2017 Imola World Superbike Saturday Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and teams after qualifying and race 1 for the WorldSBK series:

Davies registers dominant win in curtailed race

At his team’s home round Ducati man Davies scores runaway win from pole, with Rea and Melandri also on the podium in a shortened race

At the Motul Italian Round on Saturday Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) took a runaway victory in a race which was shortened due to a red flag, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) also featuring on the podium.

Davies made a brilliant start from pole and was untouchable, leading by well over six seconds when the race ended early due to a red flag, after a big crash for Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) at turns 17 to 18 - which meant track conditions were not safe for racing to continue. Laverty walked away from the incident which saw his Aprilia RSV4 RF go up in flames and he was taken immediately to the medical centre for a check up after the high speed incident.

With 12 of 19 scheduled laps having been completed at the time of the crash the rider placements at that stage were taken as the final race results, with Davies therefore claiming his second win of the season. The ever-consistent Rea picked up more important championship points in second, whilst Melandri made it a good day for Ducati on home territory in third place on the podium.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was fourth, the Englishman trailing Melandri by less than a second, whilst Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) continued his good form in fifth.

Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) produced a good ride in sixth, whilst Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and his teammate Alex Lowes were seventh and eighth respectively. Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) completed the top ten.

Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) crashed out at turn 7 early in the race, with Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) pulling into the pits shortly afterwards due to a technical issue.

Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) was unable to participate in Race 1 due to illness. The WorldSBK riders will be in action again on Sunday with their second race taking place at 1pm local time at Imola.

1st - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)

"I got a mega start and hit the first corner hard and went from there really. I just set my pace, hit the first few laps and tried to stay consistent, to see where we were at. I think I still had a little more left in the tank as I stretched the gap on the closing laps, when things are working so good I have to say a huge thank you to the team."

2nd - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

"Honestly it was a good day for me, the best position I could have hoped for really. The race, we had some issues, I dont think we could have won the race but we have some changed for tomorrow. We're really happy and congratulations to Chaz and Ducati."

3rd - Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)

"It was a great result for me but I did struggle with the bike, like I have for the whole weekend its not been how I wanted. It was tough to fight with Tom and after 5-6 laps I was starting to have some issues but we need to do better."

Memorable Race 1 at Imola for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team: Davies is 1st, Melandri 3rd

After showing its competitiveness during Friday’s free-practice sessions, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team enjoyed a day to remember in front of its fans at Imola, home of the fifth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. In Race 1, Chaz Davies once again proved to be the man to beat on the Italian track, winning (with a new circuit record) the third consecutive race at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit after scoring a double in 2016.

The Welshman, who secured pole position in the morning while showing an unmatched pace, never looked back after the start and finished with a seven-second advantage over his rivals when, with six laps to go, the race was red-flagged and eventually declared to be over with the results based on the positions from the previous lap.

Melandri, fifth on the grid, got off a blistering start to position himself right behind his teammate. The Italian eventually joined a battle against Rea and Sykes, closing in third position and thus seizing his first WorldSBK podium at Imola .

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 09:30 (CET) for WUP. Race 2 is scheduled to start at 13:00. Due to the new grid regulations for Race 2, Davies and Melandri will start in 9th and 7th position respectively.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1st

“It’s been a perfect weekend so far. I think this track really suits me and the Panigale R. We’ve made good steps forward under acceleration this year, and it was a big help here with the tight chicanes. Also, this layout helps me to take advantage of the strong points of my riding style. I kept controlling the gap from Rea, looking after the tyres, and the bike felt really consistent. It was a lonely race, but not an easy one. Tomorrow’s going to be different, starting from the back. We need to keep it clean and be patient. We can still improve something on the electronics side, but clearly we won’t make any big changes. Thanks to all the ducatisti for their amazing support today!”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 3rd

“To step on the podium in front of the home crowd is amazing, but it wasn’t easy out there today. From this morning, we had some issues. I still didn’t feel at 100 percent under braking, and under acceleration I had to shut the throttle often while upshifting, without being able to fully take advantage of our power. Nonetheless, Chaz was really fast, especially in the third sector, and while trying not to lose contact with him I made some mistakes. After a few laps, with less fuel in the tank and a lighter bike, we improved. I was ready to fight against Sykes and in general I expected to battle against the two Kawasakis, but we didn’t take advantage of our full potential and I want to do better tomorrow.”

