— Melandri announces title challenge with Donington win
The two riders who won races at Donington today, Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri, are the two who leave at the head of the championship chase, with Checa now on 91 points and Melandri on 72. Superpole winner Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) used his experience to change his rear tyre choice for race two and improve from a third place to be a clear winner, while Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) made two great recoveries from a third row start to post a win and a second place. Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) nearly won the first race, with the local fans having something to cheer about as Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) went third in race two, to make up for a hard first round in Australia that was badly affected by illness. 2010 World Champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) had his drama-laden weekend turn into a mini-crisis as he finished only seventh in race one, and was excluded from race two after jump starting and failing to come in for a ride-through penalty. In the overall championship third place belongs to Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) on 53 points after two fourths today, while Biaggi has 49 points in fourth overall.
New rider to WSBK racing Melandri took only three races to record his first win, finally overhauling long time leader Smrz to win by 2.455 seconds. The last podium place went to Checa after he passed local hero Haslam with two corners to go. Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) scored fifth and Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Aprilia) was sixth, one place up on the factory bike of Biaggi. A potentially great finish for Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike machine ended in a crash at the redesigned Esses section, but the home crowd were to have a podium star to cheer for in race two.
Marco Melandri: “It has been an awesome race for me, very tough and at the start many guys were very aggressive. I kept my rhythm and when I got on my own I caught Camier and some others then it took some time to get to Haslam. After that it was only a few laps to go and Kuba was pretty far ahead. I just kept the best pace I could and in the end Smrz’s pace was gone and I passed him. We missed a little bit of top speed but the package was very balanced, we won and I had a lot of fun.”
Jakub Smrz: “Of course I am disappointed to not win the race but it was really nice and I am back on the podium, which is important. The feeling all the race was very good and the bike was perfect, in the end my rear tyre was gone and I could not push any more. Marco passed me and I did not want to risk anything in the end.”
Carlos Checa: “I had some issues with the rear tyre grip at the beginning of the race, and I lost some positions, touched with other riders and it ended up as one of my most exciting races from the back to the front. Finally I arrived to Haslam after I had pushed to my maximum and I passed him when I had the opportunity. It was the last lap and I got third position.”
Checa controlled race two from the early laps and won by 3.397 seconds from race one victor Melandri. Camier was a contender for second for long periods, before Melandri upped the pace and left him behind. Another Leon, this time Haslam went fourth for the second time today, despite running off track at one point. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was a great fifth on the new ZX-10R machine, despite not yet being at full fitness. With Rea sixth for Honda and race one retiree Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) seventh in race two there were seven different manufacturers represented in the top seven places, proving how competitive the 2011 season is after only two rounds.
Carlos Checa: “It is a fantastic beginning to the season, especially this victory in Donington, which is something special. Basically we decided to put on a different tyre with better grip at the beginning, so now I was stable and had good grip. At the end the tyre dropped down a little but it was good enough. Everybody knows what happened here to me many years ago, when I lost something so now I’m quite satisfied to win at Donington!”
Marco Melandri: “It was a pretty good race for me. Leon was very fast, about 50% of the race I was coughing in my helmet and finding it hard to breathe so I lost my concentration. After that I recovered, I did my best and passed Leon again but Carlos was just too fast for me.”
Leon Camier: “I can’t believe it’s happened. I started the year with glandular fever, which got me down a bit after all the hard work over the winter and to come here and get a podium at my home race is absolutely awesome. In the first race we had a few problems with the settings, so we changed it for the second one and it seemed to work well. It was a good battle with Marco, he was very strong, but to get third place is great.”
