Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the races at Imola on Sunday:
Season best for Szkopek
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Pawel Szkopek equalled his season's best result after finishing 12th in the tenth round of the World Supersport Championship at Imola in Italy.
His teammate James Ellison on the other Bogdanka PTR Honda finished a solid sixth after a determined ride from 15th on the grid and is now seventh overall with the penultimate, 11th round of the season taking place at Magny Cours in France in a week time.
Bogdanka Honda's sister PTR operated Parkalgar Honda team came home with Sam Lowes in second and Miguel Praia in eighth to cap the best ever race-day result for the Lincolnshire based tuning organisation, filling three of the top eight and four of the top 12 positions.
Pawel Szkopek: "I'm very happy to be at the finish as the start was very nervous. I passed some riders in the first chicane and then had a good dice with Vostarek and Jerman. Someone touched me and I'm sure someone went down but I managed to hold on and keep a good pace. We were in a close group with similar pace and it was very difficult to pass as there was oil on the crucial parts of the track. From that moment I took it steady and decided to wait for a good moment to make any moves. It was the right call and I'm very happy to equal my season's best result even if I feel we could have been higher. I'd like to thank the team for a great job. We've made big progress this weekend."
James Ellison: "From the position we were in a the start of the weekend, the final result is pretty good. I had to wait for the other guys to get tired and came through the pack. I think my best lap was three or four laps from the end of the race so we were strong all the way through but just a bit off the pace this weekend. These things happen though and I'm looking forward to Magny Cours as it's a track I like and know very well."
Simon Buckmaster: "That was a great race by Pawel - he has equalled his own best ever finish for a Polish racer in the World Championship. He took his opportunity well - he was only a fraction from 11th and setting a new benchmark for Polish bike racing and we can look forward to see what he can achieve next weekend.
"James stuck to his task and rode a controlled race to score a well deserved sixth. Two points scoring finishes for both Bogdanka PTR Honda racers is just reward to them and the entire team - well done."
Superb second for Sam; season's best for Miguel
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Sam Lowes fought from 11th place at the end of the first lap to finish an incredible second at the World Supersport race at Imola in Italy, less than 2/10ths away from the race win.
Miguel Praia enjoyed a brilliant race on his Parkalgar Honda, starting from 19th and working his way up to an impressive season's best equalling eighth at the chequered flag. The next and penultimate round of the World Supersport Championship is next Sunday, October 2nd at Magny Cours in France.
Parkalgar Honda's sister PTR operated Bogdanka Honda team came home with James Ellison in sixth and Pawel Szkopek in a career best 12th to cap the best ever race-day result for the Lincolnshire based tuning organisation, filling three of the top eight and four of the top 12 positions.
Sam: "To be fair it has been a difficult weekend for me after missing most of the first qualifying session because of a crash, but the Parkalgar Honda team did a fantastic job on my bike and improved it enormously in time for the race. I didn't make the start I wanted and was well behind but got my head down and got into the battle. I am really happy to get second and can't wait to get to Magny Cours next weekend."
Miguel: "That was a good race. I got a super start and gained a lot of places and then had a fast pace. Mid-race I lost a little time on the group in front but I cannot be anything but happy after starting 19th and then equalling my season's best of eighth. I rode better today but I dedicate this result to Paul, Ben and my Parkalgar Honda team - the changes they made to my bike made the difference and this result is for them - thank you."
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "Sam did a fantastic job. He came back from a poor start and rode what I think was the best race of his career to finish second. He is building momentum as the season draws to its climax.
"Miguel didn't qualify as well as he would have liked but he worked hard with his technicians and then came from a long way back to score an excellent result. He is building his effort as we head towards Magny Cours and then our home track of Parkalgar in Portugal - the end of the season is very exciting for us."
DNF because of clutch problems
This morning Robbin had new bike and new engine for the warm up. Robbin had to check this new chassis and engine so he pulled in after one lap for a quick data check. Although things seemed ok, Robbin came in again after one lap and complained that the bike was not running very smooth. There is not much time in the warm up, so only a small change was possible to make.
With only two complete laps made in the warm up, the team had a difficult time to find the correct settings for bike and engine.
The warm up lap to the start grid was also used to see if everything was ok, but Robbin still had some doubts as he felt the bike react strange. There is nothing you can do when you are on the start grid in front of 78.000 people so hoping for the best was all the team could do.
Robbin struggled to get away at the start, but managed to keep his position in the first section. But towards the end of the first lap, the clutch broke down so Robbin wasn't able to continue the race.
Robbin Harms, DNF
What more is there to say. This morning we had a short warm up session and we couldn't point out the problem. I felt I at the start already that something was wrong. I couldn't get of my startplace and halfway the first lap my clutch acted very strange. I couldn't drive out of the corners and on the straight my bike didn't want to go forward anymore. I didn't want risk anything and I came into pit. It's been a hard weekend and I hope we have result in Magny Cours next weekend.
