ROME, Italy – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship will be racing this weekend, for the first time ever, at the Intercity Istanbul Park. Located in the Asian side of the largest city in Turkey, the track is 5.340km long, with eight left handers, six right turns and runs in anticlockwise direction.
New leader after the German Round Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) is the only rider in the top-five of the standings who hasn’t raced before on the Turkish track, meaning he has to fill the gap of knowledge during the weekend, while trying to find the best set-up for his ZX-10R.
Main title contender Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who is only one point behind the Brit, is still recuperating from the shoulder injury that has been bothering him since the second half of July.
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) is really looking forward to the 11th round of the season, as the Italian won twice in MotoGP at Intercity Istanbul Park, in 2005 and 2006 (despite starting from 14th on the grid that year). Melandri has high expectations for the upcoming event and hopes to narrow the gap on top of the rider standings.
After the impressive performance in Germany, his team mate Chaz Davies aims to keep the momentum going in order to finish the season on a positive note.
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) was on track early last week at Jerez for a two-day private test to keep developing his factory RSV4. Following the mixed emotions of race day at Nurburgring, he will be targeting two good race results to regain third place in the standings and keep his title hopes alive, despite the 40-point gap from Sykes.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) are speeding up their recovery to be on track this weekend, after the heavy crashes suffered at the Nurburgring nine days ago.
Leon Haslam will be waving the Pata Honda Team flag high as team mate Jonathan Rea will not tackle the event, due to the consequences of the crash in Race 1 at the Ring.
Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) are targeting some encouraging race results that would make up for the difficulties experienced so far this year.
The Turkish round might very well be a crucial one for the World Supersport title. Leader in the standings Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha), who has a 54-point advantage over Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), could be crowned Champion in his rival’s home round.
The crash in the Nurburgring race compromised dramatically the chances of title defence for Sofuoglu, while the fifth win for Lowes has put the Brit in the best possible situation to secure what would be the first WSS title of his career.
Many other Supersport protagonists are hoping to shine in Turkey, starting with Sofuoglu’s team mate Fabien Foret and Pata Honda duo of Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti. The Italian has raced three times at the Intercity Istanbul Park before, in the 125cc World Championship.
–From the eni FIM Superbike World Championship