Monday, May 25

KAWASAKI WINS SPRINGFIELD MILE

Kawasaki rider Bryan Smith scored his fifth Springfield Mile win on a modified Kawasaki ER6n on Sunday.



In 2010 Smith went into the record books as the first rider to win an AMA Grand National Championship (GNC1) mile race on a Kawasaki.  That year he won the Indianapolis Mile on a surprisingly stock Kawasaki ER6n prepared by long-time Harley-Davidson factory technician Bill Werner.

He then back that up by winning the second of the 2010 mile races on the Springfield track.

He has now won 18 GNC races.

For more on Smith's latest success, click here

Meantime, Australian former Superbike World Champion Troy Baylis failed to make the cut - he did not qualify for the GNC1 final.

Meantime, in the GNC2 class, where much less modification is allowed, Kawasaki 650 twins swept the leaderboard with a 1-2-3-4-5 score.


KAWASAKI DOMINATES DONINGTON


66 leads 65:  Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea going hard at it in the first Superbike race at Donington Park on Sunday.
The Spanish-based Kawasaki Racing Team continues to set records in this year’s eni Superbike World Championship, with the latest round in the series at Donington Park no exception.

Not only did Tom Sykes break his own two-year-old qualifying record in snatching pole position, he and Kawasaki team-mate Jonathan Rea both bettered Sykes’ 2013 lap record, with Sykes finally establishing a new mark early in the second race as he broke away from the field.

Rea had clocked 1m 27.914s on the ninth lap of the first race as he tustled with Sykes for the lead then Sykes lowered that to 1m 27.640s on just the second lap of the second race.  That was 0.434 seconds under the record he had established in 2013.

Not only that, Sykes broke his own race record of 34m 06.921s for 23 laps of the Donington Park circuit in the first race, completing the distance in 33m 59.865s while he diced with team-mate Rea.  He went even faster out on his own in the second race, stopping the clock at 33m 52.642s – more than 14 seconds better than his 2013 time.

In winning both races at Donington, Sykes became the first rider to win six successive SWC races at the track, starting with his double in 2013.


Tom Sykes wheelies home in front of the Kawasaki Racing 
Team to score his second Donington win.
However, the Donington double marked Sykes first appearance on the top step of a Superbike podium since he won the second race at California’s Laguna Seca in July last year.

Although by far the longest serving rider in the Kawasaki team in modern times, having joined the marque in 2010, Sykes has not been having an easy time of it in 2015.  His 2-2 result at Imola on May 10 was only his third and fourth visit to the podium this year, in a season that has seen Kawasaki newcomer Jonathan Rea dominating.

In the 12 races now run, Rea has scored eight wins and four second places.  He leads the championship by 101 points over former Honda team-mate Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team Red Devils) with Sykes a further point adrift.

Whether Donington marks a major turn-around in Sykes’ fortunes remains to be seen as there is no doubt that Rea on the re-worked ZX-10R Kawasaki is still the combination to beat.

The Irishman got to grips with the revised Kawasaki from the first time he tried it in pre-season testing, revelling in the ZX-10R’s superiority over the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade he had been racing since 2009.

At Phillip Island in February he immediately won the first race of the season – the first time any Kawasaki rider had won a race on début.  The closest anyone else has got to that was late 1994 when Australian Anthony Gobert defected from Honda, jumped on a Muzzy Kawasaki and won his second race on the brand, at Phillip Island.


Jonathan Rea has done what no one else has - won on début 
with Kawasaki.  The occasion?  Phillip Island in February.

Rea’s win at the Australian circuit in February was also the first time a Kawasaki rider had won a Superbike race there since Gobert did the double in 1996.

From there, Rea scored the double at the new Buriram circuit in Thailand in March, posted 1-2 results at the Spanish round at Aragon on April 12, then took double wins at Assen on April 19 and Imola on May 10.

By contrast, Sykes scored 6-4 at the season opener, 3-5 in Thailand, 3-DNF at Aragon and 5-5 at Assen.  But in a sign that his fortunes are changing, Sykes scored 2-2 at Imola behind team-mate Rea – before utterly dominating Donington.

Rea did not make it easy for Sykes in their first Donington encounter, the team-mates swapping the lead, and paint, to the point Kawasaki team manager Guim Roda had his head in his hands.

Eventually, Rea let Sykes have the first race win, with Ducati’s Chaz Davies bringing his factory bike home third – the first time a Panigale has finished on the podium at Donington.

Ducati's Chaz Davies scored a pair of thirds, the first 
time a Panigale has made it to the Donington rostrum.
The second race saw Sykes take an immediate led, blowing the lap record away on the second lap, and eventually winning by more than nine seconds over his team-mate.  The fact Rea made the podium, let alone finished second, speaks volumes for the Irishman’s determination.


The Kawasaki ZX-10Rs of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea head the Aprilia of Leon Haslam early in the second race at Donington.
He nearly high-sided on the second lap and after getting things under control, found he had gone from second to seventh.  However, he was gifted sixth when Leon Camier had a front-end tuck on his MV Agusta then got his head down to work his way back to second place.  It took him 13 laps to do that, and by the time he got there, Sykes was virtually out of sight.

