Press releases from the series organizers and teams after the WorldSBK round at Donington Park:
#GBRWorldSBK - Day 3:
Rea takes first triple treat of 2019 ahead of Razgatlioglu and Bautista
Reigning World Champion wins three races out of three at Donington Park as Bautista returns on the podium in Race 2
In the final action of the weekend for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, it was yet another thrilling encounter from lights-out to the chequered flag. It was action right from the start, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) coming out on top after another tough scrap with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing).
Heading towards Turn 1 for the first time, Jonathan Rea rocketed from pole position to grab the holeshot, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), whilst Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) blasted into third. At the Old Hairpin however, Bautista was passed by home-hero Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Chaz Davies had a strong opening, running as high as fifth, right behind his teammate. It was a nightmare for Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) one lap later, as the Spaniard retired.
With the race settling down, on Lap 3, Razgatlioglu took the lead at the circuit where he took his first WorldSBK career podium. With a strong out-braking manoeuvre at the Melbourne Loop, he was able to pinch the advantage. However, two laps later, Rea took the lead back and one lap further on, Haslam momentarily got ahead of the Turk at the Foggy Esses. At the Melbourne Loop, Razgatlioglu recovered and the 22-year-old was back in second.
Razgatlioglu was able to retake the lead from Rea, with the two riders dancing side-by-side around the Donington Park circuit. Another late-braking move at the Melbourne Loop saw him retake the lead and then, putting the hammer down. Razgatlioglu and Rea broke clear of the fading Haslam in third place, whilst Alvaro Bautista was all over the rear-end of the five-time WorldSBK race winner.
With 12 to go, it was a rare error at the Foggy Esses from Toprak, allowing Rea to cut through and take the lead back from the young Turk. A lap later, and the battle for third started to ignite with Bautista taking the final podium position from Leon Haslam. With all the swapping, slowly but surely, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) was now closing down Leon Haslam, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in sixth. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was seventh from tenth on the grid, whilst Davies had slipped to eighth.
There was a change in the battle for fifth place, as Alex Lowes forced Baz wide at the Foggy Esses, with the British rider getting ahead into the Melbourne Loop. Even further back, double winner from Donington Park in 2018, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), got ahead of Davies for eighth place.
In the closing stages, there were two battles: for first and second between Rea and Razgatlioglu, and for third place between Bautista, Lowes, Haslam and Baz – with Lowes getting ahead of Haslam with just three laps to go. Going into the final lap, half-a-second split the leading two, whilst Bautista had a small buffer for a safe third place.
Coming to the line for the final time, Jonathan Rea completed a Donington Park hat-trick at home, the first triple he has achieved this season. Razgatlioglu took another podium with second and Alvaro Bautista took his first podium of the weekend, although he now trails the reigning WorldSBK champion by 24 points. Alex Lowes was fourth whilst Leon Haslam completed the top five, only just ahead Loris Baz.
Tom Sykes was the best of the rest, with Michael van der Mark taking a hearty, hard-earnt eighth, ahead of Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), who completed the top ten after a disappointing Prosecco DOC UK Round. Peter Hickman (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 11th, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), with Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) completing the points.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"It was incredible, a similar story to Misano with Toprak in Race 2. It was really difficult, he was so strong on the brakes, but my team gave me a great bike and physically this weekend I felt really good, so I was able to extract the best potential from my ZX-10RR. In free practices, I was a little bit unhappy about the setup, and we were quite far away, 0.9 s from the fastest lap time, but step by step we arrived and three race wins, and back in the lead of the championship I can't quite believe it. We will keep working like we are doing and we go to Laguna next week, which is another good track for us, but I enjoyed the atmosphere here. There were a lot of people here at Donington and now let's see what happens".
P2 - Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
"Yesterday with the wet conditions we didn't go well. We tried a similar setup to Misano but I didn't feel good on the bike and it was sliding a lot at the rear, so I was waiting for today because I was expecting a dry race and I felt really strong on those conditions. The Tissot Superpole Race was good but it wasn't perfect. We focused on Race 2, which was more important for me. I did a good start, I followed Johnny and after I overtook him we had a small fight together but he was strong and fast. On the final two laps, I tried to attack him again but it was impossible. I am happy with another podium and now we see what will happen in the US".
P3 - Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing - Ducati)
"Today was important for us to finish the race. We crashed in Misano Race 2 and yesterday again. I knew it was meant to be a tough weekend for us because we are struggling a lot in this kind of tracks that are bumpy and with have poor grip. In the Tissot Superpole Race, I tried to stay with the front group. I pushed as much as I could and physically I was destroyed at the end of the eight laps because the bike was moving a lot and I had to put so much energy in trying to keep the bike straight and not lose too much time exiting the corners. In Race 2, I tried to do the same. I did a good start and remained with the front group. I pushed hard and had to use double my energy, but I managed to finish on the podium, and I am happy because we struggled a lot this weekend. Now we have to improve the weak points of our bike, but I look forward to the next race".
Rea Scores First Triple Win And Extends His Lead
Jonathan Rea (KRT) completed a near perfect WorldSBK race weekend at his home round in Donington Park by winning both of today’s races, adding them to his Saturday victory for a maximum possible points score. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was second in each of the races today. The sprint race delivered an all-Ninja ZX-10RR podium when Leon Haslam scored third place, before finishing fifth in race two.
