Pata Honda returns to Superbike action in Spain
The World Superbike championship makes a welcome return to the 2014 calendar this weekend (5-7 September) with Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam preparing for tenth round action at Jerez in Spain.
The last round of the series took place at Laguna Seca in the USA in mid-July but both Pata Honda riders took part in the legendary Suzuka 8-hours endurance race in Japan on 27 July.
Rea currently sits in third place in the overall championship standings, 64 points behind series leader Tom Sykes. With the recent cancellation of the scheduled South African round, only six races remain in the 2014 season but the 27-year-old Pata Honda rider from Northern Ireland is determined to maximise his points haul on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine.
Haslam is in good form after winning the Suzuka 8-hours for the second successive year, teaming up once more with Pata Honda colleague Michael van der Mark and Japanese rider Takumi Takahashi. The 30-year-old British rider will be seeking a return to the podium in this weekend’s Jerez races.
Jonathan Rea - championship position 3rd
I missed the Jerez race last year through injury but I was able to test afterwards and I first rode at the circuit on a 125 Honda in 2003. I really enjoy riding it and we’ve done a lot of testing there. It seems a difficult track to get right but the CBR has developed a lot since we were last there so I’m looking forward to going back. The guys at the workshop have been busy since Laguna and we’ve got a new engine specification to try this weekend. We managed a podium last time out at a track that was new to me so we’ll be aiming to maintain that form. I’m excited to be riding again because it’s been an abnormally long summer break. I imagine there’ll be a long queue of riders desperate to get out first for free practice on Friday!
Leon Haslam - championship position 10th
It seems like we’ve been away for a long time but it’s only just over a month since Suzuka and it was fantastic to win there again. I’ve also just done one of my dad’s race schools at Donington Park so I took the opportunity to do a few extra laps on the school CBR and went faster than I’ve gone round there, so I’m itching to go again at Jerez and feeling positive. We’ve made some steps forward in the last few races and we’ve got three more rounds to get the maximum of the CBR and get the results we deserve. That should be enough for me to fight for the podium so that’s where we’ll be aiming this weekend.
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:
WORLD SUPERBIKE IS BACK AFTER THE LONG SUMMER BREAK.
WEAPONS ARE HONED FOR THE APRILIA RACING TEAM, MELANDRI AND GUINTOLI ARE READY TO TAKE THEIR RSV4s TO THE TOP.
Noale, 3 September 2014 – After a rather long summer break the World Superbike engines roar to life once again, ready to take to the track in Jerez for the tenth round of the season. The abbreviated calendar, with the cancellation of the Russian and South African rounds, makes the battle even more heated for the Aprilia Racing Team.
Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri are determined to finish out the 2014 season with a bang. They will be able to cont on the experience they have accumulated at Jerez, the test track from the Italian team, and on the great harmony they have demonstrated with their RSV4s in recent rounds.
Sylvain Guintoli, lying second in the rider championship standings, stayed fit during the break after the Portimão tests, taking advantage of the time to exercise his reflexes at Mallory Park astride a factory RSV4. For the French rider the goal is to battle in every race from here to the end of the championship, picking up as many points as possible: “Long summer break but the focus is 100% on performing at best in Jerez. Every race and every point will be fought for, even more now that South Africa has been cancelled. We can still do it”.
New father Marco Melandri also found a way to keep the sporting tension honed, having fun on a street RSV4 at Castelletto and Adria. A protagonist in recent races, the champion from Ravenna is keen to continue fighting for victory even if Jerez promises to be a heated battle: “We are finally getting back on the track. The break was definitely too long! This is going to be a heated weekend considering the temperatures and two very taxing races. Jerez is one of my favourite tracks. I can't wait to feel that rush of adrenaline at the start. After winning the last round at Laguna Seca I'm sure that I'll be confident and when I'm on my RSV4 I really have a lot of fun”.