Davide Giugliano grabs emotional Tissot-Superpole at Imola WorldSBK

Sykes and Rea complete the front row ahead of Davies and Haslam
Imola WorldSBK Superpole
Imola WorldSBK Superpole

Today’s Tissot-Superpole qualifying sessions at the 4.9km Imola circuit was scintillating, with Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) securing the 4th Pole Position of his WorldSBK career, the 166th for Ducati in the series, thanks to a 1.46.382s lap time and despite a near crash at “Variante Bassa” while changing direction.

For Giugliano today’s result marked an emotional return to the series following his injury at the official pre-season test in Australia last February.

Davide Giugliano – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK – P1 – “I knew that I could put in a fast lap – that’s one of my strengths. We can only be pleased with this result and I think it’s a nice reward not only for myself but also for the team, the sponsors and all my fans. Tomorrow will be more difficult; I believe that we’re in a good place as far as set-up is concerned, and we’ve already chosen the tyres, but I’m not physically fit and think I’ll struggle a bit in the races. Anyway, that said, never say never, maybe adrenalin will help me! For now I’ll celebrate the Superpole with my team.”

Claudio Domenicali – Ducati CEO – “Today was a great day for Davide, returning after a four-round absence. To see him so psyched up and so motivated, with all his talent, is fantastic. I’m really pleased with this result, even though tomorrow will probably be a lot tougher for him. In any case we have two strong and determined riders in the top four, given that Chaz too is fast.”

Davide Giugliano grabs emotional Tissot-Superpole at Imola WorldSBK
Davide Giugliano grabs emotional Tissot-Superpole at Imola WorldSBK

The Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea will join the Italian rider on the front row of the grid tomorrow in what are shaping up to be two very unpredictable races as the top-5 on the grid are separated by a mere 0.472s.

Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team – P2 – “I was relatively happy with my Superpole lap but it was a shame to miss out on the pole position. Pole does not give me 25 points, however. For me our main target was the front row and it was really nice to see Davide Giugliano come back from such a potentially serious injury to take Superpole. Marcel, my crew chief, has been cracking the whip again this weekend trying to get information for us to use on raceday. It has been so unusual for us to drop our pace after 12 laps or so in the previous two events. That is something we are not used to so it is something we have worked on this weekend.”

Tom Sykes
Tom Sykes

Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team – P3 – “My best Superpole lap was good but not perfect. To qualify on the outside of row one is a little bit of a handicap as you almost start on a corner. The Ninja ZX-10R has been giving me some good starts recently, so I hope I can make a clean getaway and settle into my pace. Hopefully I can stay in the 1’47s in the races, but there are some other strong guys in there as well. It will be a tough 19-laps in each race and the temperatures are high. I think in the afternoon, when the temperature is hotter, our bike works a bit better.”

Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea

Row two will comprise Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team), Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), despite a small crash in the session and the second Aprilia RSV4 RF machine of Jordi Torres.

Chaz Davies  P4- “I don’t really feel that we made a lot of progress today, although things were a little better in Superpole. We’ve made several changes but they’ve probably taken us in the wrong direction. The bike is still not working as I’d really like, and I’m still looking for that solution that helps me with the turning. Superpole itself wasn’t too bad, and we’ll try to go a little more in that direction for tomorrow’s races.”

Chaz Davies
Chaz Davies

Leon Haslam P5 – “My general feeling is really good, although I’m still struggling in the chicanes. That’s why I crashed, fortunately without doing any damage. We have been working well, in spite of the fact that it has been quite a demanding weekend for us. Thanks to the team I was able to put in a good time anyway on the qualifier tyre, even if the semi-handlebar was a bit bent and kept me from being at 100%. On a particularly difficult track for us we were still able to achieve the best possible result and we’ll be trying hard tomorrow as well.”

Leon Haslam
Leon Haslam

Jordi Torres P6 – “Looking at the times from yesterday and today I’d say we took a big step forward. The track is complicated with a lot of asphalt changes and the chicanes that break up the pace. For me it isn’t so much the single lap that’s difficult, but just avoiding making any mistakes. Here if you miss your braking spot by a metre it costs you a lot of time. I owe Leon a lot of thanks. Riding ahead of me on the track he showed me how to take on every turn and chicane. I’m pleased with my Superpole placing. I think tomorrow there will be a pack of very fast riders, whereas I’ll be able to do battle with the followers who more or less have my pace. Staying behind Leon would be a great result for me, but I think he still has just a bit more than I do.”

Jordi Torres
Jordi Torres

Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) heads the third row with his so far best ever qualifying performance in the series, he will be joined by Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team). 

Michael van der Mark – P9 – “I’m quite happy with today because we found a big improvement this morning and then another in FP4. It’s good that we were able to make this progress but, to be honest, we are still too far off the front guys. But we found more than a second from yesterday so that’s very positive. Superpole 1 for me was pretty good and I had a strong feeling with the qualifier to get through to Superpole 2. Unfortunately, the second Q tyre just did not work like the first one and that was quite disappointing. But compared to yesterday I’m happy and looking forward to tomorrow’s races.”

