Magny-Cours (France), Wednesday 2 October 2013 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship will be on track this weekend, for the second of two back to back rounds. The French venue will host the penultimate event of the season, which could be a decisive one for the four-way title chase. After the two races at Laguna Seca, Championship leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) extended his lead to 23 points over his main rival, who happens to be now Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team).
Both riders shared wins on the American soil in great fashion, but the one achieved by the Irishman last Sunday proved to be crucial for his and other contenders' hopes for victory. Meanwhile Sykes has mixed memories from last year's French Round (the season finale in 2012), as the win achieved in Race 2 proved to be just not enough to clinch the title.
Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) is looking to keep the momentum up after the brilliant second place of the second race at Laguna Seca, while Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), following a best result of 6th last time out, aims high on home soil, on the track that saw him winning the World Supersport race in 2012. Leon Haslam will be facing the event in confident mood, after extending his contract with the Pata Honda Team (as well as his team mate Jonathan Rea) for another season.
Loris Baz' (Kawasaki Racing Team) participation to the French Round is still in doubt, as his conditions will be further checked before the first practice session of the weekend. Frenchman will nevertheless attend his home race pre-event tomorrow at the circuit.
Current Ducati GP test rider Michele Pirro will step in for injured Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), while former WSBK regular Lorenzo Lanzi will make a comeback to the series, for the first of two rounds, with the newly-born Mesaroli Racing Ducati, onboard a 1198RS.
Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) is only one little step away from an historical victory in the series, as the Brit leads the standings with a 49-point advantage over the only Championship contender left, Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), with just two races left to be contested. The Turk won a thrilling race last time out, in front of his home crowd at Intercity Istanbul Park, but the chances left to successfully defend the title he won last year are now very slim.
Fabien Foret could play a key role in keeping his team mate Sofuoglu in contention, as the Frenchman is aiming high in his home round, while Pata Honda duo of Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti are targeting the first win of the season to try and stand in touch for the top-3 in the standings. Moreover, Local rider Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) is looking for a strong performance at Magny-Cours to turn the potential he recently showed into results.
Another change in the PTR Honda line-up, as American Corey Alexander and Brit Lee Johnston will be riding the Honda CBR600RR of the British-based team along with Danny Webb, Luca Marconi and Nacho Calero Perez.