Last weekend's racing at Donington Park was exactly the shot in the arm that WorldSBK needed.
A new rider on the top step of the podium, a new bike as the center of attention in Parc Ferme, and most importantly: Jonathan Rea being beaten in a straight up fight by Michael van der Mark.
Rea and Kawasaki have dominated the championship over the last three years, and even for Yamaha's Van der Mark, it was a surprise to finally break his duck in such style with a double.
“I was surprised by this weekend! Kawasaki and Johnny have been so dominant over the last few seasons and to beat them is very special."
"It shows that we're getting closer, and most importantly, it shows that we can beat them. It's easy to accept that Kawasaki will be in front and winning, and that's why it's important to prove to yourself that you can win races.”
Jonathan Rea was the man that ended Tom Sykes’ winning streak at Donington Park. The reigning WorldSBK champion snapped a nine-race streak for Sykes by winning Race 2 at the British round, and he’s excited ahead of his home round.
“Donington is a circuit of two halves,” said Rea. “Sector 1 and 2 are very flowing, and the final sector is very stop and start.”
“It’s very difficult to find the right setup, and you’re always making a compromise. Sometimes I have had a setting that is great for the first halfm and other times I’ve set the bike up for the final sector.”
“It really depends on what you need to do with the bike you have. You need to find a compromise between stability and agility, but it’s a very satisfying track to get right.
Round 6 of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship sees the paddock head for the home of Superbikes: Donington Park. The British circuit hosted the first ever round of the championship in 1988, and since then the affinity for superbike racing in the UK has only continued to grow.
The spectacular, flowing track has been the canvas for some of the most incredible moments in the history of the class, but will this weekend be remembered in the same light?
In a somewhat surprising development, Silverstone has signed up to host the British round of MotoGP for three more years. The Northamptonshire circuit is to hold the race through 2020.
Since the British round was held earlier this year, it looked like the race would go to Donington Park. The Leicestershire track had shown renewed interest in the race, after the circuit had been bought by MSV, who also run the BSB series and own several other British tracks.
Hosting the series at Donington would have required upgrades in a number of areas, however, and making those in time for August next year would have been difficult.
Michael van der Mark suffered a rear tire failure during the closing stages of Race 1 at the Misano WorldSBK round.
The Dutch rider was leading the race at the time, and had a firm chance to claim a first career victory in the class, when his rear tire suddenly failed and pitched him off the bike through the series of fast right-handers at the end of the lap.
For Pirelli, it is the second round in a row where they have seen a tire failure affect the outcome of a race, after Jonathan Rea suffered the same fate at Donington Park.
The World Superbike paddock and the racing community came together at Donington Park, to pay tribute to Nicky Hayden.
But after two great races in the superbike class; a supersport race that saw great battles; and a Supersport 300 race that saw a three rider scrap for the win, it was the racing that paid the biggest tribute to The Kentucky Kid.