The World Superbike championship makes a welcome return to the 2014 calendar this weekend (5-7 September) with Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam preparing for tenth round action at Jerez in Spain.
The last round of the series took place at Laguna Seca in the USA in mid-July but both Pata Honda riders took part in the legendary Suzuka 8-hours endurance race in Japan on 27 July.
Rea currently sits in third place in the overall championship standings, 64 points behind series leader Tom Sykes. With the recent cancellation of the scheduled South African round, only six races remain in the 2014 season but the 27-year- old Pata Honda rider from Northern Ireland is determined to maximise his points haul on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine.
Haslam is in good form after winning the Suzuka 8-hours for the second successive year, teaming up once more with Pata Honda colleague Michael van der Mark and Japanese rider Takumi Takahashi. The 30-year-old British rider will be seeking a return to the podium in this weekend’s Jerez races.
Jerez World Superbike schedule (local times):
Friday 5 September
11.45-12.30 Free Practice 115.30-16.15 Free Practice 2
Saturday 6 September
09.45-10.30 Free Practice 312.30-13.00 Free Practice 415.00-15.15 Superpole 115.25-15.40 Superpole 2
Sunday 7 September
08.40-08.55 Warm-up10.30 Race 1 (20 laps, 88.460km)13.10 Race 2 (20 laps, 88.460km)
Jonathan Rea - championship position 3rd
I missed the Jerez race last year through injury but I was able to test afterwards and I first rode at the circuit on a 125 Honda in 2003. I really enjoy riding it and we’ve done a lot of testing there. It seems a difficult track to get right but the CBR has developed a lot since we were last there so I’m looking forward to going back. The guys at the workshop have been busy since Laguna and we’ve got a new engine specification to try this weekend. We managed a podium last time out at a track that was new to me so we’ll be aiming to maintain that form. I’m excited to be riding again because it’s been an abnormally long summer break. I imagine there’ll be a long queue of riders desperate to get out first for free practice on Friday!
Leon Haslam - championship position 10th
It seems like we’ve been away for a long time but it’s only just over a month since Suzuka and it was fantastic to win there again. I’ve also just done one of my dad’s race schools at Donington Park so I took the opportunity to do a few extra laps on the school CBR and went faster than I’ve gone round there, so I’m itching to go again at Jerez and feeling positive. We’ve made some steps forward in the last few races and we’ve got three more rounds to get the maximum of the CBR and get the results we deserve. That should be enough for me to fight for the podium so that’s where we’ll be aiming this weekend.
1 Tom Sykes 325 pts GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team2 Sylvain Guintoli 281 pts FRA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team3 Jonathan Rea 261 pts GBR HONDA Pata Honda4 Loris Baz 253 pts FRA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team5 Marco Melandri 217 pts ITA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team6 Chaz Davies 159 pts GBR DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team7 Davide Guigliano 153 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team8 Toni Elias 137 pts ESP APRILIA Red Devils Roma9 Eugene Laverty 134 pts IRL SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki10 Leon Haslam 133 pts GBR HONDA Pata Honda