Press release previews from the teams and the organizers ahead of this weekend's World Superbike round at Donington Park:
Ducati Alstare's Checa, Badovini and wildcard Canepa prepare for SBK action at fifth round Donington
Donington (UK), Friday 17 May 2013: Team SBK Ducati Alstare’s riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini plan to be fighting fit and ready for Round 5 of the World Superbike Championship next weekend at Donington Park; they will be joined in the Ducati Alstare garage by wildcard entry Niccolò Canepa.
Team SBK Ducati Alstare in collaboration with Team Barni Racing have come to an agreement that will see Italian rider Niccolò Canepa participate as a wildcard in the Superbike category this weekend. Canepa, who is currently leading the Superstock 1000 championship with Team Barni Racing, is available to compete in the Superbike category this weekend as the Stock bikes do not race at the UK circuit. The Ducati Alstare and Barni Racing teams are therefore pleased to announce that Canepa will join official Ducati Superbike riders Checa and Badovini for this fifth round of the world series.
Last year’s event at Donington Park saw both Carlos and Ayrton close with a best result of sixth position though Checa was a race winner at the UK track in 2011. Canepa also competed at Donington last year, finishing with a best of eleventh position.
Checa, who was unable to take part in Monza’s races due to an osseous edema to the humerus of the left shoulder, will return to the track next weekend at Donington. Having completed a course of intense treatment over recent weeks he is confident that he will be ready to fight come Sunday.
Team SBK Ducati Alstare and Badovini took part in a positive day’s testing at the Mugello circuit last Tuesday. Ducati’s development team and Niccolò Canepa, also present, carried out some tests which continued into Wednesday, giving Niccolò the chance to build confidence with the 1199 Panigale in its Superbike configuration in preparation for the UK event. During these sessions both riders tested new traction control settings and various set-ups that gave encouraging results.
Carlos Checa: “Having been forced to sit out of the Monza races I’m really looking forward to being back on the bike at Donington. I’ve been working hard to get back to full fitness and have carried on with the treatments recommended to me by the specialists – I still have a week to prepare before getting back on track next Friday but I’m feeling much stronger and am optimistic ahead of the next races.”
Checa’s Superbike form at Donington:
2012: Race 1 – 6th, Race 2 - DNF
2011: Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 - winner
2009: Race 1 – 11th, Race 2 – DNF
2008: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 9th
Ayrton Badovini: “The day’s testing that we completed at Mugello was very useful and I hope we’ll be able to confirm the work done there on track at Donington. I can finally say that I feel fit once more, after physical problems through the first part of the season. I am continuing with my usual training and preparation programme at home and aim to take two good results in the UK next week – I’m feeling confident.”
Badovini’s Superbike form at Donington:
2012: Race 1 – 11th, Race 2 – 6th
2011: Race 1 – 13th, Race 2 – 9th
2008: Race 1 – 12th, Race 2 – DNF
Niccolò Canepa: “I enjoyed testing at Mugello and got on very well with the bike and so I’m really pleased to have this opportunity to ride the 1199 Panigale with Team Ducati Alstare at Donington. I want to thank Francis Batta of Ducati Alstare, Ernesto Marinelli and Ducati and of course my own team, Barni Racing and manager Marco Barnabò for coming together and arranging this. I hope to be able to pay them back by scoring some solid results during these important races.”
Canepa’s Superbike form at Donington:
2012: Gara 1 – 19°, Gara 2 – 11°
Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director: “I’m very happy to have three riders ready to line up at Donington, a special thanks to Marco Barnabò for his availability and to Niccolò for his enthusiasm, it will be useful to have his feedback this weekend.”
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team - WSBK - Donington - Preview
Munich/Milan, 20th May 2013. For the fifth round of the 2013 Superbike World Championship, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team heads to a track which plays an important role in the history of BMW Motorrad. The British “Donington Park Circuit” is the venue not only of the first ever victory, but also the first ever one-two for the German manufacturer in the Superbike World Championship. Still today, everyone at BMW Motorrad remembers the moment when the BMW S 1000 RRs of factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) and his then team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) crossed the finish line in race one at last year’s Donington round.
Last year’s success was the first of nine victories in total so far for BMW Motorrad in this series. Three of them have been celebrated in the first four rounds of the 2013 season. New factory rider Chaz Davies (GBR) won both races at Spanish “Motorland Aragón”, while Marco climbed the top step of the podium at his home round at Monza.
