— World Superbike 2013 – Round Five – Donington Park
— Sykes Dominates Donington
The 28.546 spectators attending Round 5 had a lot to cheer on today as Great Britain had a key-role in today’s races at Donington Park. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored an outstanding double-win, his maiden in eni FIM Superbike World Championship, that was icing on the cake of an unbelievable performance by the home rider, who led every single session from Friday’s Qualifying 1 on.
Thanks to his 8th race victory, Sykes lies now 2nd in the championship, only 4 points away from Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), still Championship leader after today’s two podium finishes. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) made his way to 2nd place in Race 1, while Eugene Laverty scored his first ever top-3 finish on the Leicestershire track in Race 2.
The perfect Sunday for UK fans was completed by Sam Lowes’ World Supesport win, the third consecutive for the local boy in 2013. As for Sykes, the Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha rider has been absolutely unstoppable on his favourite circuit.
— Race 1
Tom Sykes was the winner of Race 1 at Donington Park. The Brit rode a perfect race up front for all the 23 laps, displaying pure class and outstanding race craft, avoiding any risk and at the same time not allowing the following riders to close the gap. Despite a challenging first half of the race, Marco Melandri clawed his way back to 2nd following a successful overtake manoeuvre at the last turn, on lap 16, over third place Sylvain Guintoli.
Following a competitive first part of the race Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike), couldn’t keep up the pace with Sykes and was forced to ride defensively to a final fourth position. The Ulsterman finished ahead Frenchman Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) – who had an up and down performance in Race 1 – and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team). The works Aprilia rider had a hard time after running off-track during lap 7 at “Fogarty Esses”, and continued to struggle as the race went by.
Same type of performance for Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK), able to stay with team mate Melandri in the early stages but finding difficult to push hard later on in the race. An early end of the race for Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), following a crash at “Goddards” on lap 3, while team mate Jules Cluzel ended up 9th in a battle up to the finish line ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Team Ducati Alstare trio of Ayrton Badovini, Carlos Checa and Niccolò Canepa.
After doing his best to line-up his CBR 1000 RR on the grid, Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) was forced to withdraw the race due to his fitness conditions.
Race 1 results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 23 Laps/92.529 km in 34’10.881 average 162.420 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 2.379; 3. Guintoli (Aprilia) 3.808; 4. Rea (Honda) 6.760; 5. Baz (Kawasaki) 13.649; 6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 15.551; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 17.453; 8. Davies (BMW) 19.138; 9. Cluzel (Suzuki) 27.738; 10. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 30.817; 11. Badovini (Ducati) 31.611; 12. Checa (Ducati) 31.816; 13. Canepa (Ducati) 31.930; 14. Neukirchner (Ducati) 43.025; 15. Iannuzzo (BMW) 4 Laps; RT. Sandi (Kawasaki); RT. Lundh (Kawasaki); RT. Camier (Suzuki).
— Race 2
Tom Sykes’ maiden double-win in the series comes after a total domination in Race 2 for the home rider, who continues his charge to the top now just 4 points away – waiting for the final decision by the FIM International Disciplinary Court on Monza Race 2 results. The last time a Kawasaki rider was able to secure both race victories dated back to 2000.
Tom Sykes: “I have been in World Superbike for a few years now and I got the first double win on home soil is a fairy tale. One click on the front suspension between races made the difference and we could see that in the second race time, which was better than the first one. I got the new Best Lap yesterday and I got the new lap record in race two so I have the full set. I really enjoyed the support from the crowd and I hope they enjoyed the show. No better place to do my first double than at Donington Park. We’re in a strong situation, we have a good base setting and now we are going to some fantastic circuits.”
Sykes pulled away from the chasing pack in the early stages and managed a seven seconds lead up to the chequered flag, finishing ahead of works Aprilia duo of Sylvain Guintoli – still Championship leader – and Eugene Laverty. The 26 year old Irishman, at his first rostrum finish on the Leicester track, had to defend his position from a late charge by Marco Melandri, who ran off track at “Fogarty Esses” following a final attempt of edging out the opponent from 3rd place.
Eugene Laverty: “At the end of Race 1 I was disappointed. I have always had some hard time on this track, but I could have done better than seventh place. On the other hand Race 2 got off to a better start straight away. A few changes we made to my RSV4 between the two races immediately increased my feeling with it. In fact, I was able to defend third place against Melandri’s attacks, and as I said at Monza, it’s always nice to end the weekend with a podium. The performance in Race 2 is encouraging for the rest of the championship. It shows that even on shorter, more winding tracks we can keep up with the top riders.”
