-- World Superbike 2013 - Round Seven - Imola
-- Sykes new Championship leader
British world superbike rider, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has catapulted to the top of the world superbike championship board, after winning both races at today’s round seven of the 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Italy’s Imola circuit. Sykes holds a six point lead over Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) who suffered a dnf in race one due to a technical problem, before coming back to secure a third place in race two .
It was a day of mixed emotions also for Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), who completed the podium in the first race before both crashing in race two; and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike), who came back from a no-score in race one to take second in race two.
The championship will be back on track tomorrow for an official one-day test at Imola, while the next round is scheduled for July 21st at Moscow Raceway.
Tom Sykes: “I have had two perfect weekends out of the last three events and for this I am truly happy. It is a special weekend for many reasons and also the incident last year with my 2012 team-mate Joan Lascorz. There was not one time on any lap when I have exited turn six and not thought about his accident. I hope that this is a small, small tribute to him. I have every single individual member of the Kawasaki staff and teams to thank, and our great technical sponsors. Hopefully now this is a beginning of a challenge but we will see how we go.”
Jonathan Rea: "Really mixed emotions today. I made a mistake on the first lap of race one, but made a lot of ground up and then unfortunately crashed when I was pushing for the podium with a couple of laps to go. In race two I couldn’t go with the two guys ahead, so they gapped me and by half distance, Tom had eked out a lead tenth by tenth. I need to work with my crew to make the bike better with a full fuel load and fresh tyres, but we can leave Imola with our heads held high and we look forward now to Moscow."
-- Race One wrap - Sykes closes gap in championship chase
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) dominated race one at Imola to score his 9th career win, the 4th this year. Today's pole-sitter managed to pull away from 2nd place Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) halfway through the race, keeping a strong pace that only the young Italian was able to match, in the first part.
Sykes had a controlled approach in the early laps, making his way from 4th to the lead, then pulling away for victory. Giugliano did all he could to stay with the winner, eventually finishing a lonely second.
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) achieved a solid 3rd place ahead of Marco Melandri (BWM Motorrad GoldBet), as the Italian lapped close to his former team mate, but could not make the podium. The two riders saw a recovering Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) getting in the mix until the Ulsterman crashed out at turn 19, during the nineteenth lap, not long after he moved up to 4th place. Rea got the hole-shot at the start, before running wide at Turn 6 and rejoining in 11th position.
Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Aprilia) finished 5th after a good battle with Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) and Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
The Championship standings situation is now tighter than ever on top, following Sykes' win and the unlucky withdrawal of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), due to a technical problem on lap 6: the Frenchman keeps the lead, but Sykes is now just 3 points behind.
Race 1 results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 21 Laps/103.656 km in 37'52.860 average 164.182 kph; 2. Giugliano (Aprilia) 7.198; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 9.484; 4. Melandri (BMW) 10.323; 5. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 18.697; 6. Davies (BMW) 19.531; 7. Camier (Suzuki) 22.412; 8. Badovini (Ducati) 29.142; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 36.828; 10. Haslam (Honda) 37.507; 11. Checa (Ducati) 39.239; 12. Neukirchner (Ducati) 43.334; 13. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'12.069; 14. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'30.685; 15. Haga (BMW) 1'30.773; RT. Rea (Honda); RT. Cluzel (Suzuki); RT. Guintoli (Aprilia).
-- Race Two wrap – Sykes takes double to secure championship lead
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) completed a fantastic double-win at Imola, his second in 2013, to become the new championship leader. The Hudderfield-born rider led every lap of race two to cross the line victorious for the 10th time in his WSBK career – and to secure his 5th win of 2013. After the disappointment of the first race, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) redeemed himself to end up a lonely second ahead of works Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli.
Fourth place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) edged his team mate Chaz Davies for fourth place at the very last lap, while Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) won the battle for sixth ahead of Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki). Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Aprilia) managed to pull away in the end from a still recuperating Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) and fellow Italian Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) for 8th.
Today's second race saw two potential protagonists out of contention in the early stages, as Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) crashed at turn 7 during the second lap, while trying to keep Sykes' pace, and Eugene Laverty fell off his bike at turn 18, on lap number six.
Race 2 results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 21 Laps/103.656 km in 37'51.947 average 164.247 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 5.032; 3. Guintoli (Aprilia) 10.201; 4. Melandri (BMW) 13.120; 5. Davies (BMW) 13.630; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 23.949; 7. Camier (Suzuki) 25.420; 8. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 36.511; 9. Haslam (Honda) 40.184; 10. Badovini (Ducati) 41.100; 11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 42.888; 12. Checa (Ducati) 52.182; 13. Neukirchner (Ducati) 56.352; 14. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'15.992; 15. Haga (BMW) 1'25.210; etc.