Despite some bad luck and issues, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team has built on the successes BMW Motorrad achieved in 2012 and secured the manufacturer’s best ever start to a Superbike World Championship season. After four rounds, Marco and Chaz share six podium positions and two fastest race laps between them. Together, they have already collected 190 points for the team. After the first four rounds of the 2012 season, the factory team had 140.5 points and two third places on its tally.
In the Manufacturers’ classification, BMW is second with 144 points, 28 points behind the lead. These are 48 points more than after the first four rounds in 2012, when BMW was fourth on 96 points with a gap of 44.5 points to the front. In the current Riders’ classification, Marco is fourth with 96 points; Chaz sits in fifth with 94 points. Both riders like the Donington circuit. Marco has won there twice in as many years competing in the WSBK series, while for Chaz it is his first home round of the season. The race takes place on British soil, but is held under the European flag.
Donington from the rider’s point of view:
“I really love Donington. Here I got my first Superbike win with Yamaha in 2011 and the first victory in the history of BMW in the series last year. This is a technical track, quite different from Monza. In Donington you never shift to sixth gear while in Monza you use it three times. The two chicanes in the last part of the Donington circuit seem to be there to keep the field close together. The race will be very open and hard-fought, and if it does not rain, it will be very exciting.
We head to Donington in a better position than last year, even if we did not have a perfect start to the season. In Monza I found the right feeling with the RR. Now I can ride it in the best way and be competitive. I’m looking forward to Donington and I feel really confident. Now I want to fight for the podium at every race and, when it’s possible, I want to win.”
“I am looking forward to my first home round. It is always good to meet up with friends and family and to feel the support of your home crowd. Donington was the first proper circuit I rode on, so I have special memories of it – especially the first part of the circuit is enjoyable. To go through ‘Craner Curves’ is quite a challenge. Overall, there are two completely different styles of track. You have the fast first part and then the hard braking second part so it is difficult to find a compromise with the set-up.
I hope that we will have a smooth and normal weekend. I will try to do a good qualifying and then we will see. Marco was very fast there last year, so the team should have some good data to start with.”
Donington from a sporting point of view:
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Donington is a completely different circuit than Monza. It has no long straights but is a technical and awesome track which our riders really love. My only concern is about the weather. As usual in Great Britain, it is always unpredictable and can change really fast without notice. I hope we’ll have stable weather conditions. In Monza, Marco returned to being competitive – he got back his good feeling with the bike and he rode to victory again. Chaz too showed a good performance, even if he unfortunately crashed in race two while riding very fast. This makes us really confident for the next race in Donington. We will do our best to maintain continuity in performance and to stay successful.”
Donington from a technical point of view:
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“After the great result achieved in Monza we are now heading to a very special racetrack, not only for its technical requirements but also for the nice memories we’ve got from there. It’s at Donington where BMW celebrated its maiden win in the series, so it became a special racetrack for us. Finding the right setting for Donington is not an easy task, it’s always a matter of compromise: the first part of the track is fast and flowing with the famous ‘Craner curves’, while the last part is tortuous with two slow hairpins. So again it will be a difficult challenge for our engineers but we’re convinced that our RR will suit the characteristics of this track as per last year.
The work done on Marco’s bike before Monza will be evaluated and continued on a track with a different layout, as he’s always looking for the front end confidence. Chaz, due to a series of unlucky circumstances, didn’t achieve the results in Monza that he was hoping for. In Donington, at his home race, he will be back fighting for a place on the podium.”
Donington from Pirelli’s point of view:
At Donington Park, historically the weather has been the biggest unknown factor and, precisely for this reason, Pirelli will provide the riders with a vast choice of solutions that, in terms of compound hardness, covers the entire range available. Especially in the first part of the circuit great stability is required for the front end. Consequently the main goal of the front tyre must be to hold its conformation as much as possible and to guarantee the support needed to manage downhill turns. On the other hand, the rear tyres are affected mainly by the sharp and violent acceleration phases which are typical of the track. In cold weather conditions the tread compound, especially the softer ones, struggles to reach proper operating temperatures and, because of the high rigidity properties, risks suffering lacerations and surface tears in acceleration. Wear from tearing tends to decrease greatly with high temperatures. On the other hand, however, in these conditions the track generally provides very poor grip.
For the Superbike class, Pirelli will bring three different slick solutions for the front and four for the rear, in addition to the rear qualifier and the intermediate solutions and the wet tyres. The choice of slicks for the front anticipates two SC1 soft compound solutions and a medium compound SC2. In fact, both the standard SC1 (R426) and SC2 (R982) will be present as well as the S41 development SC1 which was already seen at Aragón and Assen as an alternative to the standard SC1 and designed for the purpose of guaranteeing greater mechanical stability.