After an astounding wet race win in Saturday Jonathan Rea scored two more in dry conditions today to extend his championship lead to 24 points, with just one round to go before the summer break begins.
In the Tissot Superpole race today, held in the morning, Rea followed pole man Tom Sykes until he passed him going into the chicane at half race distance. Jonathan pulled a small gap at that point, which was to give him the race win after a red flag was shown. Another rider’s engine blew oil onto the track in the braking area at the Melbourne Loop, causing five following riders to crash in quick succession.
As Rea and the leading pack came round at a slow pace under the red flag to enter the pits, Sykes found the oil and fell. As he was unable to get back to pitlane on his bike inside the time allowed, he was removed from the classification, which put Rea, Razgatlioglu and Haslam all onto the podium together for a Kawasaki lockout.
In Race Two, which was also held in dry and sunny conditions, Rea, Razgatlioglu and Haslam were the leading trio until Haslam was passed by eventual third place rider Alvaro Bautista. Razgatlioglu had led for seven of the first 11 laps but it was Rea who would manage to control strong pressure from the young Turkish rider to win race two
His winning margin was 0.365 seconds. Haslam would finish fifth in race two, after losing a place to Alex Lowes on lap 21.
Rea also set a new lap record of 1’27.166 on his way to the win in the Superpole race this morning.
Rea now has 376 points to Bautista’s 352. Haslam is fifth overall with 187 points.
The next round will be held next weekend at Laguna Seca in the USA, between 12 and 14 July.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “This morning in the sprint race with Tom Sykes, who is one of the best riders at this circuit, I was able to analyse where he was strong and make my move. Unfortunately the race was red flagged before the end. But to win the second race this afternoon was really special - the best of the weekend. Another nice fight with Toprak, who was really strong in some areas of the track and I was able to be strong in others. A positive weekend and I am looking forward now to the next few races, because I feel like there are some good tracks coming for us now. I seriously did not expect these kind of results this weekend.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “Honestly, I had a really good feeling on 80% of the track but I was just struggling on that last part with the stop/start areas. I am happy with the pace because I was losing so much in the last two turns but and making it back in the rest of the track – and that was against the fastest guys. I did feel that if we could have sorted those last two corners out we would have been in that battle for those top two spots today. We have had a run of podiums and a fifth place finish recently so we are there or thereabouts. We closed the points gap on third and we will keep on pushing on.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) is sixth overall now, with 153 points, and is the top independent rider. He is 29 points ahead of his next nearest rival, Marco Melandri. Razgatlioglu set the fastest lap of the second race, as he led on lap three.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, stated: “I wanted to win and I tried but Johnny was very strong today. I followed him and on the last three laps I tried again to pass but it was not possible. I am happy with another podium after the Superpole race second place. I like the braking sections and it was incredible in that area but in acceleration I am always sliding. In the final three laps I tried a different line but it did not change the result as I was still sliding but I took a second podium. Maybe next season, maybe next year – maybe next race – I will win? I do not know!”
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) finished a strong ninth in the sprint and scored a point, but a technical issue put him out of the final race on lap one. Jordi is 12th overall after eight of 13 rounds.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) having scored an excellent sixth in a wet race one on Saturday was a faller on the oil spill that ended the Superpole race but recovered to finish 14th in Race Two. He is 15th in the rankings now.
World Superbike at Donington: Álvaro Bautista salvages a tough weekend for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team with a fourth place and a Race 2 podium, Chaz Davies seventh and ninth in today’s two races
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team suffered one of its toughest weekends since the start of the season at the Donington Park circuit in the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship.
After Álvaro Bautista’s crash in yesterday’s first race, the 34-year-old from Talavera de la Reina tried to limit the damage against Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) - winner of the three races this weekend and new championship leader. Both in the Superpole Race this morning, reduced to eight laps after a multiple crash on oil involving six riders, and in Race 2 in the afternoon, Álvaro tried not to make any mistakes, bringing home the best result possible at the flag with a fourth and a third place.
Team-mate Chaz Davies was unable to go any higher than a seventh and ninth place in today’s two races. The 32-year-old Welshman is still finding things difficult with the Panigale V4 R and this weekend was never able to get a good feeling that will allow him to get back and fight amongst the front-runners.
After leading the table since the first race of this season, Bautista now finds himself in second place on 352 points - 24 down on Rea - while Davies is in eighth place on 130 points. The next round of the Superbike World Championship will take place in one weeks’ time at the Laguna Seca circuit in California, from 12th to 14th July.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 4th / 3rd
“Today it was important to finish the weekend with a podium, after yesterday’s crash. In the Superpole Race I tried to stay with the front group and pushed as hard as I could; unfortunately, my Panigale V4 R was moving around a lot and I had to make a big effort to ride it and keep it upright. In Race 2 I made a good start, and tried to stay in the front group despite the same problems I had in the Superpole Race. Here at Donington we were struggling a lot, but I’m quite happy to have achieved the best possible result. We’re analysing the data to try and improve the weak points of the bike and tackle the Laguna Seca race stronger than before.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #7) – 7th / 9th
“It was a really tough day. After the Superpole race, I was optimistic that we could potentially have a decent long race. We made some changes and felt the bike was a bit better. The start and the first few laps were good and I got up to fifth place, then things got a bit more difficult. After a few more laps my pace faded, because I had pretty bad arm pump as well. Donington is a bit of a strange circuit that requires a lot of physical effort; today things were tougher especially with me fighting the bike as much as I am. Unfortunately, there’s not much to be happy about after a weekend like this one, but now I can’t wait to get to Laguna, which is a track I like a lot.”