Standings - provisional (round 7 of 15)*: 1. Sykes 235; 2. Guintoli 229; 3. Laverty 190; 4. Melandri 182; 5. Davies 154; 6. Baz 136; 7. Rea 125; 8. Fabrizio 120; 9. Giugliano 99; 10. Camier 80; 11. Cluzel 77; 12. Neukirchner 60; 13. Checa 59; 14. Badovini 59; 15. Haslam 42. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 289; 2. Kawasaki 259; 3. BMW 237; 4. Honda 138; 5. Suzuki 122; 6. Ducati 96.
-- World Supersport - Sofuoglu wins, Lowes recovers to 2nd
Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) is back on the top step of the podium following a superb performance in the world supersport race at Imola. The defending champion led the entire race - shortened to 14 laps after a technical hiccup saw Valentin Debise’s Honda drop oil on the track and force a red flag stoppage.
2nd place Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) had an outstanding recovery, following a difficult start, to finish ahead of team mate Vladimir Leonov thanks to a successful last-turn overtaking move. The Russian rider was able to keep the pace of the winner in the early part of the race, showing a renewed confidence after a tough first half of the season. Pata Honda riders Lorenzo Zanetti and Michael van der Mark finished 4th and 5th respectively, while Luca Scassa (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) won a spectacular fight for sixth position over Andrea Antonelli (Goeleven Kawasaki).
An incredible battle saw Scassa's team mate Florian Marino edging out six hungry rivals, to a final 8th place.
Race results: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 14 Laps/69.104 km in 26'11.297 average 158.324 kph; 2. Lowes (Yamaha) 3.957; 3. Leonov (Yamaha) 4.409; 4. Zanetti (Honda) 6.435; 5. Vd Mark (Honda) 9.967; 6. Scassa (Kawasaki) 13.437; 7. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 14.112; 8. Marino (Kawasaki) 28.194; 9. Baldolini (Suzuki) 29.018; 10. Morais (Honda) 29.137; 11. De Rosa (Honda) 29.592; 12. Foret (Kawasaki) 29.763; 13. Kennedy (Honda) 29.957; 14. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 30.831; 15. Menghi (Yamaha) 39.902; etc.
Standings (round 7 of 14): 1. Lowes 140; 2. Sofuoglu 106; 3. Foret 85; 4. Vd Mark 73; 5. Zanetti 68; 6. Scassa 63; 7. Antonelli 55; 8. Kennedy 47; 9. Leonov 42; 10. Rolfo 40; 11. Marino 39; 12. Morais 36; 13. Russo 28; 14. Coghlan 22; 15. Ivanov 18. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 155; 2. Yamaha 148; 3. Honda 104; 4. MV Agusta 46; 5. Suzuki 19; 6. Triumph 6.
-- PATA European Junior Cup
Guillaume Raymond from France became the first rider to convert a Pole Position into a victory this year in the 4th round of the PATA European Junior Cup powered by Honda at Imola this afternoon and with it a slender championship lead.
Kiwi Jake Lewis made the initial best start leading for most of the opening lap from the outside of the front row of the grid but as the tightly packed grid completed lap one it was local rider Kevin Manfredi who headed the field with Lewis and Britain’s James Flitcroft in hot pursuit.
Pole Sitter Raymond didn’t make the best start ending lap one in sixth but by lap 3, the Frenchman had edged in front.
Josh Harland crashed out of the top ten just before half race distance was completed, thankfully without injury.
As the riders began the second half of the race a leading group of 12 were tightly bunched as Richard Bodis and fellow Hungarian Peter Sebastyen recorded the fastest laps of the race at that point to join the party at the front of the field, dragging Andrea Zanella (Italy), Hannes Soomer (Estonia) and Alessandro Zaccone with them.
Jake Lewis tangled with Adrien Pittet at the end of lap six, the pair unable to continue. The crash split the leading group and with just one lap to go Raymond, Manfredi, Michael Canducci (Italy), James Flitcroft and Richard Bodis less than half a second apart.
Into the final chicane and Canducci and Manfredi both went down leaving Raymond clear to take the victory ahead of an ecstatic Richard Bodis and Augusto Fernandez making the most of the last lap carnage to grab the final podium position.