On the rear included in the dry solutions will be the new standard SC0 soft solution (R1261). The SC0 provides maximum contact area on smooth asphalt and maximum traction development at high temperatures, in addition to its greater performance stability under thermal decline. However, if temperatures are not high enough, the riders will be able to count on another three alternatives: the standard SC1 (R828), which, by its very nature, is the most versatile solution and the one that best adapts to different tracks and temperatures, a new SC1 development solution (R831) as an alternative to the standard SC1, capable of ensuring better grip compared to the SC2 and more robustness with respect to the SC1 and, to complete the range of choices available to the riders, the R1300 SC2 medium-hard compound solution, which Pirelli only brought to Phillip Island and which should provide greater resistance to wear than the standard SC1 but at the same time more grip than the standard SC2.
The “Donington Park Circuit” is located in the heart of England, about 25 kilometres south of Nottingham. It was opened in 1931 and was the first permanent racetrack in England. Over the course of its history, which stretches back over 80 years, the iconic circuit has undergone many modifications – most recently in 2010. Donington is a fixture on the calendar of the Superbike World Championship, hosting its first ever round back in 1988.
Both BMW Motorrad GoldBet factory riders have fond memories of Donington. Marco celebrated his maiden victory in the Superbike World Championship here in 2011 and last year, he secured BMW Motorrad’s historical first win in the series in Donington. For Chaz, the English track was the first real circuit he rode when he came from Mini Moto.
Donington has everything a great racetrack should have. The first part of the circuit is fast and flowing throughout, with inclines and dips. The fastest turns are the “Craner Curves”, named after the former motorcycle rider and founder of the circuit, Fred Craner, which are taken at about 190 km/h. The bike must be stable in this fast left-hander. In contrast, the second section is technical and demanding, with many tight hairpins requiring the riders to brake harder than at almost any other circuit on the calendar. Among the slow passages is the “Melbourne Hairpin”, a tight chicane taken in first gear, and the left-hander “Goddards”.
The challenge facing the riders is to change their rhythm over the course of the lap. The team must find a set-up that meets all these requirements. Another factor is the unpredictable weather in the heart of England.
FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI SET FOR DONINGTON WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 21.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki is in England this weekend for the European round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park; an event that the team considers its first 'home' race of the season.
With the team's title sponsors, FIXI, based in London and the squad's operational headquarters at Crescent in southern England, plus the majority of the squad, including racer Leon Camier, hailing from the UK, the Donington event is a real homecoming for the Suzuki WSBK outfit.
Camier is hoping to be fully fit at Donington following the knee injury he sustained earlier in the season that has seen him compete at below full-strength at the last two events. He has worked hard on his fitness and will be heading to his home race in a positive and invigorated frame of mind following a tough training regime to build his race fitness and stamina.
Jules Cluzel is returning to a circuit that holds fond memories for him from last season. The Frenchman immediately made himself at home around the Donington layout, as he took Pole Position in the Supersport class and followed that with third in the race. His ability to quickly-learn circuits on the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R will again be put to the test as he continues with his impressive rookie season in the Superbike arena. He is still suffering from the after-effects of the accident at Monza that cost him the nail on his little finger, but he is determined to not let that hinder him this weekend.
The 4,023m-long Donington Park circuit is round five of this season's championship, set in a natural amphitheatre in the Derbyshire/ Leicestershire countryside; and has many exciting corners set over its elevation changes. It is one or the riders' favourite circuits of the year and not many tracks have a sight to compare with the entire field roaring down Craner Curves on the first lap - possibly one of the best stretches of asphalt on the entire calendar.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will start the weekend with practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, which will hopefully see Camier and Cluzel advance to the Superpole on Saturday afternoon where the pair will be challenging for the best grid positions for Sunday's two 23-lap races.
"I am really looking forward to Donington Park; it's great to race at home and I'm sure we'll have a big crowd there to cheer us on. I have been working hard to get fully fit and now hope my injuries allow me to push to 100% and get the FIXI Crescent Suzuki up to where we need to be. The GSX-R's engine performance has improved massively; we now need to focus on getting out of the slow corners cleanly and putting the power to the ground! Donington is one of those tracks where outright speed is not a necessity, so that should be an advantage to us."
"Donington is a really important race for the whole team, it is a totally English squad, with the exception of me and another guy - so I guess I will need to be a 'Rosbif' for the weekend! My finger is still quite sore and if I put gloves on, it is painful, but it is only a finger and it won't stop me from riding. I was really disappointed after Monza because I think we had the chance of a good result in both races, but some bad luck and I think an unfair decision for the ride-through cost us. We have to put that behind us now and start working hard again at Donington; it is a track I really like and one that I went very well at last season. I know some of the guys have huge knowledge of the place - including Leon - so it won't be easy, but I will try to learn as quickly as possible and hopefully give all our sponsors and fans something to cheer about on Sunday."
