Where it all began – Round 6 of WorldSBK at Donington Park
It was 1988 when, on April 3rd, the first of nine rounds of the newly introduced Superbike World Championship started here. You can find out more about this in our richly illustrated history, with all the results and lots of additional information, as well as numerous results sheets. Originating in Donington, the regulations of the time seem like a bad joke today. Of course, the FIM was responsible for this, which even today is still considered one of the most questionable sports authorities in the world. This organization was responsible for a construct in which, for example, the winner of the first race went home without points after a fall or failure in the second race. Today’s Ducati manager Davide Tardozzi was the first victim of these regulations, which were revised shortly afterwards in important points. On April 3, 1988, the Italian won the first race in WSBK history on a Bimota with a Yamaha FZR750 engine. However, Tardozzi crashed in heat two with one lap to go and his compatriot Lucchinelli won that race and was then proclaimed overall winner.
What fans, teams and drivers can expect at the England Round
This time, the grid is as monotonous as it has ever been in WorldSBK history. The little Spaniard had won every race this season except for the second race at Mandalika (Indonesia), where he crashed through his own fault. Thanks to his Ducati Panigale V4R equipped with MotoGP genes, he even had to risk less than most of his opponents. Ahead of the second round of Italy at Imola, Donington offers a realistic shot at real racing. We therefore strongly recommend fans to seize this opportunity and reserve the weekend for a visit to this incomparably beautiful track. The prices are moderate compared to the Czech Republic and Italy and racing is offered in a fantastic environment. In addition, for the first time this season, a serious fight for the top could arise. Fortunately, the prospects are similarly good in the following rounds of Imola and Most. Hopefully this is exactly the moment of resurrection for the riders and teams of the Ducati competition, to finally be able to prove what they are made of.
World Championship after Round 5 in Misano – pretty much irrelevant
This season we are deliberately avoiding an interim result because, based on our observations of the current season, this makes little sense from our point of view. Because he is almost unbeatable with his MotoGP replica from Ducati in contrast to his years 2020 and 2021 on Honda, Bautista cannot seriously endanger anyone on many of the remaining courses. If not already in Magny-Cours, then at least in the last 3 laps at the Motorland Aragon, in Portimão and San Juan (Argentina), the remaining pilots currently lack the means to seriously endanger the man from Talavera de la Reina. That’s how it was for the first five rounds of this season and the next three won’t change that much.
Looking at the rest of the calendar, the World Cup has practically already been decided
With a lead of 86 points over his nearest rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha), the only thing Ducati man Bautista can hold back from defending his title is a serious injury. Especially in the last four rounds of the world championship, the Spaniard is far superior to the competition due to his power-to-weight ratio advantage and thanks to the extra power of his bike. Currently, many are trying to blame his successes on Alvaro’s driving skills, primarily to distract from the overwhelming superiority of the factory Ducati Panigale V4R. However, the truth of this is shown by his results from 2020 and 2021, when he competed for Honda and, despite a perfectly good bike, did not get past 9th and 10th place in the World Championship. In MotoGP too, with the exception of 2012 and 2013 on a Honda with ranks 5 and 6 in the world championship, the Spaniard was little more than a marginal phenomenon for nine years.
Schedule and info for the WorldSBK event at Donington Park
Numbers play ahead of WorldSBK English round
As mentioned in our article “Fake Numbers” (Fake numbers – MotoRacers), FIM and Dorna officials, as well as many reporters, are all making the same glaring mistake at the moment. On the one hand they omit to mention the reasons for Bautista’s drastic superiority and on the other hand they compare his and other modern pilots’ achievements with those of earlier heroes without necessarily important information. Examples of this abound. There’s Alvaro Bautista’s 150-start WorldSBK mark in the Donington sprint race. The Spaniard catches up with his famous compatriot Carlos Checa surprisingly early. It took the 2011 world champion 6 years on a private Ducati and he had significantly more competition than Alvaro nowadays. Checa was also a two-time Grand Prix winner in MotoGP (in the 500cc class at the time) and he was on the podium a total of 24 times in the premier class. Alvaro managed the latter a measly 3 times in nine years and never won once. He is undoubtedly a good rider, but even in his two Honda years on the lightning fast CBR-1000RR-R from 2020 to 2021 he has only been on the podium twice.
How do the misleading statistical comparisons come about?
Because from 2019 three races and one of them only over 10 laps and half points will be rewarded for the first 9, today’s drivers are approaching the records of older drivers much too early. But of course only if you count the sprint races, which is not the case in MotoGP. This questionable comparison in relation to the past has of course resulted in half more runs since 2019 than was the case up to the year before. However, even by Dorna officials in MotoGP, this is handled differently for the Tissot Sprintrace and Grans Prix wins have nothing to do with sprint wins. Opponents of the current monotony in WorldSBK should be particularly enthusiastic about the Ducati record. It was in 2011, in the second race, that Carlos Checa was the last time a driver of this brand won on the beautiful Donington Park circuit. This season, only a self-inflicted fall by Bautista in the Tissot Sprintrace of Mandalika (Indonesia) was able to interrupt the now boring, if not annoying for many, winning streak of the reigning world champion Bautista.
The real chance of another winner in 2023
After the season started in a similar way to 2019, when Ducati turned the WSBK world upside down with Alvaro Bautista and won 11 races in a row with him, the hopes for a different face on top of the podium for the current season are justified. Of course, the local fans want a Brit above all, with Alex Lowes having a better chance than Scott Redding. Normally Jonathan Rea would be the first contender for this, but the Northern Irishman is currently going through what is surely the most difficult phase of his career. Since the FIM formally castrated the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR model with questionable arguments when it was launched in 2021, the record world champion and his teammate Lowes have been fighting with a handicap that can hardly be made up for in terms of driving. The numerous fans of Rea and his teammate would still wish it if at least one of the two finally managed to win again. Otherwise, in the absence of the injured two-time winner Michael van der Mark (BMW, won 2018 on Yamaha), at least Toprak Razgatlioglu could fix it, at least as long as he still drives for Yamaha.
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