Hard Fought Fourth for Lowes to Round Out His Home Race Weekend
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider Alex Lowes led the way for Yamaha in WorldSBK Race 2 this afternoon at Donington Park, getting the better of a tremendous battle with Kawasaki's Leon Haslam and fellow Yamaha rider Loris Baz to finish fourth. The 28-year-old Briton rode a superb last lap to close on Alvaro Bautista but wasn't quite close enough to challenge for the final podium position before taking the chequered flag. Michael van der Mark continued to amaze today, twice finishing inside the top ten despite undergoing surgery on a fractured right radius less than two weeks ago. The Pata Yamaha rider was eighth in the Sprint Race this morning and backed that up with another eighth place in this afternoon's Race 2.
A difficult Superpole session for both Pata Yamaha riders yesterday, in which Lowes qualified eighth and van der Mark 16th, had a marked impact on today's two races. In the Sprint Race both riders were working their way steadily through the field only for the race to be stopped with three laps remaining, with Lowes running sixth and van der Mark eighth, when oil was dropped at the Melbourne Hairpin.
Both Pata Yamaha riders got a good start in Race 2, but as Lowes worked his way towards the front of the pack in the opening laps, van der Mark came under immediate pressure as he struggled for rear grip. At half race distance the Dutch rider had passed Ducati's Chaz Davies for eighth position, which he held to the chequered flag.
The second half of the race was much busier for Lowes. Having got the better of Baz to move up to fifth, the Pata Yamaha rider tried on two occasions to pass Haslam for fourth at the Melbourne Hairpin, only for his fellow countryman to close the door both times. Lowes eventually made the pass stick on the penultimate lap, with Bautista now more than a second ahead in third. A spirited chase on the final lap saw Lowes close the gap to less than half a second, but he wasn't quite close enough to challenge for the final podium place in the final corner and had to settle for fourth at the line.
Donington proved a difficult weekend for the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders, Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese, but for different reasons. Melandri and his crew struggled all weekend to find a set-up that the Italian was comfortable, an issue that was exacerbated by the lack of dry track time on Saturday. Despite the issues, Melandri raced his way to tenth place in both of today's races but was disappointed not to have secured better results at a track he rates as one of his strongest.
Cortese was unfortunate to crash heavily at the Melbourne Hairpin this morning, on the dropped oil that caused the Sprint Race to be red flagged. While Cortese was lucky to walk away uninjured, the crash caused major damage to his R1 and the GRT Yamaha mechanics did well to get it rebuilt ahead of Race 2, in which the reigning Supersport World Champion picked up points with a 13th place finish.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, finished fifth and sixth in today's two races, which saw his points tally for the weekend increase to 28, the same number of points scored by Pata Yamaha's Alex Lowes. The Frenchman's performance, in only his third race weekend aboard the R1, underlines the competitiveness of the Yamaha package.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P4 - Championship Position 4th - 192 Points
"The issues in Superpole yesterday set us back a little bit today. We made some changes to the bike ahead of the Sprint Race and, while I didn't feel quite as good as I was expecting, towards the end I was coming on strong in what was quite a tight group. With only seven laps because of the red flag it didn't feel like much of a race to be honest. In Race 2 I knew it was going to be difficult to get away with the leading group starting from further back, but I felt I managed the race well. I was really strong at the end, but not quite close enough to challenge for the final podium, but there were plenty of positives we can take into the Laguna Seca race next week."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P8 - Championship Position 3rd - 206 Points
"We made a change to the bike after the Sprint Race and I think we maybe went a little bit in the wrong direction, as I was struggling for rear grip from the start and couldn't use the new tyre like everyone else. I actually got a good start but then dropped back quite quickly and there wasn't much I could do about it. I had good pace, but I'd have liked to have been able to push harder. We have to be happy with the points we've scored this weekend, given the injury, but as a racer I know that if I had the grip then I'd have been able to fight with Alex and the other guys. The wrist was much better than I was expecting this weekend, so now I can look forward to Laguna with some confidence."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P10 - Championship Position 9th - 124 Points
"This was not a good weekend for us. After Misano I expected to have a much better feeling, especially here at Donington where I've had good results in the past. So, we were expecting a positive weekend here, but it turned out very different. I never really had a good feeling and I struggled a lot from the start. Either the bike doesn't like me, or my riding style doesn't suit the bike, so it's difficult. Yamaha and the team are working incredibly hard to help me find a solution and so am I, but we're still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P13 - Championship Position 10th - 96 Points
"Today was a day to forget, if I'm honest. It started in the Sprint Race when I was the first to arrive in the corner where the oil had been dropped. I had no chance and crashed so heavily that the bike was literally in two pieces. I have to say a big thank you to my team, who did an incredible job to basically build a new bike in just two hours. They were still working on it on the grid and, even one minute before the start of Race 2, we weren't sure whether we were going to make the start. After all this drama I wasn't as focused I normally am but, after two crashes, it was important for me to finish the race and pick up some points to round out the weekend. Now we must look forward to the next race in Laguna, where I hope we can end the first part of the season with some good results."
