Passionate fans were out in force at WorldSBK Donington

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Dosoli Debrief: Donington and Toprak Continue Their Success Streak

The sixth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship was held at Donington Park in the East Midlands, UK and it was another positive weekend for Yamaha Racing as Toprak Razgatlıoğlu took his second race win of the season and two more podiums, while Andrea Locatelli rode strongly throughout the weekend on a circuit he usually finds tricky.

The passionate fans were out in force at the British circuit despite the typically mixed conditions which ranged from warm sunshine to chilly winds and drizzle, and the crowds were treated to some sensational racing from all the classes, but especially from the World Superbike riders.

Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager, commented:
“Donington was a great event with a lot of passionate spectators who were keen to support and interact with our riders and teams, and who also raised a lot of money for Riders for Health. This round also marked the home race for our official team in WorldSBK, which put a bit of stress on them to manage all the guests, but had no negative impact on the results – in fact, we saw some of the best results for Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli. The rainy weather conditions on Friday didn’t help the other riders, because it drastically reduced the track time available. This made the job more difficult for everybody with the new surface to test, and it was especially tricky for our WorldSBK rookies who had to learn the track in wet conditions.”

Toprak Goes for Gold

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu put in a stunning display of riding across all three WorldSBK races in Donington, a circuit he absolutely loves. The Turkish rider showed pace from the first practice session onwards, and when it came time to race he rode with his usual incredible style and control, managing two strong second places in Race 1 and Race 2, and a brilliant victory in the Superpole Race which thrilled the crowds and gave a boost to both rider and team. Razgatlıoğlu remains the only rider to beat Alvaro Bautista this year with two wins against the Spaniard, and his latest results take him ever closer to a record podium run.

“It was another masterful display of how to ride Donington from Toprak – a circuit he loves and where in the past he was capable of winning all three races. It’s a really technical track with a lot of tight turns, sweeping corners, and ups and downs but he rode it with total precision. He and the team have succeeded in improving his feeling with the bike every race and the battle during the Superpole Race was amazing to witness, Toprak once more confirmed who is the best rider in Donington. Unfortunately, in both long races, when the tyres dropped he couldn’t do anything against Bautista, but overall it has been a positive and enjoyable weekend for the #54 and his squad.”

Tenacious Loka Makes a Step

Andrea Locatelli has traditionally found Donington circuit to be a challenging one for him and his riding style, but this weekend the Italian managed to make an important step forward. After qualifying in seventh place, “Loka” used his usual dogged determination to push through in the races. In Race 1 he worked his way up to fifth, and in the Superpole Race he put in some superb passes to finish in a great fourth place, not far from the podium fight. In the final race of the weekend he struggled in the second half of the race, but still finished in a solid eighth.

“It was a really positive weekend on a racetrack where Loka has suffered in the past, and this is a very promising sign of his improvement. During the Superpole Race he showed his brilliant talent. It was a bit more difficult in Race 2; after a promising first half of the race, Loka could not keep the pace up, and this is something we need to understand better as usually he’s quite strong in the last parts of the race, as we saw during Race 1. But overall, he did very well.”

 

A Learning Curve For GRT, while Ray and Baldassarri Unlucky

The GYTR GRT Yamaha WSBK pairing of Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner had a steep learning curve at Donington with the former only having ridden here on an R6, and the latter never trying the track before. With the reduced track time on Friday due to the rain it was always going to be tough going into Saturday’s Race 1. Remy made it up to 10th, while Domi finished in 12th. In the short Superpole Race the pair reversed fortunes and it was Aegerter that finished higher up in 11th, with Gardner 15th. In the final race of the weekend the Swiss rider finished 11th and the Australian 12th.

Bradley Ray was keen and ready for his home race as he continues to learn and improve on his R1. The Brit was strong in practice, finishing Friday in 6th, but was unlucky from the get-go when it came to racing as he was taken out of Race 1 by another rider and denied the chance to score points. However, he recovered well from the disappointment and in the Superpole Race he battled up to 12th, while in Race 2 he finished 13th. Lorenzo Baldassarri found the lack of track time difficult and he ended the weekend with 14th, 16th and 19th, although he is looking forward to the next round in Imola.

“It wasn’t the best weekend for Domi, despite a great ‘flying lap’ performance in SuperPole, he never found the pace for the races, and for sure the limited track time on Friday didn’t help. Similarly, the limited track time for Remy compromised his performance on what’s a completely new track for him, and a small crash in FP1 further reduced his chance to learn the circuit too. Lorenzo also found it a tough weekend, but he managed to score a few important points. Bradley really showed some great pace and skill, and we could see he was enjoying riding his R1 on his home track, he also took another important step in his learning curve of the WorldSBK Championship. It was a shame that he had a DNF in Race 1 due another rider’s mistake, this valuable track time would have helped him to further improve his Sunday performance.”

WorldSSP 600 – Manzi Battles Back

Stefano Manzi had a tough time in Donington but the Italian showed his determination to continue fighting for wins and closing the title gap. After taking a nice second place in Race 1, he was in contention for a victory fight on Sunday when he had a crash and a long lap penalty. He didn’t give up and battled back to a superb fifth place and a handful of useful points. Glenn van Straalen also rode his R6 very well at the British track, finishing a fantastic fifth in Race 1 and tenth in Race 2.

“Stefano took a good step forward in SuperPole, which meant he started on the front row and that really helped him. In both races he clearly confirmed that he’s currently our best rider in WorldSSP. In Race 1 he struggled a bit in Sector 1 and out of Corner 8, but the team worked hard and for Sunday his speed in the first sector has improved. They couldn’t find a solution for the acceleration out of Corner 8, and this is something that will be worked on for the next round. Anyway, watching Stefano overtaking several riders after the small crash and the long lap penalty in Race 2 was very impressive and I want to say well done to him and his team.
It was nice to have Valentine Debise back on the grid with us, and although he’s not yet 100% fit he was still able to deliver encouraging performances. Glenn van Straalen also rode impressively on this difficult track and delivered a Top 5 and a Top 10 result.”

R3 bLU cRU European Championship – Mahendra Bounces Back, Vich Victorious

The youngest riders in the WorldSBK paddock continued their exciting title battle in Donington, with the usual edge-of-the-seat racing and unpredictable results. In the first race, two title contenders, Emiliano Ercolani and Aldi Satya Mahendra both suffered separate crashes, allowing their rivals the chance to gain some points in the chase. Spain’s Marc Vich took his first win of the season in Race 1, after pairing a mature and calm approach with his usual impressive skill. And in Race 2, Mahendra determinedly bounced back from his first race crash and a long lap penalty to take his second top step finish of the year.

“The contenders in the R3 Championship continue to impress with each passing round, and we’re seeing them develop as riders and learn more and more race craft. As we know, Donington is a very technical circuit and they didn’t have much time to learn it, but they did well and had two very close and exciting races. Marc graduated from a podium finisher to a winner, and he rode very sensibly. Aldi was very determined in Race 2 and he took another win for Indonesia. We also welcomed British rider, Katie Hand as a wildcard and it was nice to see her progression during each session.”

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