Leaving the throngs of fans behind from the Imola round, the World Superbike Championship travels to England, just a shout from the famous Sherwood Forest. The 4,023 metres that make up the Donington Circuit will set the stage this weekend for the fifth round of the 2014 season, which has the Aprilia Racing Team in the thick of the battle for the final victory in both the Rider standings (with Guintoli lying third, just 16 points from the top) and in the Manufacturer standings where Aprilia, reigning World Champion with the RSV4, is defending the title won last season.
The English track has a fast and flowing set up with a lot of up and downhill sections that follow the conformation of the hilly terrain. The section right before the finish is characterised by some violent braking and acceleration sections which have often set the stage for spectacular duels in the final laps of the race. As always, the weather conditions will be a huge question mark which can reshuffle the deck throughout the weekend.
Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, lying third in the rider standings with 2 race wins under his belt already this season and as many podiums, will be playing on his "home" pitch as he lives just a few kilometres from the circuit. For Sylvain the 2014 season started off the best possible way. His feeling with the Aprilia RSV4 is perfect and the French rider's ambitions bring him to Donington with a specific goal of earning some important points in the battle for the championship.
Sylvain Guintoli: "I’m very excited to race in Donington, the only UK round in 2014. I live only 30 minutes from the track so it's like my home race, with many family and friends coming to support. I also love riding this track and had two strong results last year. I am ready for battle".
Encouraged by the tests held at Imola after the race weekend and spurred on by the desire to redeem himself, Marco Melandri sees Donington as the ideal circuit get his season on track. The extensive fine tuning that Marco and the Aprilia mechanics focused on at Imola produced good signs over the weekend there and a result worthy of the Italian duo seems to be just around the corner.
Marco Melandri: "Donington is a track that I like a lot and one that suits my riding style very well. I'm confident that the characteristics of the English circuit will suit my RSV4 much better than Imola. Let's hope the weather cooperates because I really want to ride two good races and redeem myself for a period which has been decidedly below my potential".