|SBK Race 1||SBK Race 2||SBK Series Points|
|1 Marco Melandri|
2 Jakub Smrz 0’02.455
3 Carlos Checa 0’05.839
4 Leon Haslam 0’06.176
5 Jonathan Rea 0’09.215
6 Noriyuki Haga 0’09.215
7 Max Biaggi 0’09.960
8 Leon Camier ‘14.860
9 Troy Corser 0’14.877
10 Joan Lascorz 0’16.182
11 Sylvain Guintoli 0’25.820
12 Ruben Xaus 0’28.378
13 Ayrton Badovini 0’31.869
14 Roberto Rolfo 0’40.015
15 Mark Aitchison 1’00.128
|1 Carlos Checa|
2 Marco Melandri 0’03.397
3 Leon Camier 0’05.902
4 Leon Haslam 0’13.842
5 Joan Lascorz 0’14.253
6 Jonathan Rea 0’19.413
7 Michel Fabrizio 0’20.278
8 Jakub Smrz 0’21.160
9 Ayrton Badovini 0’24.298
10 Ruben Xaus 0’24.907
11 Sylvain Guintoli 0’32.440
12 Tom Sykes 0’32.679
13 Troy Corser 0’34.070
14 Eugene Laverty 0’36.418
15 Roberto Rolfo 0’44.037
|1. Carlos Checa Ducati ESP 91|
2. Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 72
3. Leon Haslam BMW GBR 53
4. Max Biaggi Aprilia ITA 49
5. Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 42
6. Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 38
7. Leon Camier Aprilia GBR 37
8. Michel Fabrizio Suzuki ITA 27
9. Noriyuki Haga Aprilia JPN 26
10. Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 19
11. Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ESP 17
12. Eugene Laverty Yamaha GBR 16
13. Troy Corser BMW AUS 16
14. Ruben Xaus Honda ESP 16
15. Ayrton Badovini BMW ITA 12
Yamaha ParkinGO riders Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies contested the win in the 22-lap Supersport race, with Davies 0.270 seconds down at the flag. Behind, Gino Rea took the final podium place for his Step Racing Honda team, as Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) went fourth and Kawasaki Motocard.com rider Broc Parkes secured fifth place. Broc’s team-mate David Salom went sixth and the leading Kawasaki interest in the championship extended to a trio when Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni) went seventh. Rookie Florian Mario (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was eighth, one place up on Roccoli’s team-mate Vittorio Iannuzzo. The top ten was rounded out by Swedish rider Alex Lundh (Cresto Guide Racing Team Honda).
|SS Race||SS Series Points|
|1 Luca Scassa Yamaha ITA 33’40.762|
2 Chaz Davies Yamaha GBR 0’00.270
3 Gino Rea Honda GBR 0’20.374
4 Robbin Harms Honda DNK 0’23.469
5 Broc Parkes Kawasaki AUS 0’24.872
6 David Salom Kawasaki ESP 0’32.001
7 Massimo Roccoli Kawasaki ITA 0’42.128
8 Florian Marino Honda FRA 0’43.826
9 Vittorio Iannuzzo Kawasaki ITA 0’52.936
10 Alexander Lundh Honda SWE 0’55.956
11 Miguel Praia Honda POR 1’00.717
12 Roberto Tamburini Yamaha ITA 1’01.807
13 Ondrej Jezek Honda CZE 1’06.106
14 Balazs Nemeth Honda HUN 1’08.528
15 Marko Jerman Honda SVK 1’32.599
|1. Luca Scassa Yamaha ITA 50|
2. Broc Parkes Kawasaki AUS 31
3. Robbin Harms Honda DNK 24
4. David Salom Kawasaki ESP 23
5. Chaz Davies Yamaha GBR 20
6. Florian Marino Honda FRA 17
7. Gino Rea Honda GBR 16
8. Sam Lowes Honda GBR 16
9. Vittorio Iannuzzo Kawasaki ITA 15
10. Alexander Lundh Honda SWE 13
11. James Ellison Honda GBR 10
12. Massimo Roccoli Kawasaki ITA 9
13. Ondrej Jezek Honda CZE 7
14. Danilo Dell’omo Triumph ITA 6
15. Ronan Quarmby Triumph RSA 5
– Yamaha Report
Spectacular First Race Victory for Marco Melandri Yamaha World Superbike rider Marco Melandri provided an extraordinary performance today in Donington Park delivering his first race victory and second podium of the 2011 season. Melandri got straight down to business in race one, working his way through the pack to secure a well-deserved first win of his WSBK career. With a less than perfect third row and ninth position start off the grid, he skillfully closed in on his adversaries, taking him into second position by lap 17. He overtook Jakob Smrz to take the lead with just two laps to go to the chequered flag. Melandri proved to be just as determined and consistent in race two, moving up to third just five laps into the race and proceeding to battle his way through for second on the podium.
