2016 Imola World Superbikes Preview Press Releases

Preview press releases and facts and figures ahead of this weekend's round of World Superbikes at the iconic Imola circuit:

#ImolaWorldSBK: Fortune Favours the Brave

The track of myths and legends awaits as WorldSBK heads to Ducati heartland

Italy is a country steeped in both motorsport history and modern glory, with a passion for motorcycling on another level to many other nations. Two wheeled heroes and motorcycle manufacturers from one of the cultural capitals of Europe make up a gallery that tells its own story, and the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is a showpiece that crowns the exhibit.

Imola. The word is enough, for most, to conjure a photo album of people, places, moments and memories. Snaking around the Parco delle Acque Minerali, the mythical ribbon of tarmac kisses the Santerno river on the right at Tamburello before curving around Tosa as the echoes of the Ayrton Senna grandstand fade into the peace of the park; the undulating layout lined by trees on the ride home round Rivazza. The secrets of Imola are revealed only to the brave.

Jonathan Rea is the most successful rider at Imola, alongside Carlos Checa, and arrives in Emilia-Romagna as a fan of the track and the winner of the last four races held at the circuit. As the only rider in 2016 to have been on the podium in every race, the reigning Champion comes from a double win at Assen to take on the track on which he first won in 2011, before he was the benchmark. No one would bet against a strong Rea, least of all the men who are trying to figure out how to beat him.

Tom Sykes shares the record for most podiums at Imola with Noriyuki Haga, however. On a track that separates those who dare from those who fear, Sykes is a consistently frontrunning challenger at the Italian track and is the only rider to have started from pole more than once: three times. With good form in 2016, the number 66 Kawasaki is sure to put up a fight.

The Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale is the closest to Imola, and the Italian manufacturer from just outside Bologna will want to put on a good show so close to home, and on the 90th Anniversary of the marque. Chaz Davies pulled out a bigger gap in his battle with Tom Sykes to take P2 in the Championship standings after the Yorkshireman failed to score in Race 1 at Assen, and Davies professes to be happy with the bike and with the base setup the Italian squad have found. The bike is certainly closing in on being a favourite for race wins every Round and updates such as the new exhaust rolled out at the start of the European season have proved successful. After not finishing either race in 2015 however, Davies will want to turn back the clock a year further to when he was on the podium twice as he tries to gain some momentum in his title bid. Last season, Imola also saw the return of second Aruba.it rider Davide Giugliano, as the Italian came back from a difficult period of injury following a crash in pre-season. The Ducati rider came back in style, too, and started from pole despite still struggling with fitness. With home motivation for both Davies and Giugliano, they will equally be strong competitors.

After the double podium joy for Honda at the TT Circuit Assen, where Nicky Hayden took his first podium in WorldSBK, the strong line up of the 2006 MotoGP World Champion and the 2014 WorldSSP Champion face down a different challenge in Imola. Hayden, a veteran of Assen, has never raced at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari and van der Mark, now a consistent podium challenger, had a difficult rookie weekend at the track last season. The Honda, however, took pole, fastest laps and the double win in 2014, and development has seen the bike keep improving. There is no doubt that both riders are also keen to keep improving and learning, with their sights set further than only getting on the podium.

Aprilia and MV Agusta both scored their best results of the season so far last time out at Assen, with rookie Lorenzo Savadori taking a career best P4 in Race 2 for the Noale factory, 24 hours after Leon Camier brought the MV Agusta 1000 F4 home in the same position in Race 1. Aprilia lost out on the skills of Alex de Angelis at the Dutch track too, as the San Marinese rider suffered an injury to his hand but is hoping to be back at his closest track to home. Imola will see both Aprilia and MV Agusta put everything into some more big hauls of points.

Yamaha, with the new YZF R1, will be keen to find out where they lie in the shuffled pack at the Italian track. With Lowes and Guintoli well knowing how to score points at Imola, the race will be on to keep the Japanese factory’s roll of front row starts going. Milwaukee BMW, with Josh Brookes having appeared at the track once paired with Imola novice Karel Abraham, will want to quickly unlock the potential of their S1000RR around the 4.936km circuit, and Althea BMW will have the added incentive of racing at home. Both Althea riders have participated in previous race weekends at Imola, with Reiterberger taking two top six finishes in STK1000 and Torres taking his first WorldSBK podium in his rookie year. In addition, Pedercini rider Sylvain Barrier is hoping to race at Imola after being sidelined following a crash in Aragon, with the Frenchman wanting to get back on the bike as quickly as possible and race in his team’s home race.

At Imola, fortune favours the brave. WorldSBK will be back at the Italian track from the 29th April to the 1st May, to let loose the best production motorcycle racing Championship in the World. Make sure you catch every second on WorldSBK.com, and follow @WorldSBK on social media to keep ahead of the apex.

