Posted: 31 Jul 2013
The World Superbikes head to Silverstone this weekend for the ninth round of the championship with competition for the title really starting to heat up. After winning in Russia, BMW’s Marco Melandri elevated himself into third in the championship just thirty-two points in arrears of Sylvain Guintoli. Guintoli regained the lead of the championship following Sykes’ mechanical in Moscow, despite the Frenchman replicating his worst finish of the season, sixth.
Guintoli took victory at last year’s Silverstone round in questionable weather conditions in his first race for PATA Ducati placing him in a favourable position for the win this weekend. However, while the Aprilia rider leads the championship, he hasn’t won since the first race at Phillip Island back in February.
With Tom Sykes looking strong this season having only finished off the podium twice this season (despite a couple of DNFs) he will certainly be the home fan’s favoured option for the win. Having already taken the double at Donington Park back in May, Sykes will be looking for a repeat performance… let’s just hope the technical gremlins he suffered with at Moscow have been resolved. However, the Huddersfield man racked up two of his worst results at the Northampton circuit last year.
Melandri took seventh and eighth last in last year’s races but heads to Silverstone with the momentum found in Moscow therefore can’t be written off. When the BMW riders are comfortable they are pretty much unstoppable – as in Moscow – and can perform in both wet and dry conditions, something to really consider when racing in the UK.
Taking the weather into account, Loris Baz took victory last year in challenging wet/dry conditions in the first race and fell from the lead in the rain soaked second race therefore should the weather take a turn for the worst the Frenchman could well shine. Baz attempted to stay out in the wet at Moscow Raceway while other riders pitted for wet tyres only to realise the others were right, showing he’s willing to take those extra risks in tricky conditions which sometimes pay off.
Davide Giugliano will be keen to make up for falling from the lead after securing his first pole position at Moscow. The Italian found some pace at Imola, where he finished second in the first race and carried the pace through to Russia. He does have a habit of falling from strong positions though, having done it twice in the last two races.
Northern Irish pair, Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty will be looking to make an impression at their home round. Rea finished just off the podium at Moscow while Laverty crashed out of the podium battle. Both have strong form at the British circuit, as does Rea’s PATA Honda team mate, Leon Haslam who heads to Silverstone after an incredible Suzuka 8hr victory.
The chances of a British winner are high, but will the Italians or French spoil the party?
If you aren’t at the circuit, WSBK can be seen on British Eurosport 2 from 9am on Sunday morning.