Ducati title challenger Chaz Davies threw down the gauntlet to Championship leader Jonathan Rea in Race 2 at Imola as the Welshman again lead off the line from pole position and took a commanding victory. Kawasaki Racing Team’s reigning Champion Rea crossed the line second despite struggling with some issues, heading teammate Tom Sykes over the line.
Under worsening skies at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, the WorldSBK grid got away on a dry track with Davies leading off the line and the two KRT riders once again able to leapfrog second Aruab.it rider Davide Giugliano. With a few moments for Rea on track that saw him lose touch with leader Davies, the reigning Champion held it together to get another big haul of points towards his title defence. Sykes kept close to his teammate for the majority of the race, but was unable to make a pass on the daunting 4.9km of Imola.
Davide Giugliano was the lead home rider on the second Aruba.it machine, and started from the middle of the front row to come home in P4, making an improvement on his Saturday result of P5.
Leon Camier brought more home glory for the host nation as the Brit rode his MV Agusta to another top 5 finish after a best of P4 recently for the Italian manufacturer, adding more points to the ever expanding tally and completing their first weekend of points scoring finishes at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Alex Lowes, after a difficult Superpole 2, fought his Pata Yamaha YZF R1 up into the Top 6 after succumbing to Camier, in front of Jordi Torres as the Catalan Althea BMW rider was left outside the top ten near the start of the race and pulled off an impressive recovery ride. Lorenzo Savadori on his Aprilia made sure there was representation for every manufacturer in the top 8 at Imola, before suffering a problem on the last lap and being relegated to P11 over the line.
Honda duo Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark ended the second race of the weekend in P8 and P9 respectively, after a difficult few days in Imola where the Assen podium finishers found themselves further back on the grid than both are used to. Xavi Forés completed the top ten for Barni Racing team on his Ducati, classified ahead of Savadori at the flag.
Josh Brookes ran off the circuit early on but regained his composure to bring the Milwaukee BMW home in 13th place.
Josh Hook (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) fell in the middle of the final chicane early in the second race, at almost exactly the same time as stand-in rider for the injured Roman Ramos (Go Eleven Team Kawasaki), Gianluca Vizziello.
WorldSBK will now go jet set once again as the paddock heads east to Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia for the next Round of the 2016 season.
“It’s just been an incredible week-end, from start to finish. The latest upgrades Ducati brought for the Panigale R in Aragon allowed us to compete for the win in each race. To seize a victory here in Imola, Ducati’s backyard, is special. To do a double, is unbelievable. Today the conditions were different, but we were able to create a gap since the first few laps. I made a couple of mistakes in lap 9 that made me lose a second, but also helped me stay focused until the checkered flag. We head to Sepang with confidence, as we have a more competitive package than last year, when we still left Malaysia with a second place and a win. Our goal is to keep the momentum and further cut the gap in the championship.”
Jonathan Rea – P2
“Chaz made a very good first lap and broke me a little bit but then I felt like I was managing the same pace and maybe even faster. Then I had a huge moment on the exit of the last chicane. I ran onto the Astroturf, which had held moisture from last night’s rain. A few laps later, when I was in fifth gear and on full gas, my bike just cut out on the straight. I lost two or three seconds in one lap. It fired into life again but it took me a few corners to relax again. It feels like when we can’t win we should finish second and we did that at Imola. It is clear now that there are three guys now at the top of the championship. Every dog has his day and today was not ours.”
Tom Sykes – P3
“We made some improvements from yesterday but we suffered after losing almost one hour on Friday in practice. Considering the race yesterday I felt a little bit more comfortable with the bike today but when there was a bike in front I was not able to do a good lap time. I was dropping back into the 1’48s and on a clear track I could bring it into the 1’47s. Even on the last lap there was a 1’47.7 and that was with making a mistake out of the final double lefts. So there are positives to be taken from this weekend. You are never happy with third but you also have to be realistic and sometimes be happy with that. Even when we are struggling we are on the podium.”
Davide Giugliano – P4
“Today we made another step forward with the setup and I probably could have fought for the podium as my pace was similar to Sykes’, but I struggled early on to warm up the rear tyre. Compared with the last couple of races, this round has definitely been positive, with two top-five finishes that give me a confidence boost to get back on the right track. I want to give my special thanks to the many Ducati fans who showed an incredible warmth despite our recent struggles. Sepang will be another tough battle, both because of the climate and the layout, but we’re not holding back.”
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director
“This has been one of the best week-ends one could hope for, with two undisputed victories. It has been a while since the last time we achieved that in Imola, where the passion for Ducati is so strong. We’re extremely happy with the work done both by the team and the people at home. I want to congratulate Chaz for two perfect races, and Davide for taking another step in the right direction. We hope to see them both on the podium soon.”
