Special Round Coming Next For Rea And Sykes2016-05-24 12:09
The seventh round of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship will take place at Donington Park in the UK between 27 and 29 May, with this event a particularly special one for KRT’s British riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes. Both official Kawasaki runners have already won races on the all-new Ninja ZX-10R this season and could find no better venue for a repeat of this kind of success than their home circuit.
Rea and Sykes both know what it feels like to climb the top step of the podium at Donington. Sykes has taken wins in all the last six individual Donington races for Kawasaki while Rea won race two during the 2012 British weekend, one year before Sykes started his streak of successive victories.
Donington was the site of Sykes’ first ever WorldSBK podium, way back in 2008 when he was still a regular British Superbike rider enjoying a wild card weekend in the global series.
Sykes and Rea have dominated the Donington results so comprehensively in the recent past that they are the only two active riders in the current WorldSBK entry list to have won races there. Tom’s total of six Donington WorldSBK race wins is only equalled by the hometown exploits of retired four-time champion, Carl Fogarty.
In the current season reigning champion Rea has already created a commanding 42-point lead in the points standings, thanks to five race wins on the new Ninja and podium finishes in every other race. KRT rider Rea’s remarkable consistency and pace for the second year in succession played a major part in rider and manufacturer re-affirming their partnership for another two years at the recent Malaysian round.
Sykes has now taken two race wins on the latest specification WorldSBK Ninja, the most recent at Sepang in Malaysia only a few days ago. Tom, who was the 2013 champion with Kawasaki on the previous generation of Ninja, is third in the championship rankings after six rounds of a 13-round season. His recent Donington record shows he has a special connection with the circuit and he is more than ready to return to his home round after a recent set-up breakthrough that has helped his pace over full race distance.
The Donington Park venue is where it all truly began for the WorldSBK championship as it had its first ever race weekend there in 1988. There have now been 46 individual races held at the English parkland track, with Kawasaki having won 11 of them – five for Scott Russell and six for Sykes.
Tom Sykes stated: “It is always a pleasure to race at a home round and it is a fantastic circuit. Obviously we have some good history there and the plan is to continue that. If I think of previous events we are in a good position to make it all possible. I have no idea why Donington has been such a special place for me in the past few years. People always suggest that I am familiar with it, it is a home race, or something else like that. There is no particular reason for me. I try with the same effort at every circuit but I am grateful for my success at Donington. The most recent venue of Sepang was a fast flowing circuit with new asphalt. It had a lot of grip and tyre life issues for everybody. We managed that the best in race one and that is really rewarding and comforting for me because it reassures me that we are at a good level. Once we get the bike somewhere in the ballpark we can be as strong as anybody.”
Jonathan Rea stated: “Donington is a track that I really enjoy. Watching the races back from last year it seems that the bike was really competitive for both Tom and myself, and that is positive. So far this season we have demonstrated the competitive nature of the new model already on some different circuit layouts, so it is clear that the package is strong. At Donington this weekend we will be aiming to improve the balance of the Ninja ZX-10R and build into two strong races. The British weather is always a huge factor. I hope for some consistent weather but either way I am excited to go back to the UK. I have got lots of fans coming from Northern Ireland so Castle Donington is going to feel like Belfast! I am really excited about that and trying to do a good job for Kawasaki and all my fans that are making the journey.”
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team
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