone with the temperatures soaring at 40 degrees Celsius, but we are confident we can continue the good work in Australia and bring some new ideas to the table to make another step forward for Buriram. The team has done some good work in-between Phillip Island and Buriram which we can implement here and hopefully improve our pace come the race, which is our main aim.”

Tom Sykes: “It’s always great to come and race at the Buriram circuit here in Thailand. Obviously my main focus this weekend is still to continue the development of the new BMW S 1000 RR. I’m feeling really confident in some ways but given our experience in the race at Phillip Island one of my few concerns is the two long straights given the speed deficit. Despite that, the BMW S 1000 RR chassis is really good and is capable of taking on the rest of the field. I am looking forward to starting the race weekend and hope that we can continue the good progress made over the winter test period.”

Markus Reiterberger: “I really like Thailand. Firstly, because my best result in the Superbike World Championship came there – fifth place in 2016. Secondly, because the track really suits my riding style. There are a lot of sections where you have to brake hard, which is my strength and something our new RR is also very good at. We just have to try not to lose too much on the long straights and then to make up in the corners what we are still currently losing on the straights. However, we are all working hard and I think that Thailand can be a good hunting ground for us. The heat will make it challenging for everyone, but we are well prepared and I believe we can have a good weekend. I am determined to do well and already looking forward to the weekend, as I really like the track and we found a positive trend at Phillip Island, which we will now carry into the race in Thailand.”

Next stop Thailand for the Althea MIE Racing team

Buriram (Thailand), Wednesday 13 March 2019

The Althea MIE Racing team and rider Alessandro Delbianco are traveling to Thailand, specifically the Chang International Circuit in the Buriram province, for the second round of the 2019 Superbike World Championship.

The first event, which took place three weeks ago at the Phillip Island racetrack in Australia, proved to be something of a baptism by fire for Delbianco, who debuts in the Superbike category this season. The young Italian closed race 1 in seventeenth place, while a crash in race 2 prevented him from reaching the line. Like Phillip Island, the Chang track is another new one for the rider, on board his Honda CBR1000RR SP2. Working together with his technicians, Alessandro will continue his apprenticeship, striving to improve, step by step, on both his feeling and performance with the Japanese bike.

The Thai racetrack is located in the country’s north-east, roughly 400 km from capital Bangkok. Inaugurated in 2014, the track has hosted the Superbikes each year since 2015.

Alessandro Delbianco

“I’m happy to go to Buriram. I don’t have experience of the track, but I’ve done a little research on the internet and the layout looks really interesting. As for my aims, I hope to be able to improve with respect to round one at Phillip Island, moving ever closer to the points zone and the top fifteen. I’ll do my best, as always.”

#THAWorldSBK: Will Kawasaki continue their supremacy in Thailand?

Take a look at who has prospered and who has struggled in the Thai heat so far

Kawasaki dominate the statistics in Buriram. They won 7 times out of 8, missing out only last year in Race 2, when Davies won for Ducati. That became the only Buriram race without Kawasakis on the podium, as their best rider was Rea in fourth. Their podium tally at Chang International Circuit is 12 and it is exactly the sum of their rivals (Ducati 6, Aprilia and Yamaha 2, Suzuki and Honda 1).

Kawasaki qualified three times out of four on pole here with Jonathan Rea, missing out only in 2016, Race 1 (van der Mark, Honda). Last year they claimed here their 110th win; their tally is now 127.

Last year Chaz Davies interrupted Kawasaki dominance here, winning in Race 2 and making Buriram the 42nd track in which Ducati claimed the top step of the podium. Ducati is second for podium finishes here: 6 to Kawasaki’s 12. The Italian manufacturer qualified once for the front row at Chang International Circuit, with Melandri 3rd on the grid in 2017. Buriram is also the only track in the current calendar where Ducati has not started from pole yet. The Italian manufacturer claimed pole in no less than 40 tracks in its history.

Yamaha were a serious contender for the win in Race 2 last year, when both Lowes and Van der Mark led, but had to eventually surrender to Chaz Davies: van der Mark finished 2nd and Lowes 3rd, the best placements for Yamaha here. The Japanese manufacturer improved constantly in Buriram: their best result was a 6th twice in 2016; a 5th and a 4th in 2017; a 2nd and a 3rd last year. This is one of just four tracks on the current calendar where Yamaha has not taken pole with Imola, Laguna Seca and San Juan. Similarly, the Thai race venue is one of the three current tracks where Yamaha has not won at, with Imola and San Juan. (in San Juan WorldSBK raced only last year).