Alex Lowes – P6
“A better day than yesterday obviously! We made some changes to the bike overnight which gave me a better feeling and this helped me to do my best lap of the weekend after 11 laps of the race. I was struggling a little with consistency at the end but we learnt a lot and did a good job. We made some good steps forward compared to our opposition and our next target has got to be to start the weekends a little more competitively from the outset. Obviously it’s still a new bike and we are learning as we go along but I think a lot of what we have achieved here will be relevant as we head to other tracks and hopefully we can be a bit more competitive from the start of Friday.”
Jordi Torres – P7
“I thought I’d made a good start but still lost some places. We changed a few things for race 2, also using new brake pads. Unfortunately though, the bike seemed too loaded at the front and I wasn’t used to these brake pads, which behaved differently to the ones I’d used in the past and caused some vibrations which bothered me especially in the second half of the race. I was also forced to use the front tyre less, which meant that the rear was totally destroyed. All in all, it didn’t go badly and I made up some places but the important thing is that we have collected more information which will be useful for Malaysia, I thank my team for its hard work this weekend.”
Nicky Hayden – P8
“We made some changes overnight that unfortunately we couldn’t try during the warm up as the track was still partially wet. We decided to keep the settings for the race anyway and the bike was a little bit better; I was able to make the same lap-times as in race one despite using the harder tyre, which we had to choose given the lower temperatures compared to yesterday. Maybe it took me a little longer to understand the changes at the beginning and that cost me a bit of time. Overall it has been a difficult weekend; regardless, the team was able to improve the bike over the weekend and I had to learn the track, which in the end wasn’t too difficult. I hope next year we’ll be faster around here and now I’m looking forward to Sepang.”
Michael van der Mark – P9
“It’s been a really difficult weekend. It looked like we found the right direction yesterday in Superpole but today we thought that, with a different tyre, we would have solved the issues encountered yesterday. Unfortunately during race two I found it really hard to change direction and this meant that I could neither be quick nor build any sort of rhythm. Now we have to look forward to Sepang, which is a completely different track. I’m pretty confident that the team and I will be able to bounce back and score some great results there.”
“We had some adjustments in mind for today and surely, if the conditions were drier this morning, we would have had a clearer indication about them. Michael was able to do a couple of laps with slicks and that gave us a little bit of information, while Nicky stayed out on wet tyres. With the new set-up and the different tyres used, both riders were able to get the bikes stopped better than yesterday, although this translated into a harder time in changing direction. After losing basically the whole first day while trying to find a set-up with the wrong tyres, we had to play catch-up yesterday and today. Now we need to analyse what happened in order to be ready for the next race.”
Markus Reiterberger – P12
“The first few laps were good and I was in seventh place, over the first six or seven laps I had good pace but not as fast as those ahead of me. Unfortunately I then started to suffer with a lot of vibration in the whole bike. The rear tyre was destroyed and it was all I could do to get to the end of the race. It’s a problem we’ve had before but not as bad as today so we must look at the data to understand how to resolve this.”
Sylvain Guintoli – DNS
“Of course this is a disappointing situation. The positive is that it could have been a lot worse because the crash was actually a really big impact. In that respect the injuries are not that bad compared to the crash, but we have to understand why this happened so we can move forward and concentrate on the future. The ankle is broken and I am very bruised because I came down hard, but despite that I feel quite good. My ribs are very bruised which is the painful bit but we just have to see how I will recover now and see in a couple of days if we can go for Malaysia.”
Paul Denning – Yamaha Team Principal
“A far more positive day for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team than yesterday, firstly because Sylvain was able to leave hospital and join us here at the track, looking a lot healthier and in less pain. Let’s see how the next couple of days go and what the full detailed diagnosis of the ankle injury is before we make any decisions for Malaysia. The wet conditions in warm up didn’t help us make any assessment of the changes the team had made from yesterday’s race for Alex but the race distance result clarifies that we’ve moved in the right direction. Alex had an incredible start from 13th on the grid and made some awesome passes in the first lap to get up to sixth but what was more important was his ability to keep moving forward, set his best time of the race on lap 11 and maintain a lot more consistency towards the end than we’ve seen in recent races. We knew Imola would be a tricky track so to make this progress after an extremely difficult Friday and Saturday morning is encouraging for the future.”
WorldSBK Championship Standings After Imola Race Two
WorldSSP: Sofuoglu Takes Victory in Imola to Lead Championship
Kenan Sofuoglu has taken victory at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola in a race restarted after a red flag. Jules Cluzel came home in P2 after a late challenge, leading Honda rider PJ Jacobsen across the line to complete the podium.