Melandri quickly rejoined to end up 5th behind the competitive Davide Giugliano, who looked at times in the position to have a shot at the top-3 he’s missing from June 2012. Slight improvement for official BMW rider Chaz Davies, 6th at the flag ahead of Frenchman Loris Baz.
A 4-way battle for 7th saw Niccolò Canepa having the better of Jules Cluzel, Michel Fabrizio and Jonathan Rea. The One Event rider for the round waved Team Ducati Alstare’s flag high after Checa’s withdrawal from Race 2 (left shoulder issues) and Ayrton Badovini’s crash at Turn 2 on lap 19. The “nightmare weekend” of Leon Camier was completed by another low-speed crash at Turn 12, with the Englishman able to get back on track for a final 13th place.
Race 2 results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 23 Laps/92.529 km in 34’06.921 average 162.734 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 8.035; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 10.738; 4. Giugliano (Aprilia) 12.257; 5. Melandri (BMW) 15.976; 6. Davies (BMW) 16.475; 7. Baz (Kawasaki) 27.524; 8. Canepa (Ducati) 30.186; 9. Cluzel (Suzuki) 30.501; 10. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 30.885; 11. Rea (Honda) 31.529; 12. Neukirchner (Ducati) 46.782; 13. Camier (Suzuki) 54.509; 14. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’05.789; 15. Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’20.431; 16. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1’20.719; RT. Badovini (Ducati).
Standings – provisional (round 5 of 15)*: 1. Guintoli 173; 2. Sykes 169; 3. Laverty 149; 4. Melandri 127; 5. Davies 112; 6. Baz 95; 7. Rea 89; 8. Fabrizio 86; 9. Giugliano 72; 10. Cluzel 55; 11. Camier 49; 12. Neukirchner 45; 13. Badovini 37; 14. Checa 33; 15. Haslam 29; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 208; 2. Kawasaki 180; 3. BMW 175; 4. Honda 96; 5. Suzuki 82; 6. Ducati 65.
* Possible updated results could be defined by the International Disciplinary Court which is dealing with the appeal lodged by Aprilia Racing Team and rider Sylvain Guintoli, following the decision taken by the FIM Stewards in Monza (Italian Round, last 12 May) to cancel the drop of position sanction (from third to fourth place in race 2) imposed by the Race Direction on rider Tom Sykes.
— World Supersport – Sam Lowes wins in perfect fashion
An uncatchable Sam Lowes has won by domination the World Supersport race today at Donington Park. The local rider has put up a supreme performance to finish with an 11 seconds margin over 2nd place Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and delighted the crowd with a spectacular wheelie over the finish line.
Lowes lapped consistently within the 1’31 seconds bracket throughout all the 23 laps – except the final one. Sofuoglu, meanwhile, had to face some tough challenge to get in 2nd place but once he did, the defending Champion could easily pull away for a lonely ride to the chequered flag. The Turkish rider was also involved in a collision with Christian Iddon early in the race at “Melbourne” hairpin (Lap 2) that forced him to run wide and lose some ground.
Roberto Rolfo (Parkingo MV Agusta Corse) scored a sensational 3rd for the Italian brand, that was last seen on a World Championship podium in 1976: at that time Giacomo Agostini was the winner of the 500cc race at Nurburgring. Rolfo put up an outstanding recover from th 15th slot on the grid to give Giuliano Rovelli’s squad the first rostrum finish in Supersport since Portimao 2011.
Fourth place for Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) ahead of fellow Italian Luca Scassa (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki). The two riders battled out in the final lap with the Honda rider able to overtake the former Italian Superbike Champion at the chicane to eventually defend his position up to the flag, despite a fantastic last-turn attempt by Scassa.
The rider from Tuscay had, earlier in the race, a collision at the exit of “Goddards” with team mate Florian Marino, after which the Frenchman crashed out finishing on a bad note a promising race. 6th place for Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda), ahead of Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) and Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki).
Race results: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 22 Laps/88.506 km in 33’37.767 average 157.908 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 11.105; 3. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 14.528; 4. Zanetti (Honda) 19.999; 5. Scassa (Kawasaki) 20.120; 6. Kennedy (Honda) 20.385; 7. Morais (Honda) 24.324; 8. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 27.395; 9. Foret (Kawasaki) 28.153; 10. Richards (Triumph) 28.264; 11. Ivanov (Kawasaki) 28.487; 12. Talmacsi (Honda) 29.041; 13. De Rosa (Honda) 29.648; 14. Russo (Kawasaki) 32.602; 15. Baldolini (Suzuki) 38.965; etc.
