The FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) returns to historic ground. The sixth round of the 2023 season will take place at Donington Park (GBR), where the first WorldSBK race was held in 1988, from June 30 to July 2. The circuit near Nottingham (GBR) is also a special place for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Several significant successes have been celebrated there in the past. It is also the home race for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, as well as Scott Redding (GBR) and Tom Sykes (GBR), who will once again stand in for injured Michael van der Mark (NED) this weekend.
The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team aims to continue its momentum from Misano four weeks ago (ITA) at Donington Park. At Misano, Garrett Gerloff (USA) achieved his best result of the season so far in a main race, finishing eighth in race two. His teammate Loris Baz (FRA) has used the break since Misano to train intensively and is confident of being 100% fit again after the injury he suffered at Mandalika (IDN).
Intensive preparations and yearly get-together before the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team’s home race.
The ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has a special tradition for its home race at Donington Park. At the beginning of race week, the entire team gathers at their headquarters in Guisborough (GBR), about two and a half hours’ drive from the race circuit. “Our team is based in the north of England, and after we set off for the first European event, all the trucks, equipment, bikes, and so on return to the UK for the first time. We’re practically on the road all year round,” explained Team Principal Shaun Muir. “After the races at Misano and before the races at Imola, this is the only time we have all the equipment here. It’s a good time to pack the trucks with new equipment, and we have the opportunity to prepare the bikes here in our workshop instead of doing it at the track on a Wednesday and Thursday. Here, we have several days and a suitable environment to get everything ready for Donington Park.” The 17,000-inhabitant town of Guisborough is Shaun Muir’s hometown. The team’s headquarters was established in 2002 and has been developed there since.
In addition to the core team permanently based in Guisborough, the days leading up to the race weekend at Donington Park provide an opportunity for the international team to come together. “Our team members mainly have the chance to meet during race weekends. Our mechanics come from all over Europe, from the UK, Portugal, France, Poland, and so on and now they all gather here with us. It’s really like a big team get-together,” said Muir.
Now everything is prepared, the trucks have arrived at Donington from Guisborough, and the race weekend can begin. It’s a track that team manager Muir finds exciting not only because it’s the home track: “I think what’s really special about Donington is that it’s a motorcycle track through and through. It has always been on the WorldSBK calendar; that’s where it all started. Personally, I really like the circuit, and all the riders I speak to feel the same way. I believe that Donington Park is one of the top-three tracks for almost all riders, from the past and the present. It’s a real attraction. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Quotes ahead of the Donington Park round.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “After a four-week break, we are now continuing with three race weekends within five weeks. We want to start this series of events at Donington Park, Imola, and Most in the best possible way. We have very good memories associated with Donington Park. It’s where we celebrated our first WorldSBK victory in 2012, and also after our factory comeback in 2019, we had successful outings at this circuit. The goal, of course, is to continue this trend. The track has been resurfaced, and in the initial practice sessions, we will see how it affects the handling and setup work. In any case, we are looking forward to exciting races at the historic Donington Park circuit and working hard to close in on the front.”
Garrett Gerloff, #31 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team: “I’m really looking forward to Donington Park this weekend. It’s a track where I had success in the past and so did BMW, so hopefully we can have a good weekend and find a setup quickly. It’s going to be slightly different because there’s new asphalt, but I think that’s good for us. We’ll see how it goes. I’m definitively looking forward to it.”
Scott Redding, #45 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “I’m looking forward to my home round at Donington Park. Last year, it went well there for us and I would like to achieve similar results this time. That would be great in front of my home crowd. There is a new track surface so we need to see how that reacts with the tyres.”
Tom Sykes, #66 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “I am very much looking forward to Donington Park. It’s my home race and a circuit that I enjoy. It’s also the home race for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Not only that, on the BMW in the past I’ve had some success there so we have that in mind and with what we learnt at Misano we can hopefully make the base setting of the BMW M 1000 RR a bit more suited to me. I’ve had a good chat with my crew-chief Marcus Eschenbacher in between with some ideas for Donington so I am really looking forward to the possibilities. We’ve also had some fantastic weather here in the UK and if that can continue into the weekend, I can imagine that it can provide excellent racing for the fans. Fingers crossed for a successful weekend.”
Loris Baz, #76 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team: “It’s been quite a long time since Misano, but Misano was the first race where I was feeling good on the bike and not riding in pain, so it’s definitely a big improvement for me to be able to ride like this. I had a good three, four weeks to train even more. I’m back at 100 % now, so I’m really looking forward to this round. I love the Donington track! I hope we have more luck than at Misano where we had some issues. I’m confident of finally ride pain-free and enjoying riding the bike. Let’s see if the new Donington surface brings us luck.”