Fellow Teammate Eugene Laverty was less fortunate in race one however and suffered a significant crash on turn eight of the fourth lap. Laverty was able to jump back on his bike in race two and complete the race in the points.
Marco Melandri heads to round three of the 2011 WSBK Championship in Assen second on the overall standings with 72 points, just 19 points behind Carlos Checa. Teammate Laverty holds 16 points and is in 12th position. Yamaha are currently second in the Manufacturers standings with a total of 74 points.
Marco Melandri, Yamaha World Superbike Team / 1st, 2nd
“I had a great win in race one. I was just behind a very aggressive bunch of riders so I had to work hard to keep my rhythm and push through. I managed to close in on Smrz with five laps to go and take my first win. Race two was a little more difficult. I was suffering from a head cold and lost concentration a little mid way. I am very pleased to be on the podium again. We have been working very hard in preparation for today’s races and we did very well, I had a lot of fun and I think we proved that we have a very good package. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Thanks to Yamaha, my team and my sponsors.”
Eugene Laverty, Yamaha World Superbike Team / DNF, 14th
“Not a good day today. The race one crash was bizarre; I don’t really know what happened. I almost crashed in the corner before and lost a little bit of confidence afterwards. Race two started well but I had to push really hard. We still haven’t found the right settings for me; we need to fine tune to suit my riding style. I know I’ve got potential, so do the bike and the team, we just need to work hard to combine it all. “
Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager – Andrea Dosoli
“This was a fantastic result for Marco, he provided a very impressive first race. He proved yet again to be a very talented rider, overtaking the pack from so far back and winning. I’ve always been sure that we have a competitive package and today Marco confirmed this. He had to push very hard in race two and had difficulty closing in on Checa. We need to improve on qualifying results in order to get a better position on the grid and avoid the handicap of starting so far back. We decided to keep exactly the same set up and tyre choice between the two races, the decision clearly paid off.
“I’m extremely sorry for Eugene. He suffered quite a bad crash in race one but thankfully was not hurt. He had difficulty delivering the results we’d hoped for in race two, I believe he has a lot of potential and can be much faster. We need to work hard with him in order demonstrate what he’s made of. Overall it was very difficult to race in such extreme weather conditions as in race one. I’m looking forward to Assen where I strongly believe we can show how competitive the bike is and have both our riders in the top where they should be.”
Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies provided an impressive performance to deliver the first one two race win of the 2011 World Supersport Championship for the Yamaha ParkinGO Team. Scassa delivered his second victory of the season on his 2009 winning YZF-R6 in Donington Park this afternoon, while fellow teammate Chaz Davies took his first WSS podium. The cold air and track temperatures proved no obstacle for the two ParkinGO riders as they got off to perfect starts and continued to dominate the race. Scassa got straight down to business from pole position, putting in a series of consistent laps and proceeding to lead the second race of the season from the start, looking to add to his Phillip Island victory.
Teammate and Brit Chaz Davies put in an equally strong performance. After a perfect start, Davies sat comfortably behind Scassa for the majority of the race, closing in on him with just a few laps to go to battle for first. Settling for second, Davies gained a well-deserved first podium position of the season on his home track, making up for the less than perfect race result in Phillip Island last month.
The two Yamaha ParkinGO Team riders crossed the chequered flag with a gap of over 20 seconds ahead of Gino Rea in third. Scassa now heads to the third round of the World Supersport Championship in Assen leading the classification with 50 points while Davies holds 20 points in fifth position.
Luca Scassa, Yamaha ParkinGO Team / st
“I didn’t expect Chaz to be quite so strong going by this morning’s warm up times but he really surprised me with such an impressive performance. I had a perfect start off the grid. I would have settled for second but obviously was much happier with a win. We have won two races out of two and that’s impressive. I’m very satisfied with my bike and team. We are proving to have the best overall package so I’m extremely pleased with this.”