Standings (round 5 of 14): 1. Lowes 95; 2. Sofuoglu 65; 3. Foret 61; 4. Zanetti 53; 5. Vd Mark 49; 6. Scassa 45; 7. Rolfo 38; 8. Antonelli 37; 9. Kennedy 34; 10. Marino 31; 11. Russo 28; 12. Coghlan 22; 13. Leonov 21; 14. Morais 19; 15. Ivanov 18. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 110; 2. Yamaha 103; 3. Honda 78; 4. MV Agusta 38; 5. Suzuki 9; 6. Triumph 6.
— Smiths Triumph (McConnell & Richards)
Reigning Motorpoint British Supersport Champion Glen Richards gave the Smiths Racing Triumph Team another great top ten finish in a World Supersport Championship race when he took a hard fought tenth place at Donington Park today.
The 39-year-old Australian was having his first wild card appearance of the season in the World Championship and after qualifying in a brilliant third place on the Triumph Daytona 675R, Richards crashed out and was run over by another competitor, sustaining a minor arm injury in the process.
Despite being stiff, he took his place on the grid and was running inside the top eight for the first half of the race. Part of an eight-rider battle for third place, the Adelaide rider was handily placed at mid-race distance only for French rider Florian Marino to push him wide at the Esses and force him onto the grass.
By the time he’d rejoined the track, he was down in 15th place but he fought back to claim tenth place for the Gloucester-based team at the end of the 22 laps, just two seconds adrift of eighth, claiming six World Championship points in the process.
Fellow Australian and team-mate Billy McConnell was also in action and after qualifying in 15th after a crash also, ‘Skippy’ took a solid 19th place in today’s race after a couple of overshoots, gaining valuable track time and making further progress with the development of the all-new Triumph machine.
Glen Richards: “I’m a little bit disappointed with the result as we were in with a podium chance for a while. I had a bit of an issue with the brakes to begin with but once they settled down I felt strong and was right in the mix for third place. Sadly, Marino put in a really poor manoeuvre, basically taking my front wheel away from me so how I didn’t hit him I don’t know. I had no option but take to the grass but I fought back and got into the top ten so managed to salvage a decent result. The good bit though is that this weekend will kick-start our British Championship challenge as the bike’s feeling really good now and I’m feeling really comfortable on it. We’ve made big inroads, the confidence is back and I’m confident the results will now come.”
Billy McConnell: “It’s always a great privilege to race in a World Championship round but it’s a shame I couldn’t get the result the team and all our supporters deserved. It’s never easy riding with riders you’re not used to dicing with and I made a few mistakes in both qualifying and in the race, running on in a few corners. I had a moment in the first turn when my boot got ripped open and I just struggled to get into a decent rhythm so it was a bit of a scrappy race. We’ve had plenty of track time though and made big strides forward with the bike so I’m confident when we get to the next British Championship round, we’ll reap the rewards.”
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “It wasn’t really the race we’d hoped for after qualifying, particularly for Glen who did brilliantly to place third. We were confident Billy would be able to move forward as well and get both of the bikes inside the top ten but it turned out to be a frustrating race. Our pace has been good all weekend though and we’ve had good fun, gathered lots of data and pretty much achieved what we wanted. The weather and support from the crowd were both great and all the development work we’ve been doing with the bike has been seen so we’ve made excellent progress. It’s testament to the whole team’s hard work and we’re now feeling extremely confident that when we get to the next British Championship round at Knockhill, we’ll be back at the front.”
— Matt Davies
PTR Honda’s Matt Davies retired from the 5th round of the World Supersport championship after an electrical problem halted is charge towards the top 20.
Having struggled on day one, the young Aussie recovered well yesterday and after a decent start was running ahead of his qualifying position.
Matt tried to continue for a couple of laps but in the end he was forced to admit defeat. Nevertheless the PTR Honda team have once again worked well and are looking forward to the next race in Portugal in a fortnight.
Matt Davies – PTR Honda – “I got an ok start and the race was good until the bike developed a problem in the first half of the race which meant I couldn’t continue. We have worked hard again this weekend and I am looking forward to the next race in Portimao.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored his first career double at Donington and in doing so moved to within four points of the championship lead after five rounds.
Having set a new track best in Superpole on Saturday Sykes rode brilliantly and almost faultlessly in each 23-lap race at Donington to score not only his first double win, but take a new lap record in race two, a 1’28.074, set on lap four.
He was a start-to-finish leader on each lap each time around and after a small change to his front suspension settings for race two he went four seconds faster than in race one, despite a rise in track temperatures.
Tom now sits in second place on his own, only four points from the lead and with the third place rider 20 points behind after one third of the season has been completed.
Loris Baz (KRT) had a better first race than second and he achieved his target of a top five finish in the opener, then he went seventh in race two. Most importantly of all, he remains sixth in the championship.
Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) finished 14th in race two, his team-mate Alex Lundh was 15th, giving each rider a points score on one race. Neither had finished race one, retiring in the pits.
Portimao, in Portugal, on June 9th in the venue for the next round.
Tom Sykes: “I have been in World Superbike for a few years now and I got the first double win on home soil is a fairy tale. One click on the front suspension between races made the difference and we could see that in the second race time, which was better than the first one. The Ninja ZX-10R is working well and it has been all weekend so I feel very motivated. We are racing in a World Championship and these guys are as fast as you like and very competitive, so it is not as easy at it looked. Kawasaki is a very close unit and we have worked hard and everybody has seen how much better we are in the races. I got the circuit record yesterday and I got the new lap record in race two so I have the full set. I really enjoyed the support from the crowd and I hope they enjoyed the show. No better place to do my first double than at Donington Park. A good weekend and we are closer in the championship, just four points from the top. We’re in a strong situation, we have a good base setting and now we are going to some fantastic circuits.”
Loris Baz: “I knew that I had good pace even yesterday. I just did not have a good Superpole qualifying session. But in race one today the good Loris was back! I did not have such a fast start but I wanted to go right to the front quickly but I ran straight on at one corner. I was coming back, coming back, and then overtook without any mistake and finished fifth. In race two I did not have the same feeling as in race one and that meant that I could not push, maybe more me than the bike, and the temperature was a bit different. I was not able to follow Chaz Davies and was waiting to get to the end of the race but I did my best. I am still sixth in the championship and I took some points advantage to Jonathan Rea so that is good.”
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India) scored a second place in the fifth round of the WSS championship at Donington Park and now sits second overall. Fabien Foret was ninth in the race.
Sofuoglu had to settle for second in the 22-lap race at Donington, held in warm and dry conditions, but his 20 points for second place at this round push him to second place overall, 30 points from race winner and championship leader Sam Lowes.
Kenan had to fight hard to get clear of a large group of riders who disputed the early podium positions, but when he did he pulled away to have a largely lonely race. He now has a total of 65 points, after one win, two second places and two no-scores so far.
Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India rider Fabien Foret posted a ninth place finish and improved on his tenth place qualifying position and in doing so he ended his day third in the points, four behind Sofuoglu.
Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was a strong early starter and looked on for a top five finish but an accidental collision with his team-mate Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) saw Luca go fifth, and Marino crash out without injury, restarting to finish 21st. Luca is now sixth overall, Florian tenth.
Andrea Antonelli (Goeleven Kawasaki) completed his Donington race in eighth place, just ahead of Foret, while Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) was 11th and well inside the points scores. Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) also scored two points for 14th.
Kevin Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) encountered a technical issue that eventually forced him out of the race when he ran off track.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “Donington is a difficult track to pass on so for some riders it took three or four laps to get ahead of them, but in any case I could not stay with Sam Lowes. I should not be 11 seconds behind, maybe four or five. I lost some feeling at the beginning because I almost crashed when someone hit me and I lost a lot of time then. The final result is OK and not so bad for the championship either. I think Sam was just too fast here and gathering 20-points was good for this weekend. There are nine races to go in which I can be stronger. I am satisfied with second position today.”
Fabien Foret: “That was the most we could do today considering our starting position and some other things. I do not understand how to go really fast on this track, my bike has some small set-up issues and it was not easy but it is not all about that. It is a bit of everything, a bad position on the grid, and I need something extra at this track. The result is as we see it but let’s move on and we have some better circuits coming soon.”
— Aprilia Racing Team
The Aprilia Racing Team finished the weekend at Donington the best possible way, placing both riders on the podium in Race 2. With second place Sylvain Guintoli confirms his leadership in the rider standings, while Eugene Laverty’s third place continues the Northern Irish rider’s positive streak. The excellent performance put in by the brand from Noale was rounded out by Davide Giugliano’s fourth place (Althea Racing), who is increasingly comfortable astride his RSV4.
In Race 1 Guintoli got off to a brilliant start from the second spot on the grid, with Sykes following close behind. However, the Kawasaki rider demonstrated his particular feeling with the track, relentlessly gaining ground, while a spectacular battle raged behind him between Guintoli, Melandri, Laverty and Rea. A few alarm bells forced Laverty to fall back, while Guintoli continued keeping pace with Melandri. A couple of problems with loss of grip then forced the Frenchman to pass under the chequered flag in third place.
As mentioned above, in the second race the Aprilia riders were in the fight from the first laps. Sylvain and Eugene set the pace in the pack behind Sykes, with the Frenchman solidly in second place and Laverty skilfully fighting off attacks first by Melandri (which he responded to with a textbook pass) and then by Giugliano who took fourth place with the Althea Racing Team RSV4.
