2018 Donington World Superbike Race Two Result: A Tale Of Two Tyres

World Superbike race two started under a threat of rain, with teams practicing pit-lane tyre changes. Gino Rea had to start from the back of the grid after he had to pit in before the sighting lap. 

With the reverse grid putting Michael van der Mark, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes on the third row, Alex Lowes headed the Aprilias of Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty under the lights. As the lights went out, Savadori and Laverty passed Lowes into the first corner, but as everyone tried to improve their places in the first few corners, lots of places were swapped. Leon Haslam slotted in behind Savadori with Alex Lowes behind him while Loris Baz pushed Laverty to fifth. The places settled and the bikes strung out and, as the field got to the twisty tight section of the track, with its chicane and two hairpins leading to the short start/finish straight, Alex Lowes took second place into the Fogarty Esses and, on the second lap, he took the lead as everyone jockeyed for position as they hit the Esses for the second time. Local hero Leon Haslam overcooked the Melbourne Loop hairpin and crashed out of second place and Tom Sykes passed Jonathan Rea under a yellow flag for fifth place.

At the start of lap three, Alex Lowes led Lorenzo Savadori and Michael van der Mark in the leading group of three bikes, with Loris Baz in fourth, ahead of the all-Kawasaki battle of Tom Sykes, Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu. Rea tried to pass Sykes round the outside of the Craner Curves, but Sykes held his nerve and his place. Marco Melandri caught the battling Kawasakis but a mistake at the Melbourne loop meant he had to watch them charge out of range. 

Alex Lowes set the fastest lap on lap three and had a healthy gap from Lorenzo Savadori, but his Yamaha teammate Michael van der Mark, winner yesterday, passed Savadori on the Craner Curves and the Yahamas had a 1-2 on the new fat tyre.

Yesterday, Lowes, van der Mark and Savadori were the only riders to use the Pirelli SC0 W1002 development tyre, but today several riders changed to the profile that won yesterday's race and filled three of the top five places. Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam, Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Marco Melandri, and others further back on the grid all changed to this chubbier rubber. Yesterday, Motomatters spoke to Honda World Superbike's tyre technician to better understand the development tyre, and learned that the bigger tyre requires several changes to the bike, including changing the ride height and, surprisingly tyre warmers. The cost of getting slightly longer warmers and changing their software is made up for with improved corner grip on short tracks like Donington where a bike spends a lot of its time changing direction a lot. (pic)

On lap eight, and the "C" development tyre, Jonathan Rea took third place from Lorenzo Savadori at the esses, and a lap later set the fastest lap of the race closing down the Yamahas at the lead. Toprak Razgatlioglu then started harassing Savadori; the top five were now all on the rear development tyre.

On lap ten, as Rea closed the gap to van der Mark, Rea hit the kerb and his foot fell off the left peg at the Old Hairpin, but it didn't slow him down. Further back, Razgatlioglu took fourth from Savadori at the Melbourne Loop hairpin, but he handed it straight back going wide at Goddards, heading to the start/finish straight. 

And then the rain turned up.

Limited adhesion flags came out in the second sector, the third of the track before the Esses, but nobody slowed down. Razgatlioglu was glued to the back of Savadori as the leading three built a gap of two seconds from the Aprilia, but they would soon start fighting amongst themselves. Michael van der Mark missed his braking and went wide at the Melbourne Loop, giving Rea the opportunity to take second place and scrap with Alex Lowes. 

Three hectic laps later, Michael van der Mark received the SMOOTH message on his put board once again. Jonathan Rea on turn one of lap fifteen took the lead from Alex Lowes, but Lowes took it right back and the race continued. 

The rain had abated.

On lap seventeen of twenty three, Jonathan Rea stuffed it under Alex Lowes's Yamaha at the Melbourne Loop, and Lowes fought right back, getting the lead back on the exit. Rea tried again into Goddards hairpin, and he held the lead across the line. Michael van der Mark took second place from Lowes at the start of lap eighteen, and at the end of the lap, he took the lead from Jonathan Rea at the Melbourne Loop, followed by Alex Lowes pushing Rea to third. Rea took second place back at Goddards, but the leading three were joined by a very quick Toprak Razgatlioglu. 

Michael van der Mark, Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes and Toprak Razgatlioglu. One of them wouldn't be on the podium, and on lap twenty, Razgatlioglu passed Lowes at the Old Hairpin. Lowes immediately looked behind and it was clear that he was at his limit and would not be able to fight back.

Jonathan Rea was no longer hounding van der Mark, and the Yamaha rider set his fastest lap of the race, leaving Rea and Razgatlioglu to fight it out for second place. On the last lap, Razgatlioglu made a hard clean move at the Craner Curves to take second from Rea, but van der Mark was two seconds ahead, obeying his crew's smooth order. 

Michael van der Mark won his second race in two days, in spite of the reverse grid, and joined the pantheon of double-race winners, and, a day on from the first Dutch win, Turkey had their first World Superbike podium with Toprak Razgatlioglu silencing the doubters convincingly in second place. Jonathan Rea in third still managed to extend his title lead, with Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes finishing behind fourth-placed Alex Lowes. 