Rea And Sykes Go For More Success In Italy

Between them Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes have won all of the most recent six FIM Superbike World Championship races at the classic Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. With such a proven record at the undulating Italian circuit each official KRT rider is ready to add to their 2016 season win tallies on the all-new Ninja ZX-10R as the WorldSBK series heads to the fifth round of the championship in a few days’ time.

After four rounds and eight races of the 2016 WorldSBK championship KRT riders Rea and Sykes have taken six of the possible eight race wins so far.

Leading the championship with a score of 181 points from a possible 200 Rea has finished every race on the podium and counts five race wins to his credit since the start of the year. He has won five times at Imola in all and now has 34 career race wins to his credit.

The reigning champion for Kawasaki has clearly made a strong start to his latest campaign but he feels there is more to come when he unlocks all the secrets of his new Ninja ZX-10R. Rea has won the four most recent Imola races in WorldSBK, including two victories last season on the previous model of Kawasaki superbike.

Being 2013 WorldSBK champion for KRT, Sykes is no stranger to winning races on the Ninja ZX-10R. He took both Imola race victories in his championship-winning season for Kawasaki, part of his current career total of 27 race wins. With five podiums, including a race victory in Thailand, to his credit in 2016 already he is third in the overall rankings, with 122 points.

The circuit itself is situated in parkland on the edge of the culturally important city of Imola and has hosted 25 individual WorldSBK races since 2001. It should be 26 races in all but a deluge of rain through raceday in 2005 meant that only one WorldSBK race took place.

In 2016, under the new weekend schedule for the WorldSBK entries, races are held on Saturdays and Sundays, with Superpole qualifying to determine the final grid positions taking place just before race one on Saturday. Getting a good start during the first two practice sessions on Friday has proved to be important so far, and should be again as the undulating hills and valleys around Imola’s 4.936km overall length provide a real test of machine set-up and rider skill.

Jonathan Rea stated: “I have always been really lucky to have a great reception from the Italian fans. I enjoy riding there. The culture, the food, the parkland track itself; everything seems nice and the layout is kind of like the tracks I grew up on in the British Superbike Championship. In the past I have had some good results at Imola and some race wins. After the amazing weekend we had in Assen extending our championship lead was great. But it is back to business this week and trying to keep that target in mind during every weekend now - trying to improve our championship position. As I said recently, it is not just Imola but these next three races are all-important because the races are week-on/week-off. It is important to remain healthy throughout these races and score points. The key to the weekend is set-up on Friday. We have seen how critical it has been in Aragon and also Assen with the weather change.”

Tom Sykes stated: “At the previous round in Assen we did not get what we deserved but we had good speed in both the wet and the dry. This motivates me so I am excited and looking forward to Imola now. It is a track where we have been strong in the past. The circuit itself is definitely an old school layout. It is exciting, technical and you have to be pin-point accurate round there to have a good race. Our season has been a little bit up and down but generally it has been up. Looking at the bigger picture, we have had great potential and just had a couple races, like Australia or Assen, where we didn’t get what we deserved. We are heading in a good way and always improving.”

Roman Ramos (Go Eleven Team Kawasaki) will once more carry the status of top ranked Kawasaki rider in the privateer ranks when he heads to Imola. Currently 14th overall, he is only eight points from a top ten ranking. The recently injured Sylvain Barrier (Pedercini Racing Team Kawasaki) is hoping to be back to full fitness in time for the Imola weekend, after being replaced by stand-in rider Lucas Mahias in the most recent Assen round.

Dominic Schmitter (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) and Josh Hook (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) are aiming for their first points of the year in Imola, as is another WSBK rookie, Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing Team Kawasaki).

Guintoli and Lowes Pushing to Improve at Imola


Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes are looking forward to some fifth round action later this week as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship arrives at the iconic Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola. Both Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK riders are eager to advance progress made with their YZF-R1's after impressive performances in pace and development over the past few weeks.

Guintoli continued his Superpole prowess at the Assen TT Circuit a fortnight ago, claiming his second consecutive front row start to leave him sitting second in the qualifying standings. The Frenchman's focus is now set to converting his Yamaha's confident qualifying pace into race day performance and is looking forward to getting down to work at 10:15 local time on Friday morning for the opening free practice session at the Italian circuit.

Lowes is equally as impatient to get on track and continue fine-tuning his YZF-R1 as the Imola weekend begins, having again put on a determined performance at the Dutch WorldSBK event last-time-out. The 25-year-old Brit is convinced his Pata Yamaha machine, and team, has the tools to allow him to run with the front group and that the progress made at each race takes them a step closer to the overall goal.

Imola's infamous Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari has been home to spectacular racing in front of adoring crowds for more than 60 years, with the first motorcycle race taking place in 1953. The 4,936m circuit sits to the south of the city, encompassing the 11 hectares Parco delle Acque Minerali at its heart. With 22 corners - 13 left and 9 rights - the anticlockwise layout forms a breath-taking lap as it undulates through city and nature, its high-speed character allowing the WorldSBK machines to reach close to 290kmp/h.