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager
"I'm still amazed that Michael was able to race this weekend so soon after the surgery on his wrist. It shows just how hard he's worked since Misano and how much he wanted to be back on the bike here at Donington Park. It's also a testament to the fantastic job done by the surgeons in Rimini and the treatment he's received from the medical staff under the direction of the Dorna Medical Director, Doctor Monica Lazzarotti. And I think it's fair to say that Michael didn't just ride the bike; he raced it to three top ten finishes to pick up 18 important points. After a difficult Superpole, Alex bounced back to once again finish close to the podium today. He showed good progress over the course of the weekend and this bodes well for the coming races. It proved an unlucky day for Sandro today, who was unfortunate to crash on oil in the Sprint Race this morning. The team did an incredible job to rebuild the bike in the two hours before Race 2 and Sandro did well to pick up points after such a big crash. For Marco it was also a difficult weekend. The problems he experienced were different on each of the three days, but all conspired to stop him realising his potential here at Donington. We will work closely with the team and with Marco to try and find a solution, as we know he is capable of much more once he recovers his confidence. The Ten Kate Yamaha team and Loris Baz have continued to make significant steps forward in a very short space of time. Donington was only their third race with the Yamaha R1, but Loris was our joint scorer alongside Alex, with 28 championship points picked up by them both this weekend. We are happy that we now have another rider and another team able to show the potential of our R1 in this championship."
Strong performance by BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team goes unrewarded on Sunday at Donington Park.
Unfortunate circumstances hinder further podium celebrations in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Tom Sykes classified with DNF in the Superpole race, seventh place in the afternoon race.
Peter Hickman retires with a technical defect in the morning and crossed the finish line in eleventh place in the afternoon.
Donington Park. After pole position and a podium finish on Saturday, Sunday’s action in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Donington Park (GBR) did not go according to plan for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. In the Superpole race, unfortunate circumstances saw BMW S 1000 RR rider Tom Sykes (GBR) end up with a DNF instead of finishing in second on the podium. In the main race of the afternoon, a catch-up race saw him finish in seventh place. Peter Hickman (GBR) retired in the morning due to a technical defect, he finished eleventh in the afternoon.
Sykes started the morning’s Superpole sprint race from pole position. He was embroiled in a close duel for the lead with Jonathan Rea (GBR / Kawasaki) and was at the front of the field for four laps. Rea overtook him, but Sykes was hot on the heels of his rival in second place. With three laps to go, a technical defect meant Hickman lost oil, several riders fell as a result, and the race was aborted. After the race was red flagged and the field headed back to the pits, the oil slick also sent Sykes skidding into the gravel. Second place was taken away from him and he was classified as not having finished the race.
This meant Sykes had to start the second main race of the afternoon from tenth on the grid. With a plucky catch-up race, he moved up into seventh. Hickman started from eleventh on the grid and briefly dropped down one place, but was back in eleventh after the second lap, where he remained until the end of the race. Hickman stepped in for Markus Reiterberger (GER) at Donington Park, who was unable to compete after contracting a severe viral infection. Reiterberger will return to action in the next round this coming weekend at Laguna Seca (USA).
Quotes after race two at Donington Park.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Unfortunately, today didn’t go according to plan. Firstly, we are very sorry that the technical issue with Peter’s motorcycle in the Superpole race affected other riders, who ended up falling. Unfortunately, Tom’s second place was revoked after he fell on the cool down lap and was unable to make it back to the pits with his bike within the requisite time. In the main race he delivered another outstanding performance and got a lot out of the race with seventh place. We need to file today under learning year and move forward. We saw that the pace of the BMW S 1000 RR is definitely there, and we hope we can convert this into the corresponding results in the Superpole and all three races at Laguna Seca. Kudos to Peter, who jumped in at short notice and delivered a really strong performance.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “The rule book went against us in the Superpole Race. Tom did everything right. He had a good, strong pace. It was only between him and Jonathan to battle for the win in the sprint race. To be penalised with the five-minute return-pit-lane rule we felt was extremely harsh considering all the circumstances. However, there is nothing in the rule book that would have allowed any different outcome to that. Tom could not get the bike back to the paddock – it could not be moved – within the five-minute period stipulated in the rule book. So, we must accept the outcome as harsh as it is. Tom’s main race was obviously affected by starting from tenth. He rode a strong race and even though he struggled with grip he was within a second of fourth position and not too far away from the podium. We have to take strength from this weekend; I’m pleased with the guys, I’m proud of everyone’s effort, and proud of how everyone bounced back from such a big knockback in the sprint race to come back fighting in the main race. We will take this away with us, it will hopefully make us stronger and we will learn from it. Peter had a bit of a lonely main race. If he had got away a little bit sharper at the start, he could maybe have stayed with the guys in front of him. But we are happy with P11. He did not put a foot wrong all weekend, coming in at the last minute and he has certainly done himself and the team proud.”