Stefano Cecconi, Aruba S.p.A CEO and Team Principal:

“The home race always represents a further incentive to do well, and it was important for us to put on a show in front of our fans. I think we couldn’t have asked for more. Chaz showed once again his strength at Imola, taking pole position, circuit record and a dominant win. Marco showed his grit, making constant steps forward and securing his first WorldSBK podium on this track. We’re confident they can aim high tomorrow as well.”

Rea Second After Short Imola Opening Race

The planned 19-lap WorldSBK race at Imola was counted back to lap 12 for its final result after a red flag incident halted the contest, with Jonathan Rea (KRT) ending up second and his team-mate Tom Sykes fourth. With one more Imola race to run on Sunday Rea leads the championship with a new total of 215 points and Sykes is still second overall with 144.

After Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea had finished Superpole qualifying in second and third place respectively they each had designs on a podium finish in the first race, but neither was quite able to match the pace of Superpole and eventual race one winner Chaz Davies.

Rea, who first had to pass the fast starting Marco Melandri on lap five, was then in a position to keep up a high pace, but he could not draw closer to Davies. Looking to consolidate his championship lead and get the best result possible Rea scored 20 points for second place, a reward he was presented with earlier than expected after a crash for another competitor brought out the red flags.

For Sykes a loss of traction compared to his previous sessions on track at Imola was an unexpected blow to his chances of shooting for full points. He was in a close fourth place when the red flags came out, ready to make a move on Melandri in the final stages. After the red flags he was classified fourth and is still second in the championship overall.

With another race to take place on Sunday 14th, and again starting at 1pm, Rea and Sykes will have a second chance to score heavily at Imola. Under the new grid rules for 2017, Sykes’ fourth place means he will start from pole on Sunday while Rea has to go back to the third row, in eighth place, after finishing second in race one.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “In previous races I felt that if they could go faster I could go faster, that there was a little bit left in my pocket. This race I felt I was riding at the limit of my package a little bit. I had better front end stability for sure today after we changed the geometry to give me more confidence in hard braking and trail braking. This is one of the hardest stop-and-go circuits on the calendar. We struggled last year and it was a relatively difficult race again today. But to only lose five points to Chaz, and increase my championship lead - it was a good day. I am sure the new grid procedure will throw a different kind of race tomorrow, as I will be starting from eighth place.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I thought I had decent speed but there was just a couple of areas where I felt a little bit stronger than Marco. For the last six laps we could have closed the gap to be with him but to beat him is another thing. I cannot say I would beat him because it would be unfair on Marco as he was riding well. I am just a little bit disappointed to miss some traction in that race. That is strange because the bike has been working very well on used tyres all weekend. But from the start of the race the lap time was not there and I dropped really fast. So I am disappointed in some ways but it means tomorrow I will have to make up for it from pole position.”

Determined Performance by Pata Yamaha Riders in Race One at Imola


Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team riders Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes showed grit and determination in race one at a sun-drenched Imola on Saturday for round five of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. In a shortened race, due to a red flag, there wasn’t much to separate the two with van der Mark finishing in 7th and his teammate Lowes close behind in 8th.

After qualifying 9th on the grid van der Mark was passed by his teammate off the line, but re-took 9th in the first corner. The Dutch rider was promoted to 8th when Tati Mercado crashed out on lap 3, but could not shake off the attention of his teammate as he set his sights on Eugene Laverty in 7th who was 2 seconds ahead. Gaining in confidence on his R1 as the race went on, he closed the gap to Laverty and pulled off an excellent move at the Tosa hairpin on lap 11 to move up to 7th. Just as he was settling into a good rhythm, the red flag was brought out for an unfortunate incident between his teammate Lowes and Laverty on lap 12, with van der Mark securing 7th place and collecting 9 championship points.

