2011 World Superbike
The 2011 World Superbike Championship returns to Donington Park in the UK this weekend after a year hiatus.
Leading the points race is Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa, who doubled at the opening round in Phillip Island a month ago.
Second in the points race is the reigning World Superbike Champion, Max Biaggi. The “Roman Emperor” placed his Aprilia Alitalia on the podium at both races in Phillip Island, taking second both times.
The riders will be at the 12-turn Donington today (Friday) for the first free practice and a qualifying practice. Check back with UltimateMotorcycling.com for updates.
Before all the action begins this weekend at Round 2 of 13, here are some stats and facts from World Superbike:
• Leon Camier made his debut race in Donington back in 2009 and was able to obtain sixth place in race two starting from the seventeenth spot. During the same year he won from pole here the first race of the British championship;
• Four podiums out of six races run here for Max Biaggi, who however has never taken a Superbike victory on the English track. His last win here dates back to 2003, in the MotoGP class. Max has always scored points in Donington, except for the second 2009 race, when a collision with another rider put him back in 21st spot, with the pain of a fractured bone in his foot;
• Carlos Checa has been able to finish in the top-10 only once out of four races run in Donington, in race two in 2008. Carlos collected two falls in his two race weekends here, both in 2008 race one and in 2009 race two. Another fall prevented him from reaching his best result here: in 2002 in MotoGP he started from second and led half of the race before sliding into retirement;
• Jonathan Rea in 2009 was seventh in race one, while in race two he went off-track, coming back in 28th spot and climbing through the order to finish fifteenth. In the Supersport championship Jonathan was third in the 2008 race behind Joshua Brookes and Andrew Pitt. In his British Superbikes career (2005-2007), Rea wasn’t able to climb on the podium in Donington;
• Mark Aitchison is looking for his maiden points in Superbike, after the two races in Australia in which he obtained a sixteenth place as best result. His previous experience here dates back to 2009, in the Supersport championship: he qualified fifth and was able to run only three laps into the race. He didn’t have much luck either in 2008 when he qualified seventeenth and finished thirteenth;
• Troy Corser will equal Carl Fogarty for the number of races run in Donington, 24. On the English track Troy won both races in 1996 from pole and has climbed onto the podium a total of thirteen times (a record for the Donington track), the last one in 2008, race two. In the 2009 races he recorded a retirement and a 20th place;
• Joan Lascorz in 2009 finished second in the Supersport race, behind Cal Crutchlow. After two retirements in Australia, Joan is still looking for his first chequered flag in Superbike;
• The best result in Donington in the MotoGP championship for Marco Melandri is a third scored in 2006 behind Daniel Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi, while in the 250 cc championship he won the 2002 race;
• Noriyuki Haga won three times out of twelve races run here, starting from the front row only in the 2007 edition. In his last four appearances here he collected two retirements, a disqualification and a third;
• Despite finishing three times in the points out of four races run in Donington, Roberto Rolfo is still looking for a top-10 placement in qualifying here. His best grid spot was a sixteenth place in 2007, when he finished both races inside the top-10. Rolfo finished as a runner-up in the 250 cc championship, behind the late Daijiro Kato;
• The last experience of Sylvain Guintoli in the Donington track was not a pleasant one: in the 2009 British Superbike championship he was second in grid when a collision with Joshua Brookes cost him a broken ankle;
• James Toseland raced four times in Donington, winning race one in 2007. He was leading also race two, but a technical problem sidelined him;
• In the Supersport championship, Eugene Laverty was fifth in the 2009 race;
• Tom Sykes obtained his best result in Donington in his first race run here in 2008 when he was second, his only career podium to date. His best result in the British championship was a second behind Leon Haslam in both 2007 races;
• Chris Vermeulen has never raced in Donington in Superbike, despite having participated in three championships. He raced here four times in the MotoGP class, where he was able to finish third in 2007 and qualified second in 2006 behind Daniel Pedrosa;
• The best performance for Michel Fabrizio here is a third in race one in the 2009 edition. He also endured difficult races: a retirement and three finishes outside the top-10 out of six races run in Donington;
• Ayrton Badovini finished twelfth the first race of 2008: he was the only Kawasaki rider to make it to the finish;
• Results in progression for Leon Haslam in Donington: he was eighth in race one in 2008 racing as a wild card, then fourth and second in 2009. He has a remarkable string of good results here in the British championship: eight straight podiums out of ten races run. Haslam won both British Superbike races in 2007;
• Jakub Smrz ran six races in Donington, racking up his best result in 2008 race one, when he was sixth;
• Ruben Xaus obtained his best result here in the second 2007 race, fourth, out of eight races run. Three times out of four he qualified in the top-10, reaching the front row in 2008 with a fourth grid spot;
• Maxime Berger finished on the podium the 2009 Superstock 1000 race behind Xavier Simeon and Claudio Corti.
World Superbike Team Notes
• Aprilia never won in Donington: their best result was a second place with Biaggi in the first 2009 race behind Ben Spies’ Yamaha;
• the best result for BMW in the 2009 races was a ninth by Ruben Xaus in race two;
• Ducati won sixteen times in Donington, but only twice in the last eight races run here. Their last win dates back 2008, race one, with Troy Bayliss in his last year before retirement. In their last four race weekends here, Ducati started from pole three times;
• 2008 is also the year of the last win for Honda in Donington, with Ryuichi Kiyonari, his last win in Superbikes. The Japanese that year won three of the four races run in Great Britain, scoring the double in Brands Hatch;
• Kawasaki dominated in Donington in the early ’90s: in 1994 they won with Scott Russell three of the four races run here. The previous year Russell was able to score the double;
• Ten years since the last win for Suzuki here, with Pierfrancesco Chili;
• Yamaha won three of the last six races run in Donington, scoring the double in 2009 with Ben Spies.
World Superbike Donington Milestones:
1988: first race of the World Superbike Championship. Roger Burnett set pole position with a Honda, race 1 winner was Davide Tardozzi on a Bimota powered by Yamaha and race 2 winner was Marco Lucchinelli on a Ducati. The event was won on aggregated times by Lucchinelli;
1992: Carl Fogarty left his first mark on the World Championship. He took his first pole and first fastest lap in race 1, falling while in the lead and leaving the win to Raymond Roche. He fought back and in race 2 he took the first of his 59 wins;
1994: First podium and first fastest lap for Troy Corser;
1997: first pole position for Neil Hodgson;
2000: first win for Neil Hodgson;
2001: first pole position, first podium and first fastest lap for the late Steve Hislop. In race two Chili took to the top step of the podium for the last time a 750 cc. machine, the Suzuki GSX-750 R. From that moment onwards only 1000 cc. (and from 2008 1200 cc.) won Superbike races;
2008: maiden podium for Tom Sykes and Cal Crutchlow.
World Supersport Flash Data
• The most successful rider in Donington is Paolo Casoli, which won three of the eight races run here, in 1997, 1998 and 2001. No other rider was able to win more than once in Donington;
• the average race speed was improved each year, going from the 144.030 km/h of 1997 to the 154.980 km/h in 2009;
• Jamie Whitham (1999) and Cal Crutchlow (2009) are the only British riders to have won in the Supersport class in Donington.