Press releases from the series organizers and the teams after Sunday's races at Imola:
Davies stuns in Italian sun to take stunning victory
Welshman grabs win from ninth on the grid, whilst Kawasaki lock out 2nd and 3rd
At the Motul Italian Round on Sunday it was Aruba.it Racing - Ducati rider Chaz Davies who took a superb victory in front of the fans at Imola, with the podium also featuring Kawasaki Racing Team pair Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
In a restarted race - after a red flag in the first Race 2 start earlier in the afternoon – Davies produced a superb ride on the Ducati, overtaking provisional leader Sykes midrace and going on to win by just under four seconds from Rea.
Davies’ first double victory of 2017 was a repeat of his Imola result from 2016, the Ducati man having also picked up maximum points at the Italian track last year.
Sykes had led the race but was eventually unable to hold off his teammate Rea for second, as the Northern Irishman ultimately beat the Yorkshirman across the line by +0.603s.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) and home rider Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) were engaged in a close fight for fourth, with Spaniard Fores finally coming out on top in that duel by less than two tenths of a second.
Behind that pair Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) crossed the line in sixth place for more good points, with Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) close by in seventh. It was a solid result for Laverty after a difficult day for him on Saturday, with his big crash in Race 1.
Likewise an excellent performance by Jordi Torres saw the Althea BMW Racing Team man finish in eighth place having got away from the back of the grid, after he missed Superpole and Race 1 on Saturday due to illness.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) completed the top ten, Mercado making amends for his Race 1 DNF.
There was disappointment for Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who crashed out of second place early on having made a superb start, with Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project) also crashing shortly after the Englishman. Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was another crasher and Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was forced to retire due to a technical issue.
The initial staging of the race had earlier ended in a red flag due to track conditions at turn 16, following an issue for Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) which had left oil on track.
The WorldSBK riders will be back in action over the 26th-28th May weekend at the UK’s Donington Park circuit.
P1 - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"It's been working like a dream, the bike has been in the ballpark, I made a few rebalances and used a different tyre to what I would normally use. The thing has been on rails, towards the end of the race the gap was going up and I was able to control it quite comfortably and what can I say. It's difficult to put weekends like this into perspective."
P2 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
"Really good weekend for me, there was no stopping Chaz. We pretty much halved the gap to the front but I made a change to the front tyre, and I didn't feel really comfortable with it, it was a bit squishy but I did my best, I had fun and 40 points from Imola is a good result so I'm happy."
P3 - Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)
"What can I say, we've always been missing that last little bit and this weekend we were really good until the racing. The track temperature today was a bit hotter and a bit greasy so I was really struggling with the front in some areas. I feel I got to the limit of what I am capable of and we need to build on this. It was a close race between the Kawasaki's all race, it's great here in front of the fans in Italy. It would have been great to have a better result but we tried."
#ItalianWorldSBK at Imola Circuit: Race 2
1. Chaz Davies Ducati
2. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki +3.739
3. Tom Sykes Kawasaki +4.342
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team does the double in Race 2 at Imola with Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri is 5th
After winning Race 1 in a dominant fashion, Chaz Davies did the double at Imola (Italy), granting the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team its fourth success in a row at its “home race” in the WorldSBK Championship. The Welshman, who took pole position on Saturday, had to work his way up the field from ninth position today, based on the new grid regulations for Race 2.
Getting quickly off the blocks at the re-start – the red flags interrupted the race after only two laps – Davies took sixth position and progressively climbed his way up the ranks, closing the gap from provisional leader Sykes. The Welshman then took the lead on lap 8, and eventually pulled away to win with a four-second advantage on his rivals.
Melandri, on the other hand, struggled more than expected after finishing in third position yesterday. Despite a strong start that put him in third place, the Italian experienced some difficulties that forced him to lose contact with the leading group. Despite putting in a strong effort, as usual, Melandri finished in fifth position.
After five rounds, Davies (161 points) and Melandri (124 points) are respectively second and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action for the sixth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for May 26-28 at Donington (U.K.).