Lowes, who qualified in 11th, enjoyed a great start. The British rider got his R1 off the line well, fighting his teammate into the first turn.. A few corners later van der Mark would get his revenge, but due to Mercado’s crash Lowes was in 9th by the third lap. Sticking behind his teammate, Lowes also gained in confidence as the race went on. By lap 12 he had passed Laverty in 8th but there was contact between the two after the overtake, resulting in Laverty crashing and the race being red-flagged. Lowes went on to be classified in 8th, just a second behind his teammate, securing 8 championship points in the process.

Sunday’s race two is scheduled to take place at 13:00pm local time in Imola.

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

“This morning in Free Practice 3 we had some problems with the bike, but at the end we fixed the problems and I felt quite good. I did a good lap in SP2 on the race tyre then on the qualifier I didn’t feel very happy on the bike and I had to fight a lot with my R1. I had a pretty normal start and was in a group with some other riders and at the end I passed Laverty. I felt like I was getting stronger and stronger towards the end, but I struggled a lot with turning the bike. We have to solve this problem to make the bike easier to ride on this style of track. I think starting from 9th we must be happy with the points we scored. Everyone can see it is a difficult weekend for us, so every point we score we must be happy with. Usually my race pace is quite consistent and especially at this track you see some riders struggle more and more with the grip as the race goes on. I know at the end of the race I can be strong, so hopefully tomorrow we can stay closer to the front group at the start and catch some riders at the end.”

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team

“I felt quite good on the bike, I was just tucked in behind Michael. Obviously, the race got cut short, so first of all, I hope that Eugene is okay - that’s the most important thing. I passed him at the top of the hill, we had a bit of contact, and it looks like he lost his front brake. I am really happy that he is okay as it was a very unlucky incident. I actually felt quite good in the race, it has been a tough weekend, but I was looking forward to the last few laps thinking that I could have put a good challenge on Michael. Unfortunately, we are too far away from where we need to be, but we will try and improve the R1 a bit for tomorrow and try to improve the result.”

Paul Denning

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal

“We expected a challenging race today at Imola. Friday’s build up was difficult and despite the best efforts of Yamaha’s engineers, the race team, and both riders we simply have been a bit further away from the podium-pace here at Imola than anywhere else so far this season. Qualifying didn’t see significant improvements and the mentality of both riders entering the race was to be consistent, grind out the best result possible, and gather important information to improve the R1s for tomorrow. Both Michael and Alex did just that and now we have a platform on which to hopefully build and improve our performance for Sunday’s race. We would like to extend our very best wishes to Eugene Laverty, after the incident with Alex caused the red flag, and we hope he is fit enough to take the grid tomorrow.”

Bradl tenth in shortened opening WorldSBK race at Imola

Italian Round

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Italy

The first race of the Italian WorldSBK round has been contested today at Imola’s ‘Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ under sunny skies and in high temperatures. Stefan Bradl was 10th at the end of the encounter, which was brought to an end on lap 14 by a high-speed crash involving Eugene Laverty that left Race Direction no choice but to stop the race prematurely. Unfortunately, Bradl’s Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team mate Nicky Hayden was forced into early retirement on lap five.

After bouncing back from a morning tumble in FP3 and advancing to Superpole 2, Bradl gained one position at the start of the race as he completed the opening lap in 11th. The young German rider battled throughout the race with Ramos for tenth until the red flags were deployed.

Nicky Hayden lined up on the 13th spot on the grid and was one position lower when the World Superbike field started the second lap. The 35-year-old American rider, who also had a tumble in this morning’s Free Practice 3, had to return to the pits three laps later and could not get back out again.

Race two will get underway tomorrow at 13:00 local time (GMT +2), after the usual 15-minute warm up scheduled to begin at 9:30. Bradl will line up on the 13th spot of the grid (row 5), with Hayden alongside him in 14th.