Sylvain’s double podium keeps him in lead of the rider standings with a four point advantage over Sykes and 24 in front of team mate Laverty. For Eugene the podium in Race 2 was the best result of his Superbike career at Donington. Aprilia stays solidly in the Manufacturer standings lead with a 28 point advantage in front of Kawasaki, 33 ahead of BMW, 112 over Honda, 126 above Suzuki and 143 in front of Ducati.
Sylvain Guintoli: “I’m quite pleased with the way Race 2 went, not only because of the result. I pushed hard and gave it my all for the entire race, but Sykes was just impossible to beat today. In the first race, on the other hand, I made a few too many mistakes which cost me second place, and considering the lap times I was putting without them I would have been able to close the gap more. In any case third and second are excellent results for the championship on a track where we are not able to take full advantage of the RSV4’s potential. Now we are off for Portimao, a track which is very well suited for the characteristics of my Aprilia, where we will be able to do some good teamwork”.
Eugene Laverty: “At the end of Race 1 I was disappointed. I have always had trouble on this track, but I could have done better than seventh place. On the other hand Race 2 got off to a better start straight away. A few changes we made to my RSV4 between the two races immediately increased my feeling with it. In fact, I was able to defend third place against Melandri’s attacks, and as I said at Monza, it’s always nice to end the weekend with a podium. The performance in Race 2 is encouraging for the rest of the championship. It shows that even on shorter, more winding tracks we can keep up with the top riders. I like Portimao, I was strong there last year so I’m looking forward to the next round”.
— HRC Report
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) scored a fourth place in the first of two FIM Superbike World Championship races at Donington Park but after experiencing some issues in race two he dropped to 11th place, after running straight on more than once.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) won both races at Donington but Rea was only six seconds behind him in the first 23-lap race, having qualified fourth in Superpole on Saturday. Rea’s pace was so fast in the opening race that he set a new lap record at one stage, although Sykes would later beat it in race two.
Jonathan is seventh in the overall rankings after his home round experiences, with 89 points on the board after five rounds and ten races.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) had to withdraw from the Donington races after consultation with his team, despite having qualified 13th after Superpole and having completed morning-warm-up.
Still recovering from a serious leg break suffered at the Assen round of the championship a month ago, Haslam was forced to bow to the inevitable as he realized he could not complete two full race distances in his effort to race at his home round. He is planning to return to action at the next round, at Portimao, Portugal, in two weeks time, and fit enough to move on from his current 15th place in the championship points table.
ZANETTI THE TOP HONDA IN FOURTH PLACE AT DONINGTON
Italian rider Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) was the first Honda man home in the 22-lap FIM Supersport World Championship race at Donington and in doing so pushed his way to fourth in the overall standings. The race itself was won by Sam Lowes (Yamaha), from Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) and Roberto Rolfo (MV Agusta), with Zanetti heading up a three rider group on the final lap to take fourth place. Lorenzo had been fifth in qualifying as he continues to make positive progress through his rookie year in this category.
Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) rode through the pain of a broken left foot after his crash at the previous Monza round, qualifying for the race in 20th place. Unfamiliar with the circuit he was to fall in the race but remount to finish 20th, and out of the points. He is now fifth in the rankings, four points behind his team-mate Zanetti.
Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) rode to sixth in qualifying at Donington with the Irish rider showing early race pace at the closest round he has to his native Ireland. He scored his best finish of his rookie year so far with sixth place at a circuit he knows well from his time in British Championship racing, he is now 9th in the points standings.
Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) was another Honda runner riding with an old injury and it was only fatigue in his right shoulder muscles that prevented the South African from going for an even higher race finish than seventh. He is 14th overall after five rounds.
For Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) Donington was a success in terms of getting on the points scoreboard for the first time this season but he was disappointed to finish 12th, despite only qualifying 18th. Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda) was one place behind Talmacsi, and was the last Honda rider in the points.
Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) went 18th while David Linortner fell while in a points scoring position, rejoined shortly afterwards, but was later forced to retire.
Matt Davies (Team Honda PTR) was another no-scorer as he was forced to retire.
HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) Race result: 4th / 11th Championship position: 7th
“We were going well until the middle part of the first race and then the electronics were cutting in too aggressively. It was a little bit frustrating because I felt like a sitting duck. I even struggled to compete with Laverty and Guintoli as they came past. When I was behind Tom Sykes early in the race I wanted to go forward but he was doing absolutely nothing wrong. I was happy to know I could follow him at that pace for a time. Race two was a complete disaster. Already, on the sighting lap, I told the guys that we had a sensor problem on the traction control. They said there wasn’t enough time to fix it so I went out on a bike that I was really unsure of. In reality it was cutting way, way too much power and I even tried to turn the traction control off, but it wouldn’t turn completely off. I’m really frustrated after all the work we’ve done. We struggled for dry time at the start of the weekend but made some inroads during warm-up this morning and I felt good in race one. I feel like we should have been on the podium twice today.”
