Tom Sykes was the absolute master of last year’s event by winning the Tissot-Superpole and both races in dominant fashion in front of his home crowd.
Donington Park will host Round 5 of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend. This will be the 22nd time the Superbikes will hit the Leicestershire track, the first of which dates back to April 3rd 1988, when it all started. The first ever event in the history of the series saw local rider Roger Burnett (Honda) taking pole position, while the two races were won by Italians Davide Tardozzi (Bimota) and Marco Lucchinelli (Ducati).
The current layout of Donington Park features a fast, flowing first half of the track and a heavy braking, stop-and-go second one, which make it difficult for teams and riders to find a good overall setup for their bikes.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was the absolute master of last year’s event by winning the Tissot-Superpole and both races in dominant fashion in front of his home crowd, as well as setting a new lap record and a best lap for the track. Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz made his WSBK debut at Donington Park two years ago, when he replaced the injured Joan Lascorz.
At the moment Sykes and Baz lie second and fourth in the standings, respectively, behind new leader Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike). The Ulsterman is hoping to keep his winning streak alive, as he stood atop the podium in the last three encounters. Rea has already been victorious at Donington Park (2012, Race 2), at the end of one of the most incredible and unpredictable races of all times. Local rider Leon Haslam from Derby is hoping to step up his game after the good progress made in the one day, post-race official test at Imola last week.
Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri have enjoyed good results at Donington Park in recent years, with the Frenchman twice on the podium in 2013 and the Italian rider able to score two wins (2011 and 2012, Race 1) and two second places (2011 Race 2, 2013 Race 1).
There have been no top 3 finishes so far at Donington Park in WSBK for the Ducati Superbike Team duo Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, as the best result was a fourth place claimed by the Italian rider last year, in Race 2. Davies, on the other hand, was edged out by Luca Scassa for the win in the World Supersport race in 2011.
The whole Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Team is looking forward to their home round, with Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes aiming to get back on podium form after a difficult round at Imola. The only podium finish for Laverty at Donington Park came last year in Race 2, as the Irishman on an Aprilia was third behind Sykes and Guintoli. Lowes dominated last year’s BSB round by edging out his main rival for the title Shane Byrne in both races. Back in 2008, the 23 year old from Lincoln scored his first podium finish at international level here by crossing the line second in the STK600 encounter.
MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport and Team Hero EBR will continue their learning curve within the Superbike World Championship at Donington Park.
Leon Camier is looking forward to his home round, which he will contest aboard the EVO-spec BMW S1000RR of the BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team, once again as substitute rider for the injured Sylvain Barrier. The battle for supremacy in the EVO class will see David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Team Ducati), like the rest of the field, aiming again for top honours in the new category.