Honda so far recorded one podium placement in Buriram, when Michael Van der Mark was third here in Race 1, 2016. In the same year Michael Van der Mark recorded his maiden pole here: incidentally, that is the last Honda pole to date, and the only one not recorded by Kawasaki here.

Similarly, to pole position, the Thai circuit was the stage of the last front row in qualifying for Honda, last year with Leon Camier. Honda won on 30 different tracks in its history: Buriram is one of the 10 tracks where they climbed on the podium but have yet to win.

The best result for BMW at Buriram is a 5th place, scored by Markus Reiterberger in Race 1, 2016 and by Jordi Torres in Race 2, 2017. Last year Loris Baz, the only BMW rider present, was 11th and 12th.

WorldSSP: City of happiness promises another weekend of thrilling action

WorldSSP riders go in search of Asian glory at the Destination of Speed

The FIM Supersport World Championship moves on with great pace into one of the most atmospheric rounds on the calendar: the Pirelli Thai Round. Year after year, battles take place right the way through the grid in WorldSSP, making it one of the best rounds for rivalries to flourish, evolve and blossom and for records to be shattered.

In 2019, it is Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) who leads the way on his Yamaha YZF R6. The Swiss rider has a fantastic record at the Chang International Circuit, scoring points in every year he has raced there. Starting with fourth in 2016, he returned to WorldSSP last season and won onboard the same Yamaha he competes with now. Should he win the WorldSSP race on Sunday, he will become the first Swiss rider in the history of the WorldSSP and WorldSBK paddocks to achieve back-to-back wins. Records hang in the balance for Krummenacher.

Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) has a mixed record at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram. The Frenchman has secured one win in 2016 but apart from that, has retired from all three other races in Thailand Cluzel has had two pole positions at the circuit and a fastest lap, so he could be a threat come race day, especially having led for 31 laps over the course of the four seasons in Thailand. The 30-year-old is scheduled to start his 71st WorldSSP race on Sunday.

Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) is a WorldSSP winner at the Chang International Circuit, after a phenomenal battle in 2017 with local hero, Decha Kraisart. On the podium last year with a second place, the Italian hopes to return to the podium for a third consecutive season in Thailand. Having been robbed of battling his championship-leading teammate at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Caricasulo will almost certainly want to take the battle to him around the 4.554km track. Can Caricasulo capture and overcome Krummenacher and Cluzel this time?

Hector Barbera (Team Toth by Willirace) made a solid start to his 2019 WorldSSP season, with a fourth place at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. However, the Spaniard knew that circuit well and now comes to a track which he has never competed at – one of just two circuits that he will experience for the first time with the WorldSSP championship. Barbera will hope to carry on his trend of improving race results in every WorldSSP race, and in doing so, achieve his first World Supersport podium. Is he a contender in Buriram?

Austrian Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) started his season with a fifth position in Australia, a better start than last year. Gradinger was 11th at the Chang International Circuit in 2018 so will look to improve on that this weekend. Gradinger is looking to become the first Austrian rider ever to finish five consecutive WorldSSP races inside the top five and, the first Austrian rider ever to mount the podium in a WorldSSP race.

Completing the top six is Japanese rider, Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who had his joint best result of his WorldSSP career in Australia. With his only other sixth place coming at the Chang International Circuit in 2017, the Thai circuit looks sure to be a venue where Okubo will seek to achieve his best World Supersport finish to date. The last Japanese WorldSSP podium came in 2007 with Katsuaki Fujiwara at Silverstone (3rd). Will Thailand see the end of this long wait?

Other riders to keep an eye on include the 2017 WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who achieved pole position and second place last season. Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) will seek to continue his good start, whilst Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), teammate Jules Danilo and Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing) will all fight it out for the remaining top ten positions.

Yamaha Riders Ready for Another Supersport Showdown in Thailand


GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Jules Cluzel, heads into Round 2 of the FIM Supersport World Championship in Thailand determined to add a race win to his second place in the opening round in Australia. Evan Bros. Bardahl Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider Randy Krummenacher, the race winner in Phillip Island two weeks ago and the winner in Thailand last year, is equally determined to add another 25 points to his championship tally this weekend at the Chang International circuit.

But it won’t just be these two protagonists hunting the win in Thailand. Krummenacher’s Evan Bros. Bardahl Yamaha teammate, Federico Caricasulo, also heads into the weekend in a confident mood, having secured pole position in qualifying and then the final place on the podium in the Phillip Island race, despite losing time during the mandatory pit stop. Like Krummenacher and Cluzel, Caricasulo is a former race winner in Thailand.

