Following a month-long break, the 2013 World Superbike Championship resumes at the legendary Nurburgring in German.
The track returned to the World SBK schedule in 2008, featuring a new slow section after the first of 16 corners.
The Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli leads the WSBK Championship after nine of 14 rounds. The Aprilia Racing Team rider spent the summer break in physiotherapy, attempting to get some additional strength on his injured shoulder. Guintoli’s injury requires surgery, but the RSV4 rider decided not to undergo an operation over the summer break.
Only 13 points behind the leader is Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes. The Brit, who briefly led the championship, is chasing his first WSBK title. Last season, the ZX-10R rider finished a half-point behind the now-retired Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing).
Sykes, who earned seven of nine poles so far this season, also has luck at Nurburgring; he took his maiden World Superbike win there in 2010.
Guintoli’s teammate Eugene Laverty wants to keep his momentum going following his double podium at Silverstone, which helped him to narrow the gap to the front and climb to third position in the provisional standings.
The Nurburgring is indeed a favorable track for the Irishman, who was second in both races last year. Works BMW riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies are hoping to turn the page on their disappointing last event and have radically different memories of last year’s round. The Italian, who entered the German event as the man to beat, lost the lead by crashing out in both races, while Davies achieved his first ever WSBK win (Race 2).
The two riders who managed to climb on the top step of the podium in UK, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), are aiming to build on their recent results and be competitive until the end of the season. Rea is currently the only rider able to win twice at the Ring (2009, Race 1 and 2010, Race 2).
Boosted by their Silverstone podium finishes, Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) hope to be in the mix for the top-3 once again, while Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) is still waiting for a breakthrough in his so far frustrating 2013 season. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing Team Ducati) will tackle his and his team’s home Round with confidence. In 2008, the German rider managed to secure the pole start for the two races, and finished both races in third place.
Aussie Mark Aitchison will replace Alex Lundh, at Team Pedercini Kawasaki for the second time this year. The Swedish rider didn’t manage to get back to full fitness for the German event, and will hope to make his return at Istanbul for the eleventh round.
IDM riders Markus Reiterberger (Team VanZon Remeha BMW) and Matej Smrz (Yamaha Motor Deutschland) will join the party at the Nurburgring. Smrz, the Czech rider, younger brother of former WSBK rider Jakub Smrz, will bring an R1 back to the series after almost two years of absence (last time out was Portimao 2011).
2013 World Superbike Point Standings (after 9 of 14 rounds):
1. Sylvain Guintoli, Aprilia: 262
2. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki: 249
3. Eugene Laverty, Aprilia: 226
4. Marco Melandri, BMW: 221
5. Chaz Davies, BMW: 180
6. Loris Baz, Kawasaki: 180
7. Jonathan Rea, Honda: 176
8. Michel Fabrizio, Aprilia: 138
9. Leon Camier, Suzuki: 114
10. Jules Cluzel, Suzuki: 113
11. Davide Giugliano, Aprilia: 100
12. Ayrton Badovini, Ducati: 91
13. Max Neukirchner, Ducati: 77
14. Carlos Checa, Ducati: 68
15. Leon Haslam, Honda: 51
16. Federico Sandi, Kawasaki: 36
17. Ivan Clementi, BMW: 18
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo, BMW: 15
19. Niccolò Canepa, Ducati: 11
20. Alexander Lundh, Kawasaki: 10
21. Fabrizio Lai, Kawasaki: 8
22. Glen Allerton, BMW: 6
23. Mark Aitchison, Kawasaki: 5
24. Jamie Stauffer, Honda: 4
25. Kosuke Akiyoshi, Honda: 2
26. Noriyuki Haga, BMW: 2