Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) had already announced on Thursday that he was really looking forward to his home race. In the first Friday training session, he immediately underlined his positive attitude with the first best time of the day, when he drove more than half a second faster than serial winner and World Championship leader Bautista.

July – month of hope for the real Superbikes

While Bautista was able to dominate at will for the first 5 rounds of the season on Ducati’s MotoGP Replica, the weekend at Donington Park kicks off the month of hope for his real Superbike competitors. Here and of course two weeks later in Imola, as well as at the end of July in Brüx (Czech Most) along with Magny-Cours in September are the best prospects for fans of real racing, Ducati’s opponents and WorldSBK as a sporting event. Of course, this will not change anything at the end of the World Cup, unless the reigning world champion is seriously injured and will be out for a longer time as a result. The commentators, who want to make their listeners believe in the fairy tale of a serious fight for the 2023 World Cup that has now been launched, should not be trusted. In truth, the FIM, together with Dorna, has already as good as awarded the title to Ducati through a scandalous decision by Messrs. Viegas (FIM Boss) and Ezpeleta (Head of Dorna). That’s why it’s still interesting to see how the competition is doing in the middle of the season.

A shot of the work on re-asphalting the beautifully situated route – this reduced the lap times in the BSB by around one second. Therefore, some improvements in the currently valid record times can also be expected in WorldSBK for the 6th round at Donington Park.

Pleasant start in English summer weather

July 2023 is likely to be the only month in which the reigning world champion is just one of many pilots and has to reckon with defeats. That’s why Friday in England got off to a very promising start in difficult conditions and on a partly wet track. Record World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) finally finished the first free practice session fastest again and his British colleague Bradley Ray (Yamaha YZF-R1) was an amazing fifth ahead of BMW reserve Tom Sykes and was the sensation of FP1. Alvaro Bautista, on the other hand, took few risks on Friday morning and ended up only seventh. Even if one shouldn’t overestimate this result, it was extremely gratifying for the many fans along the route and particularly beneficial for the Brits. But German visitors were also able to celebrate, with a strong Philipp Öttl on the best Ducati in 3rd place behind Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha). That’s exactly why the opponents of the World Cup leader should be warned. When a privateer could be that fast on the Ducati, Alvaro Bautista was more than likely to improve over the course of the weekend.

Philipp Öttl (Team GoEleven Ducati Panigale V4R) was the best privateer in FP1 before Axel Bassani on the Motocorsa Ducati was a bit faster than the Bavarian in the second free practice session. Along with Toprak, he was the only one who managed to improve in the afternoon before heavy rain stopped the pursuit of the times.

Shocking moment in FP1 of the WSSP 600 – Rain slows down FP2

Young Turk Bahattin Sofuoglu was hit by his overturning MV Agusta in a turn 10 crash and ended up in the gravel trap. This was followed by a short break in FP1 and in the second free practice session the “English weather” again stopped the hunt for times. This was also the case in the WSBK when the rain started to get heavier shortly after the start of FP2. The times were only measured and published for seven drivers because all the others drove to the pits immediately after the rain flag was shown. With the exception of Razgatlioglu and Bassani, who managed to improve slightly on the morning, only Syahrin, Baldassari, Granado, Aegerter and former MotoGP ace Petrucci were left on the track. Kawasaki hope Jonathan Rea’s time in FP1 was no longer beaten. The chance of rain is significantly lower for the weekend, but in good old England you never know. Below is the link with the current results:


As the spectators caught their breath – Sofuoglu’s overturning machine hit the pilot with the rear wheel on his helmet, whereupon he lay motionless. The cousin of WorldSSP 600 record World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu was then taken to the medical center with suspected head injuries.

What’s next in Donington Park

At 9am local time, WorldSBK will line up for FP3, which naturally gained in importance due to Friday’s bad luck with rain. After that comes the Superpole of WorldSSP 600 and then the WSBK. In the afternoon at 2pm UK time, the first round of the sixth round will start, with first the Superbike and then the Supersport category. Below is the link with the detailed information:

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© WorldSBK).