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The rear Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike standard SC0 tyre was the star at Donington Park; Kawasaki triumph with a Sykes-Rea one-two in both races

The soft rear solution in the Pirelli range demonstrates excellent performance despite the rather low temperatures and the manufacturer from Akashi celebrates twice with a double win by Tom Sykes and two second place finishes for Jonathan Rea in Superbike in addition to Kenan Sofuoglu’s success in Supersport

The eni FIM World Superbike Championship English weekend confirmed the positive trend for Kawasaki in all the factory derivative categories of the Championship.

Thanks to a double win by Tom Sykes in Superbike and Kenan Sofuoglu’s success in Supersport, the manufacturer from Akashi finished out the day painting the grey skies Kawasaki green over Donington Park.

The rear Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyre in standard SC0 soft compound demonstrated excellent performance: despite the less than ideal asphalt temperatures and in line with this tyre’s range of use, this solution not only provided excellent performance but it let the Kawasaki riders break all the race lap speed records.

In Race 1 Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) got off the line well, overtaking pole man Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) just after the start. Behind them were the other Kawasaki rider, Jonathan Rea, and Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team), both having started from the front row.

At the start of the second lap the current Championship leader overtook team mate Sykes and Leon Haslam, moving into the lead. In the meantime Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) also overtook his team mate to move into fourth place.

During the fourth lap Tom Sykes overtook Leon Haslam for second place and in the meantime a compact lead pack was formed, made up of Rea, Sykes, Haslam and Davies.

It was the fifth lap when Alex Lowes (VOLTCOM Crescent Suzuki) got past Giugliano to take fifth place, whereas in the next lap Sykes overtook Rea to take over as race leader. But before the end of the lap Rea was back in front of Sykes to take back the lead.

At the beginning of the seventh lap Chaz Davies got the better of Haslam for a provisional bottom step of the podium, but before the lap was over Haslam was back in front of him.

In the meantime Tom Sykes refused to settle for second place and slipped past his team mate to take back the lead and break a lap record in 1’28.255. The two Kawasaki riders broke away from the pack from the eighth lap and during the ninth Rea set the race lap record in 1’27.914.

Starting from the eleventh lap it was a no-holds-barred match between the Kawasaki duo who continued to widen the gap in front of the rest in the meantime.

But the race was decided in the fourteenth lap when, after contact between Sykes and Rea during an attempt to overtake, Sykes staked his claim, defending the lead.

Behind them it was war between Haslam and Davies for third place. In the seventeenth lap Davies managed to get by Haslam to take third place.

From the eighteenth lap on Sykes widened the gap in front of Rea, increasing his advantage to almost three seconds, whilst Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) snatched fifth place from Alex Lowes.

In the end Tom Sykes rode across the wire first with team mate Jonathan Rea behind him, followed by Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam, Ayrton Badovini and Alex Lowes.

Then it was time for the FIM Supersport World Championship. There were four key players in this race: current Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), his closest rival Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Kyle Ryde (Pacedayz European TrackDays) and Italian rider Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse).

In the final laps Ryde and Zanetti engaged in an entertaining battle for the bottom step of the podium, whilst Sofuoglu and Cluzel fought for the top spot with blindingly fast laps. The lap record was broken an astonishing five times during the race by Sofuoglu, Ryde and Cluzel. In the end the best one was set by MV Agusta rider Jules Cluzel in 1’30.425, improving on the old record set in 2013 by Sam Lowes by half a second.

The first under the chequered flag was the Kawasaki Turkish rider with his fourth win of the season. Behind him was Frenchman Jules Cluzel and finishing third was seventeen-year-old English rider Kyle Ryde. In the overall standings Sofuoglu is in the lead with 130 points ahead of Cluzel at 85 and American Patrick Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) is lying third with 79 points.

In Race 2 of Superbike the scene was the same and the podium was a carbon copy of Race 1.

Leon Haslam got off the line well, whereas in the second lap Rea risked being thrown from his bike and lost a lot of time, dropping down to seventh place.

Tom Sykes led the pack at the front made up of Leon Haslam in second place, Giugliano in third, Lowes in fourth and Davies in fifth.

Toward the end of the third lap Leon Camier, in sixth place at the time, crashed out of the race.

In the meantime Sykes pulled away from the pack with only Haslam managing to keep his pace.

In the fourth lap it was a battle between Giugliano and Lowes for third place and on the next lap it was the Brit who had the better of the two.

During the sixth lap Chaz Davies on his Ducati overtook first his team mate and then the English Suzuki rider, taking the bottom step of the podium in this race as well. On the next lap Giugliano was also overtaken by Rea who slowly moved up until overtaking Davies in the eleventh lap to move into third place.

During the sixteenth lap it was a battle between Haslam and Rea for second place with the Aprilia rider being overtaken in the end by both Rea and Davies.

In the meantime Sykes’ hold on the lead tightened with an advantage of nine seconds over his team mate.