It just doesn't work out for us anymore. We worked so hard last night to make a new bike for Robbin and in the race we didn't even complete one lap. Let's hope for the best next weekend.
Imola – Races.
Sunday, 25 September 2011.
After two promising days at Imola (ITA), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport waited in vain for top results in today's races. The team leaves the 11th round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship with another top-five result under its belt. Factory rider, Leon Haslam (GBR), finished fifth in the second heat after he fell in race one. His team mate Troy Corser (AUS) finished 12th in the first race, but had to retire in race two.
In race one, Leon kept sixth place on the opening laps. Then he found his rhythm and was able to push, closing the gap to the front runners. After eight laps, he was only 0.2 seconds behind the leading group. But then he fell on lap nine and was forced to retire. Troy started from 15th and was able to make up some positions during the race. After the start of race two, Leon was fighting in the leading group. But then he struggled to go the pace of the front runners and had to settle for fifth. Troy made another good start, but then lost positions and retired on lap 11. The races were won by Jonathan Rea (GBR) and Carlos Checa (ESP). On the grid of the second race, Troy was given a special award by Infront for having achieved his 4000th world championship point at Nürburgring (GER) earlier this month.
In the riders' championship, Leon is fifth with 187 points. Troy lies 15th with 71 points. In the manufacturers' standings BMW is fourth with 232 points. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team finished ninth and tenth respectively. His team mate Xavi Fores (ESP) retired in the first race and came home 14th in the second.
In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race four BMW S 1000 RRs were classified in the top 10. Sylvain Barrier (FRA) from the BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock Team finished fifth, followed by Markus Reiterberger (GER) from the Garnier Alpha Racing Team in sixth. Baru Racing Team rider Michele Magnoni (ITA) finished eighth, Fabio Massei (ITA) of Team Piellemoto crossed the line in ninth.
At the 24-hour race at Le Mans (FRA), Team BMW Motorrad France 99 started with its RR from pole position and led until the halfway point, but then suffered technical issues and finished seventh.
Result Race 1: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:48.743 min
Result Race 2: 5th/ Gap to 1st: 00:17.388 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:48.883 min
"In the early stages of race one I was struggling to push properly, but after a few laps I found a good rhythm and caught up to Tom and Carlos. Unfortunately I then got a false neutral. I went into the corner, the gear jumped out and in again and I fell. I am disappointed with the crash. For race two, we made some small changes to try and improve the bike, but the increase in air temperature meant things didn't work out as we planned. So I lost the contact to the leading group and just had to try and maintain my position."
Result Race 1: 12th/ Gap to 1st: 00:26.444 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:48.976 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:49.287 min
"In race one I did not get a bad start, but then I ran a little bit wide at the ‘Tosa'-hairpin. We had made quite a few changes on the bike, so it took me a few laps to learn how to ride it. Once I had worked it out, I was able to push. In race two I felt something was wrong with the bike, as I could hear a strange noise coming from it. I am not sure where it was coming from or what it was but something wasn't right. So I decided to play it safe and pull in. It is a shame because I felt good and we could have scored some good points."
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
"After our good lap times on Friday and Saturday we, of course, expected more. In the first race we had a crash due to the bike jumping out of gear. Until then the lap times were great. In the second race the times were not that good anymore, so at the end of the day Leon finished fifth. This position was hard fought for, But there is room for improvement and we aim to transfer the information we have collected here into top results next week at Magny-Cours."
CARLOS CHECA AND ALTHEA RACING TAKE THEIR MOST EXCITING WIN OF THE SBK SEASON TODAY AT IMOLA AS THEY CLOSE IN ON THE WORLD TITLE
Imola (Italy), Sunday 25th September 2011: Carlos Checa and the Althea Racing team came extremely close to securing the World Superbike title today at the Autodromo di Imola. Thanks to a third place finish in race 1, followed by a memorable win in the second race, Carlos now has a 97-point advantage in the classification, with only 100 points still to play for.
In Race 1 Carlos, starting from pole, was in second position through the first corners. Over the first laps he fought first with Rea and then Laverty, holding fourth position for the best part of the 21-lap race. In the final stages, positioned right behind Sykes, Checa decided to make a break for third, choosing the best moment to do so and getting past the English rider on the penultimate lap. The Spaniard thus closed race 1 in third position.
Sandi, wildcard with the Althea Racing team this weekend, was lying in 15th position at the end of the first lap. Over the course of just a couple of laps, and thanks to a strong race pace, he was able to make up four positions to find himself eleventh by the third lap. He fought against Aitchison for tenth position but, losing a little grip in the final stages of the race, he unfortunately lost a couple of positions and crossed the line in thirteenth place, earning his first championship points.
