2013 World Superbike
The 2013 World Superbike Championship heads this weekend to the track that has much significance to the series, Donington Park.
The English circuit is where the first round of World Superbike occurred back on April 3, 1988. During that race, local rider Roger Burnett took the pole position on a Honda, but the races would be won by Bimota’s Davide Tardozzi (Race 1) and Marco Lucchinelli (Cagiva).
Things have changed significantly since that first race, and with these changes arrived a much more competitive field.
One glance at the current point standings and this is easy to see. Leading the way as the series heads to round five of 15 is Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli.
Guintoli didn’t win at the previous round at Monza, but his 4-4 finish, combined with his 3-6 finish at Assen, 2-2 at Aragon and a 1-2 at Phillip Island, Guintoli has the championship lead with 137 points. He is 13 points ahead of his teammate, Eugene Laverty.
The race will be special for both riders considering it’s the closest circuit to Laverty’s Northern Ireland home, and the Frenchman Guintoli only lives 30 minutes away from Donington. Neither rider has ever won at Donington.Laverty crashed in two out of his four World SBK races there, and Guintoli’s best result is fifth (race 2, 2012).
Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Superbike) says: “Donington has always been a thriller for me! Amongst many eventful races, this is the track where I met my wife, but also the one where I broke my leg very badly in 2009. I live 30min from Doni so it’s like my home race. Many friends and family are coming to support me.”
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Superbike) says: “Donington has never been kind to me in the past so I’ll be hoping that changes this weekend. We’ve had a great run of form lately and I want to continue our podium streak. Donington couldn’t be more different to the previous circuit of Monza and we’ll need to work to control the power of the RSV4. Seven riders on five different makes of machinery could win this weekend so it’s going to be a tough fight.”
The track has only been kind to the locals once, when last year Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea became the first rider from the UK to win a race at Donington Park after four years.
Before Rea, James Toseland was the last to score a victory (2007, race 1). Rea won one of the most unpredictable races of all time, settled at the very last turn of the race, after a collision with Leon Haslam and a consequent “domino effect” that involved Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who had previously tried to overtake Haslam, too – teammate at the time – for the race win.
Local boy Haslam, now back with the Honda family for 2013, is still recovering from the leg injury he sustained at Assen almost a month ago, and he’s trying his best in order to take part in his home Round.
Despite the thrilling finale in 2012, Melandri has fond memories of the last weekend out on the Leicestershire circuit, as the Italian managed to give BMW their maiden World Superbike win in race 1. Works BMW rider Chaz Davies seeks redemption at Donington Park, following two difficult rounds at both Assen and Monza.
Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes’ best result dates back to 2008, when he raced as a wildcard from British Superbike and finished with a sensational second-place in the aggregate race 1 results, behind Troy Bayliss.
Teammate Loris Baz made his debut in WSBK last year at Donington, as substitute for the unfortunate Joan Lascorz. FIXI Crescent Suzuki Leon Camier scored his only WSBK podium finish at the British venue in 2011 (third place, race 2), but won race 1 two years before, in his winning British Superbike season.
Team Ducati Alstare welcomes Niccolò Canepa for a one-event participation. The current Superstock 1000 rider will join full-time riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini after testing with fellow Italian last week at Mugello.
The 2011 World SBK Champion Checa is still recovering from an osseus edema in his left shoulder that ruled him out the Monza round.
2013 Donington World Superbike on TV:
beIN SPort will broadcast 2013 Donington World Superbike live, with coverage beginning at 6:45 a.m. EDT.
2013 World Superbike Point Standings (after four of 15 rounds):
- Sylvain Guintoli, Aprilia: 137
- Eugene Laverty, Aprilia: 124
- Tom Sykes, Kawasaki: 119
- Marco Melandri, BMW: 96
- Chaz Davies, BMW: 94
- Loris Baz, Kawasaki: 75
- Michel Fabrizio, Aprilia: 74
- Jonathan Rea, Honda: 71
- Davide Giugliano, Aprilia: 49
- Leon Camier, Suzuki: 46
- Jules Cluzel, Suzuki: 41
- Max Neukirchner, Ducati: 39
- Ayrton Badovini, Ducati: 32
- Carlos Checa, Ducati: 29
- Leon Haslam, Honda: 29
- Ivan Clementi, BMW: 14
- Federico Sandi, Kawasaki: 12
- Fabrizio Lai, Kawasaki: 8
- Alexander Lundh, Kawasaki: 7
- Vittorio Iannuzzo, BMW: 6
- Glen Allerton, BMW: 6
- Jamie Stauffer, Honda: 4
- Kosuke Akiyoshi, Honda: 2
- Mark Aitchison, Ducati: 2