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1st
“What a weekend! For the first time this year, I feel we’ve been the benchmark from the beginning. We were able to find our rhythm on Friday, and it sort of snowballed from there. The team has done an awesome job, the bike worked superbly in both races, in different conditions, but today it was quite interesting. We got mixed up at the first start, but after the re-start we got a good launch and I was able to make some good moves that put us in a good position. Sykes’ pace was strong, so I had to put my head down to hunt him and, once I caught him, I was able to set my own pace and that was good enough. Thanks to all the Italian fans for showing up this weekend, their push was something special.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 5th
“It was a difficult day for us, and we can’t be happy with the result because it’s not representative of our potential. Yesterday we managed to step on the podium, but we already had some issues under acceleration and unfortunately we weren’t able to solve them. The rear kept losing contact with the ground while upshifting, and this penalized us a lot coming out of slow corners. Also, I didn’t have enough confidence with the front to try and pass Forés. Still, I wanted to thank all the fans for their support, it was incredible and it made me really proud to represent the Italian flag on an Italian bike. We’ll bounce back at Donington.”
Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director
“Once again, Imola coincided with a really emotional weekend. Chaz rode two flawless races, and we dedicate the wins to all the ducatisti who flooded the circuit and showed their passion, and also to all the boys at home who allowed Chaz and the team to finalize the job. To win at Imola is incredibile. Unfortunately, some setup issues prevented Marco from stepping on the podium again in Race 2, but the work never stops and we’re confident the results will come soon for him as well.”
Sunday Podium Finishes For KRT Riders At Imola
After a red flag halted the second WorldSBK race at Imola the 18-lap restart saw KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finish second and third respectively. In the championship standings Jonathan increased his championship advantage to 74 points, with Tom now in third place and 75 points from the lead.
On a day laden with delays and false starts in the two main championship classes at the 4.936km Imola circuit the second WorldSBK race of the weekend got underway with Sykes on pole position and Rea in eighth place – due to the rules that govern the second race grid places in 2017.
Despite the disadvantage of starting from the third row today, after finishing race one in second place on Saturday, Rea was again second, ending up 3.739 seconds from double race winner Chaz Davies.
Sykes made the absolute best of his front row position, running clear for the first six laps until Davies passed him after Tom was forced to work hard at reducing the effects of less than optimal set-up in some corners.
As the race wore on Jonathan also passed Tom, on lap 12, and the two KRT riders remained relatively close together until the chequered flag. Sykes was 4.342 seconds behind the win on race two, taking his first podium of the weekend.
In the overall standings, after five rounds and ten races, Rea has 235 points, Davies 161 and Sykes 160.
Home ground for both Tom and Jonathan beckons next for the KRT team, in the shape of Donington Park. Races will be featured on both Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was difficult at times today especially because I made a mistake going into the Variante Bassa chicane at one point. I lost all the track positions that I gained in the first few corners and that changed my race completely. I feel that if I did not lose those I would have had something extra to - maybe not win the race - but for sure to go with Chaz. I got stuck behind some traffic after that but when I went through I was able to keep a consistent rhythm. I was too far back from Chaz but today we halved the winning margin compared to yesterday. I raced with the new soft prototype front tyre and in these temperatures I think it was maybe too soft an option for our bike. But I am generally content to have increased our championship lead, take 40 points and get on the podium twice at what is probably not our strongest track right now. It has been a really positive weekend.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We had a good start to the race and I knew this was one of the opportunities I would have. I had to make a good start and push hard early on. I knew the speed of Chaz was incredible and I knew Jonathan would have good speed as well. Finally, Jonathan and I were quite evenly matched on lap times. There were two areas of the track where I was not able to do my usual riding style and over a lap I was suffering with turning the bike. The lap times were not too bad. Chaz had another step again today but we were a big step in front of the other riders. We improved the bike set-up from yesterday a little bit, but third was probably our realistic maximum today. I am relatively happy with the Sunday race but it was just the first race this weekend that let us down a bit.”
