Hopkins and Haslem preview World Superbike Donington
The British round in the Superbike World Championship will be a home race for Stiggy Racing Honda’s Leon Haslam as the famous Donington circuit, with its unpredictable weather conditions, is literally located in his back yard.
The only remaining British venue in the current World Superbike events list, is a favourite with many riders because of its combination of high speed straights and fast, flowing curves. The 4km long track – which dates back to 1931- has recently been surfaced and allows great grip in the dry, but could prove tricky if the damp British weather plays its tricks.
The Stiggy Racing Honda pairing of Leon Haslam and Anthony West have already shown they are capable of mastering tricky wet conditions, as both riders placed themselves in the top ten of their respective championship races in the wet at Misano last weekend.
West’s performance was on the up again after struggling through the last rounds, in which the young australian was relegated to the back of the field in the qualifying sessions and struggled to make up for losses on race day. His seventh place at Misano shows West is back on form again and eager to re-claim a place at the front of the Supersport field this weekend.
Leon Haslam will be racing on familiar soil this weekend, as the Donington track also hosts the Haslam family’s race school. Haslam will take advantage of his extended knowledge of the track to unleash the full potential of his Stiggy Racing Honda Superbike, and mount afresh charge at the Donington podium in front of the massive home audience that is expected to attend the British round this weekend.
Anglo-American John Hopkins had to sit out the Misano races after struggling with the mobility in his legs in the first day of qualifying, and choose to nurse his injuries in order to make a full recovery for the Donington race. He will board his Stiggy Racing Honda once again this weekend, and aims to catch up with the front of the field after his six week absence.
Italian Gianluza Vizziello has left Misano with an eleventh place under his belt in the Supersport race, and aims to deliver another fine performance for his team at Donington.
Leon Haslam Speaks… (WSBK)
"I know Donington well and I was running second there last year as a wild card before being taken out, so we know our pace is good there. The last four rounds have been tough for me because they have been held on some circuits that I have never been to before, and that just added to us not having been on top of a few issues as well. I’ve had three no finishes in those four rounds. There should be a big crowd at Donington and it will be their only chance to see us at a British race this year as well."
John Hopkins Speaks… (WSBK)
"I couldn’t race in Misano simply because me leg was so swollen. But now I have started to break the scar tissue inside the leg I will keep cycling and working it and hopefully we’ll be a lot stronger going into Donington, and make the full weekend there. That was the ultimate goal anyway, make the full return at Donington."
Anthony West Speaks… (WSS)
"I like Donington a lot and have been doing pretty good there. I just have to see how the bike performs there. I think for the first part of the track it should be good, but the other part I am a little worried with the package we have at the moment. I hope we can do well, and hope we can make some changes so I can be more happy with my racing and set some better results. "
Gianluca Vizziello Speaks… (WSS)
"I am looking forward to the next round in Donington. We have definitely set a step forward at Misano last weekend, but I want to make another step and finish within the top ten. We still have to work on the issues we have with the front of our machine, and are looking for some more power. I am confident we can further develop our bikes in the qualifying sessions, and aim to set some good results this weekend."
Johan Stigefelt Speaks… (Team Manager)
"Donington is the home of Leon and a track John, and Anthony know very well from the past. Gianluca has only been here twice before so it might be a bit more difficult for him. As we all know the weather at Donington can be very unpredictable. I think we need to get our things together early in the weekend, and work hard towards finding the race set-up. We will be focused qualifying well, as it will be very important at the Donington track. I have pretty high hopes and we will see what will happen this weekend.