WSBK | Tom Sykes tops opening day at Donington Park

2019 WorldSBK

Round Eight – Donington Park

Friday Results / Report

Both sessions were held in relatively warm conditions at Donington Park on Friday, with the afternoon track temperature rising to an unusually high 43°C at this British circuit. The fastest 13 riders finished within a second of pace-setter Tom Syke after two 50-minute sessions at the relatively short 4.023 km track.

Tom Sykes has nine victories at Donington Park in WorldSBK and the Huddersfield rider showed why on Friday as he topped both practice sessions on home soil.

Tom Sykes – P1

“This has been coming, we’ve been building and building and in Misano I feel we didn’t get what we deserved because we had three podiums in us. Coming into Donington its really a circuit of two halves, there’s four sectors and the first two sectors you need one bike and in the last two you need a completely different one… but after the first run this morning I came in and said the boys they’ve done a great job in getting the bike well balanced to suit the track, so a big thanks to the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We made a few changes in FP2 in preparation and I didn’t really have to go chase a lap time which is positive. I feel sooner or later we will add to the “49 superpoles” tally and tomorrow we will have a good go at it”.

WSBK Rnd Donington Fri Sykes
Tom Sykes

In second position was Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who was flying the Yamaha flag high inside the top three. The British rider put in a strong lap time at the end of the session to finish just 0.018s away from Tom Sykes at the top.

Alex Lowes – P2

“It’s great to be here and riding in front of my home crowd. I feel really good on the bike, even with the little tip off this morning. I say little, but you don’t have a small crash at Craner Curves. It was my mistake; I crashed on a cold tyre after a slow lap, so sorry to the guys for giving them some unexpected extra work today. This afternoon the bike felt good again, but I still want to improve the braking phase a bit more tomorrow, to give me a little more margin. It’s been a positive day, I’m happy with where we are and it’s also good to see Michael back on the bike so soon after his injury. It shows just how tough he is.”

WSBK Rnd Donington Fri Lowes
Alex Lowes

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) showed strong single lap and race pace from the start today and was the top ranked Ninja ZX-10RR rider of all; third. This is the track he scored his first WorldSBK podium finish at last year and he has arrived ready for another strong weekend in the UK.

KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam finished fourth and fifth fastest respectively after one day of track action at their home round at Donington Park.

Jonathan Rea – P4

“I was able to do a long run this afternoon and I felt great physically, which was a positive after the first day. The bike was more difficult to ride this morning and I struggled to get any weight onto the front to help the bike turn, especially in the fast areas. I also went back a little bit with my riding position, because I felt I had so much weight on the rear of the bike. I was getting traction but it was not finishing the corner in the best way. This afternoon I felt very comfortable, my rhythm was much faster and I was doing it comfortably – which is always nice here. We are not far away for the first day, really, so we will keep working.”

Leon Haslam – P5

“The track felt quite different because I don’t think I have ever been here when it was hot! I know this track so I know where I need to be and where I am struggling with the set-up. We made a positive step from this morning’s session in that area, so we are closing the gap. Getting the bike to stop and then squirt out of that last section was my main priority and we bridged the gap to the front to about a tenth. We made a good step from the morning to the afternoon.”

Championship leader Álvaro Bautista was sixth quickest with team-mate Chaz Davies ending the day in ninth.

Álvaro Bautista – P6

“For sure the memories I had with this track were much different, and with the Superbike it seems that all the track is narrower and there is not a lot of space to make a mistake. In any case I’m quite happy because in the morning I spent some time trying to understand the track better, gaining some reference markers with my Panigale V4 R and in the end it wasn’t too bad. Then in the afternoon we made a few modifications to improve the set-up because earlier I had struggled to make the bike turn well. We found something that gives me a good feeling and I improved our lap time and our pace. There is still margin to improve but it was a good first day.”

