Jonathan Rea has matched Carl Fogarty’s WorldSBK win record overnight after taking two victories at Imola to match Foggy’s total of 59 wins.
Rea’s number 59 victory came after a engaging battle with Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who fought off several attacks from the reigning champion before having to settle for second place. The Kawasaki rider continues to stamp his dominance on the championship, now holding a 47-point lead from Davies in the standings.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who made the early move, flying out from the blocks and taking the lead ahead of Davies. The Welshman kept close behind however, finally making his move at Variante Bassa at the end of lap 3. By then, Rea had made it up to third, and a few bends later, at Tosa, passed Rinaldi and set up the fight.
For nine laps barely a tenth of a second separated the two, as Rea stalked Davies, creeping up and planning his pass. He fired the first shot at Tamburello on lap 10, going wide and allowing Davies back through by the straight. Shot two came at Tosa two laps later, and it couldn’t have been closer. Rea found the pace he needed around Tosa, but Davies took the inside line. The pair touched, Rea went wide, and the Ducati stayed in front.
It was third time lucky for Rea however, one lap later, at the entry to Variante Alta. From there on, the fired-up reigning champion put on an incredible display, giving Davies no chance to even answer back, and increasing the lead to four seconds by the checkered flag.
Jonathan Rea – P1
“We got it done and it was probably the best race win of the season. Coming from ninth on the grid, it was so difficult. I was not so confident I could win today. In fact, it was Fabien Foret, who kept talking me round. I think I was over-thinking the first lap a lot – and my track position – coming from the outside of row three. I lost places in the first corner but eventually I was able to stick in some passes. I wasted no time so when I arrived with Chaz I was able to relax a little bit behind him and understand where I could pass him. I tried two or three times, but he was determined to come back. The final time I made it through, into the Variante Alta, it was time to put my head down, set two clean laps and make a gap. It was really nice to equal the record total of race wins, and with a long season left I feel confident that I can extend my win tally, and that is super-nice.”
Chaz Davies – P2
“We did our best today but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. The temperatures were higher and I didn’t have much feeling, so I was struggling a bit both in corner entry and acceleration. I thought I’d try and go with Rea but realistically I knew it would have been too risky. Twenty points is the best we could do today. It’s very important for me to be on the podium at Imola, Ducati is very close and there are so many fans supporting us. We would have liked to give them an even better result, but we still had fun.”
Behind the flying duo was Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), completing an all-British duo for the first time this season. Sykes had a beautiful battle with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) throughout the race, finally managing to make it past the Spaniard, who finished fourth, with three laps to go.
Tom Sykes – P3
“It is positive that I am now third in the championship, so we are coming back. We had a difficult feeling with the front of the bike today and it was not easy to do what I wanted on the entry to corners. That meant I suffered with rear traction on the exits, so it was difficult for me to manage the race. I kept pushing and I could see the guys in front of me had better overall speed but, strategically, I tried to come back at them and slowly, slowly got there. Michael van der Mark made a mistake and he and Marco Melandri were out of the race and that made it easier for me to manage. On a ‘bad’ day I was able to take a podium so I have to be happy for this.”
Before that, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), who had been contending for that final podium place, came together on lap 10 around Rivazza. The pair collided and ended up on the gravel, neither man able to return.
Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) scored his best result of the season with a scintillating fifth place finish, after starting on Row 4. One place behind him on the grid and finally at the flag, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) came in sixth, equalling his best Imola result.
Rinaldi also equalled his Race 1 result in seventh. The Italian was unable to keep up his initial pace, but comes out of the Pata Italian Round with his best return over two races in WorldSBK. He beat Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) to the flag, also matching his best WorldSBK result.
In ninth, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) made his return from injury a successful one. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), closed the top ten, with one of his best performances of the season.
WorldSBK Race 2 Result – Imola
J. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
C. Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
T. Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
X. Forés (Barni Racing Team)
J. Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
A. Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
M. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team)
T. Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
E. Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
L. Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura)
L. Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team)
R. Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki)
Y. Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing)
P. Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team)
O. Jezek (Guandalini Racing)
WorldSBK Championship Standings after Round 5
Jonathan Rea 209
Chaz Davies 162
Tom Sykes 137
Marco Melandri 131
Xavi Fores 124
Michael Van Der Mark 113
Alex Lowes 92
Toprak Razgatlioglu 58
Jordi Torres 52
Loris Baz 52
Leon Camier 42
Michael Ruben Rinaldi 39
Lorenzo Savadori 33
Román Ramos 32
Leandro Mercado 31
It took Jules Cluzel (NRT) a year and a half to find his way back to the top before Assen. For win number 2, it has taken just 21 days, as the French rider won his second consecutive race of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship season.
The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola witnessed a thrilling fifth race of the year, with Italian pair Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) in second and third.
Things got emotional early at Imola. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who was third on the grid, decided at the last moment to not take part in what was supposed to be his final race. The WorldSSP legend climbed on his Kawasaki ZX-6R one last time, led the field one lap around the track, and headed into the pits. A final bow, on his terms, from an inimitable champion.
Of course, there was still a race left at Imola – and perhaps as a tribute to Kenan’s career, it was an electric, drama-filled affair. Right from the start, five riders shot out ahead, with Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) protecting his lead from Cluzel and Caricasulo. The reigning champion defended brilliantly until lap 6, when a slip at Rivazza left him tumbling down to 20th.
The now-front four led with blistering pace, tenths of a second amongst themselves but double figures with the rest. Caricasulo, fighting to hang on after a mistake in lap 7, managed to overtake Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) and De Rosa in the closing stages, but Cluzel proved to be just that inch too fast, racing ahead and meeting the checkered flag, with the Italian in second.