Tom Sykes: “It certainly was an unlucky day. When we came over the hilltop into Melbourne Loop after the red flag, there was a parked car right at the edge of the tarmac, and riders, bikes and marshals, so I looked up just to try and understand if someone was coming on track. Then I hit the oil, Jonathan nearly crashed and I unfortunately did. What happened completely changed the dynamic of the day and of the long race. Starting from tenth, I struggled as I would have needed some clear air. The performance was certainly compromised in today’s race. It’s a shame because we definitely had the pace for the podium. Yes, I’m disappointed but with the form we have shown this weekend, we still have a lot of positives to take away.”
Peter Hickman: “I’m a bit disappointed to be outside the top ten, to be honest. I felt I had some pace to be in the top ten. But I did not quite have the grip in the final race compared to what we had earlier in the day and yesterday. Maybe the track temperature went up a bit but because of what had happened in the Superpole Race, we did not the have time to make changes to the bike based on what we had learned in the first race for the second. But that’s the way it goes. I’ve had a good weekend, I’ve enjoyed myself and learned something. The team has been fantastic, thanks to Smiths Racing BMW for allowing me to compete here, and to Dunlop UK for allowing me to drop their weekend to come here. I hope to get an opportunity like this again sometime in the future.”
Sunday brings no luck for Ryuichi Kiyonari at Donington Park
Ryuichi Kiyonari experienced a challenging race day today at Donington Park. During the Superpole sprint race the Japanese rider crashed out, together with other five riders, at the Melbourne Loop, when another bike left fluid on the track after suffering a technical problem.
In the second Superbike race, Kiyonari could not find good enough pace and rounded out the race outside of the points zone, in sixteenth position.
WorldSBK action will resume immediately with round nine already set to take place at the legendary track of Laguna Seca in California next weekend.
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
Superpole Race: RET - Race2: 16th
“Today was tough, starting with a crash in the Superpole race where I hit my hands quite hard. We could not avoid it, there was something on the track and a lot of riders went down at the same moment. Anyway, even if I still have some pain it’s really nothing serious and it will soon be fine, luckily. I’m particularly disappointed about Race 2, because I know how it feels to be fast at this track and today I was far from it. I was not able to find the same feeling I had yesterday. We will continue to try our best next weekend.”
An intense Sunday for Delbianco at Donington Park
Castle Donington (UK), Sunday 7 July 2019
Rider Alessandro Delbianco has completed round eight of the Superbike world championship at Donington Park in the UK with a fifteenth-place finish in the second Superbike race.
In the Tissot Superpole race, which got underway at 11am local time and in dry conditions, Delbianco was lying sixteenth in the opening stages. He retained that position for the first half of the 10-lap race, but oil left on the track by another rider then caused a group crash at turn 11, several riders, Alessandro included, going down during the course of lap seven. The race was stopped with the red flag following the incident, in which Delbianco was fortunately unhurt.
From seventeenth on the grid in race 2, Delbianco was up to thirteenth by the end of lap three. Battling with Cortese for the best part of the race, the Italian lost a little ground in the final stages of the race, crossing the line in fifteenth place.
“I’m quite pleased with today’s races in the sense that I was able to race as part of a group and enjoy some battles. It was a pity about the crash in the sprint race and the last lap of race 2, when I tried to pass Cortese. Unfortunately, we touched due to a small mistake on my part and as I result I lost ground in the final push to the line. All in all, a good weekend, particularly in terms of my performance in yesterday’s wet race.”
WorldSSP: Cluzel returns to the top with Donington Park win
The Frenchman hasn’t given up on his hopes of a WorldSSP championship win just yet, taking a sensational win at Prosecco DOC UK Round
It was yet another thrilling WorldSSP encounter, with Donington Park hosting more dramatic racing. It was fight that would come alive in the final quarter of the race, with the championship battle going down to the final lap. Despite the best efforts from Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), it would be Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) who would take his second win of the season.
A blistering start for Caricasulo saw the Italian take the holeshot into Turn 1, ahead of Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) and Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). Mahias took second off Cluzel at Turn 4, whilst Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) was only tenth, following a poor Tissot Superpole. Right behind the leading trio was wildcard, Brad Jones (Appleyard Macadam Integro), who was fourth. One surprise was Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) who was up to fifth, with Japanese star Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in sixth, after a relatively quiet weekend up to this point.
On Lap 3, it was all change at the front as Lucas Mahias hit the front at McLean’s, whilst on entrance to the Foggy Esses, Jules Cluzel got ahead of Caricasulo too. Like it had been after the first session of the weekend on Friday, it was a French rider 1-2. At the start of Lap 5, Isaac Viñales crashed out of contention for the podium at Turn 1, whilst Randy Krummenacher was now making headway, into eighth position.
The front three were beginning to break away at the head of the field, whilst Brad Jones continued to ride strongly in fourth in front of a huge, supportive home crowd. Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) began closing him down however and on Lap 6, the Italian got ahead of the wildcard at the final corner. De Rosa had a poor opening lap to the race but was slowly making his way back through to the positions where he started from.
On the seventh lap, De Rosa had not broken clear of Jones but now right behind both of them was Randy Krummenacher. The Swiss rider dive-bombed Jones into the Melbourne Loop and was now up to fifth. Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) was on the back of the battle for fourth and was far-and-away the best Honda rider. Krummenacher took fourth at the Melbourne Loop on Lap 8, now with clear air to his teammate, with plenty of space to bridge in order to get on podium terms.