Lowes Secures Sixth, van der Mark Ninth in Challenging Imola Race 2
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Teams Alex Lowes put in maximum effort in front of the packed grandstands at Imola on Sunday to secure a top six finish at round five of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. In a re-started 18 lap race, due to an earlier red flag, his teammate Michael van der Mark also worked to the limit to cross the line in ninth and claim another top ten finish on his Yamaha YZF-R1.
The original race was red-flagged after just one lap; in the re-started 18-lap race Lowes was determined to make an impact. Starting from fifth on the grid the British rider lost a couple of places off the line but passed his teammate for 7th into the first corner. From there, he started to hunt down the riders in front of him and when Leon Camier crashed out of the race, he took over sixth place. He then took advantage of an off track-excursion by Marco Melandri to move up to fifth, but in his effort to catch Xavi Forés in fourth he too ran off track on lap 5 at turn 13, re-joining behind his teammate in seventh.
The two Yamaha riders then enjoyed a great scrap for sixth, with Lowes making a move on lap 10 to re-take the position. The 26-year-old then pushed as hard as he could to catch the riders in front and opened up a gap between himself and his teammate. After a valiant effort, he crossed the line in sixth to pick up 10 championship points, which sees him retain fifth place in the standings with 94 points.
His teammate van der Mark started from 4th on the grid but lost out off the line and found himself in seventh by the first corner. After the early race battle with Lowes for sixth, he became involved in a scrap for seventh with Eugene Laverty in the latter stages. The Dutch rider had made a few changes to his R1 in an effort to close the gap to the guys at the front, but unfortunately it didnt quite pay off as he struggled to find his normal consistent rhythm and Laverty passed the 23-year-old on lap 12.
Fighting as hard as he could van der Mark rode strongly towards the end of the race, but lost out in the last few corners to Jordi Torres, crossing the line in 9th, less than two-tenths behind the Spaniard. In the process, he collected 7 points and now sits seventh in the championship standings with 78 points.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now head for their home round at Donington Park on the 26-28th of May.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
It was a tough race. Obviously, the guys have worked really hard this weekend; it is so easy to look back on a weekend in hindsight and say we could have done this, we could have done that. At Imola we just couldnt find the performance we needed from the bike, the guys never stopped trying and in the race sixth place was all we could manage. It was a tough race for me, but the least my team deserve is for me to give everything Ive got until the end. We could only finish sixth, I am reasonably happy as it was the best I could do with what we had, but I am not happy because we were too far from the front. We will try and learn some things from the weekend, and we will be pushing hard at the next round at Donington, which is my home race. I am really looking forward to it.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
We struggled quite a lot during the race. This morning I thought we had made a big step forward in Warm Up, but in the race, it didnt really work out. It was a tough race and it was difficult to be consistent. We knew that it would be difficult, but I was hoping we had made a big step forward. We must be happy with the points and up next is Donington, which will suit the bike better. It is a nice track to ride, so hopefully we can continue the form we had before Imola. We will never stop working to improve, so I am really looking forward to Donington.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
Imola has been a tough circuit for us to master. Everybody involved has tried to improve the performance but at this particular circuit, despite all those efforts, it has been tough to move forward. Sixth position today for Alex was honestly the best we could hope for. He made a small mistake while pushing hard to stay with Forés and Melandri, which is completely forgivable, but recovered really well and rode consistently, and safely, to maximise his points haul. Thats all we can ask for. We tried to move Michaels performance forward today with adjustments to the chassis setting and by changing the front tyre specification, but ultimately, over race distance it wasnt a step in the right direction. It was worth taking the risk based on our potential yesterday and now we have more information to allow us to take the next steps. Donington is in two weeks time - its a circuit which, without any question, will suit the R1s chassis and engine character a lot better and we are really looking forward to getting back to where we know we can be at the teams home race.