Pata Honda team heads to Donington
The Pata Honda team will reconvene in the UK this week for the upcoming fifth round of the 2013 World Superbike championship event at Donington Park on 24-26 May.
After the long straights of Monza in Italy at the last round, the team is confident that Donington’s 4.023 kilometres of undulation and its tighter characteristics will allow the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade to maximise the potential of its nimble chassis and the recent advances made in the bike’s new-for-2013 electronics package.
Jonathan Rea took fourth place in race-one at Donington last season and followed it up with a victory in the second outing and, with recent developments concentrating on his machine’s corner exit and acceleration, he is optimistic for the coming weekend.
The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland is keen to get back on to the podium that he visited for the first time this season at Assen in The Netherlands at the end of April.
His Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, left Assen early after breaking his leg in a Friday morning practice crash and had a pin inserted in his tibia in an operation performed in the UK the day after he arrived home – just over three weeks ago.
Since then, Haslam, who will celebrate his 30th birthday next Friday 31st May, has worked tirelessly and undergone intensive treatment and therapy in bid to be fit to ride at Donington, which lies just 25km from his UK home. He will undergo a medical examination at the circuit on Thursday.
Donington has always been an exciting track for me and, being the first home round of the year, it’s always special to ride with friends and family there in support. Of course, the weather can sometimes be a little unfriendly, so I’m hoping it’ll stay dry for the weekend because I think Donington can be a strong circuit for us. It will be a really good opportunity to try to exploit the positive aspects of the bike. Of course, we’ll work hard through the practice and qualifying sessions to try and get a good grid position for Sunday, but I’m feeling optimistic.
It’s just over three weeks since I broke my leg at Assen and, while that might not seem very long, it feels like ages to me. Since the operation to pin the leg, I’ve been doing everything I can to get it ready to get back on the bike. I’ve got to pass a medical of course, and then see how it feels on the bike, but at the moment I’m aiming to ride. Donington is my home race, so it’s a really special event for me and I know the circuit pretty well. I got a couple of good results on a private CBR at Donington in 2009 and could’ve had a couple of wins last year, so I’ll continue doing everything I can to get on the bike on Friday and see how it goes.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
We’re looking forward, hopefully, to welcoming Leon back to the bike this weekend for his home round at Donington Park. Whatever Leon’s condition, it’ll be good to see him back with the team. Of course, with Jonathan, we will be looking to move things forward again following Monza. Despite the final results there, the performance of Jonathan and the CBR was impressive, considering we expected it would not be a great circuit for us. We’ve improved the bike a lot since the beginning of the year and I think we can aim for the Donington podium this weekend.
2013 World Superbike championship, round five
Donington Park, United Kingdom – weekend schedule (local times – GMT+1)
Friday 24 May
11.45-12.30 Free practice
15.30-16.15 Qualifying 1
Saturday 25 May
09.45-10.30 Qualifying 2
12.30-13.15 Free practice
15.00-15.14 Superpole 1
15.21-15.33 Superpole 2
15.40-15.50 Superpole 3
Sunday 26 May
12.00 Race 1 (23 laps 92.529km)
15.30 Race 2 (22 laps 92.529km)
SPECIAL WEEKEND FOR THE APRILIA RACING RIDERS, FIRST AND SECOND IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS.
HOME RACE FOR SYLVAIN GUINTOLI, EUGENE LAVERTY LOOKING TO CONTINUE THE POSITIVE STREAK.
Noale, 22 May 2013 – After the excitement at Monza the time has come for the Aprilia Racing Team to head to the United Kingdom, just a shout from Sherwood Forest, to take on the English Donington Park circuit. This is a special weekend for both riders since it is the closest race to home for Northern Irishman Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli lives just thirty minutes from the track.
There is no lack of motivation. The first of which is the presence of the fans, encouraged by a championship situation which has Sylvain in the lead with 137 points, 13 more than his team mate, fresh from a podium and a victory at Monza. The Aprilia Team's extraordinary labours have allowed Guintoli and Laverty to tackle each race with their sights set on the podium, contributing to manufacturer standings where Aprilia dominates with an 18 point advantage over BMW, 42 ahead of Kawasaki, 94 in front of Honda, 104 above Suzuki and 120 over Ducati.
