WorldSBK, Imola – Friday report: World Superbike, World Supersport
Chaz Davies remained on top of the timesheets at the end of FP2 on Friday, with a 1’47.014 seeing him head Kawasaki Racing Team riders Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea. After a morning session interrupted by a red flag, FP2 was completed without stoppage for entry to Tissot-Superpole 2 to be decided. Tom Sykes did suffer a problem during the second session that saw the Kawasaki rider forced to return to the pits, but after moving from P8 in FP1 to P2 in FP2, the Yorkshireman will easily go through to Superpole 2.
The first session of the day was red-flagged due to track conditions, with oil on the track from an incident with 35 minutes on the clock when Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes was the pacesetter. Once cleared, practice resumed some minutes later as the pit lane reopened at 11:05 local time (GMT +2), with Chaz Davies then taking almost four tenths off Sykes’ time as he started a run of continually faster laps, eventually setting a 1’47.517 that saw him top the morning session by half a second from MV Agusta rider Leon Camier.
Camier was another local hero of sorts as the Brit kept MV Agusta’s great morning form in the second session, maintaining the position of the improving bike high up the timesheets in P5, but 4th overall on combined results. Markus Reiterberger was another rider who impressed in the afternoon after a steady and solid start for Althea BMW on Friday morning, with the German moving up to P4 in the second session and fifth overall. His teammate Jordi Torres also moved up the timesheets in FP2 into P6, with the Catalan rider taking eight tenths off his time from the morning.
IodaRacing’s Lorenzo Savadori remained the fastest Italian on Friday thanks to his time in FP1, and also remained in the top ten in FP2, ending the session in P9 on his Aprilia and P7 overall. Compatriot Davide Giugliano, on the second Aruba.it Racing – Ducati machine, was 11th in FP2 but gains entry to Tissot-Superpole 2 from his earlier lap time that puts him in P9 on the combined list. Matteo Baiocco, riding as replacement for injured Fabio Menghi at VFT, ended his fantastic Friday with direct entry to Superpole 2 as 10th quickest overall, and was the quickest Italian in the second practice session. With extra home motivation, each can be satisfied with the first day on track and the chance to go for more glory in both Tissot-Superpole and Race 1 on Saturday.
Sylvain Guintoli, despite a small crash near the end of the second session, made sure to get his Pata Yamaha into Superpole 2 and improved his lap time from the morning to end FP2 in P7; ending the day 8th on the combined timesheets as the YZF R1 starts to feel at home in WorldSBK. Teammate Alex Lowes also ended the second practice session inside the top ten, but just lost out on the chance to graduate straight to Superpole 2 and will be fighting to move through Superpole 1 alongside Honda riders Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden.
Honda Official WorldSBK Team had a difficult first day at Imola. Number 69 Nicky Hayden is a rookie at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari however, and teammate Michael van der Mark has so far proven one of the most consistent frontrunners in the paddock, so with a great podium record so far in the season, there is progress sure to be found before the points are awarded.
Tissot-Superpole gets underway on Saturday 30th of April at 10:30am local time (GMT +2), as the riders look to fight for a place on the grid ahead of lights out for Race 1 at 13:00.
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Kenan Sofuoglu has topped the first practice session at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, leading ESS San Carlo Team Italia rider Alessandro Zaccone and his compatriot Federico Caricasulo. Reigning Champion Sofuoglu has thus far been chasing teammate Randy Krummenacher in the points standings since Phillip Island, and took advantage of his rookie teammate not knowing the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari to gain an advantage in the inter-team battle on Day 1.
Alessandro Zaccone, a rider forming part of the FIM Europe Supersport Cup, was the fastest Italian after a large improvement from FP1 to take his San Carlo Team Italia bike into P2, just ahead of fellow rookie Federico Caricasulo for Bardahl Evan Bros. Honda Racing. Both Zaccone and local Ravennate rider Caricasulo have shown great pace already in 2016 and further impressed at their home round, gaining entry to Tissot-Superpole 2.
Rookie Krummenacher ended FP1 in P11 after his first contact with the Imola circuit, and put in an incredible show of improvement in FP2 to end the day in P4 overall. Never having ridden at the daunting Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, the Swiss Championship leader can be more than satisfied with a much reduced gap to his veteran teammate Sofuoglu after the second session of the weekend.
MV Agusta Reparto Corse had more home glory to be proud of with Frenchman Jules Cluzel ending Friday in P5, just ahead of key 2015 title rival PJ Jacobsen on the Honda in P6. GRT rider Gino Rea kept his MV Agusta in P6 just behind the American by the end of the opening day, despite a crash in the final five minutes of FP2. Lorenzo Zanetti, Cluzel’s MV Agusta Reparto Corse teammate, finished the day in P8 ahead of Ayrton Badovini from Team Lorini and Team GOELEVEN’s Ondrej Jezek in P9 and P10 respectively.
WorldSSP Tissot-Superpole begins on Saturday at 11:30am local time (GMT +2), as those just outside the top ten fight through Superpole 1 to decide the grid for the race, with lights out at 11:20am on Sunday.