The World Superbike weekend attracted 37,039 fans, continuing the year-on-year increases in attendance, and the last race of the weekend didn't disappoint.
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The World Supersport race lasted four laps of a warm Donington Park until the red flag was brought out for a crashing Xavier Cardelus Garcia. The oil was cleaned up and the restart was thirteen laps after the now-familiar quick start procedure. PJ Jacobsen would be unable to make the restart, suffering from mechanical woes, leaving his place on the grid empty.
World Superbike was twenty three laps of a rapidly cooling Donington Park, held after a minute's silence for Nicky Hayden where press and fans took to the grid to pay their respects.
Superpole one Took place at a windy but warm Donington Park, with Luke Stapleford and Federico Caricasulo in the top spots of the twenty four riders vying for promotion to Superpole two.
After the morning's rain, the sun came out for Superpole one. Roman Ramos and Eugene Laverty were favourites to advance to Sueprpole two, but with Xavi Fores behind them, nothing was certain.
Kenan Sofuoglu led Lucas Mahias at the end of the wet untimed session with Kyle Smith over half a second behind in third place. Australian wet weather specialist Ant West led early on, but once the championship contenders started finding a bit of grip, he could only manage seventh quickest.
The morning's untimed session lasted about three minutes before it started raining. Jonathan Rea got in one quick lap ahead of Tom Sykes before the pace dropped by over fifteen seconds as the conditions worsened. In the rain, Rea was still quickest, with Marco Melandri, Tom Sykes, Chaz Davies, Eugene Laverty and Leon Camier all within a few seconds.
Further rain seems likely all day.
PJ Jacobsen heads to Superpole with in the provisional pole position with the first 1'30 lap of the weekend. Kenan Sofuoglu, having set the fastest lap of the session six times before Jacobsen took it off him, was second quickest ahead of Gino Rea who put on a convincing show at his home round. Jules Cluzel was fourth quickest, but Lucas Mahias, fifth quickest, was promoted to fourth by his morning's time.
A red flag in the middle of the session, for a crash by Zulfahmi Khairuddin, didn't cause too much of an interruption, halting proceedings by only twelve minutes.
Jonathan Rea headed an all-Kawasaki provisional front row, ahead of Tom Sykes and Donington specialist Leon Haslam. Chaz Davies was fourth quickest in the session, but Marco Melandri, unable to improve on his morning's time, set a quicker time in Free Practice one and remains above his Ducati teammate. Alex Lowes, in spite of a crash at the Melbourne Loop hairpin, was sixth quickest. Roman Ramos and Eugene Laverty just missed out on Superpole Two, ending the day eleventh and twelfth quickest overall.
Almost a quarter of a second quicker than second-quickest PJ Jacobsen, reigning World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu opened the weeekend quickest. Championship leader Lucas Mahias was third quickest, ahead of Kyle Smith and wildcard Joe Francis.
A very sunny opening session ended with Jonathan Rea leading his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes even though Sykes was quickest throughout most of the session. Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies were right behind their rivals with Michael van der Mark in fifth, in spite of a late crash. Wildcard Leon Haslam, current leader in the British Superbike championship, ended the session sixth quickest.
The World Supersport restarted race would be eleven laps and Federico Caricasulo would start from fourth place on the grid, albeit with a ride through penalty still hanging around his neck.
As is customary this weekend, the start of this race was delayed, this time by a red flag caused by Ayrton Badovini's engine exploding into a sheep's worth of cloud on the second lap. The restart took longer than usual as the track was made safe, but eventually an eighteen lap race was started.
World Supersport’s race was delayed initially for a bike that returned to the pits smoking. Safety dictated that the track was checked for oil. After it was cleared, the race was started with sixteen laps intended, down one from the original seventeen, but that was red flagged after two laps due to a Robbie Rolfo crash. The restart lasted four laps before Robbie Rolfo crashed again, joined by Kazuki Watanabe and Marco Malone this time, bringing out red flags again. World Supersport will resume after World Superbike has completed and everyone’s had enough time to figure out the rules. The restart will be 14:20 local time.
Starting on time, World Supersport qualifying opened with Gino Rea and Robbie Rolfo as favourites to qualify for Superpole two.