The variable that could reshuffle the deck is the weather, as is always the case when racing on English soil. At the moment the forecast seems to confirm this theory, predicting alternating rain and clear skies without any consistent solution. In any case, even in the wet Guintoli and Laverty have proven their skills astride their RSV4s.
The weekend holds some strong personal undertones for Sylvain Guintoli: “Donington has always been a thriller for me! Amongst many eventful races, this is the track where I met my wife, but also the one where I broke my leg very badly in 2009. I live 30min from Doni so it's like my home race. Many friends and family are coming to support me”.
Donington is definitely not Eugene Laverty's favourite track as his best placing here was a double podium in the British Championship under extreme conditions. 2013 could be the right year to upset predictions: “Donington has never been kind to me in the past so I'll be hoping that changes this weekend. We've had a great run of form lately and I want to continue our podium streak. Donington couldn't be more different to the previous circuit of Monza and we'll need to work to control the power of the RSV4. Seven riders on five different makes of machinery could win this weekend so it's going to be a tough fight”.
Baldolini Returns to Suriano After Team Lorini Split
Alex Baldolini heads to Donington Park this weekend full of optimism after a post Monza team change will see him line up on the British grid with his former team, Suriano Racing.
Alex is no stranger to the family run team having had his debut World Supersport season last year with the then Triumph team.
This year Suriano Racing are Suzuki powered and are already making people sit up and take note as young South African Matthew Scholtz has secured some encouraging results.
With a podium finish at Misano last year, Alex could well spring some surprises over the coming races as he looks to get his season back on track.
Alex Baldolini: “I am delighted to return to Ninetto Suriano’s team, and am anxious to get back in the saddle GSX-R after the positive experience in the Christmas trophy race at Vallelunga. Unfortunately, the season has not started in the best way for me, but I am convinced that with the help of everyone at Suriano Suzuki we can soon be back in the positions that we were expecting before the season. I’ve seen the great work done by the team on the bike after only four races with a completely new bike, it has improved spectacularly and I am looking forward to working with Matthew to make even better results. I’m really happy and focused and I want to thank all the people who made it possible for my return to Team Suriano. “
Smiths Triumph To Race At Donington World Supersport
Reigning Motorpoint British Supersport Champions, Smiths Triumph RacingTeam, will be heading for Donington Park to take part in the World Supersport Championship race this weekend.
The Gloucester-based squad will field defending British Champion Glen Richards and his fellow Australian Billy McConnell as wild card entries aboard the brand new Smiths Triumph Daytona 675R machines on which they are contesting this year's British series and hold sixth and third places respectively.
At the corresponding meeting last year, it was a successful outing for all three Smiths riders with Richards finishing in fifth, McConnell in ninth and Luke Mossey claiming the last point in 15th place to mark a hugely successful World Championship debut for the team.
So far this year, 25-year-old McConnell has racked up four podium finishes out of the six races to date in the British Championship with 39-year-old Richards claiming top five finishes in all but one of the six races and the pair hope to continue that consistency at the first of the two World Supersport Championship rounds to be held in the UK this season.
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: "Smiths Triumph Racing Team has made the decision to enter the World Supersport round at Donington Park this weekend purely because of the enjoyment we got out of doing it last year. Since leaving Oulton Park we have been working extremely hard on the development of the new Smiths Triumph Daytona and we have been improving the competitiveness of the bike. We have completed extensive engine development work as well as tweaking to improve other minor issues that we had been having so far this season. Another benefit of entering is that it allows for Glen and Billy to ride competitively without any big pressure on them as we haven't had a chance to get out on the bike since Oulton Park. Most of all we are hoping to just have some fun whilst being competitive on the world stage with the brand new Smiths Triumph Daytona 675R."
Sheridan podium potential at Donington
THE fifth round of the World Supersport Championship is at PTR's home venue of Donington Park in the UK this Sunday, 26th May; and Sheridan Morais is targeting an improvement on his sixth place finish last time out.
The friendly South African is positive he can mix it for the podium at Donington as his shoulder injury continues to improve.
Sheridan said: "At Monza after a bad start I was able to get through the traffic and then run the same lap times as the leaders. That is really positive. It is also another two weeks healing for my shoulder and I will be stronger at Donington. We have the potential to race for the podium this weekend and we will do all we can to achieve it."
Luca Marconi equalled his lifetime best last time with 10th. He was seventh going into the last lap, so knows he has the ability and bike to set a new personal best at Donington. A great wet weather rider, he has now proved he can get top results in the dry as well.
David Linortner is another PTR racer on a high after scoring first points last time out. He will use that confidence to best effect in the UK as he goes for the top 10.
