These just in:
WORLD SUPERBIKE MAKES ITS DÉBUT IN TURKEY ON THE INTERCITY ISTANBUL PARK CIRCUIT.
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI AND EUGENE LAVERTY ARE EAGER TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR FAMILIARITY WITH THE TRACK IN THE FIGHT FOR TOP SPOT IN THE RIDER STANDINGS.
APRILIA ARRIVES IN TURKEY WITH A SOLID LEAD IN THE MANUFACTURER STANDINGS.
Noale, 11 September 2013 - World Superbike is preparing for two away rounds in first-time locations. Before taking on Laguna Seca in the United States the factory derivative stars will race on the Turkish Intercity Istanbul Park circuit for the first time ever. Located in the Asian section of its namesake city, the track is 5,340 metres long with eight left-handers, six right-handers and an anticlockwise racing direction.
For many riders this is not a completely new location since they have ridden here at some other point in their respective careers. This is the case for Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty, the Aprilia riders who are lying second and fourth respectively in the Championship.
The single point that separates Sylvain from the top spot merely increases his ambition for victory. The recent races at the Nürburgring confirmed that his injured shoulder is holding up well and that it is not having an impact on his performance. His knowledge of the track and its characteristics could give the French rider an advantage in bringing out his best performance. At four rounds from the end of the season, the battle will be more heated than ever.
Sylvain Guintoli: "Istanbul Park is a great track where I have good memories from my GP days. More importantly, the fight for the championship is on, and this is very exciting. After the disappointment in Germany, my goal is to get back on the top step of the podium".
Eugene Laverty, coming off a podium finish in Germany, has also already had a taste of the Turkish asphalt, but he'll need to recalibrate his point of reference based on the powerful RSV4 Superbike. The Northern Irish rider, fourth in the rider standings, is a potential contender for the title. If he wants to keep his hopes alive there is only one strategy to follow: finish the upcoming rounds ahead of his direct rivals.
Eugene Laverty: "I raced in Istanbul back in 2007 in the 250cc World Championship so it's not entirely a new circuit for me. I expect that it will be much different on a superbike though so I will need to relearn the circuit. I'm still in the title fight and I will do my best to outscore my championship rivals this weekend".
Release Date: Wednesday 11 September 2013
New-look Pata Honda team heads to Asia
The Pata Honda team will compete for the first time in Turkey in this weekend's 11th round World Superbike championship event at Istanbul Park with a weekend schedule that runs an hour earlier than other SBK events.
The 5.338km Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, which was completed just over eight years ago, lies on the Asian side of Istanbul and, for the Pata Honda team and riders, it will be a first racing visit to the Turkish city.
The team will be without regular rider Jonathan Rea, who broke his left femur after crashing on another rider's oil on 1 September at the Nürburgring in Germany. The 26-year-old underwent surgery that evening and is optimistic about a relatively quick rehabilitation for his injury.
Rea will be replaced at Istanbul Park by Italian rider Michel Fabrizio, who has been competing in the 2013 World Superbike championship with another team. The 28-year-old from Rome currently lies in eighth place in the 2013 championship standings with one podium finish in the opening round at Phillip Island in Australia.
Fabrizio joins Pata Honda's Leon Haslam who continues his own rehabilitation from a broken leg sustained in a practice crash at Assen in The Netherlands in April. The 30-year-old British rider has been getting back up to speed over the last few races and will be looking to improve on his season's best result of seventh last time out at the Nürburgring.
I'm really excited about going to race in Istanbul, even though some of the other Superbike riders have ridden there before. I've seen a few of the GP races there on video and it looks pretty awesome, but I won't really know how it is until I get out there on the bike on Friday morning. We made some more progress last time in Germany but, although I was hanging on to the back of the leading group in race two, we still had some issues. But I do feel like I'm finally in a position - both physically and with the bike - to be fighting for podiums again. We need a few more things to fall into place for that to happen, but we're nearly there.
I am very happy to come back to the Honda CBR after my earlier experience with the DFX Honda Team. To race with the Ten Kate boys in the Pata Honda team is a real honour for me and, of course, I will do my best to get Jonathan's machine near to the front. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Jonathan a fast recovery from his injury and I would like to thank the whole Honda Superbike team for their hard work to fix the bike in time for me to race in Istanbul.