With seven laps to go, Cluzel hit the front and immediately began to put distance into Mahias. Caricasulo was now looking impatient, struggling to get into second ahead of the 2017 WorldSSP champion. Meanwhile, Randy Krummenacher set the fastest lap of the race and was digging deep to try and get on terms with his teammate and main championship rival.
With five laps left, Caricasulo finally got ahead of Mahias down into the Foggy Esses and instantly, broke clear of Mahias. Krummenacher had set the fastest lap of the race for a third consecutive lap, meaning that the WorldSSP championship fight was now absolutely on between the teammates. The gap between Cluzel at the front and Caricasulo in second was coming down too, with Caricasulo now with the fastest lap of the race.
The last lap beckoned, with Caricasulo closing down Cluzel. Mahias looked a safe third as Krummenacher began to fade. Caricasulo tried once at the Melbourne Loop but couldn’t make the move stick, leaving Cluzel room to cut back through and take the win. Caricasulo was second with Mahias on the podium again, whilst Randy Krummenacher took fourth.
Raffaele De Rosa took fifth, whilst Hannes Soomer crashed out of sixth. This promoted Thomas Gradinger into sixth, ahead of Jack Kennedy, Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA), Brad Jones and Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing), who completed the top ten. Outside the top ten, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer) was 12th for his best result of the season, whilst contrastingly, Hikari Okubo took his worst result of the year in 13th. Hannes Soomer remounted for 15th.
P1 - Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA)
"I am so happy because we had a lot of difficult races this year, but this round the team and Yamaha worked well to give me a perfect bike. I enjoyed this weekend, and it is also my first win at Donington Park after so many years that means that we have a strong bike and we can finish well the season. Congratulation to all the riders because the pace was so quick and I tried my best in the last few laps to avoid the overtake, but Caricasulo tried so hard in the penultimate turn, and I just went for it. It was a very fair race!"
Cluzel Takes Hard Fought WorldSSP Win at Donington Park
GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Jules Cluzel, took his second win of the season in the WorldSSP race at Donington Park, after a race-long battle with former World Champion, Lucas Mahias, and Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported rider, Federico Caricasulo. Randy Krummenacher retained his championship lead with fourth place, after a spirited ride from the fourth row of the grid.
It was pole sitter Caricasulo who made the early running but, just three laps into the race, it was Mahias who swept through into the lead. The Kawasaki rider quickly pulled out a half-second gap, which was closed equally quickly by Caricasulo and Cluzel. While the leading trio were battling for position, Krummenacher was busy fighting his way through the field, racking up fastest laps as he went.
Having sat behind Mahias to see where he was strongest, Cluzel finally made the race-winning move with six laps to go, outbraking his compatriot to take the lead and then trying to pull a gap on the battle for the remaining podium places, which had now been joined by a hard-charging Krummenacher.
Caricasulo made a last bid for victory by diving under Cluzel at the Melbourne Hairpin on the final lap, but better drive out of the penultimate turn saw the GMT94 Yamaha rider reclaim the lead in the run-up to Goddards, the final turn. Caricasulo had one more go at slipstreaming Cluzel to the line, but it was the Frenchman who held on for victory, his first since Thailand back in March. Caricasulo followed him over the line in second, with Mahias third and Krummenacher fourth.
While Krummenacher retains his lead in the championship standings on 173 points, it's getting closer at the top, with Caricasulo in second and Cluzel in third both closing the gap to the Swiss rider.
Thomas Gradinger was the sole points scorer for the Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported WorldSSP team in sixth place, as crashes saw Loris Cresson retire and Isaac Viñales drop down the field to finish in 22nd position.
GMT94 Yamaha's Corentin Perolari enjoyed a solid race to a top ten finish, with the Frenchman eventually crossing the line in eighth position.
Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P1 - Championship Position 3rd 132 Points
"I am so happy because the team gave me a really good bike from the very first day. I was a bit disappointed yesterday because I felt like I could have taken pole position, but today was the most important day. It was not an easy race, because Lucas was pushing hard from the start and had a really good pace, but with six laps remaining, I just had to go. I made no mistakes in the last three laps, tried to maintain a fast pace, and that meant Federico had to push even harder to try and pass me in the penultimate turn. I knew I had some space, so I just went for it. I thought he'd try again in the final turn, but he didn't, and I held on for the win. I'm so happy; it's been a long time since Thailand and we struggled a little since coming back to Europe, but now we're back on the top step of the podium."
Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP - P2 - Championship Position 2nd 158 Points
"The first half of the race was really hard, because I didn't have a good feeling with the front and that made it difficult to stay with the two riders at the front. It got easier from midrace onwards and I was able to pass Lucas for second place. On the final lap I tried to pass Jules at the hairpin, braking really hard into the turn, but I was maybe one metre long and he was able to cut back on the inside. I'm happy enough with second today, as it means I have taken back points on my teammate in the championship. Now we have to think about how we take back the rest of the points in the last four races."
