Australian Bryan Staring’s return to world championship road racing begins this weekend (May 23-25) when he lines up on an EVO-spec Kawasaki in round five of the world superbike title at Donington in England.
The 26-year-old has signed with Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki to compete in the final nine rounds of the series, replacing Michel Fabrizio who recently parted ways with the Italian-based team.
Ironically, while the Perth native now has some stability after a rough start to 2014 – a planned world supersport campaign came to an abrupt halt after just one round – he won’t be fully fit at Donington after breaking his elbow on May 10 while training on his mountain bike.
“There’s a steep decent that I’ve ridden it 1000 times before, but I lost concentration for a moment and was straight over the bars,” said Staring. “I knew I was in trouble the second I landed after taking a big hit on my right arm and shoulder.
“I’m really confident I’ll be damn close to 100 per cent for the Malaysia race on June 8, but for Donington I’m basically going to try and ride Friday morning and see where my strength is.
“I’m improving a lot every day, but when you’re racing against the best in the world you’re kidding yourself to think it can be done without strength.”
Although Donington will present a huge physical challenge, Staring is delighted to be back on a Kawasaki, who he last rode for in 2012 when he finished a close fourth in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, which included three race wins.
“I’ve had a good relationship with Kawasaki Europe in the past. So when the position came up at Grillini it recommended me,” said Staring, who was a MotoGP rider in 2013. “And I’d shown my face at the first European world superbike round and let everyone at the race track know that I was here and available.”
Staring’s last world superbike ride was at Phillip Island in 2012, with a best finish of 10th on the Pedercini Kawasaki.
Heading into Donington – the circuit which hosted the very first WSBK meeting in 1988 –Honda’s Jonathan Rea is on a superb three-race winning streak and leads the championship by four points (139 to 135) over Kawasaki’s world champion Tom Sykes. Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli (123), Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz (119) and Ducati’s Chaz Davies (87) complete the top five. Spaniard David Salom (Kawasaki) is the leading EVO rider in 12th position.
Sykes was a double winner at Donington last year, while Rea and Marco Melandri (Aprilia) have also tasted success at the Leicestershire circuit in recent seasons. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) and Leon Haslam (Honda) – a Donington local – will also be pushing hard this weekend, as will Suzuki pair Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes.
There will be live Donington coverage on Speed from 8:30pm on Sunday, May 25.
2014 WORLD SUPERBIKE STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND FOUR OF 13):
1 Jonathan Rea, Honda, 139
2 Tom Sykes, Kawasaki, 135
3 Sylvain Guintoli, Aprilia, 135
4 Loris Baz, Kawasaki, 119
5 Chaz Davies, Ducati, 87
6 Marco Melandri, Aprilia, 84
7 Davide Giugliano, Ducati, 69
8 Eugene Laverty, Suzuki, 62
9 Leon Haslam, Honda, 58
10 Alex Lowes, Suzuki, 50
Ffi Ingrid Roepers on mobile 04 111 989 44 or firstname.lastname@example.org