2014 Donington World Superbike
En route to the 2013 World Superbike title, Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes doubled at three rounds – Magny-Cours, Imola and Donington Park.
His performance at the latter was completely flawless, the Brit earning the double win from the pole by large margins. It was also a memorable win for Sykes, considering it was his first-ever double at a World SBK round.
And this weekend as 2014 World Superbike heads to Donington Park for round five of 13, Sykes will seek a carbon copy of last season’s performance. Why? As Sykes enters his home race, he trails Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea by four points.
“Donington is a fantastic circuit and doing the double there last year made it very special because it was my first ever double in World Superbike. You cannot beat Donington for scenery as well. When the sun is shining there is almost no better place to be. Donington is a great circuit and hopefully we should be able to make the most of it, like we did last year,” Sykes says.
“We should be on a very good level there. There will be more of my family, friends and personal sponsors at this one than any other race of the year so I will use up my allocation of passes for sure! There may be only one British round this year but Donington is a very good motorcycle circuit, also a good one for the spectators. We have to make my home round count.”
Sykes’ will have to watch out for Rea, though. The Honda CBR1000RR pilot has shown nothing but strength, taking five of the last six podiums, which includes winning the past three-consecutive races.
“It feels awesome coming to my home race leading the championship! It won’t change my approach at all but it’s a great feeling to know that we’ve developed the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP to the point where we’re getting on the podium regularly and challenging for victory. I love riding at Donington in front of the true British fans and I had my first road-racing experience there on a Honda CB500,” Rea says.
“No-one hides the fact that the first part of the circuit makes it one of the best in the world. The last part is a bit of a bus-stop and it means you have to compromise to get a good setting for high-speed changes of direction and stability under braking. Our data from last year showed that the settings at Imola and Donington were quite similar, so we’ll start the weekend with something like what we finished with at Imola. And that wasn’t too bad!”
As for the leaders’ teammates, Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam will hope to entertain his home crowd. He has struggled, but showed promise in the one-day post test at Imola last weekend.
As for Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz, he has stood on the podium three times, including a two second-place finishes at Aragon where Sykes doubled. The Frenchman also made his WSBK debut at Donington two years ago when replacing the injured Joan Lascorz.
Baz is currently fourth in the point standings with 119, 20 behind Rea and only four behind his fellow countryman, Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli.
The RSV4 pilot, who won two races so far this season, and his teammate Marco Melandri have much luck at Donington. Guintoli had finished twice on the podium last year, and Melandri has a record of two wins and two second-place finishes at Donington.
Neither of the Ducati Superbike Team riders – Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies – have ever finished on the podium at Donington Park. The top result for the 1199 Panigale R was fourth set last season by Giugliano in race 2.
This will be a home round for the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Team. Both riders – Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes – struggled at Imola, and will be looking to get back on the podium.
As for the new teams, MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport and Team Hero EBR will make their debut at Donington as they continue to develop their perspective machines.
In the EVO class, BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike’s Leon Camier will seek top results at his home race. But Kawasaki Racing Team’s David Salom and Althea Racing Ducati’s Niccolò Canepa will once again provide the biggest competition in the class.
This will be the 22nd time the Superbikes will race at the Leicestershire track, the first of which dates back to April 3, 1988, the first year of the World Superbike Championship.
2014 Donington World Superbike on TV
beIN Sports will provide broadcast coverage of Donington World Superbike Sunday, May 25, at a time to be announced. Expect the coverage to be on in the early morning hours.
2014 World Superbike Point Standings (after four of 13 rounds):
1. J. REA, HONDA 139
2. T. SYKES, KAWASAKI 135
3. S. GUINTOLI, APRILIA 123
4. L. BAZ, KAWASAKI 119
5. C. DAVIES, DUCATI 87
6. M. MELANDRI, APRILIA 84
7. D. GIUGLIANO, DUCATI 69
8. E. LAVERTY, SUZUKI 62
9. L. HASLAM, HONDA 58
10. A. LOWES, SUZUKI 50
11. T. ELIAS, APRILIA 50
12. D. SALOM, KAWASAKI 34
13. N. CANEPA, DUCATI 28
14. L. CAMIER, BMW 20
15. L. SCASSA, KAWASAKI 16
16. F. FORET, KAWASAKI 10
17. S. MORAIS, KAWASAKI 10
18. J. GUARNONI, KAWASAKI 7
19. G. ALLERTON, BMW 6
20. K. BOS, HONDA 5
21. C. CORTI, MV AGUSTA 5
22. M. FABRIZIO, KAWASAKI 2
23. A. ANDREOZZI, KAWASAKI 1