4th place went to the fighting James Flitcroft who produced his best result of the season while Illan Fernandez (Spain) and Peter Sebastyen completed the top 6.
Javier Orellana (Spain) was back in the points with a 7th place finish ahead of Hannes Soomer (Estonia) who picked up his first points of the season in 8th. Robin Anne grabbed 9th and Ali Adriansyah Rusmiputro rounded out the top ten.
Further down the field Norwegian Stinius Viking Odegard also picked up his first championship points with a fine ride to 14th position.
In the championship only 25 points cover the top 11 riders at the half way point, giving us the prospect of an equally exciting second half of the season.
Championship Standings After Imola:
1st: Guillaume Raymond, 48 points
2nd: Michael Canducci, 46 points
3rd: Robin Anne, 45 points
4th: Jake Lewis, 41 points
5th: Augusto Fernandez, 36 points
6th: Peter Sebastyen, 35 points
-- HRC Report
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) rode the highs and lows at the seventh round of the FIM Superbike World Championship at Imola, with a fall and subsequent DNF in race one, and a great second place in race two.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) managed to not only finish both SBK races for the first time in several rounds but also take two top ten results after each 21-lap outing, despite the continuing negative effects of his long term left leg injury.
Rea, who had qualified well in second place in Superpole and was riding at a circuit he has gone well at in the past, made the most of his front row grid position in race one but ran on during lap one and dropped back to tenth place. He battled hard to get back up to fourth place but fell on lap 19, losing the front when trying to get into a good overtaking line, to eventually end his race in the pit lane.
His race two performance was almost faultless but he had no answer for double race winner and Superpole winner Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)) who is also the new championship leader. This was his third podium finish of 2013.
Haslam qualified 11th and improved to tenth in race one, but it was his combative race two fight, despite a serious lack of mobility and pain from his left leg, that impressed most and netted him a valuable ninth place.
In the championship Rea sits seventh with 125 points, while Haslam put his first points on the board since round two at Aragon and is 15th, with 42 points.
The next round will take place at Moscow Raceway, in Russia, on Sunday 21 July.
ZANETTI TAKES BEST HONDA WSS FINISH AT IMOLA WITH FOURTH
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) was only one place from a podium finish at his home round of Imola during the seventh round of the FIM World Supersport Championship.
Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) placed fifth today and maintains his position as the top Honda rider in the championship, fourth overall and one spot ahead of Zanetti. Lorenzo had been the top Honda qualifier, fifth, with Michael tenth.
Kenan Sofuoglu was the race winner for Kawasaki, with both van Der Mark and Zanetti involved in battles behind. The race was eventually run over 14 laps after a red flag halted the first attempt after an oil spill that caught some riders out, and almost claimed van Der Mark. The scheduled 19-laps became 14 after a long delay to clear up the track.
Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) overcame a crash in the first running to finish tenth, having been ninth in qualifying. It was a challenging day for many other Honda riders, but Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda) finished just one place behind Morais, in 11th.
Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) fell in practice and made his pre-existing right knee injury worse but he continued to the end and finished 13th, scoring three more points for his rookie season total to date.
Balazs Nemeth (Complus SMS racing Honda) just missed a championship point in 16th, while his former team-mate and fellow Hungarian Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) placed 17th. Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth Honda) was 20th, the next best Honda rider.
Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) broke his right arm in two places but will try to get back in time to race at the next round in Moscow. Young Aussie rider Matt Davies (Honda PTR) was a non-starter as his bike was damaged in the first attempted race start.
HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) Race result: DNF / 2nd Championship position: 7th
“I have really mixed emotions today. We had really good pace all weekend, but not enough for Tom [Sykes] today, who seemed like he had something in reserve, especially when it got hot this afternoon. I pulled a big ‘holey’ in race one and thought, “I’m gone here”, but I had a big vibration the whole race on the brake disc, so I couldn’t push the front like I wanted. I made a mistake on the first lap, but made a lot of ground up and then unfortunately crashed when I was pushing for the podium with a couple of laps to go. In race two I just rode my ass off and made zero mistakes. In the first five laps I couldn’t go with the two guys ahead, so they gapped me and by half distance, Tom had eked out a lead tenth by tenth. I need to work with my crew to make the bike better with a full fuel load and fresh tyres, but it’s clear that we’ve addressed some of the problems we’ve had when the tyres drop. We can leave Imola with our heads held high because we’ve addressed some of the issues we had earlier in the season and we look forward now to Moscow.”
