2017 Donington Park WorldSBK Friday Post-Practice Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and teams after the first day of practice in Donington:

Donington Park Day One
Strong start to the weekend for Rea
World Champion leads both sessions on Friday in UK, with Sykes and wildcard Haslam also on the pace

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) enjoyed a positive day on Friday despite an uncharacteristic crash at the beginning of FP1, going on to top the timesheets in both practice sessions on the first day of the PATA UK Round.

Rea’s 1’27.740 time in FP2 made him the fastest rider of the day at Donington, with his teammate Tom Sykes second quickest – the Yorkshireman lapping +0.122s behind his Northern Irish colleague on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Also making a good start to the weekend on his return to WorldSBK as a wildcard was Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who lapped third fastest overall, at a circuit he knows so well.

In fourth place Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) was the only non-British rider in a top six which also featured Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team).

Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) was seventh best, just ahead of eighth placed Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia). Completing the top ten and therefore going straight through to Tissot Superpole 2 on Saturday were Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing).

Approaching the half way point in the session Lowes and Mercado crashed in quick succession, Lowes losing the front at turn 11 and Mercado heading into the gravel and down at turn 8. There were also spills for Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing), Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) as the riders pushed to the limits.

Earlier in the day Rea led the way in FP1 with a 1’27.828 lap, after a crash earlier in the session. He was accompanied in the top three by his teammate Sykes and Ducati man Melandri.

Rea crashed in the opening minutes of the first practice of the weekend but was unharmed and went on to lap quicker than any of his rivals, with Van der Mark and De Angelis also crashing in the session.

Saturday at the PATA UK Round will see the SP1 take place at 11am local time, SP2 at 11.25pm and Race 1 at 3pm.

#UKWorldSBK Fastest on Friday:

1. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team 1.27.740

2. Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.122

3. Leon Haslam Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +0.399

Positive Opening Day For Rea And Sykes

The first day of the Donington Park FIM Superbike World Championship weekend was blessed with glorious sunshine, and the official Ninja ZX-10RR duo of Jonathan Rea (KRT) and Tom Sykes (KRT) made the most of it to push themselves into first and second positions respectively.

In unseasonably hot weather conditions Jonathan Rea ended up being the fastest WorldSBK rider after the first two practice periods at Donington Park, with only his team-mate Tom Sykes getting close to him on what was a good day for the Kawasaki entrants in general.

Rea and Sykes had also been 1-2 in the morning qualifying sessions, showing strong early pace on a circuit which has been resurfaced in some areas compared to last year.

Tom was just 0.122 seconds from taking top spot himself today but Rea’s 1’27.740 lap time - already close to the existing race lap record – was enough to make sure of his overnight lead, despite also experiencing a slow speed fall at one stage today.

Wildcard rider for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, Leon Haslam, was third quickest, continuing the overall positive start of the Ninja ZX-10RR.

Now the top ten riders from Friday will automatically enter into Superpole 2, with the two fastest riders from Superpole 1 then joining them to determine the final race one qualifying positions on the first four rows of the grid.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “This afternoon we set off with the intention of doing a long run. We did a race simulation which as OK and we have a lot of good information now for the first race tomorrow. I think we will put our heads together tonight and try to improve in some areas. In the first sector I feel really consistent, in the last sector I feel quite good on the brakes if I needed to make passes and even in the chicane, which was quite a tough area for me last year, this is the best have felt. It is just sector two where I need to improve a little bit.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I am definitely feeling a lot better physically than I have been recently and I am enjoying riding round Donington Park in the sunshine. It is definitely warm enough. We just need to dial in a couple of things for tomorrow but overall the base is there and things are working well. We have a similar bike set-up at Donington to what we have been running this year. I am just trying to make a couple of steps for race one tomorrow. Plan A is the same as always, go out and try to win both races.”

Melandri and Davies respectively in fourth and fifth position in the opening day at Donington

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team took it back to the track at Donington (U.K.), home of the sixth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. In particularly warm weather conditions compared to the usual British weather – with air temperatures around 25 degrees and tarmac temperatures over 40 degrees – Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies fought constantly within the top five during the first two free-practice sessions, both qualifying directly into Superpole 2.

