WSBK - Here come the Brits
Finally the winter drag is over and the 2014 bike racing season is about to start. This weekend it all kicks off down under at Phillip Island with the first round of the World Superbike championship. British riders litter the field and with the reigning world champion in the shape of our boy Tom Sykes, things are looking good for our supporters and chances at another title. Here's a look at our British riders hoping to make their mark on the world stage.
Tom Sykes - Kawasaki Racing Team
The 2013 champion returns to defend his title. Sykes is consistent, fast and has the might of the ZX10 underneath him. His bike is tried and tested from last season and in testing he is already looking the favourite. He has said that he feels more relaxed about this year because he already has a title under his belt, granting him the chance to go even faster and push the bike and his competitors to the limits. The man to beat.
Eugene Laverty - Voltcom Cresent Suzuki
Last year's runner up moves teams from the proven Aprilia to the 'uncompetitive' Suzuki. This wasn't his choice as he was dropped by Aprilia and only picked up last minute by Suzuki. The super fast Northern Irishman has already proven that the Suzuki is capable of good times though, topping the time sheets in a recent test. The new WSBK regulations should bring the Suzuki more in line with the top end Kawasakis and Aprilias but we won't know for sure until raceday. Laverty will fight to the last never the less, he's got unfinished business here.
Jonathan Rea - Pata Honda
Entering his sixth year in WSBK, Rea has always been a bit of an untapped talent. Dogged by injuries and poor machinery his career in worlds has never really got going. This year he returns again with Honda, a bike he has always used. In recent tests he claims they have made good progress on the machine from last year but there is still work to be done. If the bike is good and Rea stays consistent he has the talent and the experience to make a real dent on the series.
Leon Haslam - Pata Honda
The second Pata Honda rider has just as much talent and experience as the first with the same issues stopping his progress. A big injury last year destroyed his season so he'll be looking to keep things upright and on the podium this time out. He is hungry for success and once the bike is sorted and up to speed Haslam will definitely be one to watch.
Alex Lowes - Voltrom Cresent Suzuki
This will be the first time out on the world stage for the freshly crowned MCE Insurance British Superbike Champion. Following on from his success in MCE BSB Lowes was snapped up by Suzuki to hopefully make an assault on the worlds title. He's young, super talented and also packed with determination. He may be on a bike that hasn't won a race in 94 appearances but we all know Alex will push that bike to its limits to get the results he wants. He's got all the tracks to learn which puts him at a bit of a disadvantage but if his testing times are anything to go by it doesn't seem to bother him. He came of age last year, this year he could move into the stuff of legends.
Chaz Davis - Ducati Superbike Team
Signed to a new two year deal with the factory Ducati squad, Davis will look at this season as a development stage moving onto podiums and wins next year when the bike is up to speed. 3rd year with a new team and bike but the experienced racer knows what he has to do and is realistic about his chances. You never know with Chaz though and he will be pushing the bike hard for podiums.
Christian Iddon - Team Alstare Bimota
Entering his rookie year in superbikes with a brand new team and bike. Christian picked up some good results last year in WSS and intends to build on that with his new team. His father Paul was a former top rider for Bimota back in the 80s so the move for Christian is like coming home. It's certainly a gamble but if they can get a good base together this year then who knows what the future holds?
Visit the WSBK website for more news and results.
Watch the racing over the weekend on British Eurosport.
20.02.14 - Big Ed