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May 21, 2013

Kawasaki Previews The World Superbike And Supersport Races At Donington Park

FIM Supersport World Championship: Fabien Foret (99).
Donington’s Sweeping Curves And Tight Hairpins Await KRT Riders

WSBK, Donington, Europe - Tom Sykes and Loris Baz head to Donington Park for Tom’s home round this weekend filled with the expectation of strong results at a venue that should offer good opportunities to both KRT riders.

Sykes was impressed by how well his Ninja ZX-10R performed at the ultra high-speed circuit of Monza last time out and at Donington, a track which he believes is even more suited to his machine’s wide ranging performance package, Sykes has every reason to be confident approaching his local event.

Baz is no stranger to Donington Park as he passes through the career milestone of one year in the official Kawasaki Racing Team set-up, which he joined at Donington last season. Already on the podium this year, going third at Assen, he is looking to make the most of qualifying and then keep in contention with the leading riders all through Sunday’s races.

Both official Kawasaki runners are proven SBK race winners on the awesome Ninja ZX-10R but each is still looking for a first career win in this class at Donington.

With the championship now getting tighter in terms of points spread between the leaders Sykes is now only 18 points from the very top, having won a race at Assen and taken five podium finishes from the eight races so far.

Loris, still only 20-years-old, sits in sixth place with a season highpoint of third in race two at Assen contributing to his strong early showings.

Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) will be joined at Donington by his regular team-mate Alex Lundh, who missed the recent Monza round after suffering a collarbone injury at the Assen weekend in April.

The Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and Superstock 600 European Championship classes will miss out on the Donington race weekend but will reconvene at Portimao on Portugal for the fourth round of these championships on June 9.

Tom Sykes: “I am really looking forward to Donington. Monza for me was one of the hardest circuits we should have gone to, even though we won there last year, but we got on the podium twice. Donington is a flowing, twisting circuit so I am looking forward to riding my Ninja ZX-10R there. There are no real straights so it should be really good. It has always been a favourite of mine and I am very excited to go there with a fast and consistent package on the bike. I have led races at Donington in the past and we have been able to make good laps even at the end of races this year at a variety of different tracks, so I am really looking forward to Donington because it should be a nice one for me and the bike.”

Loris Baz: “I have taken some time out relaxing after Monza and I feel 100% again. I am impatient waiting to get to Donington and it is now one year since I started racing in Superbike with the team. I did not race BSB at Donington when I was doing that championship but I raced there in SBK last year and two times in Superstock before that. It should be a better track than Monza for us and only that final slow part that is not so much fun to ride. The final part is like it was not designed by the same guy that did the main part but it gives us some places where to overtake. We have improved our set-up a lot at Aragon, found some positive things at Monza too, so I am sure we will be really good in all the first section at Donington. Then I'm sure we should also find improvements in the last two corners. I would like to be inside the top five in both races and this weekend I am really looking for that.”

More, from another press release issued by Kawasaki:

Donington Challenge Next Up For Kawasaki’s WSS Men

WSS, Donington, Europe - Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India riders Fabien Foret and Kenan Sofuoglu enter the fifth round of the championship in second and fourth place respectively, and in a highly motivated mood.

Ninja ZX-6R riders have been well represented in the top results in 2013 so far with Foret winning the Spanish race at Aragon and Sofuoglu taking the first race victory in Australia. The previous round was not so lucky for either of the top-placed Kawasaki runners, with Foret injured and out of the Monza race altogether after many scary early crashes and four eventual race starts. Sofuoglu had a very uncharacteristic fall and a no-score.

The mission for both these proven World Champions at Donington in a few days time is the same - to close the points gap to championship leader Sam Lowes and gather as many points as possible.

Foret is fit to race despite spending a night under observation in hospital after the Monza race and Sofuoglu has been training hard to be in optimum condition to take on the unique challenge of Donington, which is very much a circuit of two halves. The first part is peerlessly flowing and undulating, first down then up hill, while the last part of the track is flat, featuring one chicane and two tight off-camber hairpins. These contrasting track sections present the teams and riders with a unique set of challenges in finding an ideal set-up.

With most of the top riders having dropped points already the overall championship table has seen the leading riders swap places almost every week, but currently Foret is in second place, 16 points behind Lowes, with Sofuoglu in fourth place, 25 points back from the lead after only four rounds.

At Donington Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) will once more replace the still-injured David Salom in the Czech-based Kawasaki team, riding alongside Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) who scored a podium at Aragon in round two.

Andrea Antonelli (Goeleven Kawasaki) is eighth going into the fifth round, with Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) ninth.

A home race for Kevin Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) offers him the chance to capitalise on some fine performances in the past two rounds, including a very close fifth place at Monza, while Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) is also making great strides forward on his Ninja ZX-6R this year.

Fabien Foret: “I spent some time this week with Tom Sykes and it was fun driving his karts around. That was a good test to see if my Monza injuries have healed up. My neck is OK after the crash but I had a very sharp pain at the time it happened at Monza, when another rider hit me by accident. What the doctors found were my old injuries from 2008, the signs of three broken vertebrae, but I have had a lot of checks made now and there are no new injuries. It was just the old ones that showed up in the X-Rays at first. I took it easy right after Monza but now I am OK and ready for the Donington race weekend. I will be going there with a positive outlook. It is not my best track but if I try my best I can do much better than before.”

Kenan Sofuoglu: “I think I am confident for Donington because I have done my homework about the track and also done a lot of training to be ready for this race. It is not an easy track and the race pace is normally quite good there. Our suspension supplier has a lot of experience at Donington so we should be ready for practice and qualifying. I am 25 points behind in the championship but there are lots of races still to go and now I have to be clever and go step-by-step so that I can catch the leader. Monza was my track and a good track for my bike but many things happened there. You never know what can happen in this championship. But, hopefully, I have used up all my non-finishes because I have to be on the bike each time from now on and take good points.”
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