Stefan Bradl 6


In one way I must say it was an exciting race here in Imola, because of the beauty of this track and also for the great crowd! To get into Superpole 2 was something positive, especially after the morning crash. The race, though, was a big challenge because it was my first time here. The tumble also affected my confidence a little bit, because it was quite a big one, but fortunately I didn’t hurt myself. A top-10 result is acceptable for today as I made some mistakes during the race – when I was on my own after the start – and had a couple of issues in getting the bike stopped, and that’s when I realised that maybe my riding style was not quite good enough for here. When Ramos passed me, I found a better rhythm, but it still took me too long to find my pace. However, I have learned a lot so I hope my speed can improve tomorrow.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Nicky Hayden 69


It hasn’t been a good day. I had a small crash this morning which cost me some important track time and then, in the race, we had an electrical problem so there was not much I could do. The dashboard went off and I didn’t know what was going on, so it was impossible to stay out. It’s a shame, really, not just for me but for the team as well. I hope we can have a better day tomorrow.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Pieter Breddels

The morning crashes set the tone for the whole day, because Nicky lost some valuable track-time and in some ways Stefan’s confidence was affected a little. The guys did an amazing job in making sure both bikes could take part in Superpole, despite the little time available to get them fixed. Stefan did well in getting through Superpole 1, while in the race he paid with his inexperience at this track, which is unlike any other on the calendar. After making a couple of mistakes, though, he found his rhythm and was able to lap in the 1’48s before the red flags came out. Nicky, unfortunately, had a completely unexpected electrical issue with his dashboard, which worked fine all the way up until the lights went out. It hasn’t been an easy day, for sure, but I hope we’ll have better luck tomorrow.

Unlucky race for Mercado in Race1. Pontone in a comeback for tomorrow's race

Imola, May 13, 2017 - Leando Mercado’s slips in Race1. The Argentinian rider slided at the Tosa corner a very few laps after the start, luckily without consequences. Mercado had a good start and was able to remain within the leading group, reflecting the excellent team work undertaken during the weekend. In fact, the home race weekend had started on the right way for Mercado who, after a great performance in Superpole2, started from the eighth place of the grid.


Unfortunately my race was not long enough! I slided away at the Tosa corner and was not able to restart because of the many damages on the bike. I am disappointed because I started the race well and was within the group, besides my pace was really a good one. I'm sorry because it could have been a nice race, I felt good and I also had the right feeling with the bike. We will try again tomorrow. Now it is time to analyze data and search for an explanation to this fall.

Difficoult day for Armando Pontone, who is trying to fill the gap and get back in the upper part of the Superpole Standing. Pontone will start from the twenty-second place in tomorrow's race.


I am very disappointed about this result. Today it could have been definitely much better as I was getting closer and I was gaining confidence with the bike. I was pushing hard and my partial time was good when a rider in front of me slided away. I could avoid his bike but I wasted my lap. I am disappointed but I'm confident of a comeback for tomorrow's race.

A tough day for Althea BMW at Imola

Imola (Italy), Saturday 13 May 2017

The first Superbike race making up this fifth World Superbike round proved to be a tough one for the Althea BMW Racing team. Jordi Torres is unfortunately suffering from gastroenteritis and was thus unable to compete in today’s qualifying and race. Raffaele De Rosa crossed the line fourteenth in the SBK race, while Marco Faccani qualified sixth for tomorrow’s Stock1000 race.

Superpole 1: De Rosa was feeling motivated ahead of the Superpole but unfortunately, a crash at turn 3 in the final minutes, just as he had embarked on a fast lap, prevented him from improving his lap time. A best of 1’48.988 saw him close in sixth position, which translated into the sixth row of the grid for the two SBK races.

SBK – Race 1: From the sixth row, De Rosa held sixteenth place through the opening laps, making up a position on lap six. From there, a consistent pace saw him lap in fifteenth position as far as lap thirteen when a crash for Laverty and subsequent red flag brought the race to a premature close. Crossing the line fourteenth, the Italian thus earned two championship points.