Sylvain Guintoli

Championship: 8th / 58 points

"For Imola our clear target is to improve upon the race-day performance and maximise the excellent potential which the Yamaha has. It's a very challenging track, for riders but also for bike set-up, and we really need to work hard to allow the YZF-R1 to perform well over the full length of the race as we know we have the pace as already shown in qualifying. I'm looking forward to Imola, we have a lot of events before the race weekend begins which look like a lot of fun, but then for the race itself it's one of the great tracks and one I always enjoy."

Alex Lowes

Championship: 10th / 44 points

"Imola is a track I really enjoy, even though it's a very difficult track to get right - maybe the most technical in the season. I'm really hoping to make a step forward there - we were hoping to do that at Assen, but we had a difficult weekend with the weather. I want to be able to run with the front group so I'm looking forward to getting to Italy and working hard with my crew to achieve our goal of making that step towards being consistently close to the top-five group."

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready for its “home race” in Imola

For its fifth round of the season, the WorldSBK championship will resume action in Imola (Italy). The historic Enzo and Dino Ferrari track is “home” to the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team, as its location is only 50 kilometers away from the Borgo Panigale headquarters. Moreover, Ducati has left its mark on the circuit with 13 wins in WorldSBK so far.

Despite experiencing some difficulties in Assen, mainly due to the extremely variable weather conditions, the team confirmed a positive trend in terms of development, claiming another podium with the Panigale R (on the rostrum in each round in 2016 so far) thanks to a second-place finish by Chaz Davies in Race 1. The Welshman, who barely missed the victory in Imola in 2014 (his rookie year with Ducati) when he was twice second, currently sits in second position in the general standings and is eager to take advantage of the track to cut the gap (45 points) from championship leader Jonathan Rea. Davide Giugliano, who last year in Imola made his comeback to racing after a pre-seasion injury to secure a surprising Superpole and a podium in Race 1, is also keen on getting back on track after hitting a couple of stumbling blocks in the previous rounds. Both riders await the numerous fans who will populate the Ducati Grandstand!

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)

“We didn’t leave Assen with as many points as we could have collected also due to the variable weather conditions, but the good thing is that we confirmed the potential of the Panigale R and gained valuable experience. We’re ready to have another go at it in Imola, a peculiar track that I enjoy. I was twice second in 2014, while last year things didn’t go to plan due to a couple of technical issues, but we were quite competitive until that point. The bike has improved significantly since then, so I hope to have a strong performance in front of all the Ducati fans to reward their passion and get closer to the front in the championship.”

Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #34)

“I’m extremely motivated for our ‘home race’. In the past couple of races, the results we scored did not mirror our potential. We don’t have any particular issues to solve, we’re just working hard with the whole team to help me find the best sensations on the Panigale R, and the results will ensue accordingly. Assen should have marked a positive turn, but the weather was too erratic and we couldn’t finalize the work on the setup. Imola is track that always suited me well, and an ideal place to help us hit our stride. Our fans will also give us an extra push. Last year, in Imola, I came back after being sidelined for three months and was expecting to finish within the top eight, but I managed to claim Superpole and a third place also thanks to their support and that of ducatisti in particular.”

Honda WorldSBK Team looking to keep momentum going at Imola

Round 5 – Italy

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Italy

Imola’s ‘Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ is hosting round five of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend, with Honda WorldSBK Team’s Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden ready for action around the 4.936km iconic Italian venue after a pair of top 3 finishes at Assen.

In front of his home crowd, two Saturdays ago van der Mark put up a spectacular show of riding skills and determination in race one, which unfortunately ended with a crash on the penultimate lap while he was running second. Race two saw the young Dutchman riding solidly in third for what turned out to be his fourth podium finish of the season in just four rounds.

Van der Mark has mixed memories of Imola: after a dominant win in 2014 on his way to the World Supersport title, last year ‘Magic Mike’ was unable to shine in front of the Italian crowd, with a ninth place in race one followed by a crash in the second encounter. Now with a full-year’s worth of experience in the series and a perfect synergy with his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine, van der Mark is confident of good results in Italy.

Nicky Hayden will ride for the first time at Imola on Friday morning, meaning that the experienced American from Owensboro, Kentucky, has several challenges to face at the same time on day one: learning the track while working with the team to find a good setup for the bike and being quick enough to qualify for Superpole 2. Last time out at Assen, Hayden claimed his first podium finish in race one at Assen and was able to show great speed on wet conditions in the second race.

Michael van der Mark 60

I’m really looking forward to Imola, a track that I really enjoy riding. With the big improvements made to the Fireblade over the winter and in the first four rounds, I’m pretty sure we will be much more competitive than last year. Given the many podiums we have collected so far, my goal for the Italian round is to be at least in the top 5. The team and I have some ideas to improve the bike setup and we will try some new things, which we didn’t have time to evaluate in Assen. I cannot wait to get back on track.

