Donington Park in Derbyshire is the latest date on the calendar that sees the STK1000 Cup line up for another fantastic contest. The current grid have only raced at Donington once – in 2015 – which could prove an exciting leveler in a series that always produces top class racing, thrills and spills. In particular, 2014 Cup winner and current leader Leandro Mercado, one of the most experienced in the field, heads to Donington as a STK1000 rookie at the track after not racing in the Cup last season.
Key rival Raffaele De Rosa, who is equal on points with experienced Argentine rider Mercado, is a man who does count on knowledge of the 4km English circuit. Although incumbent title holder Lorenzo Savadori, now riding in WorldSBK with Aprilia, won the Race at Donington in 2015, Althea rider De Rosa was on the podium alongside his compatriot and could find the experience proves a small advantage. Likewise Roberto Tamburini, who was on pole at Donington in 2015, and will be looking to use his experiences last year to help push him to the podium.
P3 in the points currently belongs to rookie Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Leandro Mercado’s teammate, who may find the points gap between him and his Aruba.it colleague easier to manage in Derbyshire as the track is new to both. Ruben Rinaldi will be hoping it is so, as the Italian rookie suffered a crash at his home race in Imola and will be wanting to kickstart his early-season momentum once again.
On a grid of so many Italians, there will be only two home riders on the STK1000 grid: Gregg Black riding for MTM / HS Kawasaki and Luke Jones, who replaces injured Brian Staring at Agro On–Benjan-Kawasaki. Having scored points already this season, the Brit Black will be hoping to do that again at home at Donington Park. And a home track it truly is for the local rider, who was born nearby in Derby – the nearest city to the track. Luke Jones also counts on experience at Donington, after having raced in both the British Superbike and British Supersport Championships.
One thing is always sure in STK1000, and that is that the racing will be close and the battles hard fought. The race begins at Donington Park on a different timetable for #UKWorldSBK, as the lights go out at 13:15 local time (GMT +1) for another great contest.