Chaz Davies, Yamaha ParkinGO Team / 2nd
“A One Two win for the team is an amazing result. This shows how strong the package is. With four laps to go I closed in on Luca and tried to get the nose in wherever I could but he was so consistently strong everywhere that it was difficult to pin him at any one point. I had a stab at passing him on the last lap but didn’t succeed. I envisioned two blue bikes on the ground and that’s certainly not what we wanted. I want to thank Yamaha and all my team who have worked very hard to make up for the disappointing race in Phillip Island. “
Yamaha ParkinGO Team Manager – Lucio Nicastro
“We are very happy with the outcome of today’s race. It’s the second race of the season and also the second win for the team. Having our two riders taking first and second is extraordinary. I’m pretty sure we could have gotten this result in Phillip Island but Chaz experienced rear tyre problems. He certainly showed his true potential today. I’m confident that this will be a very positive championship for us.”
– Althea Ducati Report
the second round of the World Superbike Championship took place today at Donington Park and Carlos Checa and the Althea Racing team were once again protagonists, taking home 41 valuable points thanks to a third place finish in Race 1 and an amazing win in Race 2!
Race 1 – although starting from pole, a lack of feeling with the rear tyre caused Carlos to lose numerous positions through the first corners and he found himself down in eleventh place by the end of lap one. Finding his rhythm as time went on, he chased down the large and tightly packed leading group, passing first Corser, then Rea and also Camier. Althea Racing’s flagbearer was up to fourth place by lap 19 but, with only four laps remaining, the three second gap between him and third placed Haslam seemed like it would be hard to close. Carlos was however not put off, and his determination saw him pick up the pace for the final push; he completed the last three laps in under 1m30, lapping roughly a second faster than Haslam on the BMW, and passed the Brit in spectacular style on the very last lap.
Race 2 – considering the problems experienced at the start of Race 1, Carlos and his technicians opted for the softer tyre solution for race 2. The track temperature was slightly higher compared to the morning’s race and Carlos got away in much more determined fashion this time around. Immediately up in second, he quickly got past Haslam to take the lead and from there he maintained an extremely fast pace, managing his advantage and continuing to increase the gap between him and the chasing pack. Even though tyre wear became something of an issue during the final stages, Checa controlled the situation and crossed the line in first place, with a 3.3 second advantage over Melandri (Yamaha) in second.
“In Race 1 I was struggling at the start, I didn’t have feeling with the rear tyre and as a result I lost a lot of positions. But I have to say it was one of the most exciting races of my career, so many riders touching, crashing, everything! After the first laps I was able to build up a good rhythm and start moving up through the pack one rider at a time. It wasn’t easy but I pushed hard and then two laps from the end I realised that I could maybe get past Haslam too for third. I’m really happy because I didn’t think I’d get from 11th on lap one to the podium. We made the decision to use the hard tyre solution for the race and even thought we paid for this at the start it turned out to be the right decision in the end. We opted for the softer tyre in race two; we knew it would be very high performing although a bit less so towards the end of the race. It remained pretty consistent but towards the end I had to change my riding a little to manage the situation. My strategy was to get to the front, built up a bit of a lead and then manage that lead and today everything worked perfectly. It was great to win at Phillip Island but today meant even more to me. A lot of people may remember what happened to me here many years ago; that day I lost something here but today I can say that I found it again.”
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing
“What a great performance, a great job by the team and a great job by Carlos who can adapt even to more difficult tracks like Donington. This circuit represented an enormous hurdle for him after the terrible accident he suffered during 1998’s MotoGP race and so today he could finally put this behind him. I thank him for believing in us and our advice. The performance today once again confirms the fact that we have a very solid package – bike, rider and team – and we will continue to fight for the title. It’s still early and the championship is long but we are on the right road. I would like to thank all of our sponsors for supporting us and Ducati for having provided such great material. Finally I thank everyone who has believed and continues to believe in a small but passionate team like ours.”
– Castrol Honda Report
Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea was not entirely satisfied with the fifth and sixth place finishes he achieved in today’s two second-round World Superbike championship races at Donington Park in the UK but believes they were the best he could achieve.
This afternoon’s two 23-lap races at the 4.023km (2.5 mile) Donington circuit were won by Marco Melandri and championship leader Carlos Checa, as Rea’s Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus, took another top ten finish in race two.