Nicky Hayden 69

Racing in Italy is something I have always enjoyed in the past and I don’t think in Superbike it will be any different. For what I’ve seen on videos, the track looks epic but I will need to work hard with the team from Thursday, having a look at the data and understanding the gearing and the layout. It looks a very technical track with a lot of elevation changes and I know from experience that if you notice them on TV it means that when you see them live they are twice as steep and on a bike even more! It’s a track with a lot of history and I grew up watching my heroes racing there, so I’m looking forward to getting started.

Pieter Breddels

Technical Manager

Imola is a track where we’ve had good results over recent years and it is surely one that suits our bike well. We are planning a little bit further ahead for some more developments on chassis, suspension and electronics but for now we know we can be quick with the current package. It is a very technical and demanding track, with different layers of asphalt – with different grip – throughout the lap, many elevation changes, downhill braking areas and a good mix of fast corners and slow turns, which overall make it difficult to find the perfect setup. The 2016 version of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP has proved to be competitive on basically every circuit we’ve raced on so far and we are expecting more of the same this time out as well.

The Althea BMW Racing Team gears up for its first home round at Imola

Imola (Italy), Wednesday 27 April 2016

The Althea BMW Racing Team, keen to race ‘at home’ this weekend, at the Imola circuit, first chose to make a trip to Milan to meet with the fans. Riders Jordi Torres, Markus Reiterberger and Raffaele De Rosa visited the ‘City Sales Outlet’ of the BMW Milan dealership located in via De Amicis in the city centre.

During the evening, and in the presence of guests and fans, the riders and Management of BMW Motorrad Italia spoke about the partnership between BMW Motorrad Italia and the Althea team, as well as the positive results achieved during the first four Superbike world championship rounds. The public had the chance to receive photos and posters signed by Torres, Reiterberger and De Rosa, while the riders, in turn, invited guests to attend the Imola round.

At the end of the evening, BMW Italia presented the Althea BMW Racing team riders with three vehicles from the M GmbH sports division: a BMW M2, a BMW M4 and a BMW X6M, all icons in their respective segments in terms of their sportiness and dynamic spirit, for them to use during the fifth championship round.

All three riders are excited to return to the track after the latest Assen round of ten days ago. The Italian track holds good (and bad) memories for Torres as last year, despite a fall in Race 1, the Spaniard reached the podium in Race 2, crossing the line in third place and scoring his first ever SBK podium.

Reiterberger has also had some very good experiences at Imola, his best result a fourth place finish in Stock1000 in 2012, on his last visit to the track. A disappointing result for Raffaele De Rosa in last year’s Stock1000 race on the other hand. Having qualified in second position, he was unfortunately unable to score a race result, crashing out in the early stages.

Stefano Ronzoni, Director of BMW Motorrad Italia

“For 2016 we have changed our set-up in the Superbike World Championship. We wanted to continue along our path in the championship and came to an agreement with Genesio's Team Althea. Together with our German colleagues at BMW Motorrad Motorsport and BMW Germany, we therefore decided to sponsor the Althea BMW Racing Team. A truly international Team, if we consider that the WorldSBK riders hail from Germany and Spain and the STK1000 rider from Italy, and one that is already achieving significant results. We believe in this project and in our BMW S 1000 RR. It is an exceptional bike that, right from the time of its launch in the supersport segment, experts have considered to be a real point of reference with regard to its extraordinary performance, first-class chassis but also its great versatility in all situations.”

Jordi Torres, Althea BMW Racing Team #81

“We've made a great start to our Imola weekend with the event at the City Sales Outlet. I’ve had fun meeting with the public, they always welcome us with so much enthusiasm here in Italy. I thank BMW Motorrad Italia for having organised it all. Now I can’t wait to get on track on Friday morning and start our ‘home’ race weekend!”

Markus Reiterberger, Althea BMW Racing Team #21

“It's nice to have the chance to come to Milan and meet with some of the fans before we go to Imola, there was a great atmosphere here this evening. I’m also proud to be able to arrive at Imola with a BMW M4, a great car. My family and fan club are coming over from Germany this weekend too so all the support at the track will definitely be an extra motivation for me!"

Raffaele De Rosa, Althea BMW Racing Team #35

“It’s always great to race at home of course and we've also had the chance to meet some of our fans in Milan tonight - I just hope there's a big crowd down at the track too! Thanks to BMW Motorrad Italia for having invited us, a great event, and thanks for providing us with the cars, so that we can arrive in Imola in style!"

Alex De Angelis declared "fit"

for the Imola Round

Imola, April 28, 2016 - Alex De Angelis was declared "fit to race" by the medical committee of the Imola circuit and this means that he will be regularly on track tomorrow with the Team Iodaracing's Aprilia RSV4 RF.

The San Marino rider suffered the broke of the extensor tendon of the little finger of his left hand in an accident in the warm-up of Sunday, April 17 at the Assen circuit. De Angelis was operated at the Martini Hospital in Groningen and was later repeatedly visited the Clinica Mobile staff.

The Iodaracing Team rider, now without the external stitches removed yesterday, will start to ride on trick Friday with the help of a glove specially modified to accommodate the bandage still needed on the little finger.

