The World Superbike Championship heads to Donington Park — where it all began 25-years ago — this weekend for the fifth of 14 rounds and Eugene Laverty and Jonathan Rea are looking to continue their recent run of good form.
The Ulster duo are aiming to close the gap on championship leader Italian Max Biaggi at what is their home round.
Laverty, fresh from podiums in successive races at Assen and Monza, said: “At last we seem to have got the Aprilia dialled in and it now feels like my bike where I can use my natural style to put it where I want it on the track.
“I feel we now belong at the front, fighting for podiums after the successes at the last two rounds. Donington has been kind to me in the past.
“My only two podiums in British championship meetings were there and both in extremely wet conditions.
“I wonder can we get a third wet meeting in a row, hopefully not.
“I’m currently eighth in the championship, 32.5 points behind championship leader Biaggi.
“At Donington I’ll be looking to close that gap and to do that we need to be fighting at the sharp end of the races.
“It’s the round closest to home for me, so it would be great to put Aprilia in the winners circle with an army of friends and family trackside supporting me.”
Meanwhile Rea, currently fifth in the series, was unable to replicate his victory at Assen in last weekend’s weather affected Monza race, finishing in sixth position. But the Ten Kate Honda rider is optimistic ahead of the Donington meeting.
“We have got the bike working well at the moment and I can’t wait to get out on track Friday morning,” said Rea.
“What we might lack in horsepower we make up for in the corners and on the brakes.
“I just hope we get a bit of consistent weather this weekend.
“And not only for the riders, but also for the passionate British fans, my family and friends who’ll be coming along.
“After a fraught Monza for everybody, the championship has opened up a bit.
“So now we need to build on my Assen win with a couple more podiums so we can make inroads towards the top.”
Tomorrow sees the third round of the Retink Irish Motocross Championship taking place at Desertmartin.
It is being run concurrently with the Premier MX1 and MX2 classes and everyone hopes the event will continue the blistering action witnessed at the opening two rounds.
WSB contender Rea will have one eye on this meeting as his JAR Honda riders Wayne Garrett (MX1) and Michael McCammond (MX2) should be in contention.
Both are currently in second position in their respective championships.
Gordon Crockard is the leader in MX1, but will come under considerable pressure from Garrett, Gary Gibson, Michael Mahon and Richard Bird.
In the MX2, John Meara leads the way with McCammond, Glenn McCormick and Stuart Edmonds likely to be snapping at his heels tomorrow. Racing begins at the Desertmartin track at 11am.