Opting for the harder rear tyre in race one, Rea was involved in a number of battles but ran across the Esses on lap eleven, dropping back to ninth place before fighting his way back to fifth at the flag. His crew adjusted the engine mapping on his Honda CBR1000RR for the second outing to provide more punch out of Donington’s hairpin at turn 11, but it wasn’t enough to improve traction and Rea was forced to settle for sixth.
Xaus, too, struggled in Donington’s stop-go Melbourne loop section, which contains two hairpins and, with the harder rear to guarantee race distance, the Spaniard could only manage 12th place in race one. He opted for the softer tyre option in the second outing and enjoyed battles for seventh and eighth places before dramatically losing grip towards the end.
Jonathan Rea – 5th and 6th
We got through the weekend OK but five and six is not what we came here for and, by my own standards, “OK” is not good enough. I’ve tried my best all weekend but I got duffed up a bit in race one and maybe could’ve finished a bit higher. In race two, I didn’t make any mistakes and rode as well as I could so it was frustrating when the other guys came past. They seemed to be able to ride away from me quite easily while I was on the maximum. We tried to use the softer tyre during the weekend but it tore up after ten or 12 laps so I’m not sure if it would have made any difference. We’ve got some work to do, I think – especially on the electronics side of things to get driveability off slower corners. Luckily for us, Assen hasn’t got the stop-go slower section that we have here, so I’m looking forward to getting there for a bit of flow. At the end of the day we were sort of ‘on par’ here, but we need to be better than that, especially at this stage in the season. We don’t want the guys at the front to be opening this much of a gap, so we need to be on it from the next round.
Ruben Xaus – 12th and 10th
We went for the harder tyre in race one for safety reasons but I’m not a big lover of hard tyres and I don’t really have enough experience with the bike yet. It was also really cold and I was struggling for a good feeling with the front brake and the gas. We’ve come from Australia, where it was much warmer, I had a month off the bike, and then we come here where it’s been cold, so it’s not been easy. I just wanted to learn in race one and get some points. In race two I went with the A tyre, the one I like that allows me to play a bit more with the bike. I didn’t have such a good start and I think if I could have gone with Lascorz maybe seventh would be my position. I saw Jonathan with five laps to go and wanted to get behind him to have the two Castrol Hondas coming in together. But the tyre was by then destroyed and I got passed by three or four riders, so I had to just keep the tyre together to get home. At the end of this weekend I have had four races, four finishes with points and I’m getting closer to the top guys and my team-mate, so I will take that happily to Assen.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
Of course we can’t be happy with the results we’ve had here. All weekend we’ve been struggling in that last sector and we weren’t able to fix the bike to improve that situation. On the positive side, we have Assen coming next, which is fast and flowing and will suit our bike a lot better. We have to look into the problems we’ve had here and try to address them. In the second race, Ruben had the soft tyre which proved to be a good choice and he was able to run nearer the front for another solid finish. He has gelled with the bike more here and is having some fun riding, which always helps. Jonathan’s tyre in race two just gave him a bit less grip than we expected and this made his problems a bit bigger because he could hardly stay with the front guys in the first three sectors and was then losing more in the slower section. We’re not happy, but we’re confident that we’re going to do better at our home round.
– BMW Report
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport had an exciting Sunday at the second round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship in Donington (GBR). In the riders’ championship British works rider, Leon Haslam, improved to third (53 points) after notching up two fourth positions. Troy Corser (AUS) moved up to 13th (16 points). In the manufacturers’ standings BMW is fourth (53 points).
In race 1 Leon missed the podium by only 0.3 seconds. Starting second, he took the lead straight away and kept it until lap six. Later on he had some issues, but was still third starting the final lap. Just a few corners before the finish Leon dropped back to fourth. Troy made up some positions at the start, but struggled with low grip and finally finished ninth. At the start of race 2 Leon again stormed into the lead, and in the opening laps he had a thrilling fight at the front. But on lap eight he had a highsider and fell back. Right to the chequered flag Leon was fighting his way back through the field and made it to fourth. Troy finished another difficult race 13th.
Result Race 1: 4th, Gap to 1st: 00:06.176 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:29.584 min
Result Race 2: 4th, Gap to 1st: 00:13.842 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:29.365 min
“It has again been a hard fought weekend for us, but we have definitely made clear improvements from Australia. In race 1 we had some issues, which were similar to those I experienced in Phillip Island, so we made some changes for the second race and it was a real improvement, especially in the second half. I made a mistake in the early laps of race 2, which dropped me back a number of places, but I was happy I was able to fight back and finish strong. We will now work hard to be ready for Assen.”