Fifth in race 2 after the first corners, Carlos was hot on the heels of Sykes in fourth. Sandi was once again 15th at the end of the first lap. During the first few laps Checa passed Sykes then Camier to take third on the seventh lap, behind Haga and Rea. During the following laps the Althea Racing rider gave it all he had to close the gap that had built up between him and Noriyuki. On the thirteenth lap he made the fastest lap of the race, 1m47.934 (giving him his eighth Pirelli fast lap award of the season) and two laps later he got past Haga for second. Just a few laps from the end of the race Rea stopped due to technical problems and Carlos took the lead. He built up a 4.6 second lead over Haga to take his twelfth win of the season in spectacular style.
Sandi made up some positions in the first half of the race, to then fight hard with a tight group of riders until the finish line. He made another step up in the final stages of the race and closed in twelfth, gaining another three points for the standings.
At the conclusion of the eleventh round of the championship, Carlos now holds 417 points and leads with an advantage of 97 points over Melandri in second position. Ducati continues to lead the manufacturer's championship with 441 points to Aprilia's 376.
"Race 1 was really exciting, I battled hard with Sykes and it was a clean, fun race. In the end I was perhaps a little faster than him and I closed in third, an already very satisfactory result. Then Race 2 was even more thrilling! I'm sorry for Rea who had the pace to win, and for Melandri who was perhaps a little unlucky this weekend but of course I'm extremely happy to have won here at Imola. The championship is not yet over but we are very close to the title. We go on to the next round and what will be, will be. It's been a perfect weekend, I'm over the moon and want to thank the entire team, Ducati, the sponsors and of course all of the fans."
"I enjoyed myself today and would say that I made two good races. I'm happy to have finished in the points zone in both races although it would have been nice to say I had finished inside the top ten. Anyway, this was a great experience, to ride in the World championship at Imola, and I thank my team and of course Genesio for providing me with this important opportunity."
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing:
"We are of course extremely happy with the final results today. Carlos stayed calm and knew exactly how to manage both races. Now we move on to Magny-Cours where we hope that we will be celebrating but, as we all know, anything can happen in racing and so we'll be keeping our feet on the ground for now."
Stunning victory for Foret at Imola
Fabien Foret won today's tenth round World Supersport championship race after a typically gutsy and flamboyant ride took him from 12th place on the grid to victory at Imola in italy.
Problems during qualifying yesterday left the French Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider starting from the outside of the third row, as his team-mate, Florian Marino started the race in second place trying to chase down series and race leader Chaz Davies.
Davies led for the first 14 of 19 laps around the 4.936km Imola circuit, but the engine on his Yamaha expired on lap fifteen leaving Honda-mounted Sam Lowes in charge and Marino well-place in second place.
As Marino's podium challenge began to fade, however, his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate continued his charge through the field and, by lap 15, Foret was in second place behind Lowes.
Foret timed his move to the front to perfection with three laps to go and finished just 0.166s ah ead of Lowes, with Marino crossing just off the podium in fourth place for his best result of the season.
Fabien Foret – 1st
We made a big change for the race and I couldn't push hard at the beginning because I didn't really have the feeling. It felt like a new bike, but as soon as I got used to the new feeling I pushed and pushed and managed to catch the leading group. I was feeling pretty strong but I was pushing very hard, so I am very happy to win again today. I want to say a special thanks to the team because it's been a strange weekend. Everything was good on Friday but yesterday was a tough day. They stayed with me though and gave me the bike I could win on today.
Florian Marino – 4th
I am very happy because I pushed as hard as I could on the limit throughout the whole race – I could not do any more. So many times I nearly ran off the track an d I knew that after Fabien came past me I could not go with him. But I stayed near the front for the whole race so thanks to the team for giving me back a good feeling with the bike. I have two more chances to get on to the podium this season and we will try as hard as we can to achieve this goal.
Ronald ten Kate – team-manager
That was certainly a dramatic Supersport race, and one that I think will hit the history books. We changed the setting quite a bit for Fabien so, apparently, for the first laps he was trying to get used to the bike. Then, all of a sudden, he was the quickest man on the track – the quickest man ever, in fact, as he set a new record on lap 11. He propelled himself forward and brought the win for us. There was a big battle going on for the final podium slot, which unfortunately did not go Florian's way. However, this was his best result for us and he's really beginning to understand how to push the bike to its limit over the full race distance. I've already been asked about the championship, but Davies still has quite a big lead with two races left. For sure there is still some pressure on him because he and his team cannot afford any mistakes.