STK1000 Qualifying: Having concluded the practice sessions in eighth place overall (1’50.539), Faccani was back on track for the all-important qualifying session. After only a few minutes, the Italian went straight to the top of the timesheets. He remained among the frontrunners for the entire session, closing in sixth place with a best time of 1’49.898, which means a second row start for tomorrow’s 14-lap race.

Jordi Torres

“Unfortunately, I got sick during the night, I haven’t slept, have been vomiting and have a temperature. It’s a real pity as we could have done well today and I really wanted to race for our fans here in Italy. Thanks to the Clinica Mobile for all their help today, we’ll see how I feel tomorrow, fingers crossed.”

Raffaele De Rosa

“I think the race went better than race one at Assen. After a few laps, I was able to get into a rhythm which wasn’t too bad. I know that I need to improve my riding though, as the Superbike is very different to the Stock. The fact that we lost most of yesterday’s session due to the crash didn’t help, as you really need to be ready for the race already on Friday. Tomorrow I would like to improve both the bike and my performance, my riding; I hope we can have a good second race.”

Marco Faccani

“I’m a little angry because I wasn’t able to make the most of the second tyre, as I came across oil on track, a yellow flag, a rider who crashed in front of me… We could have done a little better I think. Anyway, we’re on the second row and I think we can fight in the front group. Our pace is good and so I’m ready for a good battle tomorrow.”

Milwaukee Aprilia score points in disappointing Race 1 at Imola

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari 13 / 05 / 2017

It was a mixed Race 1 for Milwaukee Aprilia at Imola, with Lorenzo Savadori scoring more points and Eugene Laverty retiring following a crash

Saturday's Superpole sessions were promising for the team, Eugene qualifying an encouraging P6 after going straight to Superpole 2 from Free Practice. Lorenzo also made the SP2 cut after a strong lap in the first qualifying session, lining up 10th on the grid despite struggling with his bike so far this weekend.

Lorenzo suffered a slow start, dropping to 13th place initially. Although his pace was not fast it was consistent, and he held position for most of the race. With the bike coming back to him towards the end of the race, he forced a pass on the Kawasaki of De Angelis and brought the bike home in 12th.

Eugene had a good getaway and quickly took fifth place. Although he couldn't manage the pace of the top four he ran well in the middle of the field, enjoying battles with the Ducati of Fores and the MV Agusta of Camier. As his pace dropped Eugene fell towards the Yamahas of Van der Mark and Lowes, defending well against both until a late move from Lowes resulted in a contact of the bikes. Eugene's bike suffered a broken front brake line and he was unable to slow as he approached Turn 17, but managed to jump from his bike at high speed and avoided a collision with the wall. He visited the Medical Centre for precautionary checks but was deemed fit to race on Sunday.

The team now have a great deal of data to analyse in preparation for Race 2 on Sunday, where they will aim for more points and a strong result for both riders.

The action continues at #ItalianWorldSBK with Race 2 at 13:00 (GMT +1)

Keep up to date with the Milwaukee Aprilia team on their website, and Facebook, Twitter & Instagram channels

Mick Shanley, Team Manager

“It was a really disappointing day for us obviously. We made some good steps this morning and qualified well with both riders, but the race was tough.

Eugene got away well in the race and was able to maintain his positon around 6th and 7th. There were a few electronics problems on his bike which allowed other guys to get past him, and then he sustained some damage after being struck by another rider. It caused his brake lines to rip out and Eugene lost all braking, so he had to jump off the bike. We have a lot of damage but fortunately Eugene is fine and fit for tomorrow, but there is a lot of work for the guys to do tonight.

We had a difficult day yesterday with Lorenzo, as he didn’t really gain much in practice. The team worked really hard last night on his bike to make him more comfortable today, and we made good steps. He made it to Superpole 2 again which was positive, and he held onto 12th into the race which gives us lots of useful data to help him improve in Race 2.”