Result Race 1: 9th, Gap to 1st: 00:14.877 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:29.695 min
Result Race 2: 13th, Gap to 1st: 00:34.070 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:30.278 min
“We have improved the bike in some areas since Phillip Island, which is good, but we are still encountering some issues that we need to address. We are struggling with too much spin from the rear tyre, and it’s making it hard to set consistent times. The bike felt more settled and easier to ride with the changes we have made, but we are still having issues. We have a test coming up so hopefully we can make some good progress there and be ready for Assen.”
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
“It was very exciting. We were able to do good lap times in practice, qualifying, Superpole and the warm-up. In the races Leon had issues trying to push to the limit. He was not able to keep the line he wanted to, but he was able to fight his way back after his highsider. We are happy he has improved to third in the riders’ classification and know the areas where we have to improve. Troy suffered all weekend from a lack of grip, which was partly due to the cool temperatures. With these conditions we were not able to get the best out of his tyres. Now we are looking forward to Assen. We will use the experiences we gained in Donington to make another step forward.”
– HRC Report
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR) started each 23-lap Donington World Superbike race from eighth place on the grid and improved on this in each race, going fifth in race one and sixth in race two. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) and Carlos Checa (Ducati) took a win apiece, with Jakub Smrz
(Ducati) almost the winner in race one, and Leon Camier (Aprilia) third in race two. Checa was third in race one, Melandri second in race two.
In the first outing of the day Rea pushed on to finish fifth, nine seconds from the winner, after a race long-battle with a variety of riders, in particular Max Biaggi and eventual sixth place rider Noriyuki Haga. During the race Jonathan had been as low as ninth, as some top riders disputed almost every metre of track for all 23-laps.
Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) was 12th in the first race, clicking off laps and scoring points despite having a less than ideal tyre choice for the extremely cold track conditions. Ruben had qualified 16th, the last rider to make it into the new look Superpole.
In the second race, with the track temperature raised by ten degrees, Rea finished sixth and Xaus tenth, only five seconds behind Rea. Ruben had chosen a softer tyre to handle the slightly higher track temperatures and it paid off, giving him his second top ten finish of the season so far.
Checa now leads the championship on 91 points, Melandri is second on 72 and Leon Haslam is third for BMW, on 53 points. Rea is still sixth overall, now on 38 points after two rounds and four individual races. Ruben moved up one place to 12th overall, on 16 points.
The next round is at Assen, on Sunday 17 April.
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR) / Race result: 5th / 6th. Championship position: 6th “Two points scores and a top five but the results are not what I was looking for, it’s not where we want to be. I feel like something is missing, and the bike requires a lot more rider input, especially with the throttle. I need a little bit more support when I am on the circuit. When some other riders came past they seemed to have more driveability, so I struggled with that a bit today. We were also working to turn in better in some slower corners but basically the bike is so fast it causes a bit of upset sometimes. I have not put my Donington woes behind me and jumped on the podium box yet, but onwards and upwards. We know we are quite strong at Assen and have good data for that track.”
Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR) / Race result: 12th / 10th. Championship position: 14th “Now we have had four races and I have had four finishes, and each time is better, closer to the top, and closing the gap to my team-mate with the same bike. It was not the best weekend for the bike itself so I need to take that into consideration. I showed up a little today, made big slides and passes, and race two was better than the first. I was asked to use the harder tyre for the first race, which was run in cool conditions. I could not play with the bike, so I could not go fast. In race two I chose a softer tyre and attacked, but I had not so good a start.
Without that I could have gone away with some faster riders and maybe got a better result.”
GINO REA ON THE PODIUM FOR HONDA AT HIS HOME ROUND
Step Racing Honda rider Gino Rea took a podium finish against the odds as he secured third place at his home round in Donington. He rode hard and aggressively despite a left thumb injury picked up in the previous round in Australia, but he could do nothing about runaway race winner Luca Scassa (Yamaha) or second place rider Chaz Davies (Yamaha).
