The start/finish straight of Donington Park’s beautifully situated track, which is adjacent to East Midland Airport. From 1987 to 2009, the English Grand Prix was also held here in the summer, until, like before, SILverstone came into play again, as it had done since 1977. The WSBK has run in Donington almost every year since its premiere, in 1994 even twice in May and October.

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.

The top three of the first WSBK race in history with from left Marco Lucchinelli (Ducati), later World Champion Fred Merkel and TT legend Joey Dunlop (both Honda). The overall winner from Italy with the cigar in his mouth became Ducati team boss a year later and rode in the world championship together with Raymond Roche for another year. A season later, the Frenchman became Ducati’s first WorldSBK World Champion in 1990.

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.

Located in the immediate vicinity of East Midland Airport, the course is 4,023 kilometers long. With 7 right-hand and 5 left-hand corners, the start-finish straight here is only 550 meters long. The layout of the track offers the competing machines, which are all clearly inferior to the Ducati in terms of top speed and acceleration, a real opportunity here for the first time this season to fight for victory.

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.

Impressive panorama for a circuit that is considered one of the most beautiful and challenging in the whole world – here is a shot from us from 2019 at the WorldSBK event in early July. A weekend that should go down in history with the change in the championship lead from Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).
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.

The best chances for Alvaro’s opponents come in the next 3 rounds in Donington Park, Imola and Most. The main reason for this is the lack of long straights, on which the Ducati pilots can play out enormous advantages, such as in acceleration. Thanks to its low weight, Winzling Bautista benefits twice over. The introduction of a minimum weight for rider and motorcycle, which had actually already been decided by the manufacturers, was overturned by FIM and Dorna under scandalous circumstances. In many other categories, such as WorldSSP, this rule has long been standard.

Schedule and info for the WorldSBK event at Donington Park


Our recording of the last event so far with postcard weather in July 2019 on Sunday – the day before heavy rain had caused completely different conditions in the first race. The 6-time record world champion Jonathan Rea drove one of the races of his life when he drove away from the field by almost 10 seconds within a few laps.

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.

The podium at the 2010 Nurburgring with from left Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati, P2), winner Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Honda) and third placed Cal Crutchlow (Sterilgarda Yamaha). This picture as proof of what the Spaniard had time for in his best WorldSBK. For more about the early years of the WSBK, see our comprehensive and richly illustrated history on this page.
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.

WorldSBK 1990 with Giancarlo Falappa on the factory Ducati – together with his compatriots Davide Tardozzi and Marco Melandri, as well as Michael van der Mark and the Englishmen Neil Hodgson and Carl Fogarty, the “Lion of Jesi” achieved its first victory in Donington. The red-haired Italian was an absolute favorite of the public at the time, thanks in large part to his fearless driving style.

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.

Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) may have only contested two races in WorldSBK but he has not less than 25 times in the British Superbike Championship (BSB), with three wins to his credit.

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