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Donington Park Day Three
Rea secures 100th Kawasaki win in tense race two
All British lock out on the podium at Donington Park
The PATA UK Round concluded on Sunday afternoon with a dramatic Race 2, which brought victory for World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) after a crash on Saturday, with Rea’s KRT colleague Tom Sykes and Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s Chaz Davies also on the podium.
Rea’s eighth victory of 2017 extends his lead in the standings to 55 points after six rounds and he rode brilliantly at the Donington Park Circuit to beat his teammate to the line by 1.601s and win his home race.
The result brought an end to Sykes’ remarkable run of nine successive wins at Donington and the Yorkshireman was amongst the first to congratulate Rea on his triumph. It was also Kawasaki’s 100th race win in WorldSBK.
In parc ferme after the race Rea dedicated his win to the late Nicky Hayden who so sadly passed away earlier in the week after a cycling accident in Italy.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) had looked good for a podium result but was caught for third in the final stages by a determined Davies – who had crashed and finished eighth on Saturday.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) completed the top five and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) made it five Britons in the top six, crossing the line five seconds behind Lowes.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) was seventh and he was joined in the top ten by Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven), Jake Dixon (Royal Air Force Reg. & Res. Kawasaki) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team).
Only 14 participants were able to finish the race as a number of high profile riders crashed out, including wild card Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) and Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project).
Meanwhile, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) stopped on the eighth lap after the chain of his Ducati Panigale R broke and fell loose.
The WorldSBK grid will be back in action at the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round at Misano over the 16th-18th June weekend.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
“It means a lot to me, we had to bounce bike and overnight the guys worked so hard. I knew I could win today but coming from 10th so so difficult and I guess thats what happens when I push really. I want to deadicate this race win to Nicky Hayden, the world is a worse place without him.”
P2 – Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)
“All good things come to an end in life but I’m happy. Today I lost a fair fight, unfortunaelt I had a bad start, my position wasn’t good in ninth and I got boxed in. Rea took some closing down, but I had an exciteable and enjoyable race. The character of the bike was in the ball park, and today I was beaten fair.”
P3 – Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“I think the podium is the big bonus here from the home race, it was a really tough race. It wasn’t easy, I had to make it through a fair bit and I used up a lot of tyre. I’m really happy to be here and I want to dedicate this podium to the family of Nicky Hayden.”
Davies third after a strong comeback in Race 2 at Donington, Melandri forced to retire due to a technical problem
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team stepped back on the podium in Race 2 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship at Donington (U.K.) with Chaz Davies. The Welshman mounted a memorable comeback from 17th position after being forced to go off the track in the early laps to avoid a rider who crashed in front of him, taking third place in front of his home fans.
Melandri faced an even more adverse fate; starting from pole position after finishing Race 1 in fourth place, the Italian was forced to retire during lap 10 while he was in fourth position and well within podium contention due to a transmission issue.
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action at Misano (Italy) for the seventh round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for June 16-18. To better prepare for the second home round of the season, the squad will have a two-day test on the Italian track next Wednesday and Thursday.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 3rd
“It would have been nice to get away with the Kawasaki pair, but third place is all we could ask for today. We had a terrible start, which made it for a very difficult race. We had to get through a lot of traffic, I was trying to avoid riders crashing in front of me, and it felt like playing a game of Mario Kart. To be here, on the podium, in front of the home fans, was the most important thing. Towards the end, when I was getting closer to VD Mark, I didn’t have great grip because I had to stress the rear a lot to come back through the field. I just dug in, trying not to make mistakes and figure out where to pass really quickly. It was close racing. Anyway I’m confident for the rest of the season because this track has always been difficult for us and we can take a lot of positives going into Misano.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – DNF
“It’s been a difficult weekend for us. Since Imola, we’ve been struggling with some unusual issues. The bike is moving a lot under acceleration, the rear is lifting off the ground while changing gears, and we’re forced to cut some power. Today, unfortunately, these vibrations caused the front sprocket to fall off. It’s a real pity, because today the bike was more balanced and I had a better feeling with the front. Anyway, despite all these issues we’re always fighting for podiums. The team is working hard to improve the package, and we’ll keep doing it during next week’s test. We’re very determined to find a solution as soon as possible in order to fight for wins again.”
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba S.p.A CEO and Team Principal:
“Surely this round’s results do not mirror our potential. Chaz rode a great race and managed to finish on the podium despite some unlucky episodes that temporarily pushed him back. Marco was forced to retire due to a technical problem, but once again was ready to fight for the podium. We leave Donington with a bitter taste in our mouths, and we want to wash it away in Misano in front of our home fans.”
Van der Mark Pushes for the Podium in Race 2 at Donington
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team enjoyed a second good day today at Donington Park for round six of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Michael van der Mark produced a brilliant ride and was involved in a dramatic battle for the podium before securing an excellent fourth place. His teammate Alex Lowes – who recorded the team’s first podium of the season in race one – had another strong race and crossed the line in fifth to make it a positive weekend for the team at their home event.
Van der Mark started from second on the grid and despite not having the perfect start, he immediately attacked, pulling off a number of superb overtaking manoeuvres to move up to second by the end of lap two. The Dutch rider continued to push but could not close the gap to the leader, so he decided to focus on riding his own race. His R1 was performing beautifully around the fast and flowing Donington Park circuit and he kept the hammer down, showing amazing consistency and never dropping below a 1:28s lap. Towards the end of the race he was caught by a charging Chaz Davies, but did not give up third place easily, fighting until the last corner of the penultimate lap before Davies managed to get past. The 23-year-old brought the R1 home in fourth place to equal his best result of the season, missing out on the podium by just 0.784s.