GMT94 Yamaha’s Corentin Perolari and the Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported WorldSSP pairing of Thomas Gradinger and Loris Cresson enjoyed a solid start to the season in Australia, with all three finishing inside the top ten, a feat they are keen to repeat this weekend in Thailand.

Isaac Viñales endured a difficult WorldSSP debut in Australia, with the Kallio Racing Yamaha rider forced to retire due to a technical issue with just three laps of the race remaining. The Spaniard heads into this weekend determined to make amends at the Chang International Circuit, a track he has raced at previously aboard a Moto2 machine.

Jules Cluzel

GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP

"The aim here has to be the same as in Australia; a podium if possible and the points that go with it. We struggled a bit in Phillip Island; both of the Bardahl Yamaha guys were faster than us there, while we were working to improve the bike. After the race we have a better understanding of where we need to improve, but it's not something we can do overnight. I have good memories of this track; I've always been fast here and I could have won more than one race if not for some bad luck and an untimely crash last year. I enjoy racing here and I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead."

Isaac Viñales

Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported WorldSSP

"I wasn't so lucky on my WorldSSP debut in Australia. In the warm up I had a big crash and then in the race I was forced to retire right at the end with a technical problem, but the pace was definitely there. This weekend I think will be better, but we will know for definite only once we take to the track on Friday. I like this track. I raced here last year in Moto2 but it will be different this weekend on the Supersport bike. It's difficult to have expectations ahead of the weekend; we just need to work as we did in Australia, but hope for a little more luck."

Round Two Imminent For Mahias And Okubo

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing duo Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo will soon take part in the second round of the 2019 Supersport World Championship, at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. The 4.554km circuit will host WorldSSP track action from Friday the 15th of March until raceday itself on Sunday the 17th of March.

Mahias, who was world champion in 2017, is looking to get his championship season back underway in the very best way possible after he was classified only 12th in Australia, suffering a time penalty in the opening round and losing several places as a result.

Okubo, who was a fine sixth in Australia, has worked extra hard in the gym to be ready for the heat and humidity in Thailand. Sixth was an equal career best for Hikari in Australia, who has already stated his aim to go all out for the podium places in Thailand.

This is the fifth time that the WorldSSP championship has visited the well-appointed stadium-style circuit, with three Buriram podium places already scored by Kawasaki riders.

With weather conditions in Thailand expected to remain almost as hot as they have been recently making the correct machine set-up and tyre choices will be the primary focus. The race itself will take place over 17 laps, on Sunday the 17th of March.

Lucas Mahias stated: “The Thai event is always a good one, with many fans in the grandstands who transmit their passion. I think the Buriram track suits our bike and so I want to continue to work with our team and to adapt to our Ninja ZX-6R. I have trained hard in order to be in top shape for this second WorldSSP round.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “The Thai round is one of my favourites and I really like the track. I hope to find a better feeling with my bike set-up in respect to Phillip Island, because my aim is to reach the podium. After the Australian weekend I returned to Japan and trained really hard because I want to be able to give it my all in Thailand.”

Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) and Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) will again take to the track on their Kawasakis, looking for more championship points. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will be looking to score his first points of 2019 on Sunday. Recently injured Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) will ride in FP1 and then undergo a medical review to determine his fitness to ride for the remainder of the weekend.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda ready for Chang challenge

Posted on 13th March 2019

Chang International Circuit in Thailand is the venue for the second round of the 2019 FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend and CIA Landlord Insurance Honda riders Jules Danilo and Peter Sebestyen are confident they can build on the strong start made at the season opener in Australia last month.

Arriving in Thailand hugely motivated on the back of a career best finish last time out at Philip Island, Hungarian Peter Sebestyen is prepared for the physical challenge of the oppressive heat and humidity in Buriram. He said: “I can’t wait to be on my bike and race again. Obviously we analysed my performance from Australia and I know what my strengths and weaknesses are which I will use to build up everything. I am very much motivated after Australia; I will push even harder. My goal will be the same as last time, top 10 results and to get the best from myself and from the bike. I know this track, I like it and I know it can be very good for our Honda machines. I have been training hard to prepare for the heat which is always a challenge in Thailand.”