ALEX DE ANGELIS # 15 - "I had no doubts about racing in Imola. This Round and the Misano races are home for me and I could not miss. Now I just get on it to try to continue to gain that experience on the bike it is necessary to be able to get some good results. The first laps at Imola will be a bit 'of exploration, have not raced here since my debut in the world championship, and it was a long time ago, but I'm sure we can put ourselves in a good set up way very soon".

WorldSSP: Chasing the Rabbit

World Supersport returns to Imola as the Championship starts to take shape

At a certain point in any season, there comes a time when the points start to matter. Not in terms of a true favourite or a mathematical impossibility, rather a sense of who has momentum and who is struggling to find traction. Every rider will have an unlucky race or make the odd mistake, and Rounds such as Assen with weather complications can leave some suffering more than others. In WorldSSP after Assen, key pre-season title favourites Jules Cluzel and especially, PJ Jacobsen, find themselves with an unexpected deficit.

Cluzel knows the pressure of fighting to keep up from behind, having chased Sofuoglu a number of times in his quest to be crowned World Supersport Champion. With the added incentive of knowing there are still traces of injuries from his 2015 crash in Jerez that he hasn't yet lost, and having had his determination tested and verified in recovery, the French MV Agusta rider will not give up and will do everything in Imola to get back to his Thai form from Buriram this year.

PJ Jacobsen had a crescendo of a 2015, coming home second in the title after gaining momentum. It's a situation that is slowly becoming a reality in 2016 as the American has shown great pace but suffered big losses of points. In Aragon the Honda rider pushed a little too far fighting for the lead, before in Assen he failed to see a red flag before crashing in increasingly difficult conditions, repeating the feat after the restart.

Kenan Sofuoglu, after a crash with a tyre problem in Phillip Island, has shown the most consistency since. The reigning Champion keeps raking in the front row starts and big hauls of points, cutting the lead to his teammate Randy Krummenacher as his title defence starts to take shape.

Krummenacher, however, has not had to gamble as yet. The Swiss rider leads the standings and has done since Round 1, when he took victory in his first ever race in WorldSSP. The gap to Sofuoglu may be getting smaller, but the Puccetti rider on the other side of the garage is a constant force to be reckoned with at the head of the race. Knowing he needs consistency rather than a gamble, he may yet have more up his sleeve.

Imola is a track known to all the key players of the season so far, except the Swiss rookie. It's a track that rewards bravery and trust, and a track that seems sculpted rather than designed. To stop himself losing more points, Krummenacher will need to tame the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari as soon as possible.

Kyle Smith and Gino Rea, the winner and P2 in Assen respectively, used their great haul of points to move up in the Championship, with Smith especially moving up above both Cluzel and Jacobsen. The Brit, who had a strong 2015 in which he also took a victory, will want to keep that going in Imola and see if he can get amongst the top echelons of the Championship once again.

As the paddock prepares for the spectacular track, who will feel the pressure most? The lights will go out at 11:20am local time (GMT +2), to see who comes out on top.

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Head Home To Imola Full Of Expectation

The fifth round of the 2016 FIM Supersport World Championship approaches at Imola with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Randy Krummenacher and Kenan Sofuoglu first and second respectively in the championship standings. Both have won a race this season and provided other podium finishes while competing for their Italian-based team.

The WorldSSP championship has thrown up surprise results and no fewer than nine individual podium finishers across the first four rounds of the year. Through it all the two official Kawasaki riders, Randy Krummenacher and Kenan Sofuoglu, have shown consistent form on track. They sit first and second in the standings, with rookie Krummenacher on 71 points and four-time world champion Sofuoglu on 61.

Even a no-score after a tyre issue at the first round for Sofuoglu and two narrow off-podium finishes for Krummenacher have not held the Puccetti duo back in their attack on the podium or points table. Kawasaki currently leads the Manufacturers’ Standings by 15 points.

After some significant modifications to the technical rules for the entire class, involving a great reduction in allowable electronic aids in particular, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R and its lead rider pairing have continued to make progress at the top of the table.

Imola is an all-new track for former Grand Prix rider Krummenacher, one of a handful of new venues he will face this year as he makes the transition to production derived racing. He has been enthralled by the videos he has seen of the layout and is more than keen to get into action to try and defend his championship lead, after learning the secrets of the undulating 4.936km Imola parkland circuit.

Sofuoglu is no stranger to Imola, having won three races there throughout his illustrious career. Two of his Imola wins have come riding Kawasaki machinery, in 2013 and last year. Understandably he is confident on the eve of race weekend as he tries to narrow the ten point gap to his team-mate Krummenacher at the top of the points’ standings.