Lorenzo Savadori #32

Grid - P10 Race - P12, 4 points

“The weekend has been difficult for me so far. We still have some problems and have changed a lot of things on it since practice, because I didn’t learn very much on Friday. Today we made a good effort in Superpole 1 and I was happy to get into the second Superpole session.

The race was quite difficult because I struggled with the feeling on the bike. My pace was fairly consistent but not quick, but I'm glad I was able to hold my position and get some more points in P12.

For sure none of us are happy with the result today, but I know that the guys will all work really hard and I like this track a lot. Losing time on Friday really hurt us, but I think we can have a better race tomorrow and I feel positive.”

Eugene Laverty #50

Grid - P6 Race - DNF, crash

“I was optimistic at the start because the bike was feeling good, but I started losing pace after about 7 lap and I was moving backwards. I tried hanging in, and just before the crash happened the bike started to feel good again.

We didn’t have much rear grip today. It was good at the start and then went away, but then it came back in the middle of the race which was strange. That’s something we need to look closely at, at times I felt I could really push but it was disappointing to see other guys coming past.

I’m OK after the crash and I thought it would hurt me more, but my gear did its job and I’m ready to get on the bike again tomorrow. It’s hard to know how tomorrow will go, obviously there are positives to take from today but we have to analyse where we’re struggling."

WorldSSP: Jacobsen charges to third pole of 2017

American to head grid for Sunday’s WorldSSP race in Italy, in front of Mahias and Gamarino on front row

In excellent weather conditions at the Motul Italian Round on Saturday PJ Jacobsen took pole for the fifth race of the season with a 1’51.611 lap around the 4.936km Imola track. He will be joined on the front row on Sunday by Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and top Italian qualifier Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing).

At his team’s home Round MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider Jacobsen registered his third pole of 2017 and he will strive to record his first race win of the season in Sunday’s 17 lap race.

Championship leader Mahias was delighted to finish in second place in the Tissot Superpole 2 session and celebrated with a big ‘endo’, whilst Gamarino will be pleased to line up on the front row for his home race.

Taking their places on the second row will be another Italian Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), Turkey’s WorldSSP champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and South African rider Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing).

Two Brits in seventh and ninth respectively, meanwhile, Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) and Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), sandwich eighth placed

Frenchman Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) on row three.

The fourth row is set to feature Japanese rider Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Belgian Loris Cresson (SC Racing-RPM84) and Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse).

Zaccone was taken to the medical centre for a check-up after crashing towards the end of SP2. Ryde and Cresson were the two riders to have made it through from SP1.

The WorldSSP riders will race at 11am local time on Sunday at Imola in front of the Italian fans.

Pole Position - PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

"It would be great to get the win but I'm not putting myself under too much pressure, getting on the podium is the next target tomorrow, but tyre wear and consistency will play a huge part of our race tomorrow. If we can get a good start off the line I think we can put up a good fight."

Sofuoglu On Second Row After Imola Superpole

A fifth place finish for Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in the second Superpole qualifying session for the WorldSSP riders at Imola sees him start the 17 lap race on Sunday from the second row. Kyle Ryde, his young British team-mate was ninth in Superpole.

Turkish superstar Sofuoglu made a less than perfect tyre choice for his Superpole run, which was the main factor in taking a rare second row starting position, rather than commencing a race from the front row as he usually does. He had been fastest in the combined qualifying times before Superpole started this afternoon.

Kenan may not have been able to increase his record tally of 31 Superpole wins at this level today, but he feels he will have good race pace to go for what would be his 40th career race win in WorldSSP.

Despite falling hard in FP3, Ryde ignored his painful right shoulder and elbow in Superpole 1 to qualify for Superpole 2, and then take a third row grid spot. He would have been even better placed but for losing his very best lap time after inadvertently running out of the bounds of the track in one corner. Kyle was still the second fastest Kawasaki rider today.

Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “I am disappointed with that Superpole session as I was in some confusion about which tyre to use and I think I made the wrong choice for qualifying. But the most important thing is the race tomorrow. I will look, with the team, at what we can do for the race because I think we still need to improve some things on the settings. It will be an interesting race and of course my motivation will be higher than today. For sure I will try to win the race again.”