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1  
2 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2.328
3 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2.614
4 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 2.894
5 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 4.797
6 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 8.224
7 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 9.169
8 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 18.488
9 81 J. TORRES MV Agusta 1000 F4 19.964
10 76 L. BAZ BMW S 1000 RR 20.207
11 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 23.803
12 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 28.845
13 45 J. GAGNE Honda CBR1000RR 29.741
14 41 L. MOSSEY Kawasaki ZX-10RR 31.156
15 28 B. RAY Suzuki GSX-R1000 33.321
16 99 P. JACOBSEN Honda CBR1000RR 34.175
17 37 O. JEZEK Yamaha YZF R1 47.350
18 94 N. CANEPA Yamaha YZF R1 47.701
19 44 G. REA Suzuki GSX-R1000 57.365
RET 55 M. LAW Kawasaki ZX-10RR 16 Laps 
RET 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 18 Laps
RET 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 14 Laps
RET 12 X. FORES Ducati Panigale R 13 Laps
RET 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 8 Laps
RET 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale R  
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Great job from Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes & the Pata Yamaha team. Didn't expect Toprak to be the first Kawasaki. British talent cup on next, go Rory Skinner !

... with an unexpected outcome. I'm also reminded how Donington is easily one of the greatest tracks in roadracing. It flows so well, and has those heart-stopping fast, flowing sections so many modern tracks seem to lack. A couple of musings...


- Aprilia really ought to have a proper factory team in WSBK, it's painful to watch the RSV4's fade from contention in seemingly every single race.

- The Ducatis suffered one their worst weekends I can recall in recent years, the V4 can't come soon enough.

- Curious to see confirmation of the gains the R1 has made during the upcoming rounds.

- Seems the series already has a Turkish rider to pick up the torch from Sofuoglu, only now is SBK insterad of WSS.

- Who else would love to see a Suzuki out there???

Yes I agree Donington is one of my faves, even more so  now after spending the weekend.

Aprilia, yes so much racing history but they seem to have lost their way, in SBK & Motogp. Sad init.

Ducati had a shocker of a weekend. I had hoped for better results from 2 factory bikes & Barni racing.

Sure I would love to see Suzuki doing the business in wsbk. They do well in plenty of national series.

shame I was unaware of your attendance, was there Saturday setting up ticket collections for some customers, would’ve been good to meet.

Yes, Donington was looking bonny, especially the grass cutting (beautiful patterns!). As most know I’m a circuit fan, did go to quite a few GP’s there but generally just did practice days and went abroad instead; despite living 45 minutes away.

Donington never kept up with the increasing customer sophistication: paying more for good grandstands & screens, toilets & campsites that weren’t like bombsites (and Cadwell’s Old tin huts...🤢). The penny dropped years ago when you see how Sachsenring, Silverstone and others do it-build grandstands for the big events, tear them down afterwards. The Goddards & Startline stands are pretty poor but now-at last-they’re starting to get on board with the one round Redgate, not difficult!

Yes, the track is iconic, you’re very close for what was/is a GP circuit and you can freely walk around the place. That’s becoming a rare pleasure on a Saturday for me now. Tricky at Sachsenring and impossible at Misano and my trips this year, Aragón & Sepang. Despite Doningtons’ efforts it seems Silverstone has put their money down for now. Don’t have an issue with the place, it is unique in its own way but unless you pick your seating very carefully you can’t get atmosphere. Top few rows at Becketts is good as you get a screen, a view over into the  village complex and broad views from the top of Copse and down the Hangar straight. 

Ironic now that despite all the good work in the paddock, it’s not now considered big enough! There is the old (old) circuit part where the bikes park, build a tunnel there to take it under the industrial units inside the paddock and it should be in contention. Say what you like about MSV-R (don’t get me started..) but they do know how to improve the customer experience and they’re doing it at DP. It depends whether they see a financial benefit to continue to invest to bring it up to spec.

Lets have two GPs, the Spanish, Catalans, Valencians etc cant fill their stands anymore, time for them to go down to 2/3 on a rolling tender. Get Donington sorted-not as it used to be-baffling and disgusting the foreign fans in equal measure-and you’d certainly get a crowd in.




Jared, the attendance at Donington looked dire, and I've noticed this at a number of other WSBK rounds over recent years. Donington however has been especially bad, particularly when BSB seems to get double the attendance at the same circuit.

What's happening at Dony and what's going on in the sport? I think its taken a dive since the retirement of Biaggi / Checa, but possibly sliding since before that? I remember the WSBK rounds at Silverstone in 2010 and 2011 were very well attended, and there was similarly big UK interest then too. By 2012 (wet day admittedly) it had plummetted, and never seemed to recover, despite moving to Dony.

... but our reasons for not attending the WSBK races at Donny this year basically boil down to: being spoiled with great racing in BSB at multiple locations for a small prices and being somewhat bored by the predictability of Kawasaki/Rea dominating in WSBK. This is not to take anything away from the riders giving their all on track in WSBK and clearly this weekend's racing showed that upsets are still very much possible, but when deciding in advance which rounds to attend in a year and having limited funds, BSB right now simply wins out by a landslide as the better value for money. Others might have other/better reasons, but I suspect I might not be the only one with that line of argument.

Good to hear from you again Funsize. I have a new phone & it's taking a while to get my head around it. I'm in Leicester, going to the speedway tonight. Would like to catch up if you feel like it. Have a few days before I fly out of Liverpool. Email is stevereddy86@gmail.com