WSBK Rnd Donington Fri Bautista
Álvaro Bautista

Chaz Davies – P9

“It was quite a good start, we made progress from the morning to the afternoon and I improved my lap time by almost one second. We are still clearly missing something in the feeling with the bike, but we are not as far behind with the race pace as the position looks in the standings. Donington is quite a different track to the previous one at Misano, but we seem to be suffering from similar problems in the same areas. For the moment we are about on par with expectations but hopefully we’ll improve tomorrow.”

WSBK Rnd Donington Fri Davies
Chaz Davies

Michael van der Mark made a brave return from injury and managed to finish the opening day of practice in P11.

Michael van der Mark – P11

“I think I was more nervous ahead of FP1 today than I am before a race. I was pretty confident the injury wouldn’t be a problem, but you never really know until you’re actually on the bike. I felt good on the bike from the start, with no pain, but I am missing a little bit of mobility, which means I can’t move around the bike quite so well. Every lap I was feeling a bit better but I’m not as smooth as normal and that made it a little difficult to get the bike set-up. In the afternoon we tried to improve the bike, to make it a little smoother and easier to ride and, while I didn’t manage to improve my lap time, this wasn’t really the goal. I did a lot more laps than I was expecting today; this morning before FP1 I would have been happy to pick up some points in the races, but now I think we can target the top ten.”

Alongside Tom Sykes in the BMW WorldSBK garage this weekend is Peter Hickman as the TT winner stands in for the injured Markus Reiterberger on the second of the Factory BMW machines. Hickman quickly adapted to the WSBK spec’ bike by lapping quicker than he has ever managed before around Donington Park, and did it in his first session.

Peter Hickman – P12

“I’m happy enough with today. It’s all new however the bike feels fairly similar to what I’m running in BSB. We have a lot more adjustability on this bike along with the electronics so it’s a lot different in some areas. I’m really happy to get into the 1’28’s this afternoon, it’s the fastest I’ve been around here with a 1’28.567, so half a second faster and I’m looking towards the top 6….so I’ve got to be happy with the progress on day 1. Tomorrow is a different day, I’ve not rode on the ‘Q’ tyre in a long time as we don’t run that in BSB so that’s going to be interesting, I don’t have an aim as such but I’m just going to keep chipping away and let’s see how our lap time goes and where we end up in the race”.

WSBK Rnd Donington Fri Peter Hickman
Peter Hickman

Other notable names outside the top ten included Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), who was only 13th, whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) was down in 15th.

WorldSBK Friday Combined Times

Pos No. Rider Bike Time
1 T. Sykes BMW S1000 RR 1m27.733
2 A. Lowes Yamaha YZF R1 1m27.751
3 T. Razgatlioglu Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m27.775
4 J. Rea Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m27.812
5 L. Haslam Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m27.859
6 A. Bautista Ducati Panigale V4 R 1m28.005
7 S. Cortese Yamaha YZF R1 1m28.235
8 L. Baz Yamaha YZF R1 1m28.257
9 C. Davies Ducati Panigale V4 R 1m28.414
10 J. Torres Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m28.483
11 M. Van Der Mark Yamaha YZF R1 1m28.529
12 P. Hickman BMW S1000 RR 1m28.567
13 M. Melandri Yamaha YZF R1 1m28.631
14 L. Mercado Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m28.929
15 M. Rinaldi Ducati Panigale V4 R 1m29.005
16 A. Delbianco Honda CBR1000RR 1m29.800
17 R. Kiyonari Honda CBR1000RR 1m30.357
18 E. Laverty Ducati Panigale V4 R 1m30.409

World Supersport

In the final WorldSSP session of the day, it was once again a raging battle at the head of the field, with Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) maintaining his advantage ahead of the chasing pack. With the sun beating down, Cluzel was able to improve incrementally through the session before finding a third of a second in the final ten minutes of the day to maintain the first position ahead of Saturday.

WSBK Rnd Donington WorldSSP Friday Action Cluzel
Jules Cluzel

Having looked the dominant force throughout the opening day, Jules Cluzel’s search for his second win of the season continues. The Frenchman was the only rider to dip into the 1’30 bracket on Friday, continuing to push on right the way through the session. Having dropped points in recent rounds, Donington Park acts as a make or break round for the Pirelli Thai Round winner. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) was in second position, whilst Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) impressed once again in third.

