Huddersfield rider Kyle Smith will make his ‘home’ debut at Donington Park tomorrow.
The 23-year-old Pata Honda rider, who hails from Fenay Bridge but has lived in Spain from the age of seven, will be aiming to get back on the podium in round sixth of the 2015 World Supersport championship.
“It’s strange to think that, although I’m an English rider, I’ve never raced in the UK before,” said Smith, who despite racing at world championship level in Moto2 and World Supersport has never raced at Donington Park or, indeed, any other British circuit.
“But I’m really looking forward to my debut and there will be quite a few family and friends coming down from Yorkshire, as well as my family from Spain.”
Smith is certainly keen to return his Pata Honda CBR600RR to the front of the World Supersport pack after disappointingly crashing out of the fifth round race at Imola in Italy two weeks ago.
Smith remounted at Imola in last position and fought his way back to 15th place taking a single point at the chequered flag, but he and his Pata Honda team know that a repeat of the podium results he has already scored at Aaragon and Assen this season should be within his grasp at Donington.
“It will also sound a bit weird that I’m hoping it will be cold at Donington, but I think that will reduce the front-end problems we had when we were at Imola,” said Smith.
“It’s important to get back to the front and challenge for wins as well as podium finishes.
“The circuit looks really fast and fun, but I won’t be able to let you know just how much fun until I’ve ridden it this weekend.”
In the World Superbikes Championship four-time race winner at Donington, Huddersfield rider Tom Sykes is equally confident of his chances tomorrow.
“In the last round at Imola we made another step forward,” said the 29-year-old Kawasaki Racing Team rider, who completed ‘doubles’ at Donington in 2013 when he became world champion and last season.
“If we can improve things for the latter part of the race at Donington, then we should be in with a shout.”
Sykes main challenge will be his tussle with KRT colleague and current championship leader Jonathan Rea – the pair scoring a double 1-2 last time out in Italy.
“It’s true that between us we have won the last five races at Donington” said Isle of Man resident Rea. “But it would be foolish to discount a number of other riders.
“There are other riders capable of winning.”