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) Race result: 10th / 9th Championship position: 15th
“The pace is way off but one step at a time. I think it is a combination of the race distance taking its toll on the rest of my body and the leg is still super-sore so I cannot push through the pegs. My full pace is still not there so I am overworking my body trying to put the bike where I want it. I tire out quite fast and I know where I am losing time but the bike is working very well. I think it is 99% me because I cannot put weight through the pegs. But, psychologically, to complete both races here has been very important for me.”
Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) Race result: 5th Championship position: 4th
“The first start was OK and I was in a group that would be fighting for the podium. I felt that I could go faster than the others and I was waiting because my pace was better. Then we got an oil flag but it was on top of a hill so I could not see where the problem was. The others went through OK so I figured it wasn’t too bad but then I hit it and I lost the rear. I though “OK, this is going to hurt”, but I was able to save it. I have no idea how! In the restart I was riding in third place and had a good feeling but I pushed too hard on the front and lost two places. I couldn’t go any faster so I stayed safe for fifth. I’m happy for that, and the good points I got, but a little unhappy that I wasn’t able to fight for the podium in the restart. Fifth at the end is not that bad.”
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) Race result: 4th Championship position: 5th
“Part of me is happy that I was able to fight for a podium at my home race, but another part is angry because another rider rode straight across me in the first start and that affected my position on the grid after the red flag. OK, that’s racing, but I had to push a lot and use my head to stay calm and get into a good rhythm. I hoped that I might get into a podium position because Sofuoglu and Leonov used a softer tyre than me. A podium in Italy would be another kind of flower! Fourth is a good result though and it’s been a good weekend compared with Portimao. The championship is OK and the team will be happy with these results. If we can continue this way, the podium will surely come to us. The team has the potential for us to arrive.”
Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) Race result: 13th Championship position: 8th
“I suppose not all of them can go as planned and I had a big crash in qualifying yesterday and that meant I hit my bad knee again, so it is full of fluid, really swollen and sore and not a lot of power in it. I also had some issues on the brakes today that we did not have in warm-up, so that must have been left over from the crash yesterday. I cannot blame the team as they went through everything on the bike and made sure everything was OK then we just had this brake problem from nowhere. I suppose I am happy to get points out of it.”
Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) Race result: 10th Championship position: 12th
"I had a crash yesterday and again now in the race when the oil spill happened. I got back to the grid for the restarted race but you know what, I am actually happy in the way I raced, because there was a lot of passing and bashing going on but just in the wrong position. To be fighting for tenth is not my usual place I think but it was really hard today. We are struggling with horsepower so to be racing directly against other guys makes that tough. Every time I did good work in the turns I get passed in the straights. It is making life hard but we are all working hard to improve it."
Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth) Race result: 20th Championship position: NA
“The race was actually quite good. I had a good fight with Imre and Calero. I made a mistake on the last lap which stopped me from attacking my team-mate on the run to the flag but I will try again in Russia. It’s been a great job by the team this weekend as we were missing a couple of mechanics so a big thanks to them.”
Matt Davies (Honda PTR) Race result: DNS Championship position: NA
“I was not able to make the restart because my bike broke down in the first place. We have just had a big string of bad luck recently so hopefully we can turn it round soon. I qualified a bit back but this is a learning year for me for sure. Looking at the times I did in free practice I am looking at finishing top 15 on those times.”
-- Jake Lewis Report
Jake Lewis was unlucky not to finish the PATA European Junior Cup race in Imola this afternoon after being taken out by a fellow rider.
Jake who made a great start to lead on the opening lap, was involved in a titanic battle for the first half of the race until as the tightly bunched leading group approached the final chicane just before half race distance.
Lewis was in the middle of the bunch and a light tap from Adrien Pittet was enough to send the double podium finisher to the ground.
Lucky not to be hit by the riders closely following him, Jake is obviously disappointed but can take some consolation that 3 of his championship rivals also failed to finish.
Jake Lewis – DNF: “I was feeling really good and running in the front group. I was running a comfortable pace, it was just unfortunate to be taken out by a rider who was getting a bit over excited. In terms of the championship we are still right in the mix so I just need to make sure I get a good result at Silverstone. I’d like to thank everyone for their help this weekend, there were still a lot of positives so I am looking forward to the next race.”
-- Fixi Crescent Suzuki Report
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier took a pair of solid seventh places from today's two races at the seventh round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Imola in Italy.
