The following is from Honda…The first of two British-based Superbike World Championship rounds takes place at Donington Park this coming weekend even through the thoughts of the entire paddock will be directed eastwards after the series of tragic events that have struck Japan recently.Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) will get his first chance to go racingin front of a home crowd this season when he gets to Donington and Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) is looking forward to his second race weekend for his new team in this category.The 4.023km circuit will look a little different this time around, after work was completed recently to improve run off in several areas and make the paddock area larger. The basic track layout is almost exactly the same as it was the last time WSBK racing visited this historic circuit in 2009, but the Foggy Esses have been widened and initial indications are that exit speeds and thus lap times should be improved.An often dramatic first meeting of the year at Phillip Island left Rea battered and bruised after several crashes but he still posted a remarkable fourth place finish in race two, despite not being able to display his absolute best form. Rea has been given the all clear to race after undergoing a thorough medical examination recently, a factor that has lifted his level of expectation and confidence. Rea enters Donington in an overall sixth place in the championship standings after one round of 13 in total.Xaus is keen to enjoy more track time on his CBR1000RR, having had much of his testing programme interrupted over the winter months. The tall rider from Catalunya sees Donington as fertile ground to return to in his quest to get back to full competitiveness. Ruben scored points in one race in Australia, and he sits 13th at present in the overall standings.WSBK Rider Comments
Jonathan Rea, Castrol Honda says: “I am fine now, just the odd pain in my wrist and I have been training hard in preparation for Donington. I have picked myself up and I’m feeling good. It’s nice to be racing in the UK and it is only a short ferry journey and drive from home to get there. I am looking forward to seeing some friends and fans at the first of two British races this year. I really like Donington, I’m glad it is back on the calendar, so I’m looking to start the weekend strongly and move on from there. The circuit has an unbelievable layout and the first three sweeping sections are brilliant.”Ruben Xaus, Castrol Honda says: “I have two feelings about Donington. The first one is that I am hungry to go racing again because a month is too long between the first race and the second one. The second feeling is that now the sun is shining in Spain but in England it will be cold for our sport, and there is no guarantee what it will be like. I like the circuit there, it is very historic and I have some good memories. It is quite a technical track also. As soon as we are there and racing we will put a lot of rubber on the track surface and the conditions may be better than we expect. I just need more track time on the bike right now.”The following is from Yamaha…Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty head to Donington this weekend for round two of the 2011 World Superbike Championship. After a month’s break from the opening round in Phillip Island both riders are keen to get back onboard their YZF-R1 race bikes and pick up where they left off. Both Melandri and Laverty have still relatively little time in the seat of the R1 but nevertheless impressed at the opening round in Australia. The Italian Superbike Rookie Melandri delivered his maiden podium for the championship in race two, giving the reigning world champion Max Biaggi no rest all the way to the line. Laverty, also a Superbike Rookie, was looking as promising as his teammate, leading race one for a period; race two saw multiple ghost neutrals hiding his true potential. Melandri visited his doctor on Monday this week, and was given the all clear for a healthy shoulder.As they set up in the UK for the second round of the championship, they do so with Melandri sitting in third in the overall standings with 27 points, his teammate Laverty sits in ninth with 14 points, 13 behind Melandri.
Donington Technically Speaking by Yamaha World Superbike Team Technical Manager and Crew Chief for Marco Melandri – Silvano GalbuseraIt’s been two years since our last race here with Ben Spies but we will start with the same setting from last Phillip Island’s race and see which direction Marco wants to go in. We will start with the second solution we found in Australia from race two with more traction in the rear and we develop from there. Of course we will also use a different gearbox as we did with Ben. The Donington track has changed a little since our last visit and Marco is a lot lighter than Ben so we have to adjust the settings to take this into account.Donington Technically Speaking by the Crew Chief for Eugene Laverty – Frankie CarchediWe sacrificed a lot on set up for Phillip Island as it’s notorious on tyre life. We will be going back to a more basic setting for Donington that we used in Magny Cours and Portimao for testing. This should make the bike more neutral for handling and braking which you need for Donington. There will be no major changes as the base is really good, the focus will be on letting Eugene do some more laps to learn the Yamaha a bit more.Yamaha World Superbike Team – Marco MelandriI’m feeling good and very happy to be getting back on my bike this weekend, one month with no riding seems very long. Donington has always been a good track for me, I had good races there in MotoGP and I think our bike will work well. My only concern is the weather, I’m hoping for some sunshine as I still haven’t had much experience on the Pirelli wet tyres.Yamaha World Superbike Team – Eugene LavertyI’m pretty excited for Donington. After Phillip Island it’s looking very promising, we showed a lot of potential there. We’ll wait and see what the results are come Sunday but I’m quietly confident, I think we are going to be very strong. I like Donington a lot, especially the fast flowing nature of the track and I’ve always enjoyed riding it.Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager – Andrea DosoliAfter the good start to the season in Phillip Island we’re glad to be back in Europe, on this historical race track. Donington Park is an important race for us where we want to confirm how competitive our package is. Our engineers have been working hard in the last weeks in order to offer both riders the best starting set up for the British track. Eugene and Marco haven’t stopped training so I’m confident that they will be able to perform well on what could be considered the ‘home track’ for both: Eugene, coming from these Islands but Marco also used to live close to the Donington circuit. We’re hoping for good weather and that all fans will enjoy the races.The following is from Suzuki…Team Suzuki Alstare’s Michel Fabrizio is looking forward to this weekend’s World Superbike Championship second round at Donington Park in England, as last time he raced at the circuit in 2009, he finished on the podium.The 4.023 kilometre circuit has been slightly revamped since 2009, but remains essentially a flowing circuit, with a few stop-start sections that require heavy braking. The circuit was the scene of the first ever WSBK race in April 1988 and 34 races have taken place at this popular venue so far.Michel Fabrizio: “The last time we raced at Donington, I finished with a podium in race two, so my memories of it are pretty good. I understand that the track has been modified a bit since then, so we will all be starting off learning about the changes and what effects they have on getting a good set-up. Most of the track is pretty flowing, but there are couple of places where you have to be really hard on the brakes and that is why a good set-up and well-balanced bike is vital.”A lot of people seemed to be unduly concerned about how the weather may be at this time of the year, but the last race in Australia wasn’t as good as we all expected, so Donington might be OK. Whatever the weather is, it will be the same for everybody and if it happens to be cold and wet, then that’s how it’s going be and I and the others just have to get on with it. On the other hand, it may turn out to be a fine, Spring day and everybody will be happy – especially the fans.”British fans are always very enthusiastic about their racing and I hope that the weather is OK and we get a good crowd. I am feeling very positive about Donington and will be aiming for a good practice, qualifying and Superpole and then another great Donington podium.”