Matt Davies proved he has the pace to challenge the top 15 and will be desperately looking for his first points of the season at Donington.
Rookie Nacho Calero is still learning fast and knows he has the package to challenge within the points, so will be giving his all. There are practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday before the race takes place at 1330GMT on Sunday 26th May.
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Technically we made a step forward at the last round and all riders benefited from that. We are in a good position coming to Donington and expect Sheridan to be able to improve on his sixth place last time out, as his shoulder injury will be less of a worry.
"Luca is really riding very well and he is now ready to take the next step up and compete inside the top eight - I hope that Donington is where he does that.
"David and Matt are two very fast debutants to World Supersport racing and they should be in the points going forward from here at every round. Nacho has promise but isn't making the most of it yet so a top 20 finish is the next step."
ONIT clothing will be on sale in the retail area of Donington Park, please visit the Knee Down stand to get Sam Lowes, Michael Dunlop, Alex Lowes or Maria Costello official clothing - the range includes T-shirts, Hoodies and Beanie hats. Alternatively, visit the shop at ONIT.
HOME RACE FOR REA AND HASLAM AT POPULAR DONINGTON PARK
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) has more than just a home race to look forward to at the fifth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park on Sunday May 26. Given the many recent advances he and his team have found in the race specification and performance of his CBR1000RR he is also out to replicate the kind of form that put him on the first race podium at the Assen round in late April.
Improvements to his race package should allow him to make a real difference at Donington, which was the most recent venue Jonathan has scored a full race victory at, around this time last year. Having taken part in a bicycle race in the UK shortly after the previous Monza round Rea is at the peak of his powers again and ready to try to score his first win of 2013.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) is almost literally at home when he goes to Donington but currently he is in a battle to be fully fit after breaking his left leg at Assen. His recovery process is going well but he will have to wait until given the medical all clear before he can make a start at the fifth round of the year.
The complete Donington circuit may be formed of two truly contrasting sections but it is a perennial favourite with most competitors who get to ride a high-speed rollercoaster of asphalt down Craner Curves before making their gradual climb uphill to McLeans Corner and Coppice before rushing downhill again to the Melbourne Loop section. This final part of the 4.023km track comprises a slow chicane, then two tight hairpins onto the start/finish straight, and provides some of the hardest braking points of the year.
In the championship standings Jonathan is currently eighth, but only four points from a top six ranking after four rounds. Leon, who has had to miss the Assen and Monza races altogether, is 15th.
After Donington Park the championship trail heads south once more, to the modern classic circuit of Portimao in Portugal for the sixth round on June 9th.
VAN DER MARK JOINS HASLAM IN A RACE TO BE FIT
In a determined attempt to be fit to race at the fifth round of the FIM Supersport World championship at Donington Park this weekend Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) has joined his Superbike colleague Leon Haslam in the UK for a period of intense preparation and healing.
Currently third in the overall rankings after breaking four bones in his left foot during the previous Monza round, Van der Mark is determined to get back into action at Donington to help his overall championship challenge continue at the same high level he has reached since starting his rookie WSS season.
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) is a fighting fifth in the Championship after securing his first WSS podium at the previous round at Monza in his native Italy. He enters the Donington Park event, titled the European round of the championship, secure in the knowledge that more podiums are possible. Lorenzo is 30 points from the lead of the championship after five rounds, with ten rounds of the championship still to run, including Donington.
After a great start to his rookie season Irish rider Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) dropped to tenth in the championship after his Monza no score. Now approaching a circuit he has raced at regularly during his recent British Championship experiences he should start the weekend at no real disadvantage to most of his more experienced WSS rivals for the first time in 2013.
Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) is looking for any finish better than tenth in the Donington race to beat his 2013 best so far, as he sits 14th in the rankings after four rounds. His PTR Honda team is taking part in its home round in England this weekend and Luca wants to make a good showing for them, and to start moving up the championship table in his own right.
After a very tough start to the season delivered Sheridan Morais no points in the opening three races the gritty South African rider showed his true self at Monza by finishing sixth despite carrying a right shoulder injury. The lingering effects of that may still be evident but he has healed considerably since the last round.
David Linortner (Team Honda PTR) moved up to 23rd after scoring two points at Monza. Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda) sits in 25th place.
Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) will be looking to a track he knows well from his long experience of racing in the smaller GP classes to kick start his season after four races with no points. He was tenth at Donington for his current PRORACE team last season, shortly after joining the WSS class for the first time. He has upped his own level of preparation even more for the challenges ahead by racing in a national event at his own home track in Hungary.
