Ducati’s Chaz Davies takes victory from pole and smashes lap record
A stunning performance from Aruba.it rider Chaz Davies saw him take a comfortable victory in Race 1 at Imola, as Kawasaki pairing Rea and Sykes were left to fight it out for the other podium positions.
It was Davies and Rea who got the best starts from the front row of the grid, with Davide Giugliano struggling most as his teammate and the KRT riders got past him at the start of the race. With Davies leading the charge to escape, it was left to Rea, the only man seeming able to stay in touch with the Ducati rider, to try and chase him down.
With ten laps remaining, the reigning Champion ran wide at Turn 1 and the gap to teammate Sykes suddenly closed, with the KRT riders facing another inter-team battle as the Yorkshireman tried to stay in touch. Rea however managed to recover his rhythm and hold off his teammate to the line to minimize the damage in the Championship after a close challenge on the last lap.
Jordi Torres, who scored his first WorldSBK podium at Imola in 2015, had a stunning run for P4 on his Althea BMW machine at the team’s home race, ahead of second Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider Davide Giugliano. Leon Camier, after a race of some ups and downs, crossed the line in sixth for another fantastic haul of points for home manufacturer MV Agusta.
Lorenzo Savadori on the Aprilia ran in the top 5 throughout the first part of the race, before the rookie succumbed to the pressure of riders behind. Michael van der Mark, after a difficult Superpole 2, was the winner of the battle for P7 and headed Savadori over the line, who saw the chequered flag in P8 just ahead of Imola rookie Nicky Hayden on the second Honda. Xavi Forés made up ground in the Race on his Barni Racing Team Ducati to lock out the top ten, just ahead of Alex Lowes after a difficult weekend for the Pata Yamaha squad.
Baiocco, Reiterberger, Brookes and DeAngelis completed the points scoring positions, with DeAngelis still suffering with an injury to his left hand at the Round closest to home for the San Marinese rider.
Josh Hook had suffered an engine failure during practice earlier in the weekend but bounced back to finish just outside the points, in 17th place, but needs to find almost two-seconds per lap to sneak into a points scoring position on Sunday.
After losing some ground to Davies in Race 1, Jonathan Rea will be aiming for victory number 6 at Imola on Sunday in Race 2, where he has another chance to overtake Carlos Checa as most successful at the Italian track. Davies and Ducati are sure to put up at fight.
“Johnny (Rea) is always a fast starter so I wasn’t expecting to lead into the first corner. I made a good start, put my head down and set some really quick lap times early on. I didn’t know how it was going to play out. I don’t know what tyre the others guys ran so I don’t know if they were a bit harder than me or the same so I didn’t how my bike was going to feel in the latter stages of the race. But it felt like our pace was just quick as the other guys if not a bit stronger even at the end. We are very, very happy to win here at Imola. For Ducati it is basically their back garden, so it’s really important. Thanks to Ducati and all my team for giving me a great motorcycle and I’m just glad I can show what it is capable of.”
Jonathan Rea – P2
“I’m happy, because Chaz had something special today. In the beginning I stayed quite close, until I made a mistake. The problem I had at Aragon and Thailand where the rear locked happened quite a lot in that race so we need to dig deeper and see what’s really happening, because as soon as it happened two or three times my confidence dropped a lot. In the beginning I felt good with Chaz (Davies), on the first lap the gap was big but then I managed to keep it stable until I made the mistake. Then that was all it took. Tomorrow is a new day and I’m looking forward to that.”
Tom Sykes – P3
“It was just difficult (to overtake Rea), here at Imola, it’s a track that doesn’t leave much margin for error. I think we had a possibility in some areas but it would have been difficult to make a clean pass. I just didn’t quite have the last minerals to make it happen, but overall considering the amount of time we lost on Friday we are probably not at a bad level. Consistency wise I feel it’s acceptable, but for sure we are missing lap times. We suffered also in Superpole and it is a priority for tomorrow to try and fix this.”