Camier fought hard throughout both races and was involved in several battles during the two 21-lap events. In both races the Englishman was hampered by tyre chatter that caused him to struggle with controlling the power and entering the corners. He battled manfully over the full race distance before bringing his bike home in seventh and believes that without the issues he could have been fighting for a podium position today.
Jules Cluzel again showed his racing potential as he looked set for a top-10 finish in race two, before a small technical issue robbed him of the chance. He had fought his way up from 14th on the grid to inside the top-10, but he developed a handling problem and was unable to take advantage of his position as the race wore on. Cluzel lost a place to Leon Haslam and then went straight on at the final chicane on the last lap and lost another position to Ayrton Badovini, leaving the Frenchman in 11th at the chequered flag. Unfortunately for Cluzel, he failed to finish race one after crashing-out, when he again looked to be in a position to challenge for a place inside the top-10 aboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Today's two races were held in glorious sunshine with track temperatures heating up to 54°C. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes followed up his Pole Position with two commanding wins that saw him move to the top of the championship.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will stay at Imola for a day of testing, before it heads to Russia for the next round of the Superbike World Championship, which is scheduled to be held on Sunday July 21st.
Leon Camier: "For some reason the tyre span on the rim today and there was nothing more that I could do, because I was pushing so hard and adapting my style to try and cope with the chatter. In the parts of the track where I didn't have chatter I was really fast and I think I could have caught the guys in front and challenged for the podium, but when I got to the points where the bike had chatter, there was nothing more I could do and I was so limited. On a positive note though we did a good job this weekend and without the problems we were strong. I think electronically we still need to improve, we've got it working really well with what we've got, but we need to try and come up with some better strategies that will help me put more power to the ground. "
Jules Cluzel: "I am really disappointed with the whole weekend in general because we never found a fast lap and maybe in race one it should have been my best performance of the weekend, but I went straight on twice and the second time I crashed because I could not find the gear, but I think my race-pace was good enough for eighth or ninth. Race two felt worse for me and I fought with Haslam and Badovini. I passed them both, but in the middle of the race I had a strange feeling on the front and it had some big movement and I was quite scared because it was in the fast turn, so I slowed down a little bit. On the last lap I went straight-on in the final chicane because I couldn't get first gear and lost a place. I am not enjoying this weekend and I hope that in the test tomorrow we can find some good improvements."
Paul Denning - Team Manager: "This weekend didn't bring the team quite the results we were hoping for, but it certainly wasn't through a lack of trying by the crew or the riders. Leon rode hard all day, but over race-distance we just lacked a bit of performance and consistency, especially on the slow-corner exits, and this made it tough for him to live with the fastest riders. We are frustratingly close to challenging the top-five, our rhythm on average is half-a-second away from the factory BMWs and we'll keep working hard to make sure that we can make both of the riders' jobs easier and allow them to extract the full potential out of the GSX-R over race distance.
"Jules had a tough day; he improved a lot on race day - as he always does - but a first race crash and an unfortunate technical issue in the second race robbed him of what could have been a top-10 finish. We have work to do and we're excited about getting into it; starting with the test here at Imola tomorrow."
-- BMW Motorrad Goldbet Report
The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team concludes its home round at Imola (ITA) with both factory riders claiming their best results at the Italian track to date. Local hero, Marco Melandri (ITA) finished both of today’s races at the “Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari” in fourth on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) claimed sixth and fifth respectively. After seven rounds of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, Marco is fourth in the riders’ championship with 182 points, directly followed by Chaz with 154 points. In the Manufacturers’ classification, BMW is currently third with 237 points. Both races today were won by Tom Sykes (GBR). The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team will stay at Imola and attend tomorrow’s official Dorna test.
At the start of race one, both BMW factory riders gained positions. Marco improved from seventh to fifth, Chaz from tenth to seventh. In the early stages of the race, both kept in touch with the front. When Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) had to retire on lap six, Marco took fourth, Chaz sixth. Until lap 18, Marco stayed close behind third placed Eugene Laverty (ROI), but the opportunity to overtake the Irishman did not arise. Then Marco was passed by the catching up Jonathan Rea (GBR) and slipped back to fifth, only to regain fourth after Rea crashed on lap 19. Marco then tried to overtake Laverty for third but went wide and ended up crossing the line in fourth. Chaz in the meantime was fighting quite a few battles over the course of the race, mainly with his fellow Brit Leon Camier. Chaz slipped back to eighth when Rea and Michel Fabrizio (ITA) overtook him, but on lap 14 the Welshman started to make his way back forwards and overtook Camier for seventh. After Rea’s crash, Chaz was sixth, defending this position until the chequered flag.
