WorldSBK, Imola: Sunday roundup – Superbike & Supersport
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kenan Sofuoglu now leads the Championship after Round 5, with the next stop for WorldSSP being Sepang International Circuit.