Milwaukee Aprilia earn solid points haul in Race 2 at Imola
Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari 14 / 05 / 2017
After a difficult Race 1 at Imola, Milwaukee Aprilia delivered an improved performance to score points with both riders in Race 2. The red flag was brought out on the first lap following a blown engine from Badovini's Kawasaki, which resulted in dangerous track conditions and forced a race restart.
Rider Eugene Laverty started from P10 on the grid, making a strong getaway and holding station confidently in P8. Closing down the Yamahas of Van der Mark and Lowes, he took his opportunity on lap 12 to force a pass on Van der Mark for P7 where he ultimately finished.
Capping off a trying weekend at Imola, Lorenzo Savadori started P12. His getaway was slow, but he settled into a consistent rhythm and gradually forced his way through into the points positions. Defending well from the De Rosa and Bradl, he managed to bring his bike home with another points finish in P13.
The team now head to the United Kingdom for Round 6 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship and their home round at Donington Park, where they hope to deliver stronger results for the fans and make further steps forward.
Round 6 of the 2017 series takes place from 26-28 May at Donington Park.
Keep up to date with the Milwaukee Aprilia team on their website, and Facebook, Twitter & Instagram channels.
Mick Shanley, Team Manager
“We took a step forward with Eugene today, in that he was able to maintain his pace so well. Imola has never been great circuit for the Aprilia, but it was encouraging today to see that he could hold position in the points.
For Lorenzo it’s been a difficult weekend overall. He struggled to get a feeling for his bike on Friday, and he lost a lot of running time which hurt him. It’s positive that he managed to get points in both races, but we need to find him some more confidence to push the bike harder.
It’s clear that we need to find some strong pace. We’re a long way from where we need to be right now, behind the guys at the front. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of our home race at Donington Park; it would be nice for us to do well there, but we have to pinpoint where we can close the gap to the front.”
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid - P10 Race - P7, 9 points
“Today was one of our best results of the year, but more importantly it was the first race where I was able to maintain pace and actually move forward at the end. We learnt so much, especially in regard to the weight distribution which we’ve struggled with.
It confirmed our thoughts over the last few rounds of the direction we need to take, and hopefully some of the ideas we have to try and Donington Park will move us forward.
I’m optimistic and excited to race at the home round in the UK, and I’d like to make that step further there in front of our fans."
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Grid - P12 Race - P13, 3 points
“This weekend has been very difficult for me. Today my start was OK, but it was difficult for me to fight with the guys around me. The main problem today was stopping the bike and turning, which was a problem yesterday too. I am happy to get more points for the team in both races, but we know that we can be fighting for the higher positions.
We didn’t start this weekend in a very good direction, but we have a lot of data to analyse for the next race at Donington Park. I know for sure that the guys at SMR and Aprilia Racing are working really hard, and believe we can make progress for Round 6.”
Torres and Althea BMW make a fantastic recovery at Imola
Imola (Italy), Sunday 14 May 2017
The Imola World Superbike round concluded for the Althea BMW Racing team today; while Jordi Torres made a great recovery to finish in eighth place, Raffaele De Rosa closed in sixteenth place. In the Stock1000 category, Marco Faccani achieved fifth position in the race.
Superbike - Race 2 – After a crash for Badovini on lap one, the race was immediately interrupted with a red flag. Once the track was clean, a restart took place with the original grid line-up. Torres was forced to start from last position, having missed yesterday’s qualifying sessions due to a nasty bout of gastroenteritis. From there, the Spaniard quickly began to work his way up through the field, placing twelfth already on lap five. De Rosa too was able to get away well from 16th, following his team-mate to place right behind him, thirteenth in the opening stages. Torres pushed all the way to the line, passing several more riders in the second half of the race to cross the line eighth. Losing a little ground in the latter stages of the race, De Rosa concluded in 16th place.
STK1000 - Race – here too, the race was interrupted by a red flag, twice, after crashes for a number of riders. After a quick restart, Faccani, still sixth on the grid, maintained that position through the opening laps. Oscillating between fifth and sixth place, the Italian battled with other riders in the second group, to cross the line in final fifth position.