Carlos so nearly the King as Rea and Checa score race victories
Imola (Italy), Sunday 25 September 2011 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) came within three points of winning the Superbike World Championship outright at Imola, after posting a third place in race one and his 12th victory of the year in race two. He was only stopped in his title tracks by the eighth and sixth places put in by Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) who is now 97 points behind Carlos with only two rounds left to go. Had Melandri left 100 points or more behind the Spaniard, Carlos would have been champion today.
A superb day of entertainment saw Jonathan Rea win for Castrol Honda in race one, from Noriyuki Haga (Pata Aprilia) who in the absence of former championship challenger Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was the top Aprilia rider on show, finally posting two second places. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) was also a podium man today, despite running off the circuit in race two.
A wide range of machines filled the top places at Imola, with Honda, Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki and BMW machines all taking a turn inside the top five. Behind those dizzy heights, and in front of a 78,000 strong impassioned crowd, Effenbert-Liberty Ducati riders Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz were sixth and seventh respectively in race one, and Guintoli seventh in race two.
Home rider Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) had a miserable time and crashed in race one, retiring in the second 21-lap contest. Tom Sykes was on course for two top four places until his Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike machine stopped with braking issues in race two. He was only just beaten to the podium by Checa in race one. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was top BMW finisher today, fifth in race two.
Rea won his second race of the year with a front-running display that needed to be strong in the final laps to hold off Haga. Behind the leading two, by some nine seconds, Checa scored an important podium but had to wait until the final lap to get the better of the impressive Sykes. Championship hopeful Marco Melandri was only eighth, after getting involved in several fights in the middle order.
Jonathan Rea: "It's a great day for me especially after my race at Imola here last year and my injuries, so all credit to everyone for getting me back to the top step. Nori kept me on it for the whole race, I had to dig so deep at the end to try and get that win, but I'm so happy, we're a very strong team."
Noriyuki Haga: "First of all I made a mistake at the start and then to make up positions I used a lot of my stamina to catch up the pack. I tried to push until I caught up with Johnny, but he was riding very well and I didn't find any space to pass him in the corners."
Carlos Checa: "It was a nice clean and exciting fight with Tom until the end, I was a bit quicker than him. We passed each other three or four times, I didn't want to touch him but on the outside I was able to keep the position and take him. It's always nice to be on the podium especially at Imola with this situation in the championship!"
Results: 1. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 38'03.396 (163,424 kph); 2. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 0.111; 3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 9.449; 4. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 9.792; 5. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 14.699; 6. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 16.820; 7. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 24.227; 8. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 24.935; 9. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 25.224; 10. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 25.487; etc.
Checa won the second dramatic race of the Imola weekend but he was unable to clinch the championship at Ducati's home circuit. Rea was well on course for his second race win before his machine stopped, due to a broken battery connection, while leading. Haga took his second runner-up place of the day, while Camier earned a podium in another classic race at this classic track. Eugene Laverty went fourth to keep his challenge on for a final third place finish.
Carlos Checa: "It was a great weekend, mathematically we don't have the title but it's very close. We feel it already, but especially we're so enthusiastic for today's win. It was a shame for Johnny, I think he deserved to win so we were a bit lucky, but this year has been going so good and to win here in Imola for us has been so good"
Noriyuki Haga: "Race 2 was very tough, I wasn't as close to the leaders as in race 1. I changed the suspension settings from the first race, but again I made a mistake from the start. Then I consumed my tyres to make up on the leaders, but I'm really happy for two podiums in one race."
Leon Camier: "It was really hard to be honest. We've had a really up and down season so far but it's good to get a podium for Aprilia, it's an awesome feeling even though I feel so tired as well. Shame for Jonathan but well done for Nori and Carlos."
Results: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38'04.538 (163,342 kph); 2. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 4.631; 3. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 15.159; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 17.195; 5. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 17.388; 6. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 18.533; 7. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 19.615; 8. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 20.063; 9. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 24.194; 10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 28.485; etc.
Points (after 11 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 417; 2. Melandri 320; 3. Biaggi 281; 4. Laverty 256; 5. Haslam 187; 6. Camier 171; 7: Guintoli 158; 8. Haga 155; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 441; 2. Aprilia 376; 3. Yamaha 375; 4. BMW 232; 5. Kawasaki 192; 6. Honda 162; 7. Suzuki 158.
Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) had the title within his grasp as he led the WSS race by over ten seconds, but when his machine broke down in spectacular fashion he left the Imola circuit with a greatly reduced championship advantage. The race winner was Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) who was locked in a midfield battle in the early laps, only to break free and overhaul an impressive list of riders, including eventual fellow podium men, Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) and Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com).
Fourth was Foret's team-mate Florian Marino, and fifth another early struggler who showed great pace late on, David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com). The top five were covered by only six seconds, the top four by just under four seconds.