David Salom (Team Pedercini), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will start from row 4.

The early progress shown from Lowes with his Yoshimura-powered Superbike as the weekend began had buoyed the British rider. However, the complexity of the new system combined with the legendary technical track and the rising Italian temperatures created obstacles as the second day of action developed.

Alex Lowes P11 – “We came in to the weekend thinking we had broken the back of the development work, but disappointingly it seems that it has not translated to the Imola Circuit. We have suffered with big inconsistencies in the engine braking strategy and as a result the bike was tough to ride today, as Imola is a really technical track with lots of critical braking areas. It is frustrating as I know we have the potential to challenge but we will continue to work hard, step-by-step and come out fighting as always on Sunday.”

Alex Lowes
Alex Lowes

Randy de Puniet continued his development with the Suzuki GSX-R1000 by improving on his weekend’s best as his familiarity with the Imola circuit progressed after his 16-year absence. The Frenchman, still battling with underlying engine brake issues, set a 1’50.378 in the opening Superpole session, placing him 17th on Sunday’s grid.

Camier was unable to take part in the final Pole Position shootout after suffering a technical problem in the closing minutes of the opening Superpole session.

Michel Fabrizio, his Althea Racing team mate Matteo Baiocco, reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) complete the top 15 riders on the grid ahead of tomorrow’s two 19-lap races.

Michel Fabrizio P13 – “I’m sorry because looking at the times of the first seven, we only just missed out on top ten. Tomorrow morning during the warm-up we’ll carry out some final checks to see if everything’s set for the races. I really want to do well and though the top guys have stronger pace, I’m sure that I can fight for the positions that count. I would like to drop my time of today by at least another half second and complete two top-level races.”

Matteo Baiocco P14 – “I don’t like to talk about bad luck, but today’s episode where I saw the board signaling a problem for another rider, and thought it was referring to me, was bad luck. As a result I lost focus right while I was making my best lap which would probably have put me into Superpole 2. I had the potential to start inside the top eight and due to an unlucky episode I was unable to do so. Starting further back will be a big disadvantage but I’ll do my best because I know I can do it.”

Sylvain Guintoli – P15 – “You don’t need me to tell you that the position is really not where I want to be but we’ve had some problems in getting the bike stopped and turning this weekend. We’ve tried a lot of different solutions but none of them gives me a better feeling with the bike so we were struggling before we went into the first Superpole. Things were a little better on the race tyre but, when we put the qualifier in the bike we had a small technical problem which caused some electronics issues.”

Sylvain Guintoli
Sylvain Guintoli

Randy de Puniet P17 – “Another difficult day for me as we are struggling to find the solution I need with the GSX-R’s new electronics. The team is working hard to resolve the problem and we will continue to focus on this overnight, push hard and see what we can achieve in the races tomorrow. Imola is also a new track for me and this doesn’t help, but we need some steps tomorrow to be more confident.”

Paul Denning – Suzuki Team Manager – “There is no hiding from the facts and today’s qualifying result, combined with the continued struggle to find the right solutions with the Marelli ECU and new hardware, is of course very disappointing. The base yesterday was better than today, but the team has now hopefully uncovered a problem which has been masking the required setting changes. There is also a greater sense of frustration, as the development work completed since Assen appeared to be very successful. The lack of performance at this track means that we have to revisit every area of that work and effectively start again. However, there is no chance of us ‘giving up’ and we will keep working to achieve our goals.”

WorldSBK Imola - Tissot-Superpole
WorldSBK Imola – Tissot-Superpole

Cluzel takes fourth Pole Position of the year

Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) his fourth Pole Position of the 2015 World Supersport championship, finishing the 45-minute qualifying session only 0.037s ahead of current series leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who claimed second place on the grid for tomorrow’s 17-lap encounter after heading most of the session. Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) will join the duo on row one, the young Italian who won last year’s STK600 crown claiming a maiden WSS top-3 race start.

Despite a technical problem in the final 4 minutes American PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Ponyexpres Intermoto) will head row 2 while last year’s race winner Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) is in contention and will start 5th alongside former podium finisher Alex Baldolini who is enjoying a strong start to 2015. The Italian completes row 2 with his privately entered Race Department ATK#25 MV Agusta.

Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand), Riccardo Russo (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) and Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) complete the top ten.

Glenn Scott had some clutch issues and qualified 18th on the grid while Aiden Wagner made dramatic improvements from yesterday to qualify 20th.

