The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are determined to hit the ground running at Donington Park for Round 6 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend. Reigning WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias, is aiming to fight back and return to the podium after missing out on the rostrum at the last three rounds and relinquishing his championship lead. His teammate Federico Caricasulo is looking to build on the pace he displayed at his home round after securing his third podium in the last four races at Imola. European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola is hoping to continue the progress made in his rookie WorldSSP season as he continues to fight for his championship point in 2018.
Imola saw Mahias lose his lead in the overall standings for the first time in 2018 after he crashed out of the lead during the race, although he bravely remounted and charged his way through the field to cross the line in eighth and limit the damage to his championship defence. The 29-year-old French rider is now second overall with 79 points, just two points behind leader Randy Krummenacher despite not having stood on the podium since Thailand, and Mahias is determined to fight back at Donington Park. Last season, Mahias claimed second in the UK after battling for the race win throughout and having rediscovered the feeling with his GRT Yamaha R6 at Imola, his plan is to fight for the win to retake the lead in the overall standings.
Caricasulo pulled off a superb ride at his home round in Imola, battling for victory before securing second at the chequered flag after missing out on victory by just 0.363s. It was his third podium in the opening five races and the 22-year-old Italian is now fifth in the championship standings with 69 points, just 12 points behind the leader with all to play for. After showing superb pace in almost every session so far in 2018, Caricasulo is looking to secure his first victory of the season at Donington Park, a track he enjoys riding, after crashing out of last year’s race.
ESC rider Alfonso Coppola has shown superb improvement in 2018 as the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner continues to adjust to the WorldSSP class after making the step up from WorldSSP300 last season. Learning more every time he hits the track and having significantly decreased the gap to the top riders, the 20-year-old Italian is now looking to collect his first WorldSSP Championship point at a track he completed the perfect weekend at in WorldSSP300 last year, topping both practice sessions, claiming pole position and taking victory as well as recording the fastest lap of the race.
Located near Castle Donington in Leicestershire, Donington Park hosted its first motorcycle race in 1931. Requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1939 at the start of the Second World War, it reopened its doors to racing in 1973. The 4,023km circuit has 12 corners in total, seven right-handed and five left-handed, plus a start/finish straight of 550m in length, and is known for its fast-flowing corners, dramatic elevation changes and its two hairpins.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team takes to the track for FP1 on Friday at 10:40 am local time (GMT) in the UK, with qualifying scheduled for 2:15 pm on Saturday and Sunday’s race due to start at 11:30 am.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 2nd – 79 points
“I am really happy to be getting back on my R6 for Donington! I had a really good feeling in Imola before and after my little crash during the race, so I am looking forward to riding again. The championship is now very close with the top four riders within six points of each other but it feels way too long since I have been on the podium. Now it is time to finish the mistakes and start our fight back in the championship!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 5th – 69 points
“I cannot wait to get back on track, especially at Donington Park as it is a track I love! Last year I recorded a DNF, but after my start to the season and the pace I have shown, I genuinely believe we can be fighting for the victory once more! I am only 12 points off the top of the championship standings now, so every race we must go out with the belief we can win and fight for the best result possible!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team
“Donington Park is such a fantastic track with smooth corners and a wide layout that really suits my riding style coming from WorldSSP300! Last year I topped every session on my way to winning the race from pole position, so I am confident I can build on my encouraging results so far this season. Each round I am getting closer and closer to the top 15 and my goal this weekend is to secure my first point-scoring finish!”
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
“We are looking forward to Donington! It will be another really important race and we are getting to the stage where every race is crucial in such a close-fought championship. Lucas may not have had the best result in the race in Imola, but he has got the feeling back with his R6 that he likes and when he is relaxed, he is very quick. He has his confidence back and will be trying to get the best possible result in the UK to retake the championship lead. Federico had a great result in Imola and has been quick at every track. He was fighting for the victory in Italy and only missed out on the win by the smallest margin, so he is also full of confidence and has been quick at every track we have gone to in 2018, with both riders genuine title contenders. Alfonso has shown excellent improvement so far in 2018 as he adjusts to the class and has been riding well against riders with a lot more experience than him. He is learning at every round and really enjoys the Donington Park track so we have set him the goal of scoring his first championship point as we look to continue his progress!”