Barcelona (Spain), Wednesday 21 May 2014 - Donington Park will host Round 5 of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend. This will be the 22nd time the Superbikes will hit the Leicestershire track, the first of which dates back to April 3rd 1988, when it all started. The first ever event in the history of the series saw local rider Roger Burnett (Honda) taking pole position, while the two races were won by Italians Davide Tardozzi (Bimota) and Marco Lucchinelli (Ducati).
The current layout of Donington Park features a fast, flowing first half of the track and a heavy braking, stop-and-go second one, which make it difficult for teams and riders to find a good overall setup for their bikes.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was the absolute master of last year’s event by winning the Tissot-Superpole and both races in dominant fashion in front of his home crowd, as well as setting a new lap record and a best lap for the track. Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz made his WSBK debut at Donington Park two years ago, when he replaced the injured Joan Lascorz.
At the moment Sykes and Baz lie second and fourth in the standings, respectively, behind new leader Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike). The Ulsterman is hoping to keep his winning streak alive, as he stood atop the podium in the last three encounters. Rea has already been victorious at Donington Park (2012, Race 2), at the end of one of the most incredible and unpredictable races of all times. Local rider Leon Haslam from Derby is hoping to step up his game after the good progress made in the one day, post-race official test at Imola last week.
Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri have enjoyed good results at Donington Park in recent years, with the Frenchman twice on the podium in 2013 and the Italian rider able to score two wins (2011 and 2012, Race 1) and two second places (2011 Race 2, 2013 Race 1).
There have been no top 3 finishes so far at Donington Park in WSBK for the Ducati Superbike Team duo Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, as the best result was a fourth place claimed by the Italian rider last year, in Race 2. Davies, on the other hand, was edged out by Luca Scassa for the win in the World Supersport race in 2011.
The whole Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Team is looking forward to their home round, with Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes aiming to get back on podium form after a difficult round at Imola. The only podium finish for Laverty at Donington Park came last year in Race 2, as the Irishman on an Aprilia was third behind Sykes and Guintoli. Lowes dominated last year’s BSB round by edging out his main rival for the title Shane Byrne in both races. Back in 2008, the 23 year old from Lincoln scored his first podium finish at international level here by crossing the line second in the STK600 encounter.
MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport and Team Hero EBR will continue their learning curve within the Superbike World Championship at Donington Park.
Leon Camier is looking forward to his home round, which he will contest aboard the EVO-spec BMW S1000RR of the BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team, once again as substitute rider for the injured Sylvain Barrier. The battle for supremacy in the EVO class will see David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Team Ducati), like the rest of the field, aiming again for top honours in the new category.
Standings (Round 4 of 13): 1. Rea 139; 2. Sykes 135; 3. Guintoli 123; 4. Baz 119; 5. Davies 87; 6. Melandri 84; 7. Giugliano 69; 8. Laverty 62; 9. Haslam 58; 10. Lowes 50; 11. Elias 50; 12. Salom 34; 13. Canepa 28; 14. Camier 20; 15. Scassa 16; 16. Foret 10; 17. Morais 10; 18. Guarnoni 7; 19. Allerton 6; 20. Bos 5; 21. Corti 5; 22. Fabrizio 2; 23. Andreozzi 1. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 143; 2. Honda 139; 3. Aprilia 133; 4. Ducati 113; 5. Suzuki 92; 6. BMW 26; 7. MV Agusta 5.
The Supersport World Championship enters the fifth round of the season with two riders tied atop of the standings with 65 points, the new leader Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki). Van der Mark, who is heading the WSS title race for the first time, was second at the flag in the last encounter at Imola behind teammate Lorenzo Zanetti.
The Italian rider, thanks to his maiden victory in the series, elevated himself to third place in the Championship ahead of Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha), who left Italy with no points under his belt, Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport), Raffaele De Rosa (CIA Insurance Honda) and Roberto Rolfo (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki).
Rolfo scored his best result of the season last time out at Imola, a fifth place, while last year he claimed a historical third place at Donington Park for MV Agusta, their first at international level since 1976.
Three time Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) has a lot of ground to make up after the third DNF of the year he had at Imola a fortnight ago. The Turk currently sits ninth in the standings 40 points behind the leader.
20 year old British rider Sam Hornsey from Bucknell, Shropshire, will wildcard at the UK Round aboard the Triumph Daytona 675 of the ANVIL Hire TAG Racing.
Standings (Round 4 of 12): 1. Vd Mark 65; 2. Marino 65; 3. Zanetti 49; 4. Coghlan 44; 5. Cluzel 42; 6. De Rosa 38; 7.Rolfo 30; 8. Tamburini 29; 9. Sofuoglu 25; 10. Wahr 23; 11. Jacobsen 22; 12. Menghi 19; 13. Russo 18; 14. Bussolotti 16; 15. Gamarino 16; 16. Leonov 12; 17. Kennedy 10; 18. Gowland 9; 19. Wilairot 9; 20. Nocco 6; 21. Coveña 6; 22. Schmitter 3; 23. Calero 3; 24. Rogers 1. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 86; 2. Kawasaki 74; 3. Yamaha 54; 4. MV Agusta 50; 5. Triumph 9.
European Junior Cup
Spaniard Augusto Fernandez (WIL Sport) heads to Donington Park as the points leader in the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda, after winning his second race in a row at Imola two Sundays ago. Fernandez has an 11 point advantage over compatriot Marc Miralles (Construccions J.Miralles) and 15 on another Spanish rider, Javier Orellana (Europ Food SL). This is the very first time that the one-make, entry-level series of WSBK races at Donington Park.
Standings (Round 3 of 8): 1. Fernandez 63; 2. Miralles 52; 3. Orellana 48; 4. Hubner 40; 5. Harland 27; 6. Grassia 27; 7. Perez 22; 8. Fernandez 21; 9. Soomer 20; 10. London 18; 11. Licciardi 14; 12. Brink 13; 13. Wisdom 13; 14. Van Sikkelerus 11; 15. Hill 8; 16. Gabellini 7; 17. Geissler 4; 18. Zhu 4; 19. Moreno 3; 20. Ortt 2; 21. Patterson 2; 22. Levy 1.