His teammate Lowes delivered another excellent ride at his home race after his podium heroics in race one. The British rider, starting from seventh on the grid, got boxed in at the start but recovered in the opening stages of the race to be in sixth by the end of the second lap. Unfortunately, he struggled to advance further for a number of laps, which affected his race. By the time he had moved into fourth position, the gap to his teammate ahead of him was over two seconds. Pushing to the limit as always, he valiantly fought with Davies as the Welsh rider fought his way through the pack, but did not quite have the same feeling with his R1 in the hotter conditions on Sunday than he did in race one. The 26-year-old decided to be sensible and focus on the championship, capping off a superb weekend by crossing the line in fifth.
This result means that Lowes, who is fifth in the standings with 121 points, has closed the gap to Marco Melandri in fourth to just 16 points. Van der Mark’s fourth place means he has now moved up to sixth in the championship, just 19 points behind his teammate. The team now head to a private test at Misano, before round seven of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship at the same circuit in two weeks’ time.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
My start was not perfect and at Donington, especially at the first corner, you have to be at the front. On lap two I passed Leon Haslam at Melbourne, then at the last corner I took Mercado and I was in second place. After that I kept pushing and I saw Johnathan Rea was too fast, but I kept pushing and did my own race. I improved my pace from yesterday by a lot so I was really happy. I saw I was opening a gap behind me, but in the last nine laps Chaz Davies was behind me and he was closing all the time. One lap before the end he passed me. I tried to get him back but unfortunately, I missed the podium. I am really happy with my race and the bike, it showed we can be on the podium in a normal race and I am very pleased with that. We should be strong at Misano. We know where we need to improve now, in the slower corners, it is also where Chaz was stronger than me which unfortunately happened to be the last part of the track. It is good for us to see we are strong in the faster areas and to see where we need to improve. We have a nice test at Misano this week, then hopefully we can arrive for the race weekend there having made a step.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
Todays race was obviously not as much fun as yesterday with all the overtakes! My start wasn’t too great and on the first couple of laps I got a bit boxed in. I was really struggling to pass Mercado on the Aprilia. I tried a few times but ran wide at one point and my gap to Michael had grown to a couple of seconds. Once I got a clear track I was putting in some consistent times, but honestly, I was struggling to go any quicker. Near the end of the race when Chaz came past, there was nothing I could do because he was quicker than me, so I had to just be sensible. Of course, it would have been nice to have been able to have pushed to the end and join the fight for the podium, but I didnt have the correct feeling to do that today so I had to settle for the points. A third and fifth at my home round is really good, I am happy with that, and we closed down the gap to the guy in fourth in the championship. Its been a really positive weekend. Massive thanks to all the people that came, because its really, really nice for me to ride in front of my home fans. I think we can say we did a good job and I am looking forward to Misano. One of the good things is that the top guys in the championship passed me during the race and I could follow them to see where we are strong and where we need to improve, so I am looking forward to the test at Misano to try and improve.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
“As a team, we can’t have any complaints about the way the weekend has gone at our home race here at Donington Park. Perhaps a 22 rather than 23-lap race might have been nicer for Michael, then we could have had a double podium! Aside from that, everything has gone well. Michael took full advantage of his front row start and rode very aggressively in the early laps to force his way through into second position, and then maintained a fantastic pace through the race. He fought really hard against Chaz Davies in the last few laps, very narrowly missing out on the podium. It was a confidence building performance for him, and a good indication of more to come. Alex’s race was compromised by a less than perfect start and getting a little bit stuck behind Mercado for too many laps, creating a big gap in front. Once he had had a short fight with Chaz, he didn’t quite have the same confidence in the bike to push as hard as yesterday, so fifth position in the race and closing the gap significantly on fourth position in the championship is another very positive result. The R1 was fantastic around Donington Park and we only lost out to the top guys through the slow speed last sector. We found similar problems in Imola so it is very clear where the focus needs to be, and we will be working hard in Misano next week on taking the next steps forward.”
28 May 2017
Eleventh place for Bradl in closing WorldSBK race of the UK Round
Donington Park, United Kingdom
The UK Round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has come to a close with the second WorldSBK race of the weekend, which took place today under sunny skies at Donington Park. Stefan Bradl was eleventh at the chequered flag on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine.
The outcome of the race for the 27-year-old German rider was largely dictated at the start by a crash in front of him at turn one. When the rider fell ahead of him, it forced Stefan almost to a stop to which naturally cost him a lot of ground to the leaders. From the very back of the field, Bradl fought back as he went from 21st place to 14th in the first third of the race. Then, with a big gap to bridge from the riders ahead, Bradl rode a lonely race to cross the finish line in 11th at the end of the 23-lap encounter.
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team will now be on the road to Misano, where a two-day private test will be carried out from Wednesday with Stefan Bradl and test rider Michele Magnoni. The next round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship will take place at the same track in three weekends time.
Stefan Bradl 6
We made a couple of changes to the chassis set-up before the race to improve the rear-end grip and it turned out to be a little bit better. Just after the start of the race, though, at turn one Krummenacher crashed in front of me and I had to brake and almost stop, so I lost a lot of time. I found myself last so I had to do my best to recover as many positions as possible. Eleventh place is an OK result, but there is still a lot of work to do, but fortunately we have a test coming up in Misano which will be very important for us.
– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Before the race we decided to make a couple of adjustments to the set-up and things improved. Still, we seem to be skirting around the problem because we haven’t yet found the right throttle connection for Stefan. We will take this 11th place, though, and get ready for the Misano test, where we’ll be able to evaluate a lot of new material. We will welcome back Michele Magnoni, who was also our test rider some years ago. He will help us to go through all the things we have to try and hopefully we will be able to make that step forward we’ve been looking for.