Gino had been down in sixth place mid-race, until some riders either broke down or ran off track, allowing him to take third and keep it for the last seven laps.
Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) survived some scary moments, including a tough duel with Rea and an off-track excursion to finish fourth in the race. He now sits third in the championship, the top ranked Honda rider, with 24 points. He had qualified seventh and was a contender for the podium places for long periods of the race.
The championship leader is Scassa on 50 points, with Kawasaki man Broc Parkes on 31 points after he scored fifth today.
Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) took eighth place despite an early scare, with Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Racing Team Honda) tenth and well in the points. Marino had qualified ninth, Lundh 15th.
Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda), like many of his peers, survived a fast practice crash on the left-hander down Craner Curves to post an 11th place finish. He had been a lowly 20th on the grid and showed grit as well as pace to recover lots of ground on race-day in what was another dramatic WSS event all round. Ondrej Jezek (SMS Racing Honda) and Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) finished in the points, in 13th and 14th place respectively.
Third place qualifier Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) and second row starter James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) were each forced out of potential podium finishes by clutch slip problems, with neither able to complete the race. Ellison finally stopped on the penultimate lap, having nursed his machine around since he dropped from third place on lap eight. Lowes set the new lap record on lap six, 1’31.094, but retired on lap 14.
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was forced to miss the Donington race after re-injuring his middle and right ring finger in a Friday crash. He had an operation on Friday, his third in the past month, this time to screw together a fractured knuckle on his ring finger back into position. It allowed him to ride again this weekend but it was decided he should not race quite yet, to be back to near full fitness at the next round in Assen. Despite all his problems he had qualified 12th.
Honda rider comments:
Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda) / Race result: 3rd Championship position: 7th
“We got a bit lucky but that is racing. We went into the race so blind and had lost so much time in practice. We just wanted to get into the race and get some points in the bag after the DNF at Phillip Island. I do not know what to say about ending up third, this is just amazing. Huge thanks to the team for all the hard work they have done this weekend, and they picking things up from some low points this weekend. I feel just great.”
Robbin Harms (Benjan Racing Team Honda) CBR600RR Race result: 4th. Championship position: 3rd
“I am the lead Honda rider in the championship, which is nice, but I wanted the podium more! It is a shame to miss out on the top three, but I just went wide in one corner and I had to run through the gravel, dropped to sixth and fought back to fifth then fourth. I was catching the podium again too. I had the podium in my hands today but still I am happy about the work we did and this is the best result for my team.”
Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) CBR600RR Race result: 8th. Championship position: 6th
“I expected it to be a hard weekend and that’s what it has been. We found a good balance in qualifying and the bike felt OK, but we used a different tyre today and it wasn’t the same feeling in warm-up. I couldn’t gas as quickly as I wanted because the grip level was not so good. My start was not so bad but I nearly highsided out of turn 11 on the first two laps and very nearly crashed in the first one and banged my arms quite a bit. I tried to follow the guys in front but couldn’t push so hard without the risk of crashing, so I thought I would bring the bike home as fast as I could to get some points.”
Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) CBR600RR Race result: 11th. Championship position: 15th
“That was a strange race with riders falling off and engines blowing up in front of me – I had to take avoiding action both times. Then I settled down and we started making some good lap times that we knew we were capable of. In the last five laps my tyre was gone but I kept riding hard and from 20th on the grid I am happy with 11th as the result. More importantly we know we have good pace and this is something to take to the next round and build on.”
Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) CBR600RR Race result: DNF. Championship position: 8th
“I got boxed in at the start and after that I wanted to ease into the race. I made some good moves to get up there near the front. I was catching the leaders steadily and I felt I was going to get with them but when the clutch went I tried to adjust it at first but then I had to pull in.”
James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) CBR600RR Race result: DNF. Championship position: 11th
“My clutch went but I tried to keep going. With about nine laps to go I started dropping off but I tried to nurse it back. If I kept it below a certain rpm it would still drive. But on the approach to the very last lap I had to pull in. I just wanted a few points for the championship.”
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) CBR600RR Race result: DNS Championship position: No score
“I have a big problem with my hand and it is the throttle hand. Last night they put two screws in one bone of my finger because it was an open fracture, and one piece was gone. Basically I can ride but not fast enough to race. I am now working to be ready to race and race well at Assen.”