Jordi Torres – P4
“In the end we achieved our goal today, which was to get closer to the fastest guys. Perhaps we weren’t so close to Davies, but definitely closer to the Kawasakis, and this is important. We didn’t make any mistakes and I was able to maintain a good, consistent pace throughout the whole race. In this race I pushed to the limit and this brought results. The track is fun, even though my race today wasn’t perhaps that exciting in the sense that I was lapping almost always alone. Anyway, we’re pleased of course and will try to do more tomorrow.”
Davide Giugliano – P5
“I didn’t have great pace in the race and then my exhaust broke. This is racing. The great thing about World Superbike is that we have another Race tomorrow, so now I’m going to go back to my box and speak to my crew to find improvements and go better.”
Michael van der Mark – P7
“This morning we started with a completely different set-up compared to yesterday and the feeling with the bike was definitely better. In Superpole 1 I found a bike that was much easier to ride and on the last lap, I had no time on my dashboard. I only realised I was first when I came back to the pits and that was such a relief! In Superpole 2, I had to give up on my lap with race tyres as Sylvain (Guintoli) crashed in front of me; when we restarted we went immediately for a Q tyre but I struggled with front grip and couldn’t improve. As soon as the race started, I found myself struggling while trying to stop the bike, so I knew it was going to be a long one. In the end I managed to pass Nicky for seventh, though. I have to be happy with the points we scored today but we need to solve our issues with the front grip if we want to be further up tomorrow.”
Nicky Hayden – P9
“I must thank the team, because today the bike was much better than yesterday. They worked overnight and improved several things; we were able to drop a couple of seconds from my lap-time and advance into Superpole 2. In the early laps of the race I wasn’t going too badly but I had some little problems under braking as I couldn’t get the bike stopped as well as I wanted, so I had to slow down my pace and then I lost two places in the last two laps. We cannot be happy with the result but we were much closer today than yesterday so maybe if we can take one more step, tomorrow we can put up a good fight.”
Pieter Breddels – Honda Technical Manager
“We made some changes to the chassis settings after this morning and things improved a little bit. In Superpole 2 Nicky made a couple of small mistakes during his flying lap, while with Michael we made the usual couple of adjustments to make the take the best out of the qualifying tyre, but this time they didn’t work. They both got a good start to the race but couldn’t keep the pace of the front-runners and, in the end, they battled for seventh place. Both pointed out that they couldn’t get the bike stopped the way they wanted and this means we still need to find the right combination between chassis settings and front tyre. We are currently analysing the data and we will come up with a plan for tomorrow morning and race two.”
Alex Lowes – P11
“The actual race, results-wise was very disappointing today, especially as this weekend’s goal was to try to bridge the gap to the front group. However, with everything that has gone on this weekend, with many differing issues, I actually felt I rode well during the race and it felt more like a test session as we got a lot of useful information from the bike. If the conditions are similar for tomorrow’s race I’m quite optimistic that we could make a good step. I enjoyed the race and was in a decent battle with a few riders which was quite fun, I tried to make a move on the last lap and ended up losing a position which is a shame at the end of a race but we managed to stay consistent throughout the distance which is something we didn’t have at Assen, so that is a positive. We are still far from being able to piece all the bits together which is where we need to be, so I’m disappointed overall but with definite positives to work on for tomorrow. I also really hope that Sylvain is ok, your teammate is always the first person you want to beat but I have a lot of respect for him and I know how he feels at the moment so I really hope he is alright and can come back as soon as possible.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal
“Our first thoughts today have to immediately turn to Sylvain and the incredible high-side he had in Superpole this morning. Luckily his injuries, while still to be determined in fine-detail, are not serious and after such a frightening accident we can all be thankful for that. As we currently speak he is still in Imola hospital receiving good care and undergoing checks,we hope that he will be released tomorrow and we can announce some detailed news regarding his recovery and when he will be able to re-join the team. For Alex, the day was a combination of negatives but with some clear light at the end of the tunnel. Some technical problems in qualifying stopped him from advancing from SP1 so a 14th place start at Imola, one of the most difficult circuits to pass on, was never going to make life easy. The positives are that the YZF-R1 was more consistent over distance than yesterday, that Alex could maintain a reasonable pace towards the end of the race and was able to fight with the group, racing for seventh position. Alex was frustrated not to have got to the front of that group but encouraged by the improved handling and consistency in the bike, so whatever the weather we will try to take some further steps for tomorrow and achieve the best possible result for both Alex and the team.”