Kyle Ryde, stated: “I got through to Superpole 2 and at the time I thought that’s it, day done - I was happy at that. Then Kenan said to me as we went out again to follow him. I did two laps behind him, one of which would have put me sixth on the grid - but I ran out of track and over the kerb. They cut that lap time so luckily I got another lap, in and I was finally ninth. I know I could have been on the second row so now I need to get a start like did at Assen, when I was fourth on the first lap, and I should be there or thereabouts.”

ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) placed 15th, Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) 19th. Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was 21st and Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) slotted in 22nd on the grid at his home round.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 25th and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 27th. Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) finished up Saturday 30th from 36 riders on the grid.

Mahias & Caricasulo Turn Up the Heat in Qualifying at Imola


The GRT Yamaha Official WSSP Team pulled off a stunning result in SP2 at round five of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship in Imola. Under the baking hot Italian sun championship leader Lucas Mahias secured his second front row start of the season after qualifying in second, while his teammate Federico Caricasulo will line up at the head of the second row in fourth after a brilliant effort from both riders, and the team.

Mahias had to miss the whole of the FP3 session due to a technical issue with his bike. The French rider knew he had an uphill task ahead of him in qualifying due to the lost track time, but undeterred he set about his task with admirable determination after his team had worked around the clock to get his Yamaha YZF-R6 ready for SP2. The 28-year-old set an incredible lap of 1:51.723 to secure second on the timesheets, just 0.112s off the pole man PJ Jacobsen. Mahias, who has a 20-point lead in the championship standings, was delighted with the result and is feeling confident he can pull off a good result after running a full race simulation on Friday.

His teammate Caricasulo was not to be outdone. The Italian has been quick all weekend at Imola, his home race, and is clearly enjoying putting on a show for the fans as he turned on the style to set a 1:51.843. This was good enough to secure fourth on the grid, only 0.120s off the pace of his teammate. The 21-year-old only missing out on the front row by just 0.048s despite a slight issue with the front end of his bike, and with his passionate home crowd spurring him on he feels confident he can fight for the race win tomorrow.

The lights go out on Sunday’s 17-lap race at the iconic Imola circuit at 11:30 local time.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team

“I am very happy! In the beginning of the session I wasn’t confident, because in the morning I had a few problems with my bike that stopped me from riding in FP3. During qualification, I pushed a lot and I didn’t follow any other riders, so I am happy. It was a big surprise! I came back in the box and looked at my mechanic and he said “Second place!” I thought, “Wow, this is good!” This is very good for the race tomorrow, because yesterday I had a good race simulation in the hotter conditions and qualification was under the same conditions. I am confident for tomorrow, my target is to take the maximum points. Thank you to Yamaha and my team, because they worked a lot after FP3 on the bike and they didn’t even get to eat.”

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team

“It is a shame to miss out on the front row, but it is a good position for the race. I think I have a good rhythm for the race and can’t wait for tomorrow. It is a good motivation for me, racing in front of my home fans, and their support will help me tomorrow. I will do my best.”

Fillippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

“That was incredible! Both riders did a brilliant job. It was a brilliant effort from Lucas and he managed a fantastic time. We had some technical issues this morning with Lucas’s bike this morning, but we made a strategy and got a result. We managed to match our expectations in qualifying and so it has been a job well done! At the same time, Federico also put in a great lap, he just had a slight issue with the front of the bike, but we will fix that for tomorrow. I am very happy for all the effort the team and the riders have put in. We have a fantastic package that allows us to always fight at the front.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Hikari Okubo set his fastest lap of the weekend in Superpole 2 today in perfect weather conditions at the Motul Italian Round of the World Supersport Championship.