With five championship rounds already behind them, Torres lies eighth in the standings with 65 points while De Rosa has 5 points, to position 19th. In the Stock1000 category, after three rounds, Faccani is fifth with 22 points.
"We had a good race today, fortunately I’ve recovered after yesterday’s illness and that didn’t affect me at all during the race. Starting last on the grid, it wasn’t easy of course, but I was able to quickly get into a good rhythm. I hoped to be able to do a little more actually but in these conditions with the tyre that we use it was the best I could do. I thank the team, the result is good considering we lost the whole day yesterday and then I want to thank the Clinica Mobile, because without their help I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did today.”
Raffaele De Rosa
"I tried to race with another tyre today but despite this, the bike still moves around a lot – I’ve realised that the Superbike is like this, it’s different to the Stock that I was used to and I have to learn to live with this characteristic. I have to try and be quicker while adopting the kind of style that the bike needs, and I hope to learn quickly. The result isn’t the best today but I hope to be able to improve with each race we complete…”
"It was a difficult race, with two red flags. The third start turned out to be the worst for me, I was having trouble stopping the bike, and particularly defending myself from the other riders. With the pace I had, I think fifth was about all we could do today, conditions weren’t easy. I thank the whole team for their great work this weekend, we’ve scored some points and I hope we do more at Donington."
Another top ten for Mercado. Hard race for Pontone.
Imola, May 14, 2017 - The Argentinian rider of Iodaracing Team, Leandro Mercado, has ended up the Italian round placing himself into the top ten. Mercado has reached once more a positive result, confirming in this way the work done during the home round weekend. After a difficoult start, and after loosing some positions, Iodaracing team's rider managed to stay within the group but struggled to gain some places on final standing. During the last two laps, a misfunctioning of the gearbox did not allow the rider to push as he expected to.
LEANDRO MERCADO #36 - WSBK RIDER - 10° IN RACE2
It was a tough race since the very begining. In fact, after the first lap I lost two positions and struggled to pass Hayden and tried to pass him twice. That made me waste some time. I'm worried because I had a good pace, almost the same of the riders ahead in my group. During the last two laps I lost contact with the group because of a technical problem with the gearbox. I wish to thank the whole team for the work they are doing. We need to improve some tiny technical issues, but we are already on it.
ARMANDO PONTONE - #80 WSSP300 RIDER - 21st.
It has been a very hard race for me. I had the feeling that my riding was better than the one in the last round but the fact is that at the end nothing changes in the final standing. I am moving ahead and expect to be faster in the next rounds.
Italian round comes to a close for Hayden and Bradl after second WorldSBK race
Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Italy
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has completed the fifth WorldSBK round of the year by taking part in the second race of the weekend at Imola’s ‘Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari’. After a restart, Nicky Hayden crossed the line 12th, two places ahead of his team mate Stefan Bradl.
The race came to an early stop on the second lap due to a technical problem – with subsequent oil spill – that occurred to Badovini’s bike, which led to a red flag. The new 18-lap encounter got underway after all track-cleaning procedures were completed, with Bradl getting a great launch off the grid to enter turn two in 11th position just ahead of Hayden. The 27-year-old German rider then lost eight places, after missing the last chicane, at the end of the opening lap.
Meanwhile, Hayden found himself in the middle of a group of seven riders battling for sixth place: on lap seven, he set his personal quickest lap of the race while doing his utmost to stay in touch with the riders ahead. In the final third of the encounter, the experienced American rider dropped down to twelfth but maintained his position to the chequered flag.
Bradl went from 19th to claim a 14th place finish, despite pressure coming from De Rosa and Krummenacher in the closing stages.
The next round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship will take place at Donington Park in the UK in two weekends.