Randy Krummenacher: “I don’t know the track at Imola but I have watched the onboard camera footage. I feel I am going to really love it so I cannot wait to get there. It is super fast and I love it when it is super fast. I am very hungry to go fast and there is not much more to say until I get there. I just want to enjoy it and have fun. In general for the championship I am sure when I went to Australia I did not expect to be leading the championship but now, more and more, I feel that I am capable of doing good things like I have done in the four races so far. It feels more normal now and I will to try to keep it up and stay in front. It is a really nice feeling, which gives me a lot of confidence and I learn every second I am on the bike. I need to pay attention and for sure the other riders are also fast. If I want to be better than them I always have to look for improvement.”

Kenan Sofuoglu: “Imola is one of the very best tracks for us and in the past we have made good results there. If you look at the general package of the bike in the first four races the bike looks very strong. We do not have problems with the new technical rules - no more traction control and so on - so everything is going very well. In four races we have had three podiums and without one piece of bad luck in Phillip Island you could make it four races and four podiums. So things are going strongly and we are recovering the points we lost in Australia. We are catching up to the lead now. Hopefully in Imola it can be another good weekend for us and take more good points. Imola is one of my favourite tracks.”

Behind the leading Kawasaki duo the next best Ninja ZX-6R rider so far is GoEleven team rider Christian Gamarino in ninth place, with his team-mate Ondrej Jezek 11th. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) sits 12th and part-time rider Axel Bassani (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) is 13th, despite only having ridden in two of the four rounds held so far. His fellow Europe Supersport Cup (ESS) rider Illia Mikhalchik (DS Racing Kawasaki) finished to six at the previous round in Assen and is now 15th in the combined standings with the regular WorldSSP full-time riders.

Smith targets the podium in Italy

Tue, 26 Apr 2016

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Kyle Smith heads to round 5 of the World Supersport Championship at Imola, quietly confident after taking his first win of the season last time out at Assen.

The win took Kyle to third in the championship standings, just 30 points off series leader, Krummenacher. Kyle is keen to close this gap even further this weekend at Imola, whatever the weather.

Kyle Smith:

“I’m obviously eager to be back at it after a win but Imola is not my strongest of tracks. I’ve never had a good result there but I’m hoping to have learned from my mistakes there in the past and, with my confidence high from the win at Assen, we will be running up front again.”

Stefan Hill, Hikari Okubo and Christoffer Bergman also head to Imola with renewed confidence after the difficult conditions experienced at Assen.

Stefan Hill:

“I was always up there in the wet conditions at Assen which is a real positive. I felt I had strong pace and I’m hoping to bring that to Imola. It’s a great track and I’m looking forward to going to Italy. I know it will be hard but I’m ready.”

Hikari Okubo:

“I want to be in the top 10 and I want to get my first championship points at Imola. I think I can ride well there, I’ll do my best.”

Christoffer Bergman:

“I am looking for good conditions at Imola so that I am able to put in many valuable laps to learn more about the bike and to find a good feeling.”

Simon Buckmaster, CIA Landlord Insurance Team Manager:

“Kyle’s win at Assen has lifted him to third in the championship. He has had the pace all season but he fried the clutch off the line at Phillip Island and we made a mistake at Aragon. Together we need not to make anymore mistakes and challenge for the podium at every round to cement our title challenge. We have worked hard to improve the bike again since Assen and looked at every area to maximise our performance for all our riders. Assen was our 50th podium and 19th win in WSS. Not bad for a small, private team. I take my hat off to all our riders, past and present and the same to all our team members.”

PJ Jacobsen hoping to turn luck around at Imola

Round 5 – Italy

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Italy

PJ Jacobsen and the Honda WorldSSP team are en route to the ‘Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ in Imola, Italy, where they will contest the fifth round of the 2016 FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend. The 22-year-old American rider is eager to bounce back after a disappointing end to an extremely competitive race at Assen, which saw him leading in both wet and dry conditions before crashing out.

Jacobsen was twice fourth, on different machinery, in the last two runnings of the Italian round. With the latest developments made by the team to his #2 Honda CBR600RR machine, he is now looking forward to even better results and a return to podium ways.

Located within the central Italian city of Imola, the 4.936km track has witnessed some of the most incredible battles in the history of World Supersport. It is known for being extremely technical and demanding, with no room to catch a breath over the course of the lap – given the absence of long straights – and many elevation changes.

Patrick Jacobsen 2

I cannot wait to return to Imola and to get back on track. Assen didn’t go the way we wanted but we have shown how fast we can be, so now it’s all a matter of putting it all together and to go for a good result. We need a podium and some strong points, and I know the Honda CBR600RR is capable of great things, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. Imola is a great track that really suits my style and in the past I have scored some decent results there, so I see no reason why I cannot be up there again. The last two races have been tough result-wise but I have learned a lot and now I’m ready to go.

Pieter Breddels

Technical Manager

We have been happy with the progress we’ve made in Assen, especially with chassis and suspension settings but also with the electronics. Despite luck not being on our side there, we were able to take positives out of it. PJ was happy with both dry and wet setups for the bike and hopefully, with some favourable weather, we will have some more dry-track time to continue with our work. Imola is a track that normally suits our bike quite well so we are confident of our podium chances for the weekend.

