The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock heads to the historic Donington Park venue this weekend and several riders are looking to give the home crowd plenty to cheer and celebrate. Five British riders will aim for glory during the Prosecco DOC UK Round and all have had some form of success at the iconic venue, either at World Championship or domestic level, with the riders looking to replicate that success in 2023.
BOUNCING BACK: a Rea resurgence at Donington?
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is one of the most successful riders at the classic circuit with six wins and 16 podiums in 27 races and he will be hoping to add to that tally in what’s been a difficult 2023 so far. The Ulsterman has only recorded four podium finishes this season, but he will believe this represents his best chance to add to his tally as he looks for a strong result in front of his home crowd, something he has done on several occasions in the past. Winless since the end of 2022 and without a podium since Race 1 in Barcelona, the six-time World Champion will hope to return to the rostrum.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Lowes aiming high on home soil
Like teammate Rea, Alex Lowes, who hails from close by, has had a difficult campaign so far with just one podium to his name. He’s currently ninth in the Championship standings and has taken a best of third at Donington, with four podiums in total on home soil. Last year, he battled valiantly with Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) for a podium; will the pair renew their rivalries and give the partisan crowd plenty to celebrate? Both Rea and Lowes head into their home round on the back of a one-day test at Aragon which they reviewed positively; a potential catalyst for success from the UK Round onwards.
REPEATING 2022: can Donington kickstart strong form for Redding?
Redding will be aiming to move up the order on home soil and it was this round last season that kickstarted a rich vein of form for the Brit. From Race 1 at Donington to Race 2 at Magny-Cours in 2022, Redding was only outside the top six on one occasion including three podiums in three rounds. With his future currently up in the air, the 30-year-old will be looking to repeat history and start a strong run of form. He has one podium finish at the British venue, which was his first BMW rostrum last year.
ROOKIE RAY LOOKING FOR SUCCESS: potential for a best WorldSBK result
Reigning British champion Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) raced here in WorldSBK back in 2018 as a wildcard, scoring points. He comes into his home round in his rookie campaign as a regular contender for the points-paying positions, although he was scoreless last time out at Misano. In BSB in 2022, Ray was a winner on the Donington GP layout on his way to the title, and he will be aiming to use his experience of the circuit to take his best result in WorldSBK to date. His current best is 12th from Race 1 in Barcelona this season; perhaps a first top-ten finish is on the cards for Ray.
A SYKES SPECIAL: could the 2013 Champion shock the field?
If Rea’s record is impressive, then Tom Sykes’ (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) is one that every rider will be envious of. Nine wins, all of which came in consecutive encounters between Race 1 in 2013 and Race 1 in 2017, means he has the most wins at the circuit. He also has seven pole positions at Donington and, last year when in BSB, it was the venue where he scored his only wins of the season. Could ‘Mr. Superpole’ spring a surprise after a difficult 2023 in either Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session or through the round’s three races?
- From WorldSBK.com