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) Race result: DNS / DNS Championship position: 15th
“As a rider it is frustrating, I do not think I would have taken that decision to not ride, even though in the long run it may be the right decision. Right now I just wanted to ride. I know any result would not have been great, or where we should have finished if I was fit, but riding around Donington in front of my home crowd is always a special event. Watching is sometimes harder than anything else.”
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) Race result: 4th Championship position: 4th
“I lost a little bit in the first three or four laps fighting with Marino and then Kenan came past and took me for second. I had the same rhythm as him, and I was keeping up so I hoped to get a podium. Then Rolfo arrived with an incredible pace. I am happy enough with fourth place because every time we are improving, moving forward. I think for the rest of the season it is possible to fight for a top five now. That is positive. We are continuing on our way and it is working well.”
Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) Race result: 20th Championship position: 5th
“My foot injury was OK but I had not done a long stint on the bike like I did in the race. It is a bit sore now and the race was quite difficult in the end. My start was not too bad and I made progress, in 13th place, then I lost the front. I restarted the bike but I could not score any points. It is a little bit disappointing because my lap times are not too bad and I think if I was in a big group I could follow more easily, so I will have to do that next time.”
Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) Race result: 6th Championship Position: 9th
“A tough race but I am happy with my best result ever. I would have liked to go away with an even better result but we put on a good show for the British fans anyway. I think it will be onwards and upwards from here. I could not put on more pressure on the last laps because I was suffering from arm pump, hanging in for dear life, but I am happy to bring home some good points after a no-score at Monza.”
Sheridan Morais (PRT Honda) Race result: 7th, Championship position: 14th
“My bike was awesome in the race. In the beginning I did not get the best of starts and touched with another rider, but all race long Zanetti was holding me up but we were fighting for the podium. My bike was faultless but at the end I could not hang on anymore. This track is very physical and the last three laps it was a disaster as I could not use my strength. I have to thank the team because we have made a step now and once my shoulder has recovered properly we can be up there fighting for the podiums.”
Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) Race result: 12th, Championship position: 23rd
“My first championship points this year but I am not that happy because we expected a little bit more. Maybe this has started something and it is a base. We tried a lot of different configurations this weekend and especially in the wet on Friday we were very competitive. In the dry I was fast but I did not feel good so we returned to the previous qualifying set-up and finished 12th, from 18th on the grid.”
Matt Davies (Honda PTR) Race result: DNF, Championship position: N/A
“I got an OK start and the race was good until the bike developed a problem in the first half of the race which meant I couldn’t continue. We have worked hard again this weekend and I am looking forward to the next race in Portimao.”
–– BMW Goldbet
At the fifth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team celebrated its seventh podium position of the season. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished second in race one at British track, “Donington Park” on his BMW S 1000 RR. In race two, the Italian crossed the line in fifth place. His team-mate and local hero Chaz Davies (GBR) finished eighth and sixth respectively. In the Riders’ Classification, Marco is fourth with 127 points, directly followed by Chaz who is fifth with 112 points. In the Manufacturers’ classification, BMW lies third with 175 points. From Donington, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team heads directly to Spain, where it will conduct two days of testing at “Motorland Aragón” this week.
Coming from sixth place on the grid, Marco started his chase towards the front of the pack in race one on the seventh of the 23 lap race. He closed the gap to the front, waiting for opportunities and taking them by overtaking his competitors. On lap 17, he had improved to second place but leader Tom Sykes (GBR) had pulled away too far leaving no chance for Marco to catch him, so the Italian crossed the line in second, 2.3 seconds behind Sykes. Chaz had a tough first race from seventh on the grid. In the beginning, he was close behind Marco but the Welshman struggled with grip. He fought numerous battles to keep his position but had to settle with eighth. In the early stages of race two, both riders kept with the leading group but on lap six, Marco had a near highside. The Italian saved it and kept fifth position but lost a bit of time. In the following laps, Marco and Chaz started to steadily close the gap to the top four riders. In the second half of the race, Marco began his attack for the podium. On lap 16, he overtook Davide Giugliano (ITA) for fourth, then Eugene Laverty (IRL) and was in third. He kept this position until the penultimate lap but then fell back behind Laverty. When trying another attempt to regain the podium position on the final lap, Marco went wide onto the grass and slipped back to fifth. Chaz had quite a lonely second part of the race. He lost contact to the top five and had a big gap to the field behind. So his sixth position was not threatened but he was too far back to be involved in the battles in front of him. The winner of the second race was again Sykes.