Teammate Jules Danilo is also enthusiastic to get Round Two underway after a convincing start to his World Supersport career in Australia and the young Frenchman has Championship points in his sights in Buriram. Danilo said: “I am really looking forward to this weekend. We started off positively at Philip Island and I want to continue in that way over here in Thailand. It is a track I discovered last year in MotoGP for the first time. It is not a super difficult track which means that everyone is fast so that makes it hard to make the difference but I am sure after the experience of the first round we’ll be even stronger here. The aim definitely is to be faster in the sessions and work on the race pace because this round won’t be interrupted with tyre issues. We’ll work on that but I am confident we can do a good job here in Thailand.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “The team did a fantastic job in Australia with a great pit stop strategy, if anything we gained time from that. Now we are looking to improve again in round two. Both riders should understand the track well with being here before, and we have really good data from previous riders like Cluzel and Smith who were both very fast here. So we have good data and as always a good team behind us. It’s always a challenge but it is a track where our bike has been very fast in the past. The heat is another experience of course but it’s the same for everyone so let’s see what we can do this weekend and look to improve on our results from Australia and keep building as the season goes on.”

World Supersport action kicks off at the Chang International Circuit with Free Practice One on Friday at 11:30 (local time).

#THAWorldSBK: What do you know about the Pirelli Thai Round?

Find out the 10 things you definitely need to know ahead of the second round of the season at Chang International Circuit

1. All the eight races run so far in Buriram have been won by British riders, 6 by Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), 1 by Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and 1 by Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).

2. In Buriram Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) is in the position to become the first rookie with a string of three wins in his first three races in WorldSBK.

3. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is set for his 220th WorldSBK race at Chang International Circuit (Race One): he is the 7th rider to reach this goal and his next target is Aaron Slight at 229 starts in the series.

4. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) always qualified on the front row in Buriram, as he took three poles and a third in 2016.

5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has never finished lower than fourth here, winning six times out of eight: his only race outside the podium was the second one last year (4th).

6. Chang International Circuit is one of the two tracks on the current calendar where Sykes has not recorded pole, the other being San Juan where WorldSBK raced only last year.

7. Chang International Circuit is the only track on the current calendar where Ducati has not claimed a pole position in qualifying.

8. Chang International Circuit is one of the two tracks in the current calendar where an Italian rider has never won, the other being San Juan (only one race weekend in the latter).

9. Kawasaki’s podium tally here, 12, is exactly the sum of their rivals (Ducati 6, Aprilia and Yamaha 2, Suzuki and Honda 1).

10. Last year the pole position was decided by only 0.003 seconds. The gap separating Sykes from poleman Rea is the fourth smallest margin for a pole after Kyalami 2009, 0.001 (Spies/Fabrizio); Algarve 2013, 0.001 (Sykes/Laverty); Sugo 1997, 0.002 (Yanagawa/Yoshikawa).

#THAWorldSBK: Entertainment continues off-track at the Destination of Speed

Make the most of your WorldSBK experience at the Pirelli Thai Round

There are just a few days left before the second round of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will take place in Buriram (Thailand), and like every year there are plenty of on and off-track activities to enjoy at Chang International Circuit.

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) heads to the circuit as championship leader after a record-breaking weekend at Phillip Island that saw him winning the first Tissot Superpole Race in history, and both Race One and Race Two with an extraordinary margin ahead of reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). After the remarkable performance of the Spaniard in Australia, the weekend ahead is filled with expectations and drama as we are all waiting to know if he will be able to do the same in Thailand.

However, the Pirelli Thai Round will be offering to the fans more than just the action on track, as the Asian race track will be holding exciting events throughout the weekend.

The world-famous stage of the Paddock Show will be in the heart of the SBK Festival, an open area to all fans holding any type of ticket. During Saturday Supershow all WorldSBK and WorldSSP riders will be available for autographs, and during the event, fans will get the chance to win amazing prizes taking part in interactive competitions and giveaway contests. On top of that, after qualifying on Saturday, and after the races on Saturday and Sunday the popular Qualifying and Race Podiums Shows will give the chance to hear the leading riders' reactions minutes after the Prosecco Doc is sprayed.

In addition to the unique atmosphere that the Pirelli Thai Round provides, the SBK Festival is set to bring even more entertainment for all fans. The event will include on Saturday free concerts from leading Thai artists such as Retro Spectrum, Chor R Siam, Tatuwa, New Charoen Pura and Pang Nakarin and Midnight May Day. Stunt riders will be showing their skills with Stunt Shows, and the Buriram United Go-Kart track will be open throughout all the weekend from 10:30 to 18:00 providing an opportunity to take part into four-wheeled competitions.

Games and other exciting activities will bring even more fun for people attending the Pirelli Thai Round, and fans will be able to get their exclusive Official WorldSBK Pirelli Thai Round Event T-Shirt at Buriram Megastore as a souvenir of their unforgettable WorldSBK experience at Chang International Circuit.

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