Superbike riders celebrate 80 years of Donington
Donington (UK), Thursday 24th March 2011 – The traditional pre-event press conference for the second round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship on Sunday at Donington Park was an opportunity to celebrate 80 years of motorbike racing at the British circuit.
In 1931 the first-ever motorcycle race took place on a track that, two years later, was to become a permanent park racing circuit, the first of its kind in the world. That first race was won by speedway rider Squib Burton on a Raleigh 350cc and that very same bike was brought out for the traditional group photograph on the starting-grid with the leading protagonists of this year’s Superbike World Championship.
In the presence of Kevin Wheatcroft (Donington Park Chairman) and Paolo Ciabatti (SBK Director), all the riders expressed their delight about the return of Donington Park to the World Superbike calendar.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia), Carlos Checa (Ducati Althea Racing) and Marco Melandri (Yamaha WSBK Team) joined British riders Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) and Eugene Laverty (Yamaha WSBK Team) in unanimously defining the historic track as one of the best in the championship.
It is worth mentioning that the first-ever Superbike World Championship race was also held at the Leicestershire circuit on April 3rd, 1988. For the record books, the two race wins went to Davide Tardozzi (Bimota) and Marco Lucchinelli (Ducati), while the overall victory – on aggregate because the current two-race results formula was only adopted at the next race – went to the former 500 cc Grand Prix World Champion, who as a result was the first race winner in the history of the production-derived Superbike racing series.