Third in FP1 on a track where he has won twice in WorldSBK, Melandri closed the opening day in fourth position in the combined rankings, 0.413 seconds behind the provisional best time of 1:27.740. Davies, fourth in the morning, took two tenths of a second off in FP2 to post the fifth time overall, only 0.013 seconds behind his teammate.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action Saturday at 09:05 (CET -1) for the third and last free-practice session ahead of Superpole and Race 1, which is scheduled to start at 15:00 (local time).

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 1:28.153 (4th)

“It’s been a positive day for us. We started off on the right foot, and the Panigale R worked well right away this morning. In the afternoon, we tried some changes to our setup, some of which worked while others didn’t. We need to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, because it’s hard to be at 100 percent both in the fast and slow sectors of the track. Also, the track is quite bumpy despite the resurfacing. It’ll be a tough race, with many fast riders and possibly erratic weather. We have to be ready.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:28.166 (5th)

“It wasn’t a bad day, we’re not too far away and we just need to work on stability to improve my feeling with the package and be able to choose slightly different lines. The resurfaced areas are better, but the problem is that there are quite big bumps where the joins are. We need to tidy up a bit here and there to be more consistent. We’re working to improve the overall chassis balance and some electronics stuff as well. Also, we’ll use a much fresher engine tomorrow so that should give us a couple of tenths too.”

Pata Yamaha Make Promising Start in the Sun at Donington

Free practice

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team got off to an encouraging start on Friday at Donington Park, round six of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Blue skies and glorious sunshine were the order of the day as home hero Alex Lowes and teammate Michael van der Mark both secured their progress into SP2, setting the sixth and seventh best lap times respectively.

Lowes started consistently in the morning session, progressively improving and working on his R1’s setup to end FP1 in ninth with a 1:28.876, 1.048s behind the leader. The British rider lives 10 miles away from the Donington Park circuit, and relishing the chance to ride in front of his fans, improved his time in FP2 almost immediately. The 26-year-old had a small off at turn 10, but re-joined and improved by half a second to set a 1:28.374, securing sixth on the combined timesheets and finishing 0.634s off the pace of the leader.

In the morning van der Mark ended FP1 in fifth position, just 0.576s from the front, despite two small crashes during the session. As track temperatures soared above 50°C in the afternoon and with progress to SP2 all but secure, the Dutch rider focused on bike setup and race pace in FP2. The 23-year-old made changes to his setup for the start of the session, but decided to switch back to his settings from FP1 and started to find his usual consistency, ending the day in seventh with a 1:28.404, just 0.030s behind his teammate.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action on Saturday at 9:05am GMT for FP3, with qualifying beginning at 11am and the 23-lap race at 15:00pm.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

“Today was a bit of a mixed day. Unfortunately, we are still behind the leaders, so we need to do something tonight to try to close the gap. I had decent pace on old tyres, my lap times didn't drop off too much, but we need to make a small step to get the result I want at my home race. I had a small crash at the Melbourne loop, as the last sector is a part of the track I am struggling with at the minute, and I was just in a little bit hot on the brakes. I was trying to work out whether I was losing time on the brakes or on corner exit. Clearly, I found the limit on the brakes, so we have to work on our corner exit tomorrow! I will try my best and the team are doing a great job. It is fantastic to be riding in front of the British fans! There were loads of people out there today, we had great weather and it’s been a nice start. We should make a small step tomorrow so I hope I can fight for the podium.”

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

“I have mixed feelings after today. This morning we started off really well, and then we had a small crash. After that, I was going faster and faster in FP1 and then in the last few minutes I had quite a big crash at the Fogarty Esses. We knew what we had to change on the bike for FP2, but when I went out, it just didn't feel right. Therefore, towards the end of the session we changed back to the settings we had this morning. I was losing a lot of time in the last two sectors, if we can make up the time there, we will be much closer to the front. Our pace is quite good, and I am sure we can find something for tomorrow and we will be strong. Today’s weather was awesome, and I hope it will be good tomorrow as it is such a beautiful track to ride!”