Result Race 1: 2nd / Gap to 1st: 0:02.379 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:28.628 min (lap 3)
Result Race 2: 5th / Gap to 1st: 0:15.976 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:28.493 min (lap 2)
“It was a weekend of mixed emotions. Race one was really nice, but not easy. I had quite a good start, then I began pushing to gain positions. It was difficult to overtake Johnny and Sylvain and it took time. Then, when I had claimed second position, Tom was too far away and I didn’t have enough time to reach him, but I was happy with second place. In race two, my start was not as good but step by step I got closer to the front group. But when I was directly behind Laverty, I started to have some difficulties riding. On the final lap, I tried to overtake him in the chicane, but when entering the corner I could not brake properly so I went wide to avoid a crash. It was a pity as I had hoped to get more points. Now we have to continue working. This week we will go testing and try some new solutions.”
Result Race 1: 8th / Gap to 1st: 0:19.138 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:29.109 min (lap 6)
Result Race 2: 6th / Gap to 1st: 0:16.475 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:28.843 min (lap 4)
“It was not an easy day. The first race was tough as pretty much from the early laps onwards I nearly had no grip. After a few laps the tyres started to spin more than I was expecting. The spinning was upsetting the chassis and making the bike nervous, so it was a fight for 23 laps. I tried everything I could to make the bike more stable and to find more grip but I could not do anything. For race two we made quite a few changes and I had better grip for longer so I could stay with the front group for a while. But then grip started lacking again and I could not do anything more. Now we go testing in Aragón where we have a few things to try and I am looking forward to that.”
Andrea Buzzoni (General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK): “With determination and cleverness, Marco claimed second position in the first of today’s races. This was the best result he could get as Sykes was unbeatable. In race two, his start was not that good but he was able to close up to the front group quickly. In the second half of the race, he was racing at the limit – like all riders – and he was close to another podium. Unfortunately, although he rode bravely and tried all he could he was not able to reach it. Chaz had a difficult weekend, on a track which is not one of his favourite ones. But despite this, he collected important points.
We have completed the first third of the season and so far, we can draw a positive summary. The competitiveness in the series has raised a lot and we need to keep working in order to keep our performance level constantly high. In three days, we will start a two day test in Aragón. We have a packed schedule and many solutions to test. We need to keep very focused as the season is still so long.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “We claimed another podium and this is important for BMW. It was a very tough weekend because we lost the first day due to weather conditions and this did not help us in finding the perfect set-up. We know that the Superbike World Championship is very competitive and this was confirmed today. To fight for the win, every single detail needs to fit. We saw that our competitors have moved a step forward and now it is our goal to catch up to them and to further improve our bikes to the needs of our riders. One thing we need to work on is our qualifying performance as it is tough to start from the second and third row but also in race trim we had some issues. Marco had difficulties when braking into the corners, while Chaz was lacking rear grip this weekend and could not turn the bike as he would have liked. In race one today, Marco was able to catch up. In race two he struggled and made a mistake because he was riding over the limit of the bike. Our target is to move the limit as our competitors have done. We have a test planned next week in which we will evaluate different settings and updated parts in order to improve in the areas where we are struggling.”
— Fixi Crescent Suzuki
FIXI Crescent Suzuki had an afternoon of solid performances and misfortune during today’s two races in the fifth round of the 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship that was staged at Donington Park in England.
Jules Cluzel continued with his impressive rookie season in the Superbike class by taking two ninth places in today’s double-header. Cluzel’s two races were almost a mirror image of each other, as the Frenchman got a good start from 11th on the grid and made up two places on the first lap in both events. In race one he got involved in various battles with other riders before settling into a smooth rhythm for the remainder of the race. He was pursued for much of the 23-lap race by former World Champion Carlos Checa, but the FIXI Crescent Suzuki rider kept a consistent pace and managed to hold off the Spaniard. In race two Cluzel pushed harder as the race wore on and learnt a lot more of how the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R performs at the end of a race on used tyres. He was pleased with the result and believes he can use the data he gathered in the second race to make improvements in the next events.
Leon Camier had an afternoon he would like to forget. He started from fifth on the grid, but a mistake on lap-one in the first race saw him run off the track and get relegated to 15th place. He immediately set about chasing the pack down so that the lead group wouldn’t get away, but his eagerness proved his undoing as he crashed heavily on the last corner on lap three and saw any hope disappear as the bike cartwheeled away from him. Camier picked himself up unhurt and made his way back to the FIXI Crescent Suzuki garage on foot. In race two he got a better start and was running in contention with the leaders, but he again hit the deck in the last corner and slid onto the grass. This time, he was able to remount and continue his chase. He was 10-seconds behind the next rider in the field when he rejoined the race, but the Englishman caught and passed a number of riders to move up to 13th place at the chequered flag.
