Shell Advance Honda riders Chris Walker and Leon Haslam will be boosted by the massive support of home fans for this SundayÂ¹s British 500cc Grand Prix. Both Walker and Haslam know just how special this race as they live just a few minutes drive...
Shell Advance Honda riders Chris Walker and Leon Haslam will be boosted by the massive support of home fans for this Sunday¹s British 500cc Grand Prix.
Both Walker and Haslam know just how special this race as they live just a few minutes drive from the Leicestershire track.
The eighth round of the world championship marks the halfway point of the season with both riders hoping to use the race as a turning point and put an end to string of niggling injuries.
Walker has made a positive recovery from his high speed crash during practice for last week¹s Dutch TT and has been passed fit to ride at Donington by track medical staff.
However Walker intends to take no risks just a week after suffering concussion and bruised hands at Assen.
"I feel I have recovered but to be honest you never really know until you get on the bike, especially a 500 grand prix machine, which is like nothing else on two wheels," Walker said.
"If after five laps of practice I don¹t feel up to it I will be the first one to stop. But if everything feels comfortable and the doctors are happy I want to race on Sunday."
Walker¹s mood has been boosted by the news that the Shell Honda team have airfreighted a new frame and swing-arm from Japan so that the British ace will have the use of two Honda NSR500s this weekend. Walker virtually destroyed one of the hand-built Honda machines when he crashed in Holland.
"It¹s been a tough year to come into 500s because everyone is going much faster than last season. It¹s the most competitive year of GP racing ever and I¹m just starting."
Walker, from nearby Nottingham, has enjoyed plenty British and World Championship Superbike success at Donington and his local track knowledge will be a huge bonus.
For Haslam the expectations are just as high from devoted home fans. The Derby teenager will race the lightweight v-twin version of the Honda NSR500, a bike ideally suited to the unique combination of fast, sweeping curves and the stop-start Melbourne Loop that make Donington almost two tracks in one.
"For me it¹s the biggest race of the season," Haslam said.
"I know the track very well although it is not one of my real favourites. Even though I haven¹t done a lot of laps here on a 500 the Honda v-twin should be suited to this circuit so I¹m looking forward to the race."
And Haslam refuses to use his recovery from a broken wrist (at the French GP) and fractured finger at Assen last week as potential excuses for not finishing in the points.
"I¹ve had the fractures and some bumps and bruises, a little bit of everything, but the injuries are OK and they won¹t hold me back."
The British GP was moved to its now regular home of Donington in 1987 after previously being hosted at the Isle of Man and Silverstone.