The usual host of regular Honda riders will be out to make their first big impression of the season once again, including Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda), Eduard Blokhin (Rivamoto Honda), Nacho Calero Perez (Honda PTR) and his fellow rookie Matt Davies (Team Honda PTR).
The sixth round of a 14 round championship will take place at another regular SBK venue, Portimao in Portugal, on June 9th.
HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team)
"I think Donington could be a very strong track for us. Monza was going to be one of our weaker circuits but we were still there or there about. With no long straights at Donington I am quite optimistic about our chances. I like the track and it is good to be back in the UK to go racing. Given the championship situation points are not at the forefront of our minds so now we have to get some solid race weekends under our belt. It would be great to get a double podium finish this weekend, or even something better. Our package is pretty well rounded so we can go to any track now, keep our heads high and hope for the best possible results. I think Donington will give us a much more comfortable weekend than having to do two races at Monza."
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team)
"I had a successful operation after Monza and my aim is to race at Donington, my home event. I am struggling with knee movement but I have a few more days of working on that. I know Donington well and from Assen onwards the team have made big steps with the bike. Jonathan has been speaking about how much better it is, so I am keen to get back on it. I had never missed an SBK race before in my life. I have had two broken legs, a collarbone, broken ankles in previous seasons and still been able to race, so it has been tough to take not racing in the past two rounds. If I can race I am definitely going to give it a go. From a positive side I will not have to learn Donington, there are not too many left-handers, which is going to be the issue with my knee. The biggest factors will be bending my knee enough and changing gears."
Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team)
"As always I am looking forward to the weekend but it will be a little bit difficult maybe this time. That is partly to do with the fact that I have never ridden at Donington Park before and also because I have a foot injury. It is getting better every day and we have made faster progress than we first expected. It will be a bit painful this weekend but we are riding for sure!"
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team)
"Taking a podium at Monza was fantastic at my home race but it was a strange day with crashes all around and two crashes for me before the final race start. I have some problems with my back and my right hand because of this. Nothing is broken but it is quite painful. I like Donington. It's not a fast track but a good one and a very different one from Monza. I want to try to push a lot at Donington, the same as in Monza, and fight for the top five places."
Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda)
"We will have a lot of people there and I suppose you could call it my home race. A lot of friends, family and sponsors will be coming so we will have to put on a good show won't we? The weather does not look on our side through. Donington will be different because I know I should be quick in the first sessions, no matter what the conditions are, because I know the track so well. That is obviously a big confidence-booster as well because when you come towards the second qualifying session in 20th position or whatever at a new track you have a big gap to close and lots still to learn. I am hoping to be up inside the top five in every session at Donington. I'm looking forward to riding my Rivamoto Honda there as this time around we have a lot of knowledge of that track layout. This season is a learning process for me, especially with the electronics and the longer races that I am not so used to doing, but we are getting better at it every round."
Luca Marconi (PTR Honda)
"I am not sure how the weather is going to be in England but I hope it is not raining. I like the track and I want to make a good result for the team, as it is their home race. I will try my best as always. Donington Park is very different from Monza and maybe the rider counts more than the bike. I like the flowing first part at Donington but I am not so keen on the very last part with the slow corners. It is difficult to pass other riders in most places on the first part so at least the last corners do give you some places to overtake."
Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda)
"Last year I was also injured for the Donington round, after a big crash at Monza, but this time around my shoulder has improved and I hope I can ride my bike to its full potential. Sixth at Monza was not so bad considering I was not really fully fit. I came back to South Africa for a short period of time after Monza and that is always a bit hectic, but it is always good for me and it gets me ready to go racing again."
Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda)
"I rode a stock 600 bike at a national race at the Hungaroring after Monza and I made my best lap time ever, so I think my form is good. I think the last three races we lost the race in the pit box more than with my performance so I will be recommending a new bike set-up and balance to my team. They are really looking to help me. At Donington I believe I can be where I have to be, even though I cannot say it is my favourite track because it is usually cold and raining! All the same, I feel confident going there."
WSBK riders set for another epic battle at Donington Park
Rome (Italy), Tuesday 21 May 2013 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship gets to the heart of England for Round 5 at Donington Park. The British venue was built in the ‘30s of the last century and saw a new life in the 1970s, becoming one of the most famous tracks for motorcycle racing in the world. Donington Park hosted the first ever World Superbike Round on April 3rd 1988, with pole position scored by local rider Roger Burnett on a Honda.