Today’s races were held in beautiful sunshine with track temperatures reaching 40°C and the home crowd were treated to victories for British riders in both the Superbike and Supersport classes as Tom Sykes took both victories in the Superbike class and Sam Lowes secured victory in the 600cc category.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now return to base in Verwood before heading to Portugal for the next round of the championship at Portimao on Sunday June 9th.
Jules Cluzel: “I am happy with the second race because we finished in the top-10 and I felt some things that we can use which will help us improve at the next couple of races. At the end of the race I was able to push a bit harder and this is good for me. If I push too hard in the first few laps I make mistakes, so I am now trying to ride like I did in Aragon and wait a bit and build up my performance. When I feel I am ready to start pushing from the first lap I will do that, but at this moment I need to wait a bit. I was happy that I ended the race with my lap-time quite close to my best lap and I feel that we can now do some good things soon.”
Leon Camier: “I had a bad start and was a bit too aggressive in the first race, even though I felt ok on the bike. I was trying to get past Canepa, but in the slower corners I was struggling a bit to get the bike pulled-up. I knew this, but I was desperate to get past him because I could see the front group going away, so it was my mistake and I ran off. Then I was pushing really hard to come back through the field and crashed. I was frustrated in race two because I felt like I didn’t have the best grip and the BMWs got past me, so I pushed hard but got caught out at Goddards. The front went from underneath me, I don’t really know why it happened, but I couldn’t do much about it. I picked the bike up and tried my hardest to come back, but the main pack was too far away to catch them. I will now have to put this behind me and try and do my best at Portimao in a couple of week’s time.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “I think Jules did a very solid job today and Donington is one of the most difficult tracks to tame a Superbike and get the best out of it, but Jules rode two very measured races and fought with some high-quality riders to secure his two ninth place finishes. He’s not missing a lot of lap-time to get into the next group and as the team and Jules gain more experience together of what he needs to go fast, I’m sure the next races will allow us to take a step forward in performance.
“I feel bad for Leon today, but to be honest I feel worse for the team and all our partners that joined us here today. Starting from the middle of the second row, and with the race-pace Leon has had all weekend, should have seen us fighting for the podium in both races, but we didn’t come anywhere near that potential. It is unusual for Leon to over-ride to get to where he wants to be, but unfortunately that was the case in the first race and we are just relieved it didn’t result in an injury. The second race was a typical ‘Goddards – don’t know why that happened – crash’ and I was pleased he could pick the bike up and run strong lap-times for the rest of the race to get back into the points.
“Overall race-day hasn’t delivered what FIXI Crescent Suzuki wanted here at Donington, but we will be drawing the positives from the weekend in terms of performance potential and making sure we get the details right in Portugal.”
— Team Althea Racing
The fifth round of the World Superbike Championship took place today at Donington Park, on a dry track with mild temperatures. In the practices and qualifying sessions Davide Giugliano secured some great results which allowed him to line up in eighth place on the third row of today’s race grid. In race one Althea Racing’s rider started well and gave chase to the riders immediately ahead of him, fighting in a group of four. Towards mid-race he made a small mistake which took him off track and caused him to lose ground but Davide then worked hard to catch up, making up positions. After a great battle with Laverty he was able to bring his privateer Aprilia home in sixth place.
In race 2 Davide Giugliano obtained his best result of the season so far. After a positive start the Althea rider was at the front of the field, where he fought it out with the factory Aprilias and BMWs, to finish in a fantastic fourth place. Davide thus closed his weekend in the best way possible, earning himself 23 championship points and confirming both his and his bike’s competitiveness.
Genesio Bevilacqua: “It was a positive weekend for us. Today we finally saw Davide fighting on an equal level with the factory riders. We have seen that our rider can fight in every race for the positions that count. I hope that from now on Davide will combine consistency with his great talent. Our bike is performing as well as the factory bike, although we are still lacking a little experience, because the RSV4 is a new bike for us, and we are continuing to get to know it better, race after race. Our technicians are doing a great job and it’s also thanks to them that we are close to obtaining the results that we want to obtain.”
Davide Giugliano: “In race one I had trouble finding a good rhythm. I also made a mistake but then I was able to catch up to sixth place. I wasn’t totally satisfied with the race but it helped me understand many things that I then used to my advantage in race two. The second race went much better. We did what we expected to do although I must say it is difficult to battle with the factory riders. But we’re not far off being able to fight regularly with them. We were the first privateers in the midst of all the factory bikes”