Supersport - First home race for San Carlo Team Italia in Imola

At the Circuit of Imola, Axel Bassani and Alessandro Zaccone ready to be again on top of FIM Europe Supersport Cup.

For the third seasonal round of FIM Europe Supersport Cup, San Carlo Team Italia races "at home". At the Autodromo Internazionale 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' of Imola, Axel Bassani and Alessandro Zaccone, respectively 1st and 3rd in the Championship standings, will try to be again on the top of the European standings, proving again the level of the previous two rounds.

Sixth and eighth overall in Aragón and Assen in World Championship, getting two second places in the ESS, Axel Bassani knows very well the track of Santerno: an added value, useful to help him to show his worth during a weekend that will be important for the championship.

First poleman and winner of FIM Europe Supersport Cup, thanks to the sensational first round in Aragón, Alessandro Zaccone wants to leave behind the unluck of Assen and get a role of protagonist during the three days of activity at Imola.

Cristiano Migliorati

"We get ready to Imola, confident, determined to get the revenge after the unlucky weekend in the variable weather conditions of Assen, especially for Zaccone. Our goal is to be in the first places of the European Cup. The sport rules of the class classify us also in World Championship: we have to consider it too. Imola is a track that we know well and we will try to reach this goal in order to improve during the season."

Stefano Cruciani

"Assen was a positive race in terms of result for Bassani, but not so much in terms of gap. We had to face particular weather conditions, but we finished the round as leader of the European cup. We hope to do it again and, if possible, to improve further. Axel knows well the track and he has already won in national cups so we are confident that he can do his best. The problem could be the weather, rain is forecast on Sunday: we won't neglect any detail, it will be important to work well in the practice to get ready for the race in the best way."

#ImolaWorldSBK - “Did You Know?”

Some numbers and stats ahead of the Motul Italian Round in Imola

204 – Tom Sykes is the only rider who has managed to score more than 200 points at this track. Noriyuki Haga, next up in this ranking, stopped at 199.

94 – If Jonathan Rea leads for more than 6 laps during the upcoming weekend, he will be the first rider to have led more than 100 laps at the Italian track.

11 – So far, Imola has seen eleven different pole sitters out of 13 race weekends. The only one who has scored more than one pole is Tom Sykes, who has three.

8 – Tom Sykes has led no less than eight races here: he was the race leader for at least one lap from 2010 to 2013, and also last year (Race 1).

7 – Tom Sykes can be the first rider to gain an eighth podium placement at Imola. His tally of seven rostrums is matched only by Noriyuki Haga.

6 – Six years ago Tom Sykes recorded his maiden career pole at Imola: 32 more followed, to make him the second all-time rider behind Troy Corser (43).

5 – Is the highest number of wins at Imola, shared by Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea.

5 – Only two riders in history have been able to start from the front row 5 times at Imola: the current Kawasaki duo of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.

4 – Four times, the pole here has been decided by less than one tenth of a second: the last time was last year, when Davide Giugliano and Tom Sykes were separated by 0.084 seconds.

3 – Only three riders on the current grid have ever led a WorldSBK race in Imola: Tom Sykes (8 times), Jonathan Rea (6 times) and Davide Giugliano (2013, Race 1).

1 – Jonathan Rea is the only rider to have been able to score four consecutive wins at Imola, with a double in the last two editions. He was also able to break Carlos Checa’s dominance in the 2010-2012 period, winning Race 1, 2011: all the other five races in those years went to the Spaniard.

0.021 seconds – This is the smallest margin for a win in Imola: it was recorded in the 2nd 2001 Race, between Regis Laconi – his maiden win and podium appearance- and Ruben Xaus. Xaus took revenge two years later, winning over Laconi with the largest margin ever recorded at Imola: 12.038 seconds (Race 2).

A Circuit for Doubles: 8/13 in Imola

Imola has been a circuit that has seemingly favoured doubles: no less than eight times out of thirteen, the winner has been the same in both races. The first was Colin Edwards, back in 2002, in one of the most epic season finales in history. Ruben Xaus and Regis Laconi followed in 2002 and 2003, then in more recent years there have been four doubles in the last four visits here: Carlos Checa (2012), Tom Sykes (2013) and Jonathan Rea (2014-2015).

STK1000: Chariots of Fire - Superstock 1000 Heads to Imola

Things hotting up as De Rosa heads home leading the Cup

In years gone by, Imola staged chariot races. Nowadays, it hosts horsepower of a very different kind as young Italian Raffaele de Rosa returns to his home country in the lead of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup.

So far in 2015, Superstock 1000 has witnessed two different winners on as many different types of motorcycle: Aragon saw Leandro Mercado return to the category with victory on the Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team Ducati bike before, last time out at Assen, aforementioned de Rosa broke his duck with the Althea BMW Racing Team.

Two races down, de Rosa leads compatriot Michael Ruben Rinaldi by five points, with Mercado third and nine behind the Cup leader. Jeremy Guarnoni of France and Andrea Mantovani of Italy complete the top five, each 21 points adrift of de Rosa. Others have ground to make up, not least Roberto Tamburini - the Cup runner-up of 2015 has yet to score any points in 2016.