Okubo’s qualifying time of 1’52.594 puts him in 10th position on the grid for round 5 at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola. Hikari said: “In this morning’s session I tried a new setting but I wasn’t happy with it so we went back to the same as yesterday. I tried to push more in Superpole 2 but I made many mistakes. I got my best lap this weekend in SP2 but my position is one down. Last year I was 25th or 26th so this is better and I am happy. I want to finish in the top 6 so I need to push more in the race tomorrow.”

Taking his spot on the 3rd row of the grid will be Jules Cluzel in 8th position after a disappointing qualifying session. Cluzel is always strong in the race and is confident of being in the fight when it matters tomorrow.

Robin Mulhauser unfortunately had a slight technical problem at the end of his first run in Superpole 1 and was unable to do his second run so will line up on the grid for the 17 lap race in 26th position.

Hiromichi Kunikawa improved his time again by nearly a second in Superpole 1 taking him into the 55s and to 31st place. He is looking for the best possible finish, as close to the top 20 as possible in his first race at Imola.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “Good job by Hikari and his team today. He has found his confidence again and is pushing towards the front where we want him to be. He is in a really good position to challenge in the top ten for a top six finish in the race tomorrow.”

“That was a disappointing session for Jules in 8th. We need to look at everything and improve the bike a bit for warm up. The race tomorrow will be tight and exciting and I’m confident that Jules will be in the fight for the podium as he has been all year.”

“Robin has struggled this weekend and we need to find a big chunk of pace, at least a second a lap for him to fight for a points finish tomorrow.”

“Hiromichi has improved in every practice session and in qualifying. He continues to learn the bike and the Championship. We will continue to work with him for the best possible results.”

The World Supersport race from Imola will start at 11am local time on Sunday.

WorldSSP300: Perez stuns to take WorldSSP300 pole positions

Sunny Italian skies make for stunning Superpole session

Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) has secured pole position ahead of the third round of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola circuit.

Paolo Giacomini (Team Trasimeno) sailed through from Superpole One in the usually hectic opening session alongside Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) as the pair were over half a second ahead of the rest of the field.

Spanish rider Perez dominated the Superpole Two session, taking pole position with a lap time of 2.10.115 and putting him a second and a half ahead of his rivals. Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) secured a front row start at his home round, meaning raceday will provide a lot of emotion for the young rider.

Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) continues to impress in the competitive series and will round out the front row onboard his Yamaha machine. Giacomini had a stunning Saturday and after progressing through SP1, will start the race from the second row.

Jacopo Facco (Bierreti By 2R) suffered a crash at turn six at his home round with just over four minutes of the session remaining, and he will start the race from 11th on the grid.

Relive all of the thrilling WorldSSP300 Superpole action with the WorldSBK VideoPass, not missing a minute of any of the racing action either – as the lights go out at 14.20LT on Sunday.

Pole position - Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays)

"I am so happy to take pole position at Imola, a circuit which is amazing for me. Tomorrow it will be a hard race and I hope to find some slipstream. Compared to Assen we are still on the same bike, the same team and the same rider, but with a hard last lap it is difficult to finish in a strong position."

A complicated qualifying day for the Althea MF84 team at Imola

Imola (Italy), Saturday 13 May 2017

The Althea MF84 team is racing at home this weekend, taking part in round three of Superstock 1000 championship at the Imola racetrack. After two days of intense work, the Italian squad and its German rider Julian Puffe have qualified in 22nd place for tomorrow’s race.

In yesterday’s practice, Puffe worked systematically with his technicians to adapt his BMW, recording a best time of 1’52.116 with which he closed the day in seventeenth place.

Today, on track for the final practice, Julian was able to further improve on his time, lowering it by another eight tenths to finish sixteenth (1’51.321). In the afternoon’s qualifying session, the young German struggled with the hotter temperatures and slippery track conditions, closing 22nd with a time of 1’51.846, which translated into an eighth row start for tomorrow’s 14-lap race.

“The first session this morning was really good but then in the afternoon temperatures were a lot higher and we had problems with the front of the bike. The track was slippery and every time I went into a corner I was nearly losing the front. We need to look at the data and make some changes for tomorrow as the race will probably take place in similarly warm conditions I guess.”

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