Results: 1. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 35'56.214 (156,581 kph); 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 0.166; 3. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2.499; 4. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 3.833; 5. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 6.325; 6. Ellison J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 21.872; 7. Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 25.826; 8. Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR 27.553; etc.
Points (after 10 of 12 rounds): 1. Davies 171; 2. Foret 136; 3. Salom 123; 4. Parkes 120; 5. Lowes 109; 6. Scassa 96; 7. Ellison 72; 8. Marino 71; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 201; 2. Honda 194; 3. Kawasaki 161; 4. Triumph 30.
A thrilling fight for much of the race between Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) eventually saw Petrucci almost crash but then collect his thoughts well enough to run out the winner by two clear seconds. Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport) was third in a Ducati clean sweep of the podium positions at the Imola round. Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) headed off practice faller Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) for fourth place.
Markus Reiterberger (Garnier Alpha Racing Team BMW) finished sixth, just ahead of top Kawasaki runner Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni). Ducati has now won six of eight races in 2011 and in the championship fight Giugliano has an impressive 160 points, Petrucci 119, Imola faller Lorenzo Zanetti 117 and Barrier 96.
Results: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 22'10.546 (160,261 kph); 2. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2.087; 3. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 3.339; 4. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 14.422; 5.Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 16.130; 6. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 20.645; 7. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 21.317; 8. Magnoni M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 21.483; etc.
Points (after 8 of 10 rounds): 1. Giugliano 160; 2. Petrucci 119; 3. Zanetti 117; 4. Barrier 96; 5. Canepa 96; 6. Baroni 70; 7. Reiterberger 62; 8. Antonelli 58; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 190; 2. BMW 153; 3. Kawasaki 75; 4. Honda 66; 5. Yamaha 16.
Official Tyre Supplier
"Throughout the entire weekend at Autodromo of Imola we saw excellent climate conditions, and as such, relatively high temperatures. Consistent with the current development model in Supersport, Pirelli was prepared with 3 front and 3 rear solutions for this class. For this round of SBK we have prepared for a total 4 front and 4 rear solutions as a final measure of consolidating solutions currently being developed for the upcoming 2012 Diablo racing tire range. Considering the recent asphalting of this historic Italian circuit, a totally new SC2 front tyre solution was available for the race at Imola offering both better grip and a more stabile feeling to the rider. The tyre's compound is slightly harder than mid-soft solution "B", and was already proven successful when it was selected by 14 riders in Race 1 and Race 2. As for the rear, the current championship leader Checa (Ducati) opted for the harder "D" solution for Race 1 and arrived third place overall. In Race 2, Checa and Melandri (Yamaha) both moved to the softer "B" solution rear, which in Race 1 had already been chosen by most riders. With this slight change, Checa managed to improve his race performance, setting the Best Lap on the 13th lap shortly before taking the lead and the victory, increasing his points lead towards the 2011 world title. With these new solutions for Imola, fastest lap times dropped about 1 second as compared to last year in the Superstock 600, Superstock 1000 and Superbike classes. " - Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto
Pirelli BEST LAP Awards:
SBK Race 1 – Noriyuki Haga (Althea Racing), 1'47.960 (Lap 12)
SBK Race 2 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), 1'47.934 (Lap 13)
Total BEST LAP (SBK): Checa C. (Althea Racing): 8, Biaggi M. (Aprilia Alitalia Racing): 5, Melandri M. (Yamaha World Superbike): 3, Haga N. (PATA Racing Team Aprilia): 3, Sykes T. (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike): 1, Camier L. (Aprilia Alitalia Racing): 1, Fabrizio M. (Team Suzuki Alstare): 1
WSS – Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), 1'52.059 (Lap 11)
Total BEST LAP (WSS): Foret F. (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda): 3, Lowes S. (Parkalgar Honda): 2, Scassa L. (Yamaha ParkinGO Team): 1, Davies C. (Yamaha ParkinGO Team): 1, Rea G. (Step Racing Team): 1, Harms R. (Harms Benjan Racing Team): 1, Ellison J. (Bogdanka PTR Honda): 1
Stk1000 – Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing), 1'50.299 (Lap 6)
Stk600 – Michael Vd Mark (Ten Kate Junior Team), 1'55.110 (Lap 8)
JOY THEN BAD LUCK FOR REA AT GLORIOUS IMOLA
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) rode to a superb victory in race one at Imola in front of 78,000 sun-kissed fans before he had to endure the disappointment of having to retire from a winning position in race two, when his machine's battery connector broke and started switching his machine off and on. Championship leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) won race two and only missed out on clinching the championship by three points, with two rounds left to run.
