Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is one of the positive surprises this season – with just two days of testing on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, which was completely new to him, the fast Frenchman made it into the top ten for the second time.

Outstanding Toprak after disastrous qualifying – debacle for Ducati

While Toprak Razgatlioglu still looked excellent on Friday in dry conditions, the next day in the rain in FP3 and Superpole the expected setback came. Starting position 13 was a disaster for the Turks who were on P2 in the interim settlement, but after that the weather played into his cards. Although the first run started as a rain race on a slightly damp track, it dried out more and more and there was no further precipitation. From the fifth row on the grid, the Yamaha ace drove up to position two within 7 corners after the lights went out. In the second lap, Toprak was already leading the race and while Rea, who was in the lead before that, mastered some hair-raising situations only with great skill and sensational reactions, the winner was already clear after a few laps. The world championship leader was satisfied with P2 and the tenth podium in a row, and behind that his team-mate Alex Lowes made third place.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) was the order from lap two to the finish – but the world champion had to endure several dangerous situations before he had to be satisfied with P2 after a sensationally strong qualifying.

The Ducati and Redding debacle
While Garrett Gerloff was initially on course for the podium, in the end despite a crash he still finished seventh, Scott Redding suffered the next catastrophe after the second race at Estoril. With its second crash in a race this season, the Ducati Hope lost many important points in the fight for the title. What crowned the Ducati disaster was the fact that Misano overall winner Rinaldi did not even make it into the top ten with P12. Davies was only eleventh behind Bassani on the second-best Ducati and, like Redding, has increasingly poor cards in hand in the World Cup. Apparently he only plays third fiddle behind Razgatlioglu and the Turk is increasingly establishing himself as the first challenger to world champion Jonathan Rea. However, he must hope for dry conditions on Sunday, which, according to the current weather forecast, should not be the case. However, his new team-mate Andrea Locatelli is in an even worse position and the reigning WSSP 600 world champion even flew out of the top ten of the interim rankings of the World Cup after his crash in the first run in Donington. Below is the result of the first race in England.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team, P2): I actually had quite a problem getting to the top. The bike setup wasn’t great compared to yesterday, and I don’t know if there was a lack of grip because the rain washed some tire rubber off the road. But I struggled to stop the bike and get the full lean angle. It didn’t spin right away. We had a little compromise with the setup, but nothing too drastic. Fifteen minutes before the race, we were still wondering if it would be completely dry and if we should use intermediates or a normal racing setup. There was only a tiny and thin dry line. After Toprak passed me, I had a dangerous moment up in the Holly Wood section and lost my tail in the process, quite aggressively. From that point on, I was careful to get off the dry line and I also had a few slides that Toprak drove away on, but I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to keep pushing, and now I’m hoping for an improvement on Sunday.

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team, P3): Conditions were tough all day today. The morning was very wet, and I felt pretty good, then it dried off a bit for the Superpole. It didn’t feel so good in the less wet conditions, and I got off to a terrible start in the race. I was probably only eighth in the first corner. I was always good at the beginning of this year, but on a track like this with such a narrow dry line, I just had to stay calm. I was a bit faster than the guys in front of me, but I just couldn’t get past them. Johnny and Toprak were gone, so it was time to win the fight behind them. The rear turned pretty hard, and I didn’t feel like I had too much grip, but of course that can happen after the rain. I’m happy with the podium, the first since Aragon, and I’ve had a good, consistent run which was definitely nice.

Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda) ahead of Chaz Davies (Ducati) and Eugene Laverty on the third-best BMW on Saturday – the Spaniard crossed the finish line two places behind Haslam’s home track, but at least once again in the top ten.

Leon Haslam (HRC Honda, P6): This morning we really drove in the rain for the first time, so I was surprised how easy it was to achieve the good lap times. However, I didn’t make it easy for my team when I crashed in Superpole. You did a great job getting the bike ready for the race. The wet has given us the confidence to fight hard, while we know we still have some limitations in the dry. But we still got closer to the podium. It was nice to get a strong result and to be part of the top group. We still have a few areas where we need to improve, but we understand what those are. Here we have a hard time in the stop-start section, the last sector. If we can still find something for there, I am confident that I can drive two strong races tomorrow.

Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda, P8):The racing conditions were very difficult today, especially in the early stages as the track dried up. Like everyone else, we chose slick tires because you could tell that the weather was getting better. Since I started so far back, I had to be very careful when overtaking early because there was only a narrow dry line in some sectors. But gradually I started to feel good and in the end it wasn’t a bad race, at least in terms of the positions I took and the data I had collected. We started the weekend with a different setup in terms of weight distribution to understand a few things, but today we ended up going back to a setting that is closer to the setting we usually used this year. Let’s see how the weather will be tomorrow. I felt good in the very wet conditions we had this morning, so we’ll see what we get.“

Upward trend for the BMW works drivers and HRC Honda

From row one, Tom Sykes and “Magic Michael” both missed the podium. After the partly desolate results of the first three rounds, this still means an upward trend for both of them. The same applies to Leon Haslam, who showed the best result of the season with sixth place on his home track. With Bautista behind Gerloff on P8, the second HRC Honda got back on track after its debacle in the second Misano round. After his fifth top ten result of the season, the little Spaniard is now in tenth place in the world championship. Lucas Mahias in ninth place ahead of Axel Bassani, along with rookie Luke Mossey from England in 14th place, were the other highlights of the first race on Saturday.

The BMW duo van der Mark and Sykes ahead of Alex Lowes on the Kawasaki – at the finish the order was exactly reversed and the man from Lincoln took the fourth podium of the season on his green bike. Despite starting row one, the blue-whites missed this long-awaited goal, but at least made it into the top five.

Tom Sykes (BMW, P4):In any case, I’m glad that the BMW M-1000RR worked well in the wet conditions. In this intermediate state at the start of the race, we just found it difficult to get in properly. We couldn’t get the same grip as everyone else, but the bike was very, very consistent, so we were only a few tenths short. We didn’t have a complete dry setup. Who would have thought that the sun would rise in the morning, at least not me and my crew. We may have missed it in that regard, but fourth place isn’t bad. I agree, and of course we will try to improve tomorrow.

Michael van der Mark (BMW, P5):Today wasn’t bad. In Superpole I felt excellent on the wet track, and we managed to get both BMWs into the front row. That’s always a good thing. The track slowly began to dry out for the race. My start was okay, and then I just tried to find my line. I made a few mistakes when I went to the Craner Curves, got into the wet on the slicks, so I lost a lot of time there a couple of times. That was a bit of a shame, but there is still a lot to improve on the bike for tomorrow, but I think we can be satisfied with P5 today.

Stand in the WorldSBK world championships

P, Rider, Points
1 REA 169
4 LOWES 104
7 SYKES 64
13 MAHIAS 29
14 HASLAM 28
15 NOZANE 17
16 RABAT 16

Donington Park Circuit

The course, located in the immediate vicinity of East Midland Airport, is 4,023 kilometres (2.49 miles) long. With 7 right and 5 left turns, the longest start-finish straight is just 550 meters long.

WorldSBK Donington Park schedule (WSBK only, no WSSP)

DayLocal timeMEZSession
Fr, 2. Jul10:30 – 11:1511:30 – 12:15WorldSBK – FP1
Fr, 2. Jul15:00 – 15:4516:00 – 16:45WorldSBK – FP2
Sa, 3. Jul09:00 – 09:3010:00 – 10:30WorldSBK – FP3
Sa, 3. Jul11:10 – 11:2512:10 – 12:25Superpole
Sa, 3. Jul14:0015:00Race 1 WorldSBK
Su, 4. Jul09:00 – 09:1510:00 – 10:15Warm-Up
Su, 4. Jul11:0012:00Superpole Race WSBK
Su, 4. Jul14:0015:00Race 2 WorldSBK

>WSBK Donington Preview see separate report on this page.

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