4 September 2008
Preview - Donington Park.
A month is usually a long time in motorsport. Whether new deals are being announced, intensive testing is taking place or sponsorship commitments are being adhered to, a 'break' rarely means an actual break for those in this industry.
However, the World Superbike summer break is something different. After a relentless spring and summer, the month-long gap is a great chance for reflection, relaxation and an opportunity to keep out of the limelight for once.
Not for much longer though as the championship roars back into action at Donington Park for the second of the two British rounds.
Ten down, four to go, this year's series is entering the closing stages, even if the title has all but been decided if you ask most people. Troy Bayliss isn't one of them though as he refuses to admit he is something of a champion-elect, although with 82 points in his pocket, the Australian is teetering on the verge of bidding farewell to his career in the most comprehensive way possible.
Still, anything can still happen - as Bayliss knows only too well after crashing at Donington Park last year, prompting the amputation of a little finger and forcing his withdraw from the second race. Crucial to his title bid, Bayliss doesn't want history to repeat itself this year.
After a season spent bubbling under the surface of the leading riders, Ryuichi Kiyonari burst into the winner's circle at Brands Hatch, not once, but twice after showing exactly what he is capable of when he isn't spending a weekend learning the twists and turns of a circuit. Ominously for his rivals, Kiyonari heads to Donington Park with equal knowledge of the track's challenges, only this time he has even more confidence attached to his armoury.
As such, the Japanese rider must be the favourite to triumph again this weekend, but with Donington Park proving one of the more classic circuits on the calendar, the competition for honours is likely to be fierce.
Currently, Bayliss' closest rival in the championship standings is Alstare Suzuki's Max Neukirchner, who enjoyed a relatively quiet Brands Hatch weekend that nonetheless consolidated his position in the overall standings.
However, he is under pressure from the 'other' Troy, this time Corser, who is becoming increasingly desperate to win some proper silverware aboard the Yamaha. Nonetheless, despite the lack of wins, Corser's consistency has still put him just ten points behind the Suzuki rider in the championship. A double podium winner last year, is this the weekend Corser finally breaks his Yamaha duck….?
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