Behind Rea, Chaz Davies again brought the Ducati home third after an almost race-long tustle with Lean Haslam’s Aprilia, then it was Davide Giugliano on the second factory Ducati, ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Lowes with Jordi Torres (Aprilia) a further three seconds back after getting the better of reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli, clearly struggling now he is riding the unfancied Honda Fireblade.

Spaniard Jordi Torres had never raced at Donington and is a Superbike rookie.  That did not prevent him beating reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman struggling on the Pata Honda after winning the title last year - on an Aprilia...


But the Kawasaki Racing Team is clearly in control of this year’s Superbike World Championship, even though there are still seven rounds and 14 races still to go.

The Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) presence is an amalgam of Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) development and technical parts, which come from Japan, while their committed partners Provec carry out the hands-on operation at the team’s Spanish base near Barcelona.  Provec delivers the logistics, transport, race and testing duties, under the supervision of, and in co-operation with, Kawasaki Motors Europe in the Netherlands.


Round 7 of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship will take place in Portugal at the Portimao circuit on June 7.


Tom Sykes was not to be denied at England's Donington Park on Sunday, starting from pole, winning both races and establishing new lap and race records along the way.  He could afford to be a satisfied man.

Sunday, May 24

KAWASAKIS ON DONINGTON POLE

Jonathan Rea (left) and Tom Sykes topped Superbike 
qualifying at Donington Park.
KAWASAKI riders dominated final qualifying for the sixth round of the 2015 eni Superbike World Championship at Donington Park on Saturday, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea slotting their ZX-10Rs first and second on the grid.

And in the Supersport class, Turkish rider Kenan Sofuoglu was almost half a second clear of the rest of the field, posting the

Kenan Sofuoglou going for it in World Supersport qualifying at Donington Park.
fastest World Supersport Championship lap of the nglish circuit with 1m 29.925s lap.  That was under both the 2013 qualifying record set by Sam Lowes in 2013 and bettered the time Sofuoglu set in free practice.  It also gave the Turk his 21st World Supersport Championship pole.

Alongside Sofuoglu on the grid is 17-year-old English wildcard rider Kyle Ryde (Yamaha YZF-R6), who grabbed a front row start on his World Supersport debut while Frenchman Jules Cluzel rounded out the front row on his MV Agusta F3 675.

The pace was also hot in the Superbike class with Sykes bettering both his 2013 lap record and the pole record he set the same year, stopping the clocks with a blistering 1m 27.071s lap.
Sykes pushed hard for his second pole position of the year.

That gave the Kawasaki man his second pole position of the year (he was on pole at Assen in April) and his 26th Superbike career pole.

Alongside him on the grid is Irishman Jonathan Rea, not quite three tenths of a second slower on his ZX-10R Kawasaki, while Italian Davide Giugliano rounds out the front row on the factory Ducati Panigale.

The second row is headed by Lean Haslam (Red Devils Aprilia RSV4), with Suzuki's Alex Lowes alongside and Chaz Davies (Ducati Panigale) taking the final slow.

And after surprising everyone with fastest time in the opening 'free' practice session on Friday, Leon Camier managed to put the MV Agusta 1000 F4 on the third row of the grid with a 1m 28.011s lap.


Superbike World Championship points leader Jonathan Rea starts on the front row of the grid at Donington on Sunday.

Superbike - Donington final qualifying positions:
Pos No. Rider Bike Time Gap Speed
1 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'27.071   268,2
2 65 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'27.308 0.237 267,5
3 34 D. GIUGLIANO Ducati Panigale R 1'27.344 0.273 268,2
4 91 L. HASLAM Aprilia RSV4 RF 1'27.535 0.464 270,2
5 22 A. LOWES Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'27.554 0.483 268,9
6 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 1'27.710 0.639 267,5
7 2 L. CAMIER MV Agusta 1000 F4 1'28.011 0.940 263,6
8 15 M. BAIOCCO Ducati Panigale R 1'28.188 1.117 266,2
9 1 S. GUINTOLI Honda CBR1000RR SP 1'28.370 1.299 264,9
10 44 D. SALOM Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'28.620 1.549 264,9
11 86 A. BADOVINI BMW S1000 RR 1'28.701 1.630 267,5
12 60 M. VD MARK Honda CBR1000RR SP 1'28.715 1.644 266,9
13 81 J. TORRES Aprilia RSV4 RF 1'28.689 0.137 270,2
14 18 N. TEROL Ducati Panigale R 1'28.827 0.275 263,6
15 36 L. MERCADO Ducati Panigale R 1'28.991 0.439 264,9
16 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'29.436 0.884 262,3
17 23 C. PONSSON Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'29.668 1.116 263,0
18 14 R. DE PUNIET Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'29.686 1.134 259,2
19 59 N. CANEPA Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'29.783 1.231 260,4
20 51 S. BARRAGÁN Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'30.839 2.287 253,1
21 10 I. TOTH BMW S1000 RR 1'32.647 4.475 254,3
22 75 G. RIZMAYER BMW S1000 RR 1'34.024 5.852 250,2