The eni FIM Superbike World Championship gets to the heart of England for Round 5 at Donington Park. The British venue was built in the ‘30s of the last century and saw a new life in the 1970s, becoming one of the most famous tracks for motorcycle racing in the world. Donington Park hosted the first ever World Superbike Round on April 3rd 1988, with pole position scored by local rider Roger Burnett on a Honda.
British riders always had a strong connection to their home round, but rarely got on top step of the podium in recent times. In 2012 Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) was the first rider from the UK to win a race at Donington Park after four years - before him, James Toseland was the last to score a victory (2007, race 1). Rea won one of the most unpredictable races of all time, settled at the very last turn of the race, after a collision with Leon Haslam and a consequent "domino effect" that involved Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who had previously tried to overtake Haslam, too - team mate at the time - for the race win.
Local boy Leon Haslam, now back with the Honda family for 2013, is still recovering from the leg injury he sustained at Assen almost a month ago, and he's trying his best in order to take part in his home Round.
Despite the thrilling finale in 2012, Melandri has fond memories of the last weekend out on the Leicestershire circuit, as the Italian managed to give BMW their maiden World Superbike win in race 1. Works BMW rider Chaz Davies seeks redemption at Donington Park, following two difficult rounds at both Assen and Monza.
Aprilia Racing Team duo of Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty, who currently lie 1st and 2nd in Riders standings, have never scored a top-3 on the East-Midlands track. Laverty crashed in 2 out of his 4 WSBK races there, while Guintoli best result is a 5th place in last year's race 2.
Tom Sykes' (Kawasaki Racing Team) best result dates back to 2008, when he raced as a wildcard from BSB and finished with a sensational 2nd place in the aggregate race 1 results, behind Troy Bayliss. Team mate Loris Baz made his debut in WSBK last year at Donington, as substitute for the unfortunate Joan Lascorz. FIXI Crescent Suzuki Leon Camier scored his only WSBK podium finish at the British venue in 2011 (3rd place, race 2), but won race 1 two years before, in his winning British Superbike season.
Team Ducati Alstare welcomes Niccolò Canepa for a one-event participation. The current Superstock 1000 rider will join full-time riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini after testing with fellow Italian last week at Mugello. 2011 WSBK Champion Checa is still recovering from an osseus edema in his left shoulder that ruled him out the Monza round.