FIM World Supersport Championship Imola – Qualifying

1   Jules Cluzel 1m50.856s FRA MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse

2   Kenan Sofuoglu 1m50.893s TUR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing

3   Marco Faccani 1m51.713s ITA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing

4   Patrick Jacobson 1m51.757s USA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres

5   Lorenzo Zanetti 1m51.809s ITA MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse

6   Alex Baldolini 1m51.923s ITA MV Race Department ATK#25

7   Gino Rea 1m51.998s GBR HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda

8   Ratthapark Wilairot 1m52.067s THA HONDA CORE Motorsport Thailand

9   Riccardo Russo 1m52.158s ITA HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda

10   Kyle Smith 1m52.295s GBR HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team

Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) his fourth Pole Position of the 2015 World Supersport championship
Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) his fourth Pole Position of the 2015 World Supersport championship
FIM World Supersport Championship Imola - Qualifying
FIM World Supersport Championship Imola – Qualifying
Ondrej Jezek takes STK1000 Pole Position in emphatic style
Ondrej Jezek takes STK1000 Pole Position in emphatic style
Ondrej Jezek takes STK1000 Pole Position in emphatic style

Ondrej Jezek (Triple M by Barni) secured Pole Position for tomorrow’s FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup race in emphatic style by smashing his own outright circuit best lap, set earlier in the weekend, to take top spot by 0.331s. Last year’s winner has been fast all weekend and will be hoping for back to back wins at the Italian venue come race time tomorrow.

Raffaele de Rosa (Althea Racing Ducati) moved into provisional Pole before crashing his Ducati. The Italian will start 2nd with Roberto Tamburini (Team Motoxracing BMW), the winner of the opening race of 2015 completing the front row.

Row 2 will see championship leader Lorenzo Savadori (Nuova M2 Racing Aprilia) and team mate Kevin Calia start from 4th and 5th positions respectively, Calia falling without injury during the session. Kev Coghlan (MRS Yamaha) will start 6th.

Florian Marino (MRS Yamaha), Fabio Massei (EAB Racing Team Ducati) and Luca Salvadori (Althea Racing Ducati) round out the first three rows on the grid.

FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Imola – Qualifying

1 – Ondrej Jezek Triple-M by Barni 1’49.071

2 – Raffaele De Rosa Althea Racing Ducati +0.331

3 – Roberto Tamburini Team MotoxRacing BMW  +0.430

Ondrej Jezek
Ondrej Jezek
FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Imola - Qualifying
FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Imola – Qualifying
STK600 serves up another epic race
Razgatlioglu remains unbeaten after Italian STK600 triumph
Razgatlioglu remains unbeaten after Italian STK600 triumph

Round 4 of the FIM Europe Superstock 600cc Championship was decided in favour of after a race long dual saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) pip wildcard entry Roberto Mercandelli (Roberto Mercandelli Team Yamaha) to victory by 4 seconds at the conclusion of an epic 12 lap encounter.

The Turk who extends his lead in the series after his fourth victory of the year, set a new lap record as he gave chase to Federico Caricasulo (Pata Honda Junior Team), the Italian crashing out on the final lap after swapping places several times with Toprak.

Mercandelli benefited from the mistake to grab 2nd ahead of fellow Italian Andrea Tucci (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) who took the final place on the podium at the end of an action packed race. Nicola Morrentino jr (Berclaz Racing Team Kawasaki), Stefano Casalotti (Team Rosso e Nero Yamaha) and Luca Vitali (G.A.S Racing Team Kawasaki) completed the top six.

The unfortunate Michael Ruben Rinaldi (San Carlo Team Italia) had been running strongly until he collided with the back of Razgatlioglu’s Kawasaki. With nowhere to go, the Italian fell from 2nd position. He remounted but retired a lap later.

Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing Yamaha) was lucky to escape injury after sliding out of 3rd on lap two. The Finnish rider will have to wait until the next round to show his true potential.In the championship, Razgatlioglu now holds a commanding 55-point advantage over his nearest  rival meaning he could mathematically wrap up the title at the next round in Portimao on 6th June.

FIM Europe European Superstock 600 Championship Cup Imola – Race

1 – Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing

2 – Roberto Mercandelli Roberto Mercandelli Team +4.036

3 – Andrea Tucci San Carlo Team Italia +5.818

FIM Europe European Superstock 600 Championship Cup Imola - Race
FIM Europe European Superstock 600 Championship Cup Imola – Race

Standings (4 of 8 rounds completed)

1 – Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing – 100

2 – Federico Caricasulo Pata-Honda Junior Team – 45

3 – Michael Ruben Rinaldi San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki – 40

Emanuele Pusceddu on EJC Pole Position at Imola
Emanuele Pusceddu on EJC Pole Position at Imola
Emanuele Pusceddu on EJC Pole Position at Imola

Local rider Emanuele Pusceddu (SK & Itaba Moto) took Pole Position ahead of the 9-lap, fifth round Pata European Junior Cup race scheduled for tomorrow at 3:05pm at Imola’s Autodomo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. The soon-to-become 19 year old from Rome will be joined on the front row by fellow Italian Matteo Ciprietti (Ciprietti Racing) and Frenchman Guillaume Raymond (Activbike), who crashed uninjured at Turn 15 in the final moments of Qualifying 2. Current series leader Javier Orellana (Europ Foods) will start the encounter from row 3 (7th place).

Pata European Junior Cup Imola
Pata European Junior Cup Imola