Rea's race one win came at the first time of asking for his Honda CBR1000RR's new ride-by-wire throttle system, which Rea had used to such great effect from day one at a largely resurfaced and consistently warm and dry Imola. Starting from second place on the grid in each 21-lap race, Rea (who had headed up the timesheets on day one) had to ride hard to hold off the advancing Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) in race one, with Checa nine seconds behind.
This was Jonathan's second win of the season, which has been beset by frequent and painful injury for a time, and he moved back up to 11th in the overall rankings, despite his race two DNF.
Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) missed out on Superpole qualifying and thus had much hard work to do in the two races, fighting in the pack and finishing race one 17th and an improved 11th in race two. Starting from 20th place on the grid, he took five points in the second leg today and is 16th overall.
FORET WINS FROM LOWES ON DAY OF CHAMPIONSHIP DRAMA
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) got himself back into the championship fight at Imola with a gutsy ride through the field that was eventually rewarded with his first win of the year, and a return to second place in the championship.
In front of a large weekend crowd at the classic Imola circuit he was followed home at close quarters by Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda), who was only 0.166 seconds behind after 19 intense laps. Foret took a new lap record of 1m, 52.059s, on lap 11, when he had clear track in front of him. Even more importantly he is now a reduced 35 points behind championship leader Chaz Davies (Yamaha), with a possible 50 points up for grabs at the final two rounds. Davies led the race all the way, but his machine failed on lap 15, when Foret was still in fourth place.
Lowes took the lead when Davies retired, but he could not hold back the remarkable pace of Foret, although he continued to try and pass the French rider even at the final chicane. Lowes is fifth in the championship standings, 11 points from fourth, with two points scoring rounds remaining.
Third place at Imola went to Broc Parkes (Kawasaki), but young Frenchman Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) posted a great result to take fourth, his best career performance so far. It brought him back into the top eight places overall, after holding second for much of the race.
James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) overcame some challenging periods in qualifying to go from 15th on the grid to sixth, although he was unable to fight for the podium place of second he had earned at the previous round in Germany.
Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) was another finding his feet on raceday, coming back from 19th on the grid to an equal best of eighth in the race, his third eighth place this year. He is 13th overall, one place behind the luckless Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) who once more scored no points after such a strong early season run of form.
Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) was a faller on the very last lap, dropping from a podium finish to an eventual 11th, having picked up his bike and restarted. Having lost time in qualifying after a crash early on Friday, Rea was ninth off the grid and is now also ninth in the championship standings.
Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was 12th and one of six Honda riders who filled 11th to 16th places.
Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) and Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Honda) no scored today but Imre Toth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) took the last point on offer, in 15th place.
No fewer than 11 riders failed to finish, including Championship leader Davies, who now has 171 points to Foret's 136. Two rounds remain, the next at Magny Cours next weekend, with race day on Sunday October 2.
HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda)
Race result: 1st / DNF Championship position: 11th
"The pace in the beginning was not as fast as I expected it to be, so I tried to go to the front and made a gap. I was getting good signals and I could see that Nori was coming strong, but with this new system we are using a lot of the tyres so all my energy was put into keeping the bike going forward. We made a big change for the first race. I want to thank all my team family and fans for the support. We've come a long way and I'm not going to get wrapped up in the negative of race two. What happened was a failure of a one-Euro battery connector so in my heart I know we had two really good races today. The biggest result was the continued development of the new electronics system, so I can't thank the team enough for the faith they've shown in me to keep pushing with that development."
Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda)
Race result: 17th / 11th Championship position: 16th
"It's been a hard weekend for me after two months off the bike and trying to develop the new electronics, which I believe will be very strong, at the test last week and then here. Of course, there have been some difficult moments, seeing Johnny (Rea) getting good results while I have struggled, but I have tried to be professional and keep trying as hard as I can. We changed something for race two to improve the engine braking and the lap times were much better. My race time improved by around 15 seconds in the second race, which doesn't sound much, but it's a big improvement. I'm looking forward to making some more progress at Magny-Cours next weekend."
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
Race result: 6th Championship position: 3rd
"Finally I got to hear my own national anthem and it has been a long time coming. I want to thank the boys because I had some issues with my settings this weekend, but then we changed the bike for the warm-up and we had a different bike for the race. It took some time to find the feeling on the bike, but it worked out well and I am pretty happy. The championship is still open and I will look forward to the French weekend. Right now I just want to enjoy the win."
Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda)
Race result: 2nd Championship position: 5th
"It has been a difficult weekend for me because I had a few problems, but the team did a fantastic job last night and the bike improved a lot for this morning. I knew I had to make a good start to stand a chance and I didn't do it, but then I just got into the battle. Chaz obviously had a bike issue and in fairness he lost out today and I was lucky to get a second place. Fabien rode fantastically to come through and I could not quite stay with him right at the end."
