World SBK at Silverstone in the UKFollowing a two-week break since the tragic round at Moscow Raceway in Russia, the World Superbike Championship returns this weekend at Silverstone in the UK.
Round nine arrives following the death of Italian rider Andrea Antonelli in World Supersport. During a wet Moscow Raceway Supersport crash, Antonelli was run over by a fellow rider and passed due to head injury.With heavy hearts, the 2013 World SBK grid returns to the 3.66-mile Silverstone circuit containing 18 turns. The circuit, which returned on the WSBK calendar in 2010, will be using the “old pits” and the start/finish straight between “Woodcote” and “Copse” curves.All eyes will be on Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes, who recently signed a one-year extension to remain with the team through 2014 World SBK. The Brit held the World SBK lead for a round as the series headed into Russia, but due to technical problems on his Ninja ZX-10R, Sykes suffered a DNF in race 1 (race 2 was canceled due to Antonelli tragedy).Sykes, who earned six Superpole wins out of eight rounds, fell back to second in the World Superbike standings, trailing Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli by a mere four points. So far in 2013 World SBK, Sykes has won five races – the most of any other rider this season. And he wants to keep the winning momentum going before the long summer break following Silverstone WSBK.Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Superbike) says: “At the previous round we had an issue in the race but we had been fastest in most of the practice sessions and had great race pace. So in that respect I am happy. When you are pushing at the front of races sometimes mistakes or issues come along.“Last year at Silverstone in normal conditions the Ninja ZX-10R was good but in the wet conditions of raceday we struggled a bit. I think many people understand that we have made a big step with the set-up since then. I am looking forward to racing again in front of my home crowd and hopefully we can have a similar kind of result as we did at Donington, but we will see.“I am going to Silverstone relaxed and motivated and we can look to hopefully get ourselves back on track. There is a long summer break afterwards with three weeks off; then in September the calendar gets really busy again. So a good result at Silverstone would be ideal to enjoy the summer break all the more.”Guintoli was the only other rider to lead the World SBK Championship besides Sykes, and took the lead back with a sixth-place finish at Moscow, despite riding with a shoulder injury sustained during cycling training. Heading into Silverstone, Guintoli’s first thoughts were of Antonelli.Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Superbike) says: “One of us is gone in Moscow, raising many thoughts and feelings. Racing bikes is our job but also our passion and has a big part in our hearts and lives. Silverstone is going to be an emotional race, all our thoughts to his family. R.I.P Andrea Antonelli.”Third in the points is BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri, who trails Sykes by 32 points. The Italian was the winner at Moscow, which was the 13th win of his career. Melandri, as well as his teammate Chaz Davies, will try to keep positive, though BMW Motorrad recently reported it will pull all factory efforts from World Superbike following this season.Seventeen points behind Melandri is Guintoli’s teammate, Eugene Laverty. The Northern Irishman will be looking to forget about his DNF at Moscow when he crashed out on the 16th lap. Laverty is followed by Davies in the points battle. Next up is last year’s Silverstone race-one winner, Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz. The Frenchman was also in the lead during race two before crashing moments before the race was red flagged.Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea and his teammate Leon Haslam arrive in Silverstone following participation in the Suzuka 8 Hours race of the FIM World Endurance Championship.Unfortunately for Rea, he was forced to retire from Suzuka 8 Hours due to his teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari crashing in the third hour of the race. At Silverstone, Rea finished second two times in 2010 behind now-MotoGP pilot Cal Crutchlow.Haslam has never won at Silverstone, but will be looking to bring the momentum of his Suzuka 8 Hours win to Silverstone this weekend.At last year’s Silverstone World SBK, Team Alstare Ducati’s Ayrton Badovini scored his only podium of 2012 by sliding along the finish straight – and over the line – in Race 1, after losing control of his then BMW S1000RR.The Italian targets another great result on the British venue after bringing the 1199 Panigale R to a long awaited maiden WSBK rostrum finish at Moscow Raceway. Badovini’s teammate Carlos Checa has struggled this season, but had doubled at Silverstone aboard the Ducati 1198 during 2011, the year he took the World SBK title.The FIXI Crescent Suzuki Team – still looking for its first top-3 race finish in the season – aims to turn the page on a difficult first part of the season and to shine, in front of the home crowd, with its riders Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel.2013 Silverstone World Superbike TV SchedulebeIN Sport will broadcast live coverage of Silverstone World Superbike beginning at 6:30 a.m. EDT Sunday, Aug. 4.2013 World Superbike Championship Points (after eight of 15 rounds):
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!