Paul Denning

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal

“A solid first day here at Donington in this end of May heatwave, track temperatures in FP2 were like nothing we expected, but a pleasant surprise none the less. Everyone has worked hard today, Alex and Michael very much included, but it has been a little tougher than we expected to get closer to the podium pace. We managed to improve a little bit towards the end of FP2, but there is definitely room for improvement in the bike for both riders, so it looks positive going into Saturday. A big factor tomorrow could be the forecasted thunderstorms, so it could be an exciting and unpredictable day. Let’s hope we can take advantage and achieve the best possible result at the team’s home race.”

Milwaukee Aprilia begin home round with Superpole 2 start

Donington Park 26 / 05 / 2017

Milwaukee Aprilia continued their 100% record for Superpole 2 starts this year in Free Practice at Donington Park on Friday.

After a difficult weekend in Round 5 at Imola, the team have brought a number of updates to the Donington Park circuit for Round 6 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship.

Riders Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty, finishing the day a combined P8 and P12 respectively, responded positively to the updates but emphasised that they still have work to do ahead of Race 1 on Saturday.

Lorenzo reached Superpole 2 with a combined time of 1'28.621, with team mate Eugene required to take part in Superpole 1 after a combined time of 1'28.896.

The team now head into Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning, ahead of Superpole and Race 1.

Lorenzo Savadori #32

FP1: P7, 1'28.261 FP2: P10, 1'28.805

Combined time: P8, 1'28.621

Free Practice was not so bad today. It was important for us to get straight into Superpole 2 and I was quite happy with the pace in the sessions.

We need to keep working hard, because we had some problems when the temperature rose. Aprilia have brought some new parts which have worked well, and we have some good data from them.

FP3 will be really important for us to get the bike correct for the race and the weather may also change, so we still have some work to do.

Eugene Laverty #50

FP1: P10, 1'28.896 FP2: P13, 1'28.971

Combined time: P12, 1'28.896

It was a pretty difficult day if I’m honest. In the morning practice the bike felt good and I really thought we’d make some forward steps, but the changes we tried for the afternoon didn’t work.

There were a few issues I had, mainly corner entry, but we know how to fix that so it shouldn’t cause further problems. The new parts we tried I feel are a good step in the right direction, and I hope we can get more from them this weekend.

It’s a shame we have to do Superpole 1 tomorrow, but we’ll rally tonight and make sure we are in the best position we can be for Race 1.

Bradl looking for improvements after day one at Donington Park

UK Round

Donington Park, United Kingdom

The opening day of the UK Round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has come to a close, with the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team on track for Friday’s traditional two free practice sessions at Donington Park. Stefan Bradl, who turned a wheel at this track today for the first time in eight years, is 17th in the combined times of the two hours of practice and, therefore, will take part in tomorrow’s Superpole 1. On the other side of the garage, Nicky Hayden’s Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine was on full display, with his #69 helmet on top of the fuel tank.

With gorgeous weather blessing England’s East Midlands area, Bradl took his time to find his braking marks and riding line around the undulating strip of asphalt of the spectacular 4.023km track, which is known for requiring a lot of work in search of a good set-up for all sectors. The 27-year-old German rider was able to improve on his FP1 time towards the end of the second session by logging a 1’29.400secs lap.

World Superbike action at Donington Park will resume tomorrow morning at 9:05 local time (GMT +1) for the 25-minute FP3 session, with Superpole 1 (11:00) and race one (15:00) to follow. At 2pm, the whole paddock and many fans will gather together on the grid for a minute’s silence in honour of Nicky Hayden.

