The official press conference of WorldSBK round six took place at Donington Park Circuit, involving the current top-5 riders in the championship standings, four of them being native to the UK. KRT entries Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, together with factory Aprilia duo Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres and Ducati’s Chaz Davies answered a variety of questions regarding the upcoming race weekend.
The biggest hype surrounded the potential in-team fight for the win between Kawasaki’s Rea and Sykes, who scored a double one-two last time out in Imola. “It’s true that between us we have won the last five races at Donington” said Isle of Man resident Rea, “but it would be foolish to discount a number of other riders. There are other British riders capable of winning” he added. Rea’s confidence is buoyed, in light of his remarkable winning start to 2015.
Four time race winner at Donington, Sykes is equally confident of his chances on Sunday: “At Imola we made another step forward. If we can improve things for the latter part of the race, then we should be in with a shout.”
Local man Leon Haslam is not concerned by the recent rib injury sustained at Imola a fortnight ago and hopes to return to the podium aboard his RSV4 RF machine: “Donington Park is definitely one of my favourite circuits. It won’t be easy to race with cracked ribs but I’ve been doing everything I can to give myself the best chance of doing well. The team has also worked hard to improve the bike and we have some new things to try tomorrow.”
Despite not being one of his kindest tracks, Donington will be a very important hunting ground for Welshman Chaz Davies after the double disappointment of Imola. “Anything can happen, with the way Johnny is riding it will take a lot of effort to overcome him. You never know what’s around the corner, the key for us is to focus on our own performance and to try to put the Ducati back on the top step.”
Spain’s Jordi Torres is yet to familiarise himself with the Leicestershire track, but was warmly welcomed by the fans who clearly like his witty approach to life in the WorldSBK paddock. “The podium in Imola was lucky because Chaz had a problem, but I celebrated anyway. This weekend is another new track and my goal is the same as it was since Australia. I need to continue to change my riding style and I hope to finish this time less than twenty-six seconds behind the leader” joked the Spaniard.
Earlier today, a typical British sports day comprising several traditional events saw the stars of WorldSBK round 6 go head to head, with Team GB vs Team ROW (Rest of World) in a fun competition.
Each team consisted of four riders. Team GB brought together riders from 3 manufacturers, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) while the Rest of the World squad comprised Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who was the fourth team member due to his Andorran residency.
Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils rider Leon Haslam was also present, but took up the role of official starter and referee following his recent Imola spill.
There was a single race of the following disciplines: Egg & Spoon race, Sack race and 3 Legged race, with points awarded to the first 3 in each. The points were then added together to give the overall winning team which after several highly entertaining close finishes saw Team GB crowned as pre-event champions, beating their rivals 11 points to 7.
Whilst Team GB triumphed in 2 of the races, Roman Ramos was impressive, convincingly winning the sack race much to the dismay of Tom Sykes who stumbled in the run in to the finish.