At the start of race two both riders improved from their grid positions again. After the first lap, Marco and Chaz were lying in sixth and seventh respectively. After five laps, they had climbed up to fourth and fifth after Davide Giugliano (ITA) and Laverty had crashed. Until half way through the race, Marco stayed close behind third placed Guintoli, followed by Chaz. Marco’s gap to the front started to increase a bit, with Chaz coming closer and closer from behind. On the penultimate lap, Chaz overtook Marco to take fourth but on the final lap, positions between them changed again. The two BMW factory riders fought a close battle for fourth until the final corner, with Marco having a slight advantage in the end.
In the race of the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, it was once again Sylvain Barrier on the BMW HP4 of the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team to take the win. The Frenchman rode a clever and controlled race to celebrate his third victory of the season. In the riders’ classification, Sylvain has now 95 points and has extended his lead to 12 points. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) - who contested his first ever race in Imola - also put in a strong performance. Coming from 17th, he defied the pain in his fractured left heel to finish 10th, scoring important points.
Result Race 1: 4th / Gap to 1st: 0:10.323 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:48.098 min (lap 2)
Result Race 2: 4th / Gap to 1st: 0:13.120 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:48.327 min (lap 3)
“On this track unfortunately our bike struggled. I don’t think that we had a chance to win today, so this result is the best possible. Race one has been very hard. I struggled a lot to change direction by shortly opening the gas which I normally do and, unfortunately, I couldn’t do better. While in the previous races I had issues with new tyres, here in Imola we struggled a lot with used tyres instead. The race was physically very demanding and at the end of the race I was really tired.
In race two we tried to solve the issue with some changes to the front suspension but the situation did not improve. The bike remained nervous and when I tried to push harder the bike moved more and more. In the last part of the race Chaz passed me and it was very difficult to get the fourth place back. If he had not made a mistake he probably would have been in front in the end. The positive point is that as a result of today I have reduced the gap to the Aprilia riders.”
Result Race 1: 6th / Gap to 1st: 0:19.531 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:48.602 min (lap 3)
Result Race 2: 5th / Gap to 1st: 0:13.630 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:48.359 min (lap 14)
“Race one was difficult. I was not able to exit the corners as I wanted to. Everywhere else the bike seemed to be working okay but I could not get the bike under control as much as I would like on the corner exit. I either slided and then found grip what upset the bike or the acceleration was just not good enough. That cost me one bike length each time and I always had to push on the straights to catch that up again – until the next corner. In the end, the bike was easier to ride than in the middle of the race, the grip level was more consistent. It seemed as with the longer the race went on, the bike became better.
"We used that knowledge to improve the bike for the second race. The bike was better and I was able to at least fight in a good group with Marco and at the end of the race I still had the guys on the podium positions in sight. The battle with Marco in the closing stages was fun. I passed him with two laps to go and held him off for one lap but then racing up the hill he got a really good drive and he passed back at the top of ‘Piratella’. Then in the last corner he went in a little bit too deep and I tried to cut back on the inside but I lost the rear unfortunately when I tried to pass him which was a bit of a shame but it was fun anyway. The only thing I am disappointed about is that I still lost too much time on the exit of slow corners. For some reason, I lost the grip earlier and could not open the gas as hard as I would have liked. It cost me some time on the straights so we really need to work on that tomorrow. At the test we will focus on that and I am confident that we will find something.”
Andrea Buzzoni (General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK): “This Sunday started very well with the victory in the Superstock class. Sylvain rode a perfect race, managing it cleverly. With this result he further increased his lead at the top of the ranking. It was also the first time we raced in Imola with the new HP4 with electronic damping system. This result shows the excellent work done by the team.
In the Superbike class it was a difficult weekend. The result achieved is not what we aim for, even if, on a track which is not favourable for the characteristics of our bike, we limited the damage. In the riders’ ranking, thanks to today’s result we reduced the gap to the Aprilia’ riders both with Marco as well as Chaz. Tomorrow we have a day of testing which we will use to try several new solutions. We have many ideas and the chance to test on a difficult track will be helpful to improve for the next round in Moscow.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“We had expected a difficult weekend. We can sum up by saying that session by session we have improved our performance and that Marco was close to the podium in both races. This goes for Chaz as well regarding race two. But it is clear that our package on this track needs some improvement. Marco is not comfortable enough with the chassis, he is not able to enter the corners as quick as the other riders and this is an area we will work on during tomorrow’s test. Chaz improved session by session from Friday on; he has done a good job over the weekend. He also has achieved his best result on this track but we are sure that he can do better if we are able to offer him a better package. So we want to work hard with both riders and we want to improve our overall package. We need to keep making progress in order to have a strong second half of the season.”