KRUMMEMACHER RETAINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER MAKING A GREAT RECOVERY IN THE RACE AT DONINGTON PARK
Donington Park (UK) 7 July 2019
A bittersweet race at Donington Park today. Randy Krummenacher, who got away from eleventh on the grid after a Superpole session in which he was only able to complete four laps due to the rain, made an incredible recovery. The Swiss rider crossed the line in fourth place, behind Lucas Mahias, Federico Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel, the winner of this eighth FIM Supersport world championship round.
Randy Krummenacher proved once again that he is strong and consistent even in difficult conditions. In the first half of the race however, he unfortunately lost a lot of time passing riders further down the field and, once he reached the leading group, his tyre was too worn to allow him to attack for the podium.
The final race before the summer break sees Krummenacher retain his championship lead, with a 15-point advantage over the second-placed rider, team-mate Federico Caricasulo. Riders will complete a two-day test at Portimao in Portugal during August, in preparation for round 9, which will take place at that same track from 6-8 September.
#RK21: “It was a really hard race, I started eleventh and the riders ahead of me were very aggressive so it took me a long time to get past them. I would have preferred to start further ahead of course, but in Superpole I didn’t expect the rain to come on so fast and so I wasn’t able to set a fast time in the few laps I had, finding traffic each time. I think it’s only right to see the positive though and there were several in this race. The most important is that we’ve proved to be fast once more. If I’d started further ahead it could have been a perfect race. Another positive is that I’m still championship leader with a 15-point advantage over Federico Caricasulo. We still have four races in which to achieve our goal. Thanks to my team for having given me a perfect bike again today, allowing me to catch up and finish fourth. Now we have the summer break, during which I’ll continue to train and test at Portimao during August, a track I really like and where we will race in September”.
Podium Once Again For Mahias And Kawasaki
After Kawasaki Puccetti Racing WorldSSP rider Lucas Mahias took a third place finish at the previous Misano round he repeated the feat again at Donington Park this weekend, and moved up to fourth place in the overall ranking as a result. His team-mate Hikari Okubo finished 13th today, breaking a run of consistent top ten finishes or better all through the season.
From the front row of the grid Mahias attacked the 4.023km long Donington Park circuit from the first to the last lap. He led from lap three to lap 14, and finished third in a leading group of four that was covered by 0.804 seconds at the flag.
In warm and dry conditions Mahias showed mastery of the tricky Donington circuit by setting a pace in some sections of the layout that no others could match, riding right to the edge of his confidence in his machine and race set-up.
In finishing third today Lucas jumped one place ahead of his own team-mate Okubo in the overall championship, putting Mahias fourth overall.
Until lap three Okubo was feeling strong but after that point he started to experience slides and a chatter from the front end. This was a particularly difficult issue to deal with at a circuit that demands a strong front end set-up in both the fast flowing sections and the heavy braking areas.
After the eighth round and the beginning of the summer break Lucas is fourth and has 82 championship points, Hikari is fifth with 73 points.
The WorldSSP championship riders will reconvene at Portimao in Portugal, with raceday on Sunday 8 September.
Lucas Mahias stated: “It was an incredible race and I was pushing a lot from the first to the last lap. I am very happy for my team and Kawasaki because in the last two races we have had two podiums. I think for the moment the bike is very fast in the fast corners but not the same in acceleration, so it is not so easy to overtake sometimes. But I have a lot of confidence in my team to improve the bike for the next race and I hope we can come back in first position.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “In the first three laps the feeling was not so bad but after three laps the bike had a very different feeling. I was really thinking I would have to come into the pits at one stage because the front of the bike was moving a lot and also chattering in all the corners. But I checked the riders behind and I realised I could take some points, which was important. If I had come into the box maybe I would have dropped to sixth in the championship. We have four races left in the season after the summer break so I will be training more and more.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was tenth today, after qualifying sixth. His team-mate Kyle Smith did not finish after experiencing a technical issue but leads the FIM Europe Supersport Cup standings. Kyle remains 18th overall, Badovini is 13th.
Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) was a strong 12th today, one place up on Okubo, with Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) 16th. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 19th today.
WorldSSP300: Sabatucci takes career first WorldSSP300 win in chaotic race
With WorldSSP300 championship contenders out of the race for various reasons, a new star was born at Donington Park
Before the race had even started, there was drama, as pole-sitter Ton Kawakami (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) and teammate Andy Verdoïa had to start from the back of the grid, having failed tyre pressure tests, meaning the only rider on the front row of the WorldSSP300 grid was Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing). With Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) out through injury and Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) failing to make it through from the Last Chance Race, points were there for the taking.
It was a phenomenal opening lap, as Dorren Loureiro (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) was swerved into by 2018 runner-up Mika Perez (Scuderia Maranga Racing) on the start line and consequently crashed. Galang Hendra Pratama took the lead and held it for the opening lap. There was more drama out down the field, as Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) crashed at the Melbourne Hairpin with Borja Sanchez (Scuderia Maranga Racing).
After that, the race settled down at the front with Hendra Pratama leading Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project), although Andy Verdoïa from the back of the grid was now back in the mix, inside the top ten. Soon enough, he would be in third place and then, he took both Ieraci and Hendra Pratama in one fell swoop with eight laps to go. Following him through the order in the leading group was Hugo De Cancellis (Team Trasimeno Yamaha), with France leading and in second place.