James Ellison (Bogdanka Honda)
Race result: 6th Championship position: 7th
"We'll take that although we came here on a high from Germany and you always think that you can take that podium result into the next round, but a different circuit and different tarmac, it throws a lot of things into the equation. The bike did not feel nice to me all weekend although we got it to feel the best it has ever felt in the race there. But starting that far back means you have to work hard to try and get past everybody."
Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
Race result: 9th Championship position: 12th
"A good race for me and before the start I just wanted to stay near the front. Finally it was OK, I pushed at the start and made some good laps and found my rhythm. I made a mistake and lost some time and I think I missed the podium for that. I am happy to have got back my feeling and speed and I thank my team for the good work they have done. It is good for my mind to get a good result."
Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda)
Race result: DNF Championship position: 9th
"Not sure why I went down because I was having to override and push 110% in every corner anyway, but on the last lap the two in front had a little bit too much of a gap to close in anyway. I pushed no harder than any other lap. I was trying to get good drive up the hill anyway and let off the brakes, on the side of the tyre, and lost he front. It's a disappointing way to finish a tough weekend, but I want to take the positives out of it. To come from where we were on Friday to run with the top Hondas, I just feel sorry for the team who have worked really hard this weekend."
Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda)
Race result: 8th Championship position: 13th
"My race result was a lot better than qualifying, when I was 19th, so I think from now on I will just fly in on Saturdays and forget the practice sessions! It was a great race and big thanks to my crew because we made a big change from warm-up to the race and definitely something was not working yesterday. I think the new tarmac was hard for us to understand, definitely me in the riding too. The bike was much better and I was riding a bit better so we ended up equalling our best result of the year so far."
Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Honda)
Race result: DNF Championship position: 12th
"This morning we had a short warm up session and we couldn't point out the problem. I felt I at the start already that something was wrong. I couldn't get of my start place and halfway the first lap my clutch acted very strange. I couldn't drive out of the corners and on the straight my bike didn't want to go forward anymore. I didn't want risk anything and I came into pit. It's been a hard weekend and I hope we have result in Magny-Cours next weekend."
FABRIZIO FRUSTRATED AT IMOLA WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - September 25.
Team Alstare Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio endured a day of disappointment in Imola in Italy for the 11th round of the world Superbike Championship, crashing out of the first race and retiring from the second after 11laps.
He hoped to do well in front of his home fans, started strongly in race one and was up to seventh place at the end of the first lap. But, on the very next lap, he hit the kerb at Variante Alta with the left side of his engine and was pitched off. Fortunately, he was uninjured, but was unable to continue.
In race two he was up to ninth after lap one and moved up to seventh before he started experiencing a mystery gearshift issue and he pulled in after 11 laps.
Jonathan Rea (Honda) won race one with Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) second and series leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) third. Rea then comfortably led race two and was on course for a double until a problem with a battery connector put him out of contention. With Rea sidelined, Haga and Checa were left to fight it out for the lead. Checa slipped past Haga on the approach to the final chicane on lap 16 and was then never headed on his way to victory, over four seconds ahead of Haga at the flag, Third went to Leon Camier (Aprilia) with Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) fourth and Leon Haslam (BMW) fifth.
Michel Fabrizio - Race 1: DNF, Race 2: DNF:
"That was a very disappointing and frustrating day because, although my grid position was not ideal, I knew that my race-pace was good and that I would have a chance of fighting with the leaders. I made a good start to race one, but I was just maybe a bit too aggressive going into the Variante Alta and when the left side of the engine hit the kerb, I crashed. It happened so quickly that I couldn't recover. I ran to the bike and pulled off some of the fairing so that I could get back onboard, but I could see that there was too much damage to continue.
"My start was a bit calmer in race two and I set about moving up the order a bit more cautiously this time. However it wasn't long before I started having problems on the downshifts. I kept going for a while, but it got worse so I pulled in.
"After the disappointment in the last round, at the Nurburgring, today was even more disappointing and very unlucky. I know that my race-pace is pretty good, but I have not had a chance to show it in my last four outings. I am hoping that my luck will change in the next round at Magny-Cours, because I certainly need something to happen!"
Yamaha WSB Team Delivers Strong Performance in Two Tough Races at Imola
Yamaha WSB riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri fought hard in two difficult races in the hot Italian sunshine today at Imola to gain valuable points ahead of the last two rounds of the season.
In the opening race of the day, Laverty maintained fourth place off the grid before climbing up to third by the fourth lap. The WSB rookie put on a strong battle to fight off advances from Checa and Haga until an error on his behalf on lap six caused him to slip back to fifth place. Following a solid performance Laverty proceeded to the line to take a fifth place finish. A perfect start in race two saw Laverty shoot straight into second place. A chattering issue at the early stages of the race caused the Northern Irish rider to fall back as far as seventh. Mid race Laverty made a small adjustment to the engine brake setting enabling him to improve his race pace and gradually fight through the pack ahead to complete the second race of the day in an impressive fourth position.
