Michael van der Mark ended Yamaha’s excessive World Superbike victory drought with a dramatic win at Donington Park.
Tom Sykes looked like the easy winner as he scooped his 44th WSBK pole position at a track he dominates at, but he soon came under pressure from the storming Yamaha rider and also his team mate Jonathan Rea.
While all three led portions of the race (and yes, Sykes actually did some overtaking and defending), it was the Dutch rider who denied Sykes a much-needed victory, and Rea his 60th.
A number of British Superbike wildcards turned out for the Donington round, including Leon Haslam who is well versed in the ways of World Superbike. He finished ninth on the Puccetti Kawasaki after a final lap incident with his team mate Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Bradley Ray made his World Superbike debut on his BSB spec Buildbase Suzuki, finishing in the world championship points in 14th, after impressing us all by going straight through to Superpole 2. Luke Mossey joined his BSB compatriots on the Pedercini Kawasaki, replacing Yonny Hernandez who had “visa issues”. He finished 17th, just ahead of the final debutant Gino Rea on the OMG Racing Suzuki who finished 23rd. Mason Law too made his debut, but unfortunately couldn’t make it to the grid due to a crash in qualifying.
But while the Yamahas and Kawasaki’s were flying away at the sharp end, the Ducatis were having a horror of a day. Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri qualified in ninth and 12th respectively, and their fortunes didn’t improve much from there. While Davies managed a fairly respectable eighth, Melandri crashed out but did manage to re-join, finishing 22nd overall. Their junior team mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi fought to hold on to twelfth, while their satellite counterpart Xavi Fores retired from the race altogether.
Expect race two to bring high drama as Jonathan Rea eagerly fights to break Carl Fogarty’s record, Tom Sykes tries to add another Donington victory to his career and Michael van der Mark springs into the second race of the weekend with the new found confidence from his first ever WSBK win.
World Superbike race one:
- Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike Team – 33:56.530
- Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team +1.136
- Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team +2.193
- Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike Team +6.642
- Lorenzo Savadori – Milwaukee Aprilia +7.331
- Eugene Laverty – Milwaukee Aprilia +13.374
- Loris Baz – GULF Althea BMW Racing Team +15.992
- Chaz Davies – Aruba.it Racing Ducati +18.532
- Leon Haslam – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +20.478
- Leon Camier – Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team +20.634