-- Kawasaki Report
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) continued his untouchable form from qualifying into both 21-lap SBK races at Imola and in taking his second ‘double’ of the year also he took the championship lead.
This was Tom’s second such double win in three rounds and with previous championship leader Sylvain Guintoli finally finding bad luck with a DNF in race one, and finishing third behind Tom in race two, Sykes now leads by six points after 7 of 15 rounds have been completed.
Sykes once more put in a perfect weekend, as he took both race wins, his sixth Superpole of the year, a new fastest lap in qualifying and a new lap record of 1’47.274 in race one. He has now scored five wins in 2013, more than any other individual rider. He also took his career total of SBK wins into double digits, with ten in total. In the championship table Tom leads Guintoli by 235 points to 229.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was in poor physical shape after a very fast fall on Saturday in Superpole and fought hard to be ninth in race one, unable to push hard because of the pain. After more effective treatment in time for race two, Loris was more like his competitive self and made good use of the improvements his crew and Kawasaki had found with him in recent Aragon tests. He finished race two sixth and is still sixth in the championship, with 126 points.
Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) proved to be 13th in race one and 14th in race two.
In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race the top Kawasaki rider was Lorenzo Savadori (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) who finished fourth, ahead of fellow Ninja ZX-10R riders Leandro Mercado (Pedercini) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki). In the points, Guarnoni is third overall, 25 points from the lead with half a season left to run.
Tom Sykes: “I have had two perfect weekends out of the last three events and for this I am truly happy. I enjoy this circuit so we have made the most of it. A perfect weekend so it could not have been any better. It is a special weekend for many reasons and also the incident last year with my 2012 team-mate Joan Lascorz. There was not one time on any lap when I have exited turn six and not thought about his accident. We are all thinking of Joan and I hope that this is a small, small tribute to him. Both the ZX-10R and myself have been working well. I have every single individual member of the Kawasaki staff and teams to thank, and our great technical sponsors. Without their help I would not be able to showcase myself so I truly am grateful. Hopefully now this is a beginning of a challenge but we will see how we go.”
Loris Baz: “The main problem for me in race one was the pain in my left shoulder after my big crash in Superpole but to be honest it was sore everywhere so I could not stay with the guys in front. I had great pain in my ankles so I cannot change direction fast and I cannot brake well with the rear brake. In race two it was better and I had some more effective painkillers. From the beginning I tried to stay with them and fight with them really hard behind Leon, then pushed hard in the middle of the race even though it was very tiring. I had good confidence with the bike and I am sure if I was 100% I would have been even closer to the front. But saving a top six position in these conditions was not too bad. I felt like I had done 80 laps at the end, I was just destroyed!”
Kenan Sofuoglu, of the Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India squad, scored a great start-to-finish win at Imola after the race was stopped and restarted due to an oil spill, and finally run over 14 laps.
Kenan’s second race victory of 2013 saw him finish almost four seconds ahead of his nearest challenger Sam Lowes, as Kenan clawed back five points in the championship fight to the English rider.
Kenan has now won 23 WSS races extending his all time class record in the process.
His team-mate Fabien Foret had a tough weekend in Italy all round and the set-up improvements he hoped for in the morning warm-up did not allow him to compete to the level he expected in the race. He was 12th and is third in the overall standings.
In the championship Lowes has 140 points, Sofuoglu 106, Foret 85 and sixth place rider at Imola, Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) is also sixth in the points, with 63.
At his home round Scassa was in combative mood, fighting with Andrea Antonelli (Goeleven Kawasaki) right to the flag and holding off his fellow Ninja ZX-6R rider on the final corners.
Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was only one place behind Antonelli and eighth, a positive result for a rider was 12th in qualifying and who has some set-up issues in the race.
Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) did not finish, like Kevin Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) who crashed out of a strong top six place. Regular Kawasaki WSS rider Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) suffered a left femur break in a crash and did not race at Imola.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “We had to have two attempts to win but we did it. I really like this track but normally I have very bad luck here and Friday proved to be very difficult. The team worked very hard to find something for me and we changed a lot of things on the bike, even parts and we had to set them up again each time as they were new. I knew I could have had a strong pace and I was confident. As we saw I was really strong enough to fight and win this race. Everything was normal today and I am very happy to win again.”