Marco Melandri had a less successful race day at his home round at Imola. Struggling with a less than perfect race set up in race one, the Italian fought hard but was unable to improve on his eighth position off the starting grid. Having switched to a softer tyre for the second race, the Italian had more confidence on his machine and worked his way up to sixth place on the track that offers few opportunities to overtake. An error on "acque minerali" caused the Yamaha rider to go wide, bumping him to 11th place. Melandri put on a strong battle to work his way through his adversaries and cross the line in sixth.
Yamaha World Superbike Team riders will be back on track in Magny Cours next Sunday. Melandri heads to the French track in second place in the standings on 320 points 97 behind championship leader Carlos Checa which makes him the only rider theoretically standing in the Spaniard's way to obtain the title. Team-mate Laverty remains in fourth place on 256 points, 25 short of Biaggi in third place. With a 124 point advantage the Yamaha World Superbike Team cannot be exceeded by any other team for the top place in the official 2011 Team standings.
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 5th, 4th
"I was disappointed with the results in the first race. The bike was working quite well but I made a stupid mistake that caused me to go wide and then I lost out on the chance to fight for the podium. I got a good start in race two but suffering from a chattering problem I found it tough to keep fighting. Mid way I adjusted a button on the handle bar which altered the engine braking allowing me to improve lap times. With the less than perfect set up and the hotter track temperatures, I am really satisfied with my fourth place finish."
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 8th, 6th
"In race one I felt a strong vibrating sensation on the rear of the machine and was struggling with the engine brake so it was impossible to push any harder. In the second race I was also finding it hard to brake on downhill slopes but as the race progressed and the tank got lighter, the bike was more manageable. I was hoping to fight for the podium but at that stage it was bit late so I had to settle for sixth."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"As we had expected, this is a tough track for our R1 and we can see that from today's results. Eugene did well in both races. He worked very hard all weekend and made great progress especially if you take into consideration that he was in 18th place on Friday. He had a good race pace in both races but unfortunately Checa, Haga and Rea were a notch faster than him. We are pleased with his progress and his performance. Marco had a difficult first race, lacking in confidence on entering curves and struggling with the rear set up. In the second race he had a faster race pace and a better set up but starting from the third row on the grid didn't help him. A mistake on his behalf caused him to go wide and fall back a few places but after as the petrol tank gradually got lighter he was much faster and did really well to complete in sixth place. We are aware that our R1 struggles on this track but we also know what needs to be improved for the future. "
Dramatic Day for Yamaha ParkinGO Team at Imola
Yamaha ParkinGO team riders Chaz Davies and Luca Scassa will not have fond memories of the historical Italian circuit at Imola following today's disappointing race day. Both riders were delivering a perfect race performance before falling victim to technical issues which prevented them from completing the 19 laps.
Davies got off to a perfect start from fourth position on the grid to shoot straight into the lead, a position he maintained for the 14 laps. The Welshman had created a significantly safe gap of almost 10 seconds ahead of Rea in second place before experiencing a technical issue which interrupted his performance. Teammate Luca Scassa was equally misfortunate on the Italian circuit. Initially dropping back to third from second place off the grid, the Rocker didn't hasten to regain second position. Just seven laps in, fighting hard to keep Marino at bay, the Italian experienced a technical issue that caused him to prematurely retire.
Chaz Davies will head to Magny Cours next weekend still holding the lead in the World Supersport championship. The Brit now holds a 35 point advantage over Foret in second place and 48 over Salom in third. With two races left before the season finale there are still 50 points up for grabs. Following today's disappointing race, Luca Scassa now sits in sixth place with 96 points, 13 points short of Lowes in fifth place and 40 points behind Foret. Despite today's results, Yamaha remains at the top of the manufacturer's standings holding a seven point advantage.
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - DNF
"I am very disappointed, to say the least. I expected to be leaving Imola on a high note and certainly not like this. Thankfully I worked hard all year and still have a 35 point advantage, so I'll be going to Magny Cours next week more determined than ever to win. I guess these things can happen in racing but today's race was going perfectly and the whole weekend had gone so well that I just didn't expect it."
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - DNF
"I really wanted to fight for the win today, especially seen as it's my home race. The bike was working really well and I was gradually getting faster, so I was hoping to be able to catch Chaz but unfortunately that wasn't to be. My goal was to fight for a reachable second place in the championship but now that's going to be very difficult. I'm extremely disappointed with the lack of results today but I suppose, that's motorsports!"