Mixed conditions greeted the start of Sunday the 1st of May at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. With rain overnight and grey skies overhead, Warm Up sessions got underway on a drying track and conditions were sure to be different for the Race. Jules Cluzel started from pole for MV Agusta Reparto Corse in their home race, ahead of Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Kenan Sofuoglu and Honda’s PJ Jacobsen on the front row. Rookie and Championship leader Randy Krummenacher started from P4 at the head of the second row, with teammate Sofuoglu starting to close down the points gap.
After a clean start, it was a familiar WorldSSP sight at the head of the train heading through Tamburello, with Cluzel leading Sofuoglu ahead of Krummenacher and Jacobsen on the chase. Soon, however, a problem became apparent on the Puccetti machine of Randy Krummenacher and the race was red-flagged, with the Swiss rider not allowed to take the restart.
Randy Krummenacher stated: “The bike was running very well and I did not smell oil on the bike. The black and orange flag I saw without the number. Then I saw it for half a lap with the number 21. If I felt that I would bring the other riders in a dangerous position I would stop. But I did not feel that I would put them in danger. No one crashed because of me and they did not have to clean the track, because the water that was lost was a few drops – but it might have looked like a lot. I accept the Race Direction decision and let’s look forward to Malaysia.”
Pit lane reopened at 11:45 for a new 11-lap race, with Cluzel leading off the line before Sofuoglu got past and began to pull away, leaving Jacobsen to lead the group hunting him down. Cluzel took some time to recover to his full pace as he struggled to keep P3 for a few laps, before pulling the pin once again to reel in Jacobsen and set off after old rival Sofuoglu. With only a handful of laps remaining, the Turk proved too far ahead despite Cluzel’s searing last two laps of the Imola circuit.
The Italian challenge was initially headed by Lorenzo Zanetti at home in Imola, as Cluzel’s MV Agusta teammate stayed close to his French rival throughout the race, with Alex Baldolini and Federico Caricasulo in equally close company. Alessandro Zaccone closed on the group however and was again the fastest rider forming part of the FIM Europe Supersport Cup, with the San Carlo Team Italia rider coming home in P5 to head the ESS challenge. Baldolini came across the line in P4 and Zanetti was forced to settle for a P6 finish at home, ahead of Ondrej Jezek. Federico Caricasulo and Ayrton Badovini crossed the line in P8 and P9 respectively, ahead of Spaniard Nico Terol who locked out the top ten.
Assen podium finisher Gino Rea was a high profile crasher in the race and luckily escaped from an incident at the final chicane, and Kyle Smith, winner in Holland, had a tough race to finish in P11 for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda.
Aiden Wagner was the highest finishing Australian rider in 18th position on the GRT MV Agusta. Jed Metcher rode for WIL Honda as a last minute replacement for their regular incumbent and finished in 24th place while young teenager Lachlan Epis finished the 11-lap race in 30th position. Glenn Scott did not participate at the Imola event as he recovers from injury but hopes to ride at Sepang.
“I really believe we deserve this result. It was a very, very good weekend for us as we were always fastest, even in the wet. Only in Superpole was I not the fastest but I was just one lap late with my final push. We did a good job today at the home race for the team in Italy. I love Imola and I cannot say more because I am leading the championship again. We lost 25 points in Australia because of bad luck but this can happen in racing. Anyway we are back in the championship lead and I am very happy with today’s result.”
Patrick Jacobsen – P3
“I’m so happy for today’s podium finish. The feeling I had with the bike was very good and I was able to ride it like I wanted, although unfortunately the dashboard wasn’t working and that made it all the more difficult. The team did a great job this weekend, and this third place is one small way to repay them for their efforts. This is a first step to building back some momentum, and I am now looking forward to racing at Sepang, where last year I got my first World Supersport win. Our focus has to be on one race at the time, without thinking too much of the championship battle.”
“I was happy to finish the race as we have been struggling at previous rounds, not even racing at Assen. I’m happy we’ve completed some distance here and that we have had some decent sessions. We’ve got some useful data to take with us to Malaysia as a result of our hard work here and I’m looking forward to the next round.”
World Supersport 2016 – Imola Race Results
Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
Jules Cluzel MV Agusta Reparto Corse +1.429
PJ Jacobsen Honda World Supersport Team +3.013
World Supersport 2016 – Championship Standings after Imola
Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 86
Randy Krummenacher Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 71
Jules Cluzel MV Agusta Reparto Corse 58
Mercado won the Superstock 1000 race from Calia and De Rosa. Bryan Staring is currently out injured after breaking some bones in a motocross training accident the previous week.
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