The podium was the same in Race 1 and in Race 2: Sykes first, Rea second and Davies third. Behind them, in this order, were Haslam, Giugliano and Lowes.

After Race 2 the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race was held. Roberto Tamburini (Team MotoxRacing), starting from pole position, proved unable to fend off the attacks of Lorenzo Savadori (Nuova M2 Racing) who overtook him for the lead and went on to win the race. Tamburini was forced to settle for second place whilst behind him the bottom step of the podium went to Raffaele De Rosa (Althea Racing). The Aprilia rider leads the overall standings with 95 points, followed at a distance by Tamburini with 65.

The European Junior Cup race, which is only the fourth of the season, was held this morning with Javier Orellana winning ahead of Guillaume Raymond, second, and Paolo Grassia, third. The Spaniard is also the current Championship leader with 91 points, followed by the Italian with 67 points and another Italian, Emanuele Pusceddu who has 57 championship points.

Comment from Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing Director:

“Rarely does the Donington Park circuit grace us with a day of sun and springtime temperatures, and this year was no exception. In fact, the weekend was characterised by an overcast grey sky and air temperatures that never went above 19 degrees centigrade. Despite the less than ideal temperatures for using soft rear compounds, both in Superbike and Supersport all the riders opted for these solutions. Particularly in Superbike, both the races were ridden on standard SC0 tyres and this gave us the opportunity to verify once again just how versatile this compound has become: even in operation outside of its ideal temperature range, it provided top shelf performance combined with more than satisfactory low wear and we are obviously quite pleased about this. As for how the races went, I’m pleased that Tom was able to find the right feeling on the bike, leaving his problems from the beginning of the season behind him. I’m sure that these two wins are an important dose of adrenaline and optimism for him. Of course it won’t be easy to beat his team mate who rode intelligently today, managing his overall championship point advantage well. All that’s left now is to wait for the Portimão round to see if Sykes will be able to continue raising the bar for Rea. In the meantime, congratulations to both!”

The Pirelli solutions chosen by the riders:

In Superbike, despite the less than mild temperatures, all the riders chose the SC0 rear tyre in both races, in other words, the standard soft solution which ideally is used to take on smooth, but high temperature asphalt. It offers, in fact, maximum tread contact on smooth asphalt like that at Donington, and maximum traction development at high temperatures as well as higher resistance to thermal performance decay. It made its first appearance this year in Thailand and was also at the Spanish and Dutch round, as well as at Imola.

As for the front the riders were split more or less equally between the two SC1 development solutions, the S1699 and T1467. The former made its début at Aragón in 2014 and it was the most used solution on the front throughout the 2014 season. The latter made a successful début this year at Assen and was also used at Imola. In the SC1 compound, with respect to the S1699, it is more protected from wear and at the same time it is more stable than an SC2 solution.

The only exceptions to the rule were the former Honda riders, Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, who preferred to use the standard SC2 tyre. In particular Rea, now riding for the Kawasaki Racing Team, is quite fond of using this solution on the front because of the consistency he finds with it.

In Supersport, as in the top category, all the riders chose the softest solution for the rear, in other words the SC0 T0957 development solution, which differs from the standard SC0 because of a different construction system which guarantees a more uniform performance for the entire race duration. On the front most of the riders used the standard SC1 solution.

Pirelli Best Lap Award:

The Pirelli Best Lap Awards are given to the riders who put in the fastest lap in the Superbike and Supersport races. They were presented at the Paddock Show during the press conference which follows the podium at the end of Superbike race 1 and race 2 and the Supersport race.

The Superbike and Supersport rider who has earned the most “Pirelli Best Lap Awards” will be elected “Best Lap Winner: fastest rider of the year” and will be awarded during the ceremony at the end of the year. Jonathan Rea is leading the Superbike standings with 5 Best Laps won, Jules Cluzel the Supersport with 4 Best Laps.

These are the riders who won the Pirelli Best Lap Awards at Donington Park:

WSB Race 1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), 1’27.914 (9th lap)

WSB Race 2 – Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), 1’27.640 (2nd lap)

WSS – Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), 1’30.425 (14th lap)

The overall standings after six rounds are as follows:

WSB: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team): 5; Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team): 3; Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team): 3; Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils): 1

WSS: Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse): 4; Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Team): 1; Patrick Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto PonyExpres): 1

The 2015 Pirelli statistics for the Donington Park round:

• Total number of tyres Pirelli brought: 4260

• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 7 rear

• Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 34 front and 38 rear

• Number of solutions for the Supersport class (dry, intermediate and wet):: 4 front and 4 rear

• Number of tyres available for each Supersport rider: 22 front and 23 rear

• Temperature in Race 1: air 15° C, asphalt 21° C

• Temperature in Race 2: air 14° C, asphalt 21° C

• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 268.9 kms/h, by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) in Race 1 at 1st lap and in Race 2 at 3rd and 6th lap.

• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa tyres in Supersport: 245.6 kms/h, Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) at 1st lap.