British riders always had a strong connection to their home round, but rarely got on top step of the podium in recent times. In 2012 Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) was the first rider from the UK to win a race at Donington Park after four years - before him, James Toseland was the last to score a victory (2007, race 1). Rea won one of the most unpredictable races of all time, settled at the very last turn of the race, after a collision with Leon Haslam and a consequent “domino effect” that involved Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who had previously tried to overtake Haslam, too – team mate at the time - for the race win.
Local boy Leon Haslam, now back with the Honda family for 2013, is still recovering from the leg injury he sustained at Assen almost a month ago, and he’s trying his best in order to take part in his home Round.
Despite the thrilling finale in 2012, Melandri has fond memories of the last weekend out on the Leicestershire circuit, as the Italian managed to give BMW their maiden World Superbike win in race 1. Works BMW rider Chaz Davies seeks redemption at Donington Park, following two difficult rounds at both Assen and Monza.
Aprilia Racing Team duo of Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty, who currently lie 1st and 2nd in Riders standings, have never scored a top-3 on the East-Midlands track. Laverty crashed in 2 out of his 4 WSBK races there, while Guintoli best result is a 5th place in last year’s race 2.
Tom Sykes’ (Kawasaki Racing Team) best result dates back to 2008, when he raced as a wildcard from BSB and finished with a sensational 2nd place in the aggregate race 1 results, behind Troy Bayliss. Team mate Loris Baz made his debut in WSBK last year at Donington, as substitute for the unfortunate Joan Lascorz. FIXI Crescent Suzuki Leon Camier scored his only WSBK podium finish at the British venue in 2011 (3rd place, race 2), but won race 1 two years before, in his winning British Superbike season.
Team Ducati Alstare welcomes Niccolò Canepa for a one-event participation. The current Superstock 1000 rider will join full-time riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini after testing with fellow Italian last week at Mugello. 2011 WSBK Champion Checa is still recovering from an osseus edema in his left shoulder that ruled him out the Monza round.
Standings – provisional*: 1. Guintoli 137; 2. Laverty 124; 3. Sykes 119; 4. Melandri 96; 5. Davies 94; 6. Baz 75; 7. Fabrizio 74; 8. Rea 71; 9. Giugliano 49; 10. Camier 46; 11. Cluzel 41; 12. Neukirchner 39; 13. Badovini 32; 14. Checa 29; 15. Haslam 29; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 172; 2. BMW 144; 3. Kawasaki 130; 4. Honda 78; 5. Suzuki 68; 6. Ducati 52.
* Possible updated results could be defined by the International Disciplinary Court which is dealing with the appeal lodged by Aprilia Racing Team and rider Sylvain Guintoli, following the decision taken by the FIM Stewards in Monza (Italian Round, last 12 May) to cancel the drop of position sanction (from third to fourth place in race 2) imposed by the Race Direction on rider Tom Sykes.
Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) approaches his home Round as new Championship leader, following his 2nd race win of the season at Monza and a turnaround of events that saw Kenan Sofuoglu’s crash on lap 4 and the withdrawal by Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) from the final restart - as both were involved in the multiple crash that led to the third red flag in an hectic day for Supersport riders.
The English venue is a special place for the 22 year old, who scored his maiden Supersport race win last year on this very track - ahead of Sofuoglu - and has recently moved to Derby, 20km far from the circuit.
While Foret was diagnosed with no major injuries after a hospital check-up, van der Mark sustained multiple fractures in his left foot and he is currently recovering in the UK, together with Superbike team mate Leon Haslam. Both riders are set to tackle the Donington Park Round.
Injured David Salom’s place in the Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki Team will be taken once again by Frenchman Florian Marino, who battled for race victory at Monza up to the chequered flag and ended up with an outstanding 2nd place. Scotsman Kev Coghlan (DMC-Lorenzini Kawasaki) will aim for his first podium in the series after showing some good performance in the 5-way battle for rostrum positions in the last round.
Irishman Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) and Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) are two riders to watch for the upcoming race, as both rookies know Donington Park like the back of their hand, having competed last year in the British Supersport Championship with strong results - 1st and 2nd place at Donington Park for Kennedy, 3rd for Iddon in race 2.
Standings: 1. Lowes 70; 2. Foret 54; 3. Vd Mark 49; 4. Sofuoglu 45; 5. Zanetti 40; 6. Scassa 34; 7. Marino 31; 8. Antonelli 29; 9. Russo 26; 10. Kennedy 24; 11. Coghlan 22; 12. Rolfo 22; 13. Leonov 21; 14. Marconi 16; 15. Roccoli 14. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 90; 2. Yamaha 78; 3. Honda 65; 4. MV Agusta 22; 5. Suzuki 8.