Jules Cluzel – P1
“It was very difficult race, because I was expecting to go faster. Mahias passed me and was faster, but he made a mistake so I tried to keep the best pace without making any mistakes. Then when Caricasulo was in the lead, he also made a mistake and i just tried to keep my ace and make no mistakes. My plan was to push the most on the last lap and try to escape with no one behind me!”
Federico Caricasulo – P2
“I am happy for the podium because a podium is always good! I am not that happy for the race, but I am happy for the championship as it is very close again – I am only 12 points behind the leader. My race was good, I pushed very hard to break away at the front with Lucas but we both made a little mistake. In the second part of the race I managed to catch back up with the leading group and was in P2, but when I tried to overtake Jules Cluzel, it was impossible because he had better speed than me out of the corners and I couldn’t do anything without taking too many risks. I am very excited for Donington as I feel that I and my team are very strong now, we just need to work on our acceleration when exiting a corner. My team did an incredible job all weekend, without making a single mistake and the championship is now a lot closer and more interesting!”
De Rosa managed to put his MV Agusta onto the podium for the second race in a row. The rider in red has grown into the championship, and adds another name to an already stacked front-end. Cortese, meanwhile, finished fourth, just 0.084 seconds off.
Behind the leading four, Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) managed to climb through from 11th on the grid and becomes the new championship leader, on 81 points. Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) made a triumphant return from injury with sixth place, while Mahias, in full-damage limitation mode, was beaten to seventh by Niki Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) by just one thousandth of a second. The Frenchman relinquishes his championship lead, but remains just two points behind Krummenacher. Most importantly, however, the distance between first and fifth is now down to just 12 points.
Completing the top ten, Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) came in ninth, scoring valuable points to keep him in touching distance with the front riders, while Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished the race in tenth.
WorldSSP Imola Race Result
J. Cluzel (NRT)
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team)
R. De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag)
S. Cortese (Kallio Racing)
R. Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
A. West (EAB antwest Racing)
N. Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
L. Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team)
L. Stapleford (Profile Racing)
H. Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
R. Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer)
T. Gradinger (NRT)
L. Cresson (Kallio Racing)
A. Irwin (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
N. Morrentino (Renzi Corse)
WorldSSP Championship Standings after Round 5
Randy Krummenacher 81
Lucas Mahias 79
Sandro Cortese 77
Jules Cluzel 75
Federico Caricasulo 69
Raffaele De Rosa 51
Luke Stapleford 45
Niki Tuuli 38
Anthony West 27
Thomas Gradinger 22
Loris Cresson 20
Kyle Smith 19
Rob Hartog 19
Ayrton Badovini 12
Thitipong Warokorn 11
…29. Tom Toparis 1
World Supersport 300
Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team) has taken her first win of 2018 and second of her FIM Supersport 300 World Championship career at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola, with the most dominant display of the season so far. Incredibly fast all weekend, the Spaniard also becomes the new championship leader after three races, after Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) crashed out in the final lap.
Right from the start, Carrasco gave no option to her rivals, shooting out from the lights. The DS Junior rider had shown in yesterday’s Superpole how comfortable she is riding alone around Imola, and it showed here: by the end of lap 1 she was a whole 2 seconds ahead, and by the end had opened a 13 second gap with the rest.
“Its incredible, we did a great job this weekend. We were really strong in all the practices and race, I just tried to focus on the lap times and thought it was possible to go alone, but this was not as easy as I thought! The team did a perfect job, so thanks to them an I want to thank all my sponsors, family and friends.”
With the Murcian so far ahead, the usual scrap to the line continued for second, with eight riders fighting for two podium places down to the end. Deroue was the only rider to bow out before the end, losing his front end at Acque Minerali when he was second.
The Dutchman out of the fight, it was Borja Sánchez (ETG Racing) making it a Spanish one-two with his first podium finish of the campaign. Sánchez had come in just behind wildcard Kevin Sabatucci (PROGP Racing), but in a twist of fate, the Italian was sanctioned with one position by Race Direction (last year Sánchez had his third place demoted to fourth after the flag). Still, the Italian managed a fantastic third on his WorldSSP300 debut.
Behind them, Luca Grunwald (Frendenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) continued his good form with fourth place, with Galanig Hendra Pratama (BIBLION YAMAHA MOTOXRACING) taking fifth. Jan-Ole Jähnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) finished in sixth position, with Maria Herrera (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) scoring her best finish in WorldSSP300, climbing up from 19th on the grid to seventh.
Tom Edwards again showed pace during the weekend but it did not end well.
“Not the result I needed today. I was hoping to reward the sponsors and team with some solid points. There was crazy bunching under braking and I’m not really sure how it happened but I ended up on the deck.”
Matteo Ferrari (Barni Racing Team) took the first win of his short career in the European Superstock 1000 Championship, after a blistering run which saw him start from the third row, before methodically picking off every single one of his rivals, and resisting a late revival from Roberto Tamburini (Berclaz Racing Team SA).
Running only his fifth STK1000 race, his third at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola, Ferrari passed Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team) at the end of lap 9, and kept his distances from then on. It could have been close if the race had been any longer, however, with Tamburini mounting an incredible comeback from thirteenth in the second half of the race.
Championship leader Markus Reiterberger (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW) quickly made his way up to fifth in the first lap, but then struggled to find the same pace he had at Aragon and Assen, only gaining one more position. After a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes from the German, particularly at Acque Minerali, he finished the day in that same fifth position, losing ground at the front of the championship standings: Tamburini is now just one point behind.
Scheib finished the race in third, passed by Tamburini in the final lap, with Federico Sandi (MOTOCORSA Racing) coming in fourth and group that led most of the race. Behind them, the battle for sixth was won by Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team), after Luca Vitali (Aprilia Racing Team), originally sixth, was penalised with a one position drop for exceeding track limits on the final corner.
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