Nicky Hayden 69
My second start to the race was not as great as the first one, but I still managed to move up a couple of places. I was able to stay in the group fighting for sixth place for the majority of the race and I was running better than at any time over the weekend, but unfortunately towards the end I lost a balance weight off the wheel which caused a vibration. I couldn’t keep the pace, otherwise I could have been a bit closer. It’s been quite a hard weekend for us, but it’s behind us now now and hopefully we will get back in the right direction at Donington Park.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Stefan Bradl 6
Things didn’t go as well as yesterday, unfortunately. I had a bit of a problem with gear shifting and it was harder to get the ratios in, so I was focused on it more than I would normally be and everything got a bit complicated. This week was not easy for a number of reasons and luck was certainly on our side. But we now have to look forward and prepare for the next round.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Nicky was quite competitive in the first two thirds of the race and managed to stay in the group battling for sixth, before having to slow down a little. It was a pity, really, because he was doing quite well and looked like he could stay in the mix for a top-6 finish. We’re now investigating on what happened. Stefan, unfortunately, had an issue with shifting, which led to him missing the chicane and did not allow him to keep up a good pace throughout the race. He did a great job because he held on and finished the race with a couple of points, though.
WorldSSP: Sofuoglu stuns in WorldSSP sprint
World Champion takes second successive victory, whilst Mahias and Jacobsen also make the podium
In a delayed and shortened WorldSSP race on Sunday afternoon at the Motul Italian Round World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took the win, using all his experience to beat Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), who both joined him on the podium.
Having missed the first two rounds of 2017 due to a training injury and then crashing out on his comeback at Aragon, Sofuoglu built on his Assen victory with a second consecutive triumph in this 11-lap sprint to claw back five points on championship leader Mahias.
Frenchman Mahias remains at the head of the standings following his second place finish, a fourth podium result of the year so far for the Yamaha man. Pole man Jacobsen crossed the line just behind Sofuoglu and Mahias in third, but he was never really able to challenge the leading pair for victory.
The top five also included Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini), with South African rider Morais around seven seconds off the podium and eight tenths of a second in front of Smith.
Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Loris Cresson (SC Racing-RPM84), Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) were all in the top ten.
Indeed in tenth place Zaccone was the leading FIM Europe Supersport Cup finisher, ahead of Hannes Soomer (WILSport Racedays) in 16th and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog - Jenik - Against Cancer) in 17th.
Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) retired with technical problems, with smoke pouring from his MV Agusta F3 675 machine, whilst there were crashes for the likes of Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) and Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
The WorldSSP race finally took place after WorldSBK Race 2 following an initial race start delay and two interrupted races earlier in the day - due to red flags after incidents had left debris and oil on track. Due to the rescheduling of the race it was shortened from an original 17-lap length to 11 circulations of the Imola track.
The riders will be back in action over the 26th-28th May weekend at the UK’s Donington Park circuit.
Race Winner - Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
"It was not easy with many red flags. Finally for the race I had no new tyre left, I told myself no excuse, no complaint and I worked very hard to stay in front and push the whole race. I am very happy, and very happy for the team at their home round."
#ItalianWorldSBK: WorldSSP Race
1. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki
2. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha +0.438
3. PJ Jacobsen (USA) MV Agusta +1.573
Forty WorldSSP Wins For Sofuoglu
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) added another new all-time statistic to his glittering WorldSSP career with an unprecedented 40th race win - his second race victory in succession in 2017. Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) suffered some misfortune today and fell in his attempt to score championship points.
The WorldSSP race at Imola was delayed to start, then red flagged twice and subsequently postponed until after the Sunday WorldSBK race had been completed.
The fifth race of the year was also shortened to 11-laps but for Sofuoglu none of these potential problems finally mattered in a race that he won by just under half a second from championship leader Lucas Mahias.
Kenan’s 40th race victory, over a career that has included five WorldSSP championships, was also his 80th podium placing from a total of 119 race starts. Kenan has taken 23 of his race wins on a Kawasaki.
Having fallen heavily earlier in the weekend teenager Ryde was to crash on the first lap of the final restart. Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) finished in the points at his home round, in 14th place. In the championship Ryde is seventh overall, Canducci 11th.