Sadly, others will not make the start at Imola: notably Florian Marino and Riccardo Russo, as the PATA Yamaha Official Stock Team riders (each a pole-sitter at the first two rounds) both suffered broken legs in separate incidents at Assen. Andrea Tucci was also declared unfit in the Netherlands, while the likes of Toprak Razgatlioglu (tipped pre-season as a title contender) and Luca Oppedisano are more than keen to get back to racing follow untimely layoffs due to medical reasons.

A couple of wildcards will bolster the line-up. Lorenzo Baroni (BMW Gomma Racing) will make his 42nd Superstock 1000 start, having previously finished on the podium at Misano and MotorLand in 2012. Also on the grid will be Matteo Ferrari; the RS125 GP Trophy winner of 2011 will make his debut in WorldSBK following three seasons in the Moto3 World Championship.

Those who do take part will be hoping to avoid the chaotic start to last year’s race: the opening stages included incident after incident with jump starts, penalties and a memorable highside at the Rivazza when Marino lost control and wiped De Rosa out of action. Lorenzo Savadori prevailed to take victory from Tamburini and the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Jezek, who had taken a career-first pole position on Saturday.

Sunday’s Superstock 1000 race at Imola will begin at 14:20 local time (GMT +2).

The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team back on track in Imola

The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team is ready for another challenge in Imola, home of the third round of the Superstock1000 FIM Cup. The Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit marks the home round both for the team and the riders Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Leandro Mercado, who was born in Argentina but lives only a few kilometers away from the track, and thus represents an ideal place to make the most of the potential of the Panigale R.

After scoring a one-two finish in Aragon (Spain) and claiming another podium in Assen (Holland) in extremely variable weather conditions, the team is eager to confirm its protagonist status and reclaim the championship lead. Rinaldi and Mercado currently sit in second and third position in the standings, 5 and 9 points away respectively from the top.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #12)

“After two encouraging results, we finally head to Imola, a friendly track that I really like. It’s always special to race at home, in front of fans who give you some extra motivation, but my approach to the race won’t change. We always start with the desire to perform well, working with our heads down and without resting on laurels, fully aware that we have the potential to achieve a prestigious result. It’s still early to think about the championship, the priority is not to make mistakes because the season is short. It will be another challenging race also from a physical perspective, which is why I kept training constantly, running, cycling and in the gym”.

Leandro Mercado (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #36)

“Imola is always one of the best races of the year, it will be the team’s home round and mine as well, since I live there. I know the track well and I thoroughly enjoy it. It will be crucial to have a balanced and stable bike because you can make a difference there under braking. In Assen, we couldn’t take advantage of a good opportunity, because we were competitive both in the dry and in the wet and could have fought for another win, but a wrong strategy didn’t allow us to make the most of our potential. Now it’s fundamental not to make any other mistakes, but we shouldn’t forget we have all the tools to do well”.

Daniele Casolari, team owner

“The team’s home race is always a special round. After an excellent start, we struggled a bit in Assen due to the unpredictable weather, but it surely wasn’t a matter of not being up to par technically. Simply put, we didn’t interpret the race conditions in the best possible way. We head to Imola with a precise goal: to confirm the competitiveness shown both by Leandro and Michael in practice and during the race”.

Motul named Event Main Sponsor for WorldSBK Italian Round at Imola

Title sponsor of the Championship takes top billing at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari

Dorna WSBK Organisation is happy to say that Championship title sponsor Motul will be the Event Main Sponsor for the WorldSBK weekend in Imola, with the French lubricant giant topping the timesheets for the race weekend at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Italy. The newly crowned Round will be called the Motul Italian Round.

WorldSBK's buzzword is accessiblility and Motul proves the perfect partner, making sure WorldSBK continues as a world leader in on- and off- track adrenaline-fuelled entertainment. The Paddock Show, unique to WorldSBK, is a centre piece of the paddock fan experience and allows fans world-beating access to all the top riders and teams in the Championship, and showcases autograph sessions, Q&As, bike displays and much more, breaking down the barrier between rider and fan. With further VIP experiences including parade laps of the circuit and the illustrious VIP lounge, Motul offers guests a trackside adventure like never before and allows WorldSBK to open up every part of paddock life for maximum access. Fans can even have the opportunity to walk the grid and then watch all the action from pitlane in the Motul action box, where only a pane of glass separates fans from the thrill and speed of WorldSBK in a dedicated pit box alongside the best of the WorldSBK grid. Motul offers fans a VIP experience like no other and a further commitment to WorldSBK is another brilliant extension of the partnership between the World Superbike paddock and the French company.

The Motul Italian Round will be the fifth Round of the 2016 season and the lights will go out at Imola on the 29th of April, when the most successful rider at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Jonathan Rea, will look to take another double win at the spectacular track, and home factory Ducati will be looking to stand in his way.

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