There’s no better track to see history be made than Donington Park, as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returns to where it all began 30 years ago. Set in the rolling Leicestershire hills, the quintessentially British countryside takes on a new role when WorldSBK bikes roar out of pit lane and down through the cascading Craner Curves. With records to be broken and even more history to be made, the Prosecco DOC UK Round could be one to remember for a long time.
Fresh off the back of a sensational double secured in Italy, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has now equalled Carl Fogarty’s record of 59 victories, and he will look to go one further this time out at Donington Park. But out of 16 races run around the British track in WorldSBK, Rea has only taken two victories after he had to contend with a strong run of form from his team-mate. Taking the race two victory last season, and seeming to have found a strong set-up from the get go on his ZX-10RR, Rea and his Provec squad will be looking to take the most victories ever in front of the British fans.
The previous king of Donington Park, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was dethroned last season following a string of nine consecutive victories in front of his home fans. Unable to catch Rea in race two, Sykes will be looking to return to the top step here this weekend with the added confidence of his dominant victory in Assen. Holding the pole and circuit lap record at Donington, he’s not a rider to rule out. A consistent podium finisher this season, the Yorkshireman is looking for victories and won’t settle for anything less around the 4.02km track.
Ducati’s Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has a tough record around Donington Park, as the Welsh rider is yet to win in front of his home crowd with three different manufactures. A difficult track for Davies to master, he has four podiums to his name including race two last year but has never been able to bring the fight to the Kawasaki’s. Continuing to work on the set-up with his Panigale alongside the new regulations, Davies will be hoping to reduce the gap in the championship standings which has gradually began to start growing – now up to 47 points.
Hailing just a stones throw from the historic circuit, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) will be hoping to put recent results behind him and put on a strong show as his home fans are set to cheer him this weekend. Getting into some issues with the YZF-R1 over recent rounds, and encountering some avoidable mistakes, he has been unable to show his true potential but will look at rectifying it this weekend. With plenty of experience around Donington, Lowes took a podium finish last season – his first here since 2014 – and he will hope to go one step further in 2018.
Continuing to recover from a monster crash around Buriram International Circuit in Thailand, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) will make his second appearance since the crash following a valiant weekend in Italy. Returning from a pelvic injury at one of the most physical circuits on the calendar, the Irish rider is looking forward to the more flowing nature of Donington Park which also lends itself well to his RSV4. With a podium here in 2013’s race two, he has a varied record but will mainly be focusing on getting the Aprilia back into the top five pace he saw last season.
Another British hero who is set to put on a show for his fans is Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), as he continues his return from injury following a crash in Spain back in April. Being cautious with his recovery, the British rider attempted a come back last time out at Imola, but he decided to sit out of the round. Heading to Donington Park and hoping to make the race start, Camier will look forward to continuing to develop his Honda CBR10000RR Fireblade SP2 after such a strong start with his the new team.
Coming off the back of his best result of the season, Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) took a top five around Imola and will be looking to continue this run of form into the UK. Making some strong steps with his new Italian team, the Spanish rider put on an impressive performance at their home race, as the bike began to make some good progress. With a tough record around Donington Park in the past, it will be a testing weekend for Torres.
Preparing to take on Donington Park for the first time since 2014, Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) will look forward to making an appearance back in front of the British fans despite a tough start to his return. With a best result of seventh so far this season, the French rider has a strong record here – taking a double podium on his last visit – so will hope to make some improvements.
Not only will the British fans have the opportunity to see their regular heroes on track, but a host of wild cards will be hoping to put on a show for the fans. 2017’s podium finisher Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) makes his return once again around Donington Park, alongside 21 year old Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) who has been making the headlines in the UK. Gino Rea (OMG Racing UK) is set to make his WorldSBK debut and Yamaha test rider Niccolo Canepa (Yamaha Motor Europe) will head out on track this weekend.
Don’t miss a minute of the Prosecco DOC UK Round, as riders prepare to take on the circuit of two halves. Lights go out for Race One on Saturday 26th at 13.15 LT (GMT +1), and Race Two at 13.00.
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