Start of the first and very spectacular race of the WorldSBK on Saturday at 2 p.m. local time in Donington Park with pole sitter Jonathan Rea on a Kawasaki ZX-10RR and behind Michael van der Mark and Tom Sykes on a BMW M-1000RR. Despite their start from the front row, it was not enough for the two BMW Aces for the podium, but at least for the top five.

Rea, only fourth best, lost the World Championship lead in England

You can of course say and think what you want about the reigning world champion. Only one thing is still a fact for him and remains irrefutable. This is the fact that the best superbike rider of all time never gives up and extremely rarely makes mistakes. Often enough he was able to save himself miraculously, and usually his toughest opponents made even bigger mistakes than the Northern Irishman during one season. A good example of his unique vehicle control was seen in the first race on Saturday. Almost every other pilot would have crashed, but not Johnny Rea, who then even managed the feat of just defending his second position and then expanding it again. Of course, his crash in the second race on Sunday was a huge disappointment for him and many fans. But you shouldn’t forget that this weekend he was the fourth-best driver of the Donington Park weekend behind Toprak Razgatlioglu, Garrett Gerloff (both Yamaha) and Tom Sykes (BMW).

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) went astray on Saturday afternoon – at the point where Scott Redding had a highsider a lap earlier, the Kawasaki ace had intercepted a violent slide of his rear wheel for the second time in a row and this time he had to ride through the meadow, where he was able to prevent a fall.
The way of the world champion back on track, after the odyssey through the meadow of Donington Park – before the third-placed Tom Sykes and then brilliantly in second place. The next mishap happened to him on Sunday afternoon, but it turned out less lightly.

Donington’s losers: Ducati with Redding and Rinaldi – not Rea

Even if he lost his World Championship lead to Razgatlioglu in the fourth round, the former World Championship leader on the Kawasaki wasn’t Donington’s real loser. With thirty-two points, he got 19 more points than Ducati hope Scott Redding. He and his team-mate Rinaldi, who had previously been the shining overall winner of Misano, were in fact the ones who suffered the biggest defeat in the England round. To understand what this means, it is enough to take a look at the manufacturers ‘standings and the intermediate results in the drivers’ championship. In England, Ducati lost second position to Yamaha and, much worse, their factory riders almost every chance of having a serious say in the title fight for the drivers’ world championship. As a look at the following table shows, the two Ducati riders need a small miracle and a mistake from their opponents in order to be able to intervene in the fight for the crown of the Superbike World Championship.

Constructors championship – with Yamaha new on position 2

BMW and Honda were on the second track, on which no team had previously tested, more successfully than Ducati. This is more than a warning sign for the Reds before they move on to Assen for the fifth of 13 planned rounds in the Netherlands. You can also see it as a sign of a failed driver policy, especially if one of the two works drivers was only able to fully convince at his home event. Last year, to have only lost the team and driver standings in the last lap and to have crashed like that now is frightening. Therefore, regardless of the weather conditions in Assen, a turnaround must be heralded.

The blue color means rain races or, as in the case of Aragon and Donington, two out of three races.
Start of the first race of the BSB (British Superbike Championship) with Scott Redding photographed by us in Assen 2019 – the Englishman has never competed in the “Cathedral of Speed” in WorldSBK, but at least he won both races of the BSB two years ago at the Panigale V4R.

The other winners and losers of the England Round

While the works teams from BMW and Honda confirmed the hoped-for upward trend, things are looking much less good for some other drivers. While Michael Ruben Rinaldi, except for his home race, still owed confirmation that he was eligible for promotion to the Ducati factory team, his compatriot Andrea Locatelli is struggling one step deeper with the same problem. Neither fans nor experts can understand why Yamaha promoted him to their factory team instead of Garrett Gerloff. The Texan is a permanent podium candidate even on tracks like Donington Park, while the WorldSSP 600 World Champion has never really been able to convince. In the case of the private drivers, however, both Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing Ducati) have already achieved this several times, despite the test deficit.

Dark clouds in Donington Park over Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Ducati) – the young Italian has so far only been able to convince in his home race in Misano and this is simply not enough for a works’ driver after 4 world championship laps.

The biggest disappointments after the first four laps
Except for two top ten results in Estoril, Barni Ducati new signing Tito Rabat has so far disappointed across the board. Eugene Laverty, who was four points behind him in the World Cup, was expected to have nothing more than a desolate start to the season with practically no preparation. Not so with Jonas Folger, who only scored once in 12 races and is unfortunately one of the biggest disappointments of the year. As feared by many sceptics, he would only have had a real chance of a good rookie season on a Yamaha R1. But not on the BMW M-1000RR, which entered the race as unfinished due to insufficient test program. This means that the two works drivers are currently only reaping the first fruits of their efforts, while the German has to fear for his future in the near-series World Cup. Without countable results, the effort also makes no sense. The same applies to MIE Honda, who want to risk a comeback with Leandro Mercado in Assen, which is viewed with a lot of scepticism by the professional world. It shouldn’t be the driver because the Argentine is always good for top ten results. We rate him even higher than Locatelli, but unfortunately this is of no use to him.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) lost valuable points in the last race in Donington and thereby also the championship lead, but with Assen comes one of the tracks that the Northern Irishman loves very much. Together with Carl Fogarty, he also leads the WSBK winners’ statistics with 12 wins each. Toprak’s best result there were three ninth places, back then on Kawasaki.

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.

The provisional WorldSBK calendar – it will continue in 3 weeks

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