Stefan Bradl 6


It hasn’t been an easy day, because we haven’t yet quite found the right feeling with the bike. This track requires a very good throttle response and smooth power delivery, so these are the areas we need to work on the most. I hope the weather won’t change, so that we can make the most of tomorrow morning’s FP3 and Superpole 1 to continue working on the bike set-up ahead of race one.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Pieter Breddels

Stefan had a decent start to the day and was around the top-10 in the first half of FP1, but from then on we were not able to improve as much we thought in the rest of the session and the afternoon one. Donington is a track that requires a very unique set-up being a circuit of two very different halves, so now we are analysing the data to come up with some adjustments to be made on the bike for tomorrow.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Tricky first day for Althea BMW in the UK

Castle Donington (UK), Friday 26 May 2017

The Althea BMW Racing team is at the Donington Park track for the sixth round of the 2017 Superbike World Championship and round four of the Superstock 1000 series.

SBK: In the first session of timed practice, Jordi Torres closed 11th (1’29.170), while Raffaele was further back in 19th place (1’29.953). In the afternoon session, and in hotter conditions, both riders were able to lower their times, despite Raffaelle suffering a crash, with no physical consequences, in the final stages. Torres ended the day in 15th place with a fastest time of 1’29.067, followed by team-mate De Rosa, 16th with a best time of 1’29.288.

STK1000: On track this morning for the opening practice, Marco Faccani set a best time of 1’31.330, to position fifth at the end of the session. Back on track for the second free practice in the afternoon, the Italian rider almost immediately improve on his morning’s times, positioning second until just a few minutes before the end. Thanks to a fastest lap completed in 1’30.741, Marco closed day one in fifth position.

Jordi Torres

“This track is a tough one for us, both in terms of acceleration and the changes of direction. This morning didn’t go badly though we believed we’d be able to improve in the afternoon. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and I suffered some bike vibration. We tried to resolve this by making a number of changes but the problem persisted and I don’t feel confident on corner entry as a result. So we couldn’t really focus on lap times but I hope to be able to do better in Superpole 1 tomorrow in order to progress onto Superpole 2.”

Raffaele De Rosa

"This afternoon we improved a little on our lap time though we’re all quite closely bunched together. The result was not great but I’m feeling a bit better on the bike. The team has worked hard to adapt the bike to me and my riding style, trying to help me as much as possible which is great but I’d like to repay them by doing as well as possible and improving on my performance.”

Marco Faccani

"It hasn’t gone too badly today and I’m quite pleased with the work we’ve completed. We took a small step today in adapting my riding position, which led to a small improvement on track. With the used tyre, I’m feeling confident but we’ll continue to work with the new tyre in tomorrow’s sessions. I'm feeling fairly positive...”

WorldSSP: Sharp Jacobsen rivals at Donington

Sunny British skies see's hot pace from WorldSSP riders

Leading the way on Friday at the PATA UK Round was American rider PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who registered a 1’30.968 lap in FP2 to put him ahead of the rest of the field, his closest challenger being Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).

Sofuoglu trailed Jacobsen by just a +0.114s margin, whilst in third place on the timesheet Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was the fastest British rider on track in the WorldSSP category.

Two Frenchmen Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) completed the top five. Mahias is the championship leader after five races and he is looking for a fifth podium result of the year this weekend.

Just over half a second off Jacobsen’s P1 pace Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) was sixth fastest, ahead of Briton Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) in seventh.

Friday’s action at Donington Park concluded with Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Irishman Jack Kennedy (Profile Racing) all in the top ten.

A red flag came out to interrupt the session briefly after a crash for Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had left debris on track. The diligent marshals quickly cleaned the track following the incident and the action was soon back underway.

Earlier in the day in FP1 Sofuoglu topped the timesheet with a 1'31.193 lap time, ahead of Jacobsen (+0.244s) and Mahias (+0.258s).

On Saturday at the PATA UK Round the WorldSSP riders will participate in their FP3 session at 9.45am local time, before SP1 at 12 midday and SP2 at 12.25pm.

