PREVIEW: WorldWCR rumbles into the UK for Round 2 of 2024 – will a new name take victory?

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 06:23 GMT

After an astounding first round of 2024, history will continue to be made on the British Isles as Donington Park hones into view


It was a breathtaking opening to the inaugural FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship, with the combined gap between first and second across the first two races bringing the closest start a motorcycle World Championship ever. With that in mind and the last lap battles fresh in memory, the Championship now goes to the United Kingdom for Donington Park and round two, where perhaps the tide will change with a quirky, tricky British layout – and that famed British summer weather – threatening to play a pivotal part.

HERRERA ON TOP: can she be dethroned at Donington?

Two wins from two and not afraid to get her elbows out in last lap scraps, Maria Herrera (Klint Forward Factory Racing) has a perfect 50 points after Misano but Donington Park could be different; it’s not a track that Herrera has ever raced at so she’ll need to learn the way around. Joint second in the standings, Sara Sanchez (511 Terra&Vita Racing Team) and Ana Carrasco (Evan Bros. Racing Yamaha Team) with 36 each after their Misano rostrums. Sanchez nearly beat Herrera in Race 2 but was denied at the last corner whilst Carrasco was muscled out the way by the Championship leader in the first-ever race but the #22 has track knowledge in her favour here. A winner at the track in 2018’s WorldSSP300 race, she’ll hope that she can make gains. On the fringe of the podium, Beatriz Neila (Ampito/Pata Prometeon Yamaha) was denied twice at Misano; she won’t want to give it up this round, with it being her team’s home round.

DARK HORSES: will Ponziani, Yochay and Ongaro challenge for leading places?

Completing the top five in the Championship standings is Roberta Ponziani (Yamaha Motoxracing WCR Team), who after a fourth and a fifth at home, will seek a podium charge in the UK. Next up is Isis Carreno (AD78 FIM Latinoamerica by Team GP3), with the Chilean rider having clinched a double top six at Misano; she’ll be absent from Donington Park after an injury sustained between rounds. It was a solid start to 2024 for Ran Yochay (511 Terra&Vita Racing Team), with the 21-year-old Israeli bagging two P8 finishes, just missing out on P7 in Race 2 to the charismatic Ornella Ongaro (Yamaha Motoxracing WCR Team). It’ll be their first time at Donington Park although Yochay has been in action at Mugello for the CIV Yamaha R7 Cup.

It’ll be a first Donington visit for Pakita Ruiz (PS Racing Team 46+1) and Lucy Michel (TSL-Racing), who round out the top ten. Just outside the top ten is Taiwanese rider Chun Mei Liu (WT Racing Team Taiwan); the oldest rider on the grid at 42 years old, she took a fine P7 at Misano and will search for a top six on British soil. Whilst she’s not inside the top ten, Jessica Howden (Team Trasimeno) was a regular feature inside the top six across the weekend at Misano until her Race 1 crash left her unfit for the rest of the weekend; get to know more about here and her journey to the World Championship here.

AIMING FOR THE TOP 10: names further back, a home star and a returnee

Just missing out on a top ten finish at Misano, the likes of Nicole van Aswegen (Andalaft Racing), Lena Kemmer (Bertl K. Racing Team), Adela Ourednickova (Dafit Motoracing by Smrz), Tayla Relph (TAYCO Motorsport) and Astrid Madrigal (ITALIKA Racing FIMLA) all came close at various points at Misano but couldn’t quite get it across the line. For the likes of Van Aswegen, she’s been testing at Portimao, as has Emily Bondi (YART Zelos Black Knights Team), whilst Relph did take part in a test at Donington Park too. Mallory Dobbs (Sekhmet Motorcycle Racing Team) has been racing in the USA between rounds and it’s her teammate’s home round at Donington Park, so British fans can cheer on Alyssia Whitmore. In wet weather, keep an eye on Dobbs and Madrigal, both strong in inclement conditions.

FIRST POINTS AND HOUSEKEEPING: Hirano leads chasing pack for breakthrough, Varon returns

Luna Hirano (Team Luna), Andrea Sibaja (Deza – Box 77 Racing Team) and Iryna Nadieieva (MPS.RT) all seek their first points too; for Sibaja, she’ll not need to be doubling her duty this weekend as there are no WorldSSP300 races, so she doesn’t have to manage the team she’s racing for in WorldWCR. Other side notes include Colombian star Sara Varon (ITALIKA Racing FIMLA) returning to action and getting her World Championship story underway. For the latest news regarding Mia Rushten after her Race 1 incident at Misano, click here.

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