As the leading group battled, it was fractured with two and a half laps to go, with Hugo De Cancellis coming from fourth to first at the Foggy Esses before crashing, wiping out Bruno Ieraci. Then, one lap later, Hendra Pratama crashed at the Melbourne Loop as he clattered into Jan-Ole Jahnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team).
On the final lap, Verdoïa was leading ahead of Kevin Sabatucci (Team Trasimeno Yamaha), who had ghosted up to the leading group. The Italian rider got ahead of Verdoïa at the Foggy Esses, with Nick Kalinin (Nutec – RT Motorsport by SKM – Kawasaki) in the mix too. However, in the final few corners, there were no changes and Sabatucci took the win to deny France a first win in the hands of a heroic Verdoïa.
Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) was in fourth ahead of teammate Jahnig, whilst Dion Otten (MTM Racing Team), Oliver König (ACCR Czech Talent Team), Koen Meuffels (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team), Dino Iozzo (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) and Tom Bramich (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team).
With a first podium for an Italian rider in 2019, Sabatucci took the country’s third win in the history of WorldSSP300. It was also the third time in 2019 that the WorldSSP300 podium has featured three different nationalities.
Manuel Gonzalez holds onto his lead in the championship, with a 43-point lead from Ana Carrasco and Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT), who are both still tied on points. Gonzalez can mathematically win the championship at Portimao, such has been his dominance.
P1 - Kevin Sabatucci (Team Trasimeno Yamaha)
"It was a tough race. I knew that Andy was starting from the back but also that he was catching the front pretty fast. In the beginning, I was slow in some areas compared to other riders but staying with them, I was able to improve there. I knew that it was going to be a crazy race so I tried to stay calm and took the lead on the final lap! We made it and I am so happy! I think this weekend we did a perfect job".
Kalinin Takes Podium Finish In Dramatic WorldSSP300 Race
Few of the championship challengers in WorldSSP300 found any good fortunate on race day at Donington Park but Ukrainian rider Nick Kalinin (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM) ensured Kawasaki’s 100% podium finish in 2019 would continue, taking third place in a busy 13-lap race.
Championship leader Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGo Team) was ruled out by injury after falling in the wet qualifying session on Saturday, dislocating his shoulder, and being declared unfit to compete.
Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec) qualified 15th but then fell from contention in the first lap of the race, restarting to finish 19th from absolutely last place.
Scott Deroue (Kawasaki Motoport), in third place overall entering Donington, was unlucky to fall at a key time in his wet qualifying session. He was then was taken out by another rider in the last chance qualifying race and did not earn a grid position.
Despite all the issues for Kawasaki’s front-runners their main rivals only made up a little ground today, which leaves Gonzalez out front still on 108 points, Carrasco and Deroue second and third respectively - even thought they each have 65 points. Bizarrely, three riders have 65 points after Donington, as podium man Andy Verdoia joined Ana and Scott on that points total today.
Kalinin’s podium was an impressive result in what was a difficult dry-wet-dry weekend in England, and his third place lifted him up to 11th in the overall championship standings.
Despite missing some of the season through injury Dion Otten (MTM Racing Team Kawasaki) had a superb sixth place today, the best result of his rookie season.
Oliver König (ACCR Czech Talent team Kawasaki) was seventh, placing three Kawasakis inside the top seven places. Only 1.969 seconds separated König from the race winner Kevin Sabatucci. In all, nine Kawasaki riders scored points at the UK round.
After six races of the season have been completed there will now be a long summer break. The championship restarts at Portimao in Portugal, with raceday on Sunday 8 September.
Nick Kalinin, stated: “I did not expect to finish on the podium even if I was dreaming of it while relaxing before the race. It was a great race for me, for other guys maybe not because there were so many crashes. I was confident and pulling away, pulling away, taking riders one by one and now I am here on the podium. It is good to be here after a long gap since my last top three finish and I hope you will see me on the podium one or two more times this year.”
Ana Carrasco, stated: “I am a little disappointed with today's race because I honestly believe that I could have fought for the victory. I made a good start and I had advanced enough positions, but a rider fell in front of me on the straight and I was left well behind the leading group. I tried to come back quickly but before finishing the first lap another rider hit me at turn 11 and I fell. I'm a bit sad because it was a good opportunity to catch up to the championship leader and to have gone to the summer break much closer in the points. I will work very hard this summer to try to keep my opportunity for the title open until the very last race.”
Manuel Gonzalez, stated: “I am perfectly OK. On Saturday the qualifying was held in the wet. When I was in third position in my group I had a fall and I have dislocated my shoulder. I feel good, without pain, but now I'm just annoyed, because I wanted to run in the race but they do not give me the OK. Thanks very much to my ParkinGO Team for always thinking of me in everything, and thanks to all those who are calling and asking about me. I'm fine, I just wanted to race!”
Scott Deroue, stated: “Friday was good. I had the speed and we had made a step since Misano. On Saturday it was wet and the circuit was very slippery, but I had a good feeling in the rain. In Misano I had waited too long during Superpole and I wanted to attack more here. I was in sixth place in qualifying and had not had a ‘moment’ when I suddenly lost my bike in a place where I didn't expect to. Then you are suddenly in the Last Chance Race. I tried to save my tyres and control the race. It was going very well until a rider behind me crashed and involved me into his crash. Then the dream was suddenly over and you're on the sidelines on Sunday, unable to race.”