Official KRT WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes will soon arrive at their home round at Donington Park eager to continue the winning ways they have each demonstrated in 2018.
Three-time champion Jonathan Rea has recorded five FIM Superbike World Championship race wins so far in 2018, including his first double weekend at Imola last time out. His fellow Briton, and the 2013 world champion, Tom Sykes took his first victory of 2018 at Assen in round four. With both KRT riders winning a race at Donington last year the competition for home round success in 2018 is likely to be an enthralling spectacle.
For Rea, there will be an extra edge to this weekend, beyond the natural anticipation felt by all riders racing at their home venue. He will have two chances to be the first rider to reach 60 career race wins in the 30-year history of WorldSBK racing. If he does so, he will set a stand-alone record of career race wins at this level. Currently Jonathan is tied on 59 race wins with four-time champion Carl Fogarty.
Sykes could also set a different stand-alone all-time record, should he win the Superpole qualifying contest in Saturday. Pole position for race one would raise his record to 44 Superpoles, one more than the record he currently shares with Troy Corser. At a circuit he has won nine races at in recent years, there may be no better venue than Donington for Sykes to make pre-race history on Saturday.
As well as much desired race wins to try and achieve at Donington, Rea and Sykes will be hunting for points in the overall championship standings. Rea has led the championship since the second race of round two, and now has a 47-point advantage over second placed Chaz Davies. Sykes is third in the rankings after five rounds, 25 points from Davies.
Donington Park, the first ever WorldSBK race venue in 1988, has hosted 50 individual races, with only Phillip Island (55) and Assen (54) having featured more races over three decades of WorldSBK competition.
Regular BSB Championship competitor Leon Haslam will have his second wildcard ride of the season this weekend, at a local circuit that is almost synonymous with his family name.
After the regular Donington Park race weekend an old WorldSBK favourite – Automotodrom Brno – returns to host the seventh round of the championship, between the 8th and the tenth of June. It will be the first time the Czech circuit has hosted a WorldSBK race since 2012.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I’m looking forward to racing at Donington this weekend as it’s the closest thing I have to a home round feeling. It’s nice to arrive there on the back of a strong weekend in Imola and we will work hard together to make sure we can fight for victory again. Of course, Donington is a different challenge, with its undulating layout and a mix of fast flowing sectors and stop and go sectors. This always makes it difficult to set up the perfect bike, but we will try to find a compromise. This weekend marks the first opportunity I have to surpass Carl Fogarty’s all time WorldSBK win record. I will have a lot of travelling support so let’s hope that’s enough to get it done.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “Preparations are going well for Donington. It is a special place for me. We have done all right in the recent past, with nine wins on the bounce before race two last year. I think I rode there for the first time in the 2000 season. I had ridden at some other British circuits before, and when I finally rocked up to Donington it was special. It is wider and more open compared to most other British circuits. When I got to Donington as a 14 year old, I remember thinking ‘Wow!’ It lived up to all my expectations, and more. First impressions are important, they say, and Donington’s first impression on me was a big one, and it stuck. When you go round Redgate and head down Craner Curves, under a bright blue sky, it is fantastic. In general we are in good shape for Donington and I am looking forward to going racing there again.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 10, Wins 5, Podiums 8, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 59 (44 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 120 (78 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 10, Wins 1, Podiums 4, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 104 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 115 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 360 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 76 – second overall