Markus Reiterberger – P13
“My start was OK but then I lost some places through the first lap. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same feeling with the bike as I’d had in qualifying and I don’t know why. Then I had a small technical problem that caused me to run into the gravel, twice, and I lost more positions. We didn’t really make any changes between Superpole and the race but the feeling was different, and the pace was not what I’d expected it to be. We’ll be looking to do better tomorrow.”
WorldSSP: Cluzel takes pole for MV Agusta at home
After a slight delay to the start of the Tissot-Superpole qualifying sessions for World Supersport after an earlier stoppage in WorldSBK, Roberto Rolfo on his MV Agusta was the initial pacesetter in Superpole 1, leading FIM Europe Supersport cup rider Axel Bassani riding for home team San Carlo Team Italia. Local rider Alex Baldolini, after a good showing of pace on Friday, then took over the final graduation spot to Superpole 2 before the last fast laps of the session saw times tumble and Zulfahmi Khairuddin take the top spot. It was the Malaysian rider who went through to Superpole 2 as the fastest, alongside Alex Baldolini after the Italian improved his lap time to beat Nico Terol and Assen winner Kyle Smith for the final place in the second session.
A further delay due to track conditions saw Superpole 2 delayed a few more minutes, before bikes headed out on track to fight for the grid placements for the Race on Sunday. After Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Sofuoglu set the pace for much of the weekend, the Turkish rider continued to top the timesheets throughout the majority of the Superpole 2 session, until MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider Jules Cluzel put in a final push for the front and took provisional pole with little of the session remaining. With Sofuoglu pushed down to second, the Turk was unable to improve and will start the Race from P2. Honda rider PJ Jacobsen locked out the front row in P3 to get his title back on track, and points leader Randy Krummenacher put in an impressive rookie performance to take P4 and head up the second row.
Pole sitter Jules Cluzel’s MV Agusta Reparto Corse Italian teammate Lorenzo Zanetti was the quickest Italian rider, heading Ayrton Badovini, Federico Caricasulo and Alex Baldolini in a great show of Italian talent in the top 10. Assen podium finisher Gino Rea came home in P9 for GRT Racing Team, ahead of Jezek, Khairuddin and ESS rider Alessandro Zaccone for home team San Carlo Team Italia.
Jules Cluzel – P1
“I’m really happy because we’ve improved all weekend, and we had to after the disaster in Assen. It looks like we understand what’s happening and I am strong now. We still have to improve but I’m really happy. Today was a great day, but tomorrow is a different day and it looks like the conditions could change so we have to concentrate. It’s great to be the fastest in Saturday qualifying but tomorrow it’s like reset and start from zero so I will try to do my best and hopefully to be on the podium, and try to win the race.”
Aiden Wagner – P21
“I’m happy with the results achieved so far. We’ve improved though each session, improving both the bike set-up and my riding style. Qualifying was OK, we did our fastest lap of the weekend and that’s a positive, but then on my flying lap I got held up after sector 3 and so it could have been even better. Anyway, I thank the team for their hard work so far.”
World Supersport 2016 – Imola – Supersport Qualifying
1. Jules Cluzel, MV Agusta Reparto Corse1:51.132
2. Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 1:51.321
3. PJ Jacobsen Honda World Supersport Team1:51.535
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