The championship fight now goes to the sixth round of the season, at Kyle’s home round of Donington Park, with raceday on Sunday 28th May.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “My fortieth WorldSSP race win was not easy especially as the many red flags gave us a hard time. Finally for the race I had no new rear tyres left to use. But I told myself ‘no excuses, no complaints’ just go for the win. I worked very hard to stay at the front with a good pace. I am especially happy for the team because it is an Italian round and therefore a home round for them. I am also very happy for Kawasaki because this was a good result.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “Not our best day because we got no points but we had a more positive day on Saturday. Then I managed to get into Superpole 2 straight away, but unfortunately we had three restarts today which meant I had to choose the less favoured tyre option. I thought it would be OK for ten or eleven laps but even on the first lap the track temperature was too hot to use this tyre. I then had a small crash, with no injuries. Now I have to go to Donington - and try to beat Kenan!”
One place behind Canducci, Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was 15th today, with ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) 17th and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) 19th. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 21st but Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) did not score.
Mahias on Fire as he Scores Scorching Second at Imola
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Teams Lucas Mahias recorded his fourth podium of the season on Sunday at Imola, extending his championship lead to 27 points in the process. Round five of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship saw multiple red flags, restarts and delays, but undeterred the French rider secured second, while his teammate Federico Caricasulo unfortunately had to retire from the race.
Championship leader Mahias arrived in Imola with a 20-point advantage, determined to fight for the podium. The French rider pulled out all the stops in qualifying to start the race from second on the grid. Unfortunately, the original race was red-flagged on the very first lap. Then in the re-started race, once again the red flag brought a halt to proceedings, this time on the fourth lap, with the re-scheduled 11-lap race delayed until after WorldSBK race two.
Remaining focused, Mahias immediately got the holeshot from the re-start and led up until the fourth lap, when Kenan Sofuoglu overtook him. Determined not to give up the race win without a fight, Mahias fought all the way to the line with Sofuoglu, eventually deciding not to take any dangerous risks and securing second place. He finished just 0.438s behind the race winner, but more importantly secured 20 points and extended his advantage in the championship standings to 27 points.
His teammate Caricasulo had a day of bad fortune, first a crash in Warm Up saw him re-break his injured collar bone and then a technical issue on the warm up lap for the original race meant he could not line up on the grid for the start. After the first red flag, he was allowed to start the re-scheduled race, but an incorrect start procedure led to a ride-through penalty. Unfortunately, the appearance of the second red flag before he could serve this meant it would be carried over to the re-scheduled 11-lap race. The Italian tried his best to open a gap before he came in for the penalty, but decided after re-joining in 30th place and with no chance of scoring points that it was not worth making his injury worse so he retired on lap 8.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team will be back in action at Donington Park on the 26-28th May.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
I am happy with the race even it if it was a bit strange to have to start it three times, which made it very difficult, but I am happy because it is a very good result for the championship. The race was strange, normally you have 17 laps, but today we only had 11 laps, which made it harder for me as I am fast on the older tyre. That meant we had to come up with a very different strategy for this race. It was possible to fight with Kenan, not win, but definitely fight! This is the first time I have finished a race at Imola, so overall I am very happy. Consistency is key, my target is the championship and after Kenan missed the first race, it is very important to always be on the podium. The new R6 is fantastic, between myself and Federico we have been on the podium in every single race. Now I look forward to Donington!
