Flying the flag: relive thrilling first wins for numerous countries…

Wednesday, 1 April 2020 09:22 GMT

From Barros and Brazil to Toprak and Turkey, enjoy some of the finest first wins for a variety of countries in World Superbike!

Since World Superbike came to life in 1988, a startling 17 different countries across five continents have taken victories, of which two have been in the last two years. However, some first time wins for some countries have been considerably more iconic than others and with that in mind, it is time to cast our minds back to some unforgettable dates in WorldSBK’s diary.

The most successful country in terms of wins is the UK, with their first coming at Manfeild in New Zealand, back in 1989 courtesy of Terry Rymer. The second most successful country is the USA, with the Hungaroring in 1988 showcasing eventual double Champion Fred Merkel in all his glory. Australia achieved victory in WorldSBK’s first season, with Michael Doohan showing his talent at Sugo; the start of a successful international career. The fourth most victorious nation is Italy, a country that took the first ever WorldSBK race by storm in 1988.

However, outside of the top four, there’s more significant memories. It was a special first victory for Japan, as Yuichi Takeda won on home-soil at Sugo in Japan. However, in 2001, it was Spain’s turn to finally take top spot. A significant moment in the Championship race saw Ruben Xaus defeat Colin Edwards and teammate Troy Bayliss with victory in Race 2 at Oschersleben. Since that moment in Germany, there’s been 52 more wins for Spain, with most coming from Carlos Checa at 24.

Since 2001, five more countries have become race winning nations in World Superbike. Brazil saw a strong 2006 campaign as Alex Barros came from MotoGP™. The Brazilian eventually took his first win at Imola in Race 1 from eighth on the grid. So far, he is the only South American winner in World Superbike. How long that will last though, is anyone’s guess.

It was Germany’s turn to start winning in World Superbike in 2008, as after a few seasons of showing promise, Max Neukirchner took a thrilling victory. At Monza in 2008, Race 1 went the German’s way, but it wasn’t easy, as a race-long duel with Noriyuki Haga saw him have to work hard for his win. Backed up by a podium in Race 2, Neukirchner would take one more win in his career at Misano the same year. He remains the last German winner in WorldSBK to-date.

After strong campaigns in WorldSSP, it was a step-up to WorldSBK for Eugene Laverty in 2011, the Irishman partnered Marco Melandri at Yamaha. Monza would once again be home to a first-time win for a country, as Laverty clinched victory in Race 1 as a rookie, pipping home-hero Max Biaggi by over a 1.5s. All of Ireland’s victories have come thanks to Laverty; can he achieve more in 2020?

Since Laverty’s achievement for Ireland, there’s been two more countries on the top step of the podium, the two most recent additions to the country win list. Michael van der Mark went double Dutch at Donington Park in 2018, taking two wins to become the first rider from The Netherlands to win. A year later and it was tenacious Turk Toprak Razgatlioglu who beat Jonathan Rea in a final lap showdown at Magny-Cours to take a thrilling first win for himself, Puccetti Kawasaki and for Turkey.

So, what about the 2020 WorldSBK field? Well, Chile and Argentina can hope for success courtesy of Maximilian Scheib and Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado respectively. Countries that have won before but are looking to end a long drought are the USA and France, with their last wins coming in 2016 and 2014 respectively, whilst Italy, Japan and Germany will be sure to be in the running too.

Enjoy the 2020 and find out if more history awaits with the WorldSBK VideoPass!