– Team Suzuki Alstare Report
After being forced to DNF in the first race at today’s World Superbike Championship second round at Donington, Team Suzuki Alstare rider Michel Fabrizio came back with a gritty performance in the second 23 lapper to finish in seventh position.
If it had not have been for a third-row grid position and a poor start, Fabrizio would’ve been able to challenge for third spot, but the Italian was at least able to enjoy the race – unlike race one: In that, a slide going into Coppice corner forced the Italian into the gravel, but fortunately he was able to keep the bike upright and saved a crash. He got the bike back to the pits, where the team changed the rear tyre from a hard to a medium. His opening laps on the new tyre was a good one, but by lap three there was no grip at all, and seeing he was having difficulty controlling the bike – and also did not want to crash – he pulled out of the race.
The conditions at the British venue – that witnessed a total crowd of 51,000 over the weekend – were almost as poor as Saturday’s Qualifying and Superpole, with temperatures mostly sub-six Degrees.
– Team Kawasaki Report
Kawasaki Challenge for Donington Podiums
Kawasaki World Superbike team riders Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz were unlucky not to come away with some silverware after a strong performance at round two of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park today.
The Paul Bird Motorsport duo proved the potential of the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R with a pair of great rides which saw Spaniard Lascorz just pipped for fourth position by Leon Haslam’s BMW on the last lap of race two whereas earlier in the day, Sykes had been challenging for a podium in race one when he slid off with just six laps remaining.
Yorkshireman Sykes, who qualified on the front row in third position, was looking strong in race one when he crashed at the Foggy Esses without injury as Lascorz came home in tenth position.
In race two, a mechanical problem thwarted Sykes’ bid and he battled to twelfth place as World Superbike rookie Lascorz, in only his fourth race was in with a chance of a podium but had to settle for fifth.
Chris Vermeulen was hoping to return to race action at Donington Park but after Friday’s qualifying, the team took the decision to withdraw him to allow his injured knee to heal further.
Tom Sykes: “I was delighted to qualify on the front row and prove the potential of the Kawasaki ZX-10R and had real hopes of a podium. I had a minor problem with downshifting and was disappointed to crash out in race one and then the problem re-occurred in race two and I just had to bring the bike home. But we’ve been strong this weekend and we will take this into Assen next time.”
Joan Lascorz: “I went for a safe setting in race one as it was important I scored some points but for race two, we were more aggressive and it paid off. I was strong early on and knew I’d drop back with my tyre choice but I’m pleased to be battling inside the top five.”
Paul Risbridger, Team Manager: “Despite perhaps not getting the results we deserved, it has been a strong weekend for us. Tom qualifying on the front row was great and I’m disappointed that he had some problems which prevented him getting a good result. Joan has been plugging away all weekend and to see him dicing with the likes of last year’s runner up Leon Haslam is encouraging.”
– Aitchison scores first points in WSBK championship
Cold and cloudy weather, but a dry track surface for race day at Donington Park for the second round of the World Superbike Championship. Team Pedercini’s riders worked hard all weekend with their technicians to make some last minute adjustments to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R bikes during the morning warm-up, in order to be ready for the races. Due to their difficult qualifying session, Mark Aitchison and Roberto Rolfo lined up on the fifth row of the grid. In race one, and having made a good start, Rolfo and Aitchison were unable to find good race pace due to some setting problems, meaning that they finished in fourteenth and fifteenth position respectively, collecting a total of three championship points. In race two, the riders and the team’s technical staff decided to make extensive changes to both bikes. The new solutions helped the bikes’ overall performance but were not enough to give the riders the right feeling so as to be able to fight against the fastest riders. Rolfo obtained the fifteenth position while Aitchison closed in sixteenth.
Mark Aitchison quote:
Today was a day that has been very difficult. In both races we experimented with slightly different geometry setting to find a better direction and feeling, but unfortunately we have not found the best solution at this point. During the weekend, it was important for us to test some new solution and to collect valuable data for the future races. I enjoyed my second race and look forward to improving our position for the upcoming races in Assen. I would like to thank my team for working so hard over the entire weekend, my sponsors and my supporters for making it possible.