There were celebrations and drama for Team WD-40 as they took to the track at the heart of British motorsport, Donington Park, for the British round of the World Superbike championships at the weekend.
Californian rider Tommy Aquino put points on the board for the team after a competitive race in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 championship where he finished a well-earned 12th position.
The weekend began with drama for the rider, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Friday, when during free practice he came off his bike at coppice corner. Tommy was uninjured, but his bike took a battering and the team did an incredible job rebuilding it before first qualifying.
Tommy also sustained a wrist injury after he lost control and jumped his bike in second qualifying on Saturday, but he still managed to hold on and come in a fantastic 13th.
On race day Tommy pushed hard and at one stage crept up to eighth, but a few small mistakes in the final laps saw him drop back down again.
He said: “I’m happy with my performance but it’s still early days and there’s a lot more to be done.
“Every round we learn more about how we can improve on our performances and it’s only a matter of time before myself and Jon start hitting the top ten.
“I felt comfortable on the bike and was going at a good pace and was steadily overtaking, but one mistake is all it takes to lose places.
“Overall I’m pleased with the weekend’s performance and it’s great that I’ve got points for the team – I’m now focusing on putting in a great race at Knockhill.”
For Jon Railton the weekend was also full of drama. It started well when he put in an incredible ride during free practice and came out as the fastest rider.
After qualifying 11th he was in a great position to reach the top ten on race day, but a mistake on the third lap meant he dropped over ten places.
He tried to make up his position but lost control on the Melbourne hair pin and came off the track. Thankfully he only sustained a minor knee injury and with the help of physio will be back fit and ready for Knockill in June.
Jon said: “I was confident going into the race at Donington as it’s one of my favourite tracks.
“I felt good on the bike for the first few laps, but after dropping a lot of places I was giving it my all to get back in the race.
“I suppose the red mist came over me and I just pushed too hard which resulted in me coming off the bike.
“I injured my knee but not too badly so I’ll be ready and raring to go in the next round and hopefully I can notch up some points for the team.”
Team WD-40 rider Joe Francis was not racing this weekend, but was still there to cheer on his team mates. After claiming his first race win of the season earlier in May, in the Monster Energy Motostar, all eyes are now on the 15-year-old to see if he repeat his successful start to the season at Knockhill.
Team WD-40’s manager, Brent Gladwin, said: “Team WD-40 has performed extremely well so far this season and I’m really proud of our boys.
“Racing in the World Superbikes series again has been an awesome experience for everyone involved with the team.
“Tommy raced exceptionally well this weekend despite being involved in a huge crash on Friday, and got us some well-earned points on the board.
“Jon was the fastest rider in practice and put in two great performances during qualifying – it’s just unfortunate he wasn’t able to finish on race day.
“The Superstock 1000 is a staggeringly competitive race and just one mistake can cost you ten places.
“We’ll be doing testing at Silverstone and Cadwell Park over the next few weeks – we’ve been performing really well and are looking forward to good things to come and I’m really confident all three lads will do well at Knockhill.”
David Whittome, UK marketing manager for team sponsors WD-40 Specialist, said:
“Jon and Tommy are extremely talented and motivated riders – this weekend showed again our enthusiasm and commitment as a team and we’re all looking forward to building upon our early season learning’s to deliver in the next round in June.”
WD-40 is the new title sponsor of GR Motosport. The company has just launched seven new products specifically for use on motorbikes, under its recently launched WD-40 Specialist Motorbike brand.