A good start and strong pace in the first of the three WorldSBK races at Donington Park made for local rider Leon Haslam’s best performance of the season so far. 

In terms of both his speed and overall result, sixth.While Alvaro Bautista’s consistent pace saw him climb from sixteenth on the grid to eighth across the line.

After using the morning’s thoroughly wet free practice to prepare for similar conditions come the races. Bautista and Haslam lined up for the Superpole qualifying phase, which also ran on a wet track. 


In what was to be his only flying lap. Haslam set the fastest time early on before a crash forced him to return to the pits and sit out almost the entire session. 

The action

Nevertheless, the English rider concluded seventh, with a time of 1’42.206, while Bautista qualified sixteenth with 1’43.625. These results translated, respectively, into a third and a sixth row start for the pair for the first of the weekend’s races.

The first 23-lap race got underway at 2 pm local time on a damp track that dried rapidly throughout the race. Both riders opted for slick tyres, as did the rest of the Superbike field. Haslam got away well, moving immediately into the fifth position. 

Lapping with a similar pace to the group fighting for the podium and maintaining a solid rhythm throughout the entire race.

Leon couldn’t get close enough to make a move, ultimately crossing the line in sixth place to score his best result of the season so far. 

The Spaniard made up two places overlap and was up into twelfth by lap two from the sixteenth. 

Continuing to gain ground.Alvaro had climbed to seventh by lap sixteen. But was unable to make further progress due to the gap that had opened up between himself. And those immediately ahead of him.

Bautista closed the weekend’s first race in a solid eighth place.


Alvaro Bautista 19


“Race conditions were very tricky today, especially in the early stages, as the track dried out. Like everyone else, we opted for slick tyres because you could tell the weather was improving. 

Because I started so far back, I had to be very careful with overtaking early on because there was only a narrow dry line in some sectors. 

However, little by little I found good feeling and, in the end, it turned out to be not a bad race.At least in terms of the positions I made up and the data collected. 

We started the weekend with a different set-up in terms of weight distribution to try. And understand a few things but today we ultimately went back to a setting closer to the one we’ve usually used this year. Let’s see what the weather will be like tomorrow. 

In the very wet conditions we had this morning, I felt OK, so we’ll see what we get.”

Leon Haslam 91


“This morning was the first time we’ve ridden in the rain, so I was surprised how easy the lap times came.

 I didn’t make it easy for my team as I then crashed in Superpole, so they did a great job to get the bike ready for the race. 

The wet gave us the confidence to battle hard, while we know we still have some limitations in the dry. 

But despite these, we came close to the podium. It was nice to get a strong result and be part of the front group. 

We still have some areas where we need to improve, but we are clear about what those are. 

Here, we’re struggling in the stop-start section, the final sector, so if we can find an extra something there, I’m confident we can run two intense races tomorrow.”

via HRC

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