World Supersport title standings after the race at Imola:
Standings after the Superpole race:
Race Two was cancelled due to inclement weather.
The threat of rain loomed over the World Supersport race, but it started dry in spite of raindrops reported at sector four.
The weather turned up to make the Superpole race evenness predictable. Ten laps under a grey sky made tyre choices interesting, with light and dark track areas visible and riders turning up on the grid with wet tyres and setups, swapping to try tyres and whatever setups they could fix on the grid. Leon Camier didn't line up after his crash yesterday and Tom Sykes didn't get to the grid with a warm-up lap, starting from the pit exit.
Motorcycle racing fans have heroes. They worship the riders like demi-gods, beings capable of superhuman feats of speed and agility. And watching riders at the top of their game – Marc Márquez skating the edge of disaster, Alex Rins sweeping through corners, Andrea Dovizioso braking not when he sees god, but after he has been invited home to meet god's mother, Valentino Rossi disposing of rivals like they are standing still – it is easy to understand why they are deified like that. They truly are exceptional, awe-inspiring, breathtaking to watch.
This idolization of riders makes it easy to forget that there is more to MotoGP than just a superhero on two wheels. If a rider is to destroy his rivals, he needs a weapon, and that weapon needs to honed to a fine point before being wielded with the kind of malice racing requires. Bikes need engineers to design them, mechanics to prepare them, crew chiefs and data engineers to make them fit the riders' needs.
Riders, too, need preparation. They don't just wake up one day, leap on a bike and go racing. They must train, and diet, and stretch, and get themselves ready. They must listen and learn from engineers, coaches, team managers. They need support when they are down, encouragement when they are up, guidance when they are out of control. They need to be honed and fettled as much as the motorcycles they race.
E pluribus unum
WorldSBK standings after the first race at Imola:
World Superbike race one started with blossom and green flags billowing in the Italian wind, ahead of tomorrow's probable rain.
World Supersport Superpole was hoping to avoid the red flags of the Superbike session and qualifying favourites Federico Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel were hoping to carry on their battle unimpeded.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi opened the Superpole session by setting fire to his Ducati Panigale, summoning the red flags. The restart only shortened the session to twenty four minutes. Three and a half minutes into the restart, Sandro Cortese and Leon Camier crashed out at turn four and brought the red flags back out. Camier was taken to the medical centre.
Federico Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel improved on their times from yesterday, while third-quickest Raffaele De Rosa improved but was unable to beat Randy Krummenacher and Ayrton Badovini, ending qualifying fifth-quickest.
Jonathan Rea improved on his times from yesterday, heading to Superpole in the top spot. Chaz Davies was unable to improve, but remained second-quickest while his Ducati teammate Alvaro Bautista passed Tom Sykes for third quickest overall. Tommy Bridewell sneaked in under the 107% qualifying limit in just thirty minutes of practice, reduced with a red flag break in the middle.
Press releases from some of the teams after the first day of practice at Imola:
Reigning World Champion Rea on top again with Davies and Sykes close behind
Jules Cluzel was quickest in the afternoon's session, but was unable to beat Federico Caricasulo's time from this morning.
With the top eleven riders all improving on their mornings' times, Jonathan Rea increased the pace by a quarter of a second, with Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes the only riders within half a second of his time. Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu were within three quarters of a second while Michael van der Mark was the only other rider within a second.