WSBK Rnd Donington WorldSSP Friday Action Krummenacher
Randy Krummenacher

Fourth position will have to be good enough for Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), as the Frenchman slipped a couple of positions, compared to his FP1 start. The 2017 WorldSSP champion proved his worth however and proved that he was back at the front of the championship, looking as competitive as ever. Fifth place may be an uncharacteristic position for Federico Caricasulo, as the Italian struggled to break into the top positions like he had done before. Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) was sixth.

WSBK Rnd Donington WorldSSP Friday Action Soomer
Hannes Soomer

Back in seventh place, it was Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing) will hope to be firmly inside the top ten for the rest of the weekend, as the veteran Italian gets better session-by-session. Wildcard Jack Kennedy (Appleyard Macadam Integro) was in eighth and consolidated his top ten pace, proving the strength of himself and the team at their home circuit. Ninth place belonged to Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) whilst Brad Jones (Appleyard Macadam Integro) completed the top ten, backing his teammate up with good pace – just over one second from top spot.

Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) was only 11th, whilst Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was down in 13th, with home-hero Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) in 15th position.

Supersport 600 Friday Combined Times

Pos Rider Bike Time
1 J. Cluzel Yamaha YZF R6 1m30.888
2 R. Krummenacher Yamaha YZF R6 1m31.078
3 H. Soomer Honda CBR600RR 1m31.308
4 L. Mahias Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m31.392
5 F. Caricasulo Yamaha YZF R6 1m31.399
6 R. De Rosa MV Agusta F3 675 1m31.483
7 A. Badovini Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m31.601
8 J. Kennedy Yamaha YZF R6 1m31.739
9 I.  Vinales Yamaha YZF R6 1m31.847
10 B. Jones Yamaha YZF R6 1m31.909
11 T. Gradinger Yamaha YZF R6 1m32.051
12 P. Sebestyen Honda CBR600RR 1m32.163
13 H. Okubo Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m32.248
14 R. Hartog Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m32.381
15 K. Smith Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m32.468
16 C. Perolari Yamaha YZF R6 1m32.527
17 L. Cresson Yamaha YZF R6 1m33.295
18 J. Danilo Honda CBR600RR 1m33.516
19 N. Calero Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m33.535
20 G. Van Straalen Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m33.677
21 F. Fuligni MV Agusta F3 675 1m33.820
22 J. Van Sikkelerus Honda CBR600RR 1m34.530
23 C. Stange Honda CBR600RR 1m34.635
24 A. Toledo Yamaha YZF R6 1m34.777
25 G. Sconza Honda CBR600RR 1m36.183
26 A. Gyorfi Yamaha YZF R6 1m36.676
27 G. Matern Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m39.140

World Supersport 300

Setting about his business from the green light, Gonzalez put in a lap time more than half-a-second quicker than the two groups combined. Behind him in the leading positions, Andy Verdoïa (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), who was top of the timesheets for some time and the top Yamaha at the end of day one. Dutchman Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was in third place, as he goes in search of reigniting his WorldSSP300 championship hopes.

WSBK Rnd Donington Fri WorldSSP Friday Action Verdoia
Andy Verdoïa

Marc Garcia (DS Junior Team), was fourth come the end of the day, whilst another Dutchman was in fifth place, this time, Robert Schotman (Kawasaki MOTOPORT). He had topped Group A after the opening two sessions but slipped to fifth overall. Completing the top six was fellow countryman, Victor Steeman (KTM Freudenberg Junior Team), as Dutch riders accounted for 50% of the top six!

Other notable names outside of the top six included Galang Hendra Pratama in eighth (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing), whilst Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) had a difficult session, down in 17th. Top British rider was Eunan McGlinchley (Flemmbo Leader Team), one place higher.

Supersport 300  Friday Combined Times


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