WSBK teams and riders prepare for the Russian Round

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:00 GMT
WSBK teams and riders prepare for the Russian Round
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship is travelling to Moscow Raceway for the eighth round of the season, scheduled for the upcoming weekend. The Russian track made its debut on the world scene last year, marking a new era in motorcycle racing.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) enters the round as the first Kawasaki rider, after 19 years, to lead the World Superbike standings: in 1994, reigning Champion Scott Russell got back on top in the points after a double victory at Sugo (Japan), before eventually losing the title by the hands of Carl Fogarty.

The British rider has also the chance to equal Ben Spies' record of seven pole positions in a row, as Sykes has been victorious in every Tissot-Superpole from Round 2 onwards this year. Back to action after a perfect Italian weekend at Imola, Sykes hopes to maintain his Championship form, on the track that saw him finishing 1st and 2nd in the two races last time out.

Unseated from the lead for the first time in 2013, Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) hopes to step up his game again to slow down Sykes' impressive momentum. The 31 year old Frenchman had a difficult time in Moscow the past year, with a disappointing DNF and an 11th place on race day.

A vital opportunity to stay in contention for the title awaits Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), both aiming to narrow their further increased gaps (45 and 53 points respectively) from the top after Round 7. In 2012 Melandri lived in Russia one of the best moments of his WSBK career, when he grabbed the Championship lead - for the first time ever - only to lose it the following event.

After the successful test for the Suzuka 8 Hours, in which they will take part later in the month, Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will try and take the best out of the encouraging indications that came out of the one-day, post-race Official Test at Imola, two weeks ago.

Despite a lack of podium finishes in 2013, Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) hope that the hard work done so far will bear fruit this weekend, in order to finally be able to battle for the top-3.