Fabien Foret: “We could not make the improvements we needed after practice and qualifying and I find it very hard to ride the bike at this minute. I think maybe it is electronics but I cannot ride it the way I want especially into the corner. That was the reason I was in the finish position of 12th. At this track you have to confidence in corner entries or you cannot make the lap times. I made a mistake because I was overriding to try and make up time. We move on now to Moscow.
-- Aprilia Racing
At the end of a difficult and more than a bit unlucky weekend the Aprilia Racing Team leaves the Imola round with two podiums (Laverty third in Race 1 and Guintoli third in Race 2) as well as the leadership in the world Manufacturer championship.
In Race 1, won by Tom Sykes, Eugene Laverty took third place, beating Marco Melandri out in the battle for the podium. In the first race the excellent overall performance of the Aprilia bikes was confirmed by Davide Giugliano's second place, astride the Team Althea RSV4, and by Michel Fabrizio's fifth place on his Red Devils Roma RSV4. Sylvain Guintoli, on the other hand, was forced to retire early in the sixth lap, just as he was battling Sykes for second place. His withdrawal was forced by a technical problem with the engine that brought the French rider's race to an early end.
The second race followed the same script as the first with Englishman Tom Sykes immediately taking the lead. This time it was Eugene Laverty's turn to raise the white flag due to a crash without consequences for the rider in the fifth lap while he was in third place and trying not to fall behind Sykes and Rea. Guintoli, who was behind him, had no trouble holding Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies at bay, holding onto third place until the end.
Leading the World Championship Rider standings from the first round of the 2013 WSBK season, after the Imola round Sylvain Guintoli slips to second place due to Tom Sykes' double win. The Frenchman is now 6 points from the English rider's lead, while Laverty is lying in third place, stably but at more of a distance, with 45 points.
Aprilia strengthens its lead in the Manufacturer World Championship lead with 289 points in front of Kawasaki (259) BMW (237), Honda (138), Suzuki (122) and Ducati (96).
Sylvain Guintoli: “Race 1 was disappointing. Unfortunately at these levels these things can happen. In Race 2 I really pushed as hard as I could. When Eugene crashed I even tried to catch Rea who was in front of me, but I wasn't able to. I'm not really happy with third place, but it was really the most we could get today. The season is still far from over. There are tracks like this one and Donington where we're weaker, but there are others where we will definitely be key players. The important thing is never to fall too far behind the leaders”.
Eugene Laverty: “The result in Race 1 was definitely encouraging. We managed to improve the bike a lot between yesterday and today, even during the warm-up session. For Race 2 I expected a second step forward, but unfortunately from the beginning I had some problems with the bike that cost me a lot at some points of the track. To stay in the race I had to take some risks and that led to my crash. It was a mistake on my part. I'm disappointed because I know that we're stronger than what we demonstrated today”.
- World Superbike 2013 -
RND 6 -
WSBK HITS PORTIMAO
5 - DONINGTON
RND 4 - MONZA
RND 3 -
LAVERTY/SYKES SHARE SPOILS
RND 2 -
DAVIES DOUBLES ARAGON
RND 1 - APRILIA DOMINATE
WSBK TEST VIDEO P.I.
ASBK SUPPORTS UNDERWAY
CHECA TOPS P.I. TEST 2
WSBK WILDCARDS READY
WSBK 2013 PRE SEASON STATS
A SMOKIN' HOT PANIGALE
CAMIER TOPS P.I. TEST 1
- World Superbike 2012 -
RND 1 -
BIAGGI WINS WSBK RACE 1
RND 1 - CHECA TAKES WSBK RACE 2
RND 1 - WSBK VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
RND 2 - CHECA DOUBLES AT IMOLA
RND 3 - GUINTOLI & REA AT ASSEN
RND 4 -
DRAMA AT MONZA
RND 5 - DONINGTON DILEMMA
RND 5 -
DONINGTON VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
RND 6 - SALT LAKE CITY
RND7 - BIAGGI DOMINATES MISANO
RND 8 - EUROS DOMINATE ARAGON
RND 9 - MELANDRI WINS BRNO
RND 10 - SILVERSTONE
RND 11 - MELANDRI LEADS WSBK
RND 12 APRILIA DOMINATE RING
RND 13 - SYKES & LAVERTY
RND 14 - BIAGGI WSBK CHAMP
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