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
It was impossible to get a good result today. It was a very unlucky day, I actually crashed today on my own oil in Warm Up, re-breaking my collarbone and completely destroying my bike. My performance in the race was a result of this. If you have a ride through penalty in an 11-lap race, it is impossible to take points. I made some laps after the penalty, just to collect data. I wasnt pushing and I didnt want to damage my shoulder any further so I decided to retire. It is annoying, because every race my shoulder has been getting better, but this weekend I crashed and injured it again. I will try and start from zero again at Donington.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
It is a bit strange because we are very happy on one side of the garage, and on the other side we are a little bit frustrated. For Lucas, the second place was very, very important. We have increased the lead in the standings and that is important for the Championship. Lucas said he had the potential to fight with Kenan, but he didnt want to take any risks for the championship. That just shows how intelligent he is and how he is ready to be a World Champion. We had a technical problem with Federicos bike on the warm up lap, we tried to fix it and I am very happy with all the team as they worked incredibly hard to get the bike ready in time. It was unfortunate that Federicos ride through penalty carried over from the red-flagged race, as it was impossible to make up that time in an 11-lap race, and he didnt want to take any risks. Therefore, it was smart of him to retire. Now we must try and make another step to arrive at Donington and fight for the win.
Cluzel Sixth & Okubo back in Top Ten at Imola
Posted on 14th May 2017
Round Five of the World Supersport Championship from Imola finally got underway this afternoon after the World Superbike Race 2 following an initial delayed start then a further two red flags due to incidents and resulting track conditions.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Jules Cluzel had a disappointing result in the shortened to 11-lap race after he was swamped in the first corner of the first lap. He said: “I am really disappointed with this weekend. On Friday I tried to get in the race pace really quickly and I did so we were really happy. In the afternoon we tried to make some improvements and then I crashed. I started to lose confidence so that was not a good session. In qualifying we were close to the time but not close enough. Today the race was crazy. Everybody was so excited and the problem when you start mid group you are in the middle of everybody so I lost a lot of time at the start. I didn’t make a bad start but I was blocked and someone nearly crashed in front of me. I just tried to finish the race without mistakes. Sixth is some points but the target is to be leading and to try to catch points from the Championship so I am disappointed.”
Hikari Okubo secured another top ten finish in 9th which was the tonic he needed after the disappointment of the last round at Assen where he finished 21st and he goes into the next round at Donington Park with renewed confidence.
Robin Mulhauser had been looking forward to capitalising on the near perfect weather conditions in Italy to regain his pace but the Swiss rider had to settle for 18th position after struggling all weekend.
Imola first-timer, Hiromichi Kunikawa put in a solid, confidence boosting performance to finish in the top twenty at the technical and demanding circuit.
CIA Landlord Insurance Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “Sixth is not where we want to be. It’s a disappointing result for Jules and the team. We have already discussed this and we all know we need to make it happen. We now go to Donington Park; a good circuit for our bike and I am sure we will be fighting hard at the front with Jules. Hikari regained his confidence and put in another good top ten finish. I’m happy for him and his crew. Despite struggling here Robin stuck to his task and will come back stronger next round. First time in the top 20 for Hiromichi which is a good confidence boost for him as he learns all the tracks”
A great Stock1000 race result for Puffe at Imola
Imola (Italy), Sunday 14 May 2017
A very positive result for the Althea MF84 team in today’s Superstock 1000 race at Imola. Rider Julian Puffe crossed the line in twelfth place after making a great recovery from 22nd on the grid.
Race – just as for all of the day’s races, the red flag made two appearances here too, after crashes for a number of riders. After a ‘quick restart’, the German, 22nd on the race grid, made up a few positions in the early stages, lapping 19th on lap four. Further improving his performance through the second half of the race, and managing to pass a number of riders, particularly though the last two laps, Julian crossed the line in final twelfth position, scoring four championship points in the process.
After three championship rounds, Puffe currently lies in 16th position in the standings with 8 points scored so far. The next race will take place at Donington Park in the UK over the weekend of 26-28 May.
“It was difficult and I realise I need to do better in qualifying to get a better start. Through the first corners I was having to avoid contact with other riders, but I felt I was quite fast and so was able to pass some riders. After maybe five laps I had a problem with the brake but I was still able to catch the group ahead a couple of laps from the end and improve my final position. I’m pleased with the work done here and hope we can take another step at Donington.”
“Julian started 22nd and finished in 12th place and we’re