Cluzel finds the pace in Free Practice 2

Posted on 26th May 2017

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Jules Cluzel found the pace in this afternoon’s World Supersport Free Practice 2 at a sun soaked Donington Park. After being slightly off the pace in the morning session Jules found a really good rhythm and improved his lap time by half a second in the afternoon to finish the day in 5th position. He said: “I am really happy because we found the pace. I was really strong in the last exit and I feel a lot more comfortable. I feel like I can just go faster. There was a lot of traffic at the end and I tried to find a way be alone but it was not possible. Then I saw Kenan and I tried to see what he was doing better than me but I was quicker than him. He made a mistake and just blocked me so I did another lap and I did 31.4. I just feel like I can go a lot quicker so I am happy.”

Joining him in Superpole 2 tomorrow is Hikari Okubo who also upped his pace in the second session, getting into the 31s and is placed just below Jules in 6th position on the timesheet.

Donington Park first-timers Robin Mulhauser and Hiromichi Kunikawa concluded the first day of practice in 26th and 32nd respectively. Robin is struggling to get to grips with the circuit and he will examine the data with his crew to see where he can improve for FP3 and qualifying tomorrow. Hiromichi improved his lap time in good steps in each session and by the end of the day was lapping almost 1.5s faster.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “It was a really good day for Jules and Hikari. Jules found a good rhythm and was doing 31s consistently. It was good for Hikari to get a tow from Jules, a great example of teamwork for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda. We were a little bit off in FP1 but now we are right on the pace. We might be able to find a little bit to improve in FP3 tomorrow to look for a front row in qualifying.”

“Robin was still struggling. It’s hard to see why now we have two riders on the pace. We will compare the data to see where he is losing and where he is gaining.”

“Hiromichi is closing the gap on the pack in front of him. It’s his first time here and he is doing a good job.”

“Overall it’s been a good day for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda.”

Determined Start in Donington for Mahias and Caricasulo

Free practice

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team riders Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo made a determined start to the UK round of the 2017 Supersport World Championship today in sweltering sunshine at the Donington Park circuit. Mahias completed the day in fourth in the combined times, with Caricasulo in 12th.

Championship leader Mahias was quick to find his pace in the first morning practice, working through some set up changes on the flowing Donington circuit to finish in third, just 0.258s from top. The afternoon saw track temperatures rise even further, in a session interrupted with a red flag at the halfway point. Mahias remained consistent, continuing his form from the morning to finish in fourth on the overall times with a 1’31.451 best lap.

Teammate Caricasulo was unfortunate to experience another challenging first day of practice to kick off his race weekend. The young Italian managed only limited laps in the morning but was back on track for the hot afternoon practice, making up for lost time to make a step from his morning time of 1’33.755. He completed the day in 12th with a 1’31.880.

The combined times mean Mahias will go straight to Superpole 2 at 12:25pm GMT tomorrow, with Caricasulo starting his challenge for grid position slightly earlier in Superpole 1 at midday.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team

“It was a very good day and great weather here at Donington. It’s almost like a new track to me, I have only ridden it once before in 2015, but then I only did 20 laps. Therefore, this morning was tricky as I got used to the track, but after five laps I came back to the box and I was third. That was nice. I have been working a lot with the team to improve the bike, especially for the race. This afternoon I focused on a long run to work on my race pace and my rhythm was very good. I am very happy as the R6 is very good and I am confident for tomorrow.”

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do much in the morning due to the technical issue. In the afternoon, the team worked very well to set up the bike, but after missing most of FP1 it was impossible to break into the top ten. I am confident tomorrow that we can make progress and I hope to improve my lap time. The aim is to get through into SP2 and then see what we can do.”

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

“I am very happy, because today has worked out very well. Federico did a great job and was so close to getting through to SP2, but got held up in the last corner by a slower rider. Lucas was once again very consistent and everything went to plan. This morning his aim was to finish in the top three and in the afternoon focus on race pace and long runs. He stuck to this plan perfectly, and we are very happy with his fastest lap time, but also his consistency. He is always very happy, because he has a great feeling with the R6, and we managed to make a few small adjustments this morning to make it even better. Tomorrow I think Lucas is in a very good position. Federico needs to get through SP1, but I don’t think this will be an issue, as he has very good pace and we will give it our best.”

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