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May 20, 2014

Superbike World Champion Sykes: "We Have To Make My Home Round Count"

eni FIM Superbike World Champion Tom Sykes (1).

Home Race For Sykes As KRT Riders Head To Donington

Tom Sykes will have one single racing experience at home this season and it will take place at Donington Park this coming weekend. His KRT SBK team-mate Loris Baz and SBK Evo rider David Salom are also looking forward to racing at the unique British circuit and anticipate strong raceday performances.

Last year Sykes had an almost perfect Donington weekend on his Ninja ZX-10R taking the Superpole win at record pace, setting a new lap record and winning both races for his first ever SBK double.

If one weekend was the turning point that put Sykes on his way to the eventual championship win in 2013, a strong argument can be made for Donington Park being that round. This will be the only British event of the 2014 season, which consists of 13 rounds in total.

Racing in the UK has been pleasurable and often rewarding for fast Frenchman Loris Baz, who is out to make the Donington Park circuit the same kind of happy hunting ground on his big Ninja that Silverstone has been for him in recent years.

Both Loris’ previous WSB race wins have come at Silverstone but as he has proved in his short but impressive Superbike career, he can seize opportunities at any circuit.

This season Sykes and Baz have each led the championship at one stage and now Sykes is second by only four points. Baz is in fourth place and is 20 points behind the leader at this point of a season with nine rounds and 18 races still to go, including Donington.

The Kawasaki Racing Team’s SBK Evo class rider, David Salom, retook the Evo championship lead last time out in Italy despite still suffering from a painful right hand that has held him back from his full potential ever since he injured it in a testing crash in Spain. Despite Donington featuring a few areas of heavy braking David feels it should be a good circuit for bike and rider. He looks forward to his first experience of the English circuit for some time and his first ever on the awesome Evo-spec Ninja ZX-10R.

Donington has an unmistakable dual character and layout, with the first half of the 4.023km circuit formed by a long and flowing series of corners down to the lowest point of the circuit, then an uphill series of long bends and gradient changes until the intense braking and acceleration of the Melbourne Loop section. This last part requires very a different approach to set-up compared to the majority of the circuit, but plays a vital part in determining the final outcome of races by providing three opportunities to put in a late pass before the finish line is reached.

The classic old parkland circuit in the English Midlands features many changes of elevation and camber and has been the backdrop for no less than 42 previous points scoring SBK races. It was also the scene of the very first SBK race weekend, way back in 1988.

After Donington and its potential for changeable weather conditions the SBK paddock heads to the heat of Asia, for the Malaysian round of the championship at Sepang - a new circuit for the Superbike World Championship class.

Tom Sykes: “Donington is a fantastic circuit and doing the double there last year made it very special because it was my first ever double in World Superbike. You cannot beat Donington for scenery as well. When the sun is shining there is almost no better place to be. Donington is a great circuit and hopefully we should be able to make the most of it, like we did last year. We should be on a very good level there. There will be more of my family, friends and personal sponsors at this one than any other race of the year so I will use up my allocation of passes for sure! There may be only one British round this year but Donington is a very good motorcycle circuit, also a good one for the spectators. We have to make my home round count.”

Loris Baz: “I have been training a lot and I feel good after Imola. I feel ready and I am looking to the next race at Donington. It is a circuit of two parts. It is flowing for most of the lap then there are three tight corners and short straights. Last year we struggled a bit in the slow corners at most tracks but this has been improved for this season. This should be a good weekend for us. It is always nice to go and race in England and the fans there are really enthusiastic. I like to ride there but I hope we have better weather than they are forecasting at the moment.”

David Salom: “I have ridden at Donington before but not for a couple of years because I had to miss those rounds in 2012 and 2013. I like the track anyway. The first part is very good, flowing downhill and then uphill but the final few corners can be difficult because they are very slow. In general I like riding at this track and maybe only the weather looks difficult for this weekend. We will see because the forecasts could change. I think Donington is a good track for my Kawasaki. Also for me, because there are just two really heavy braking areas and that should not be too hard on my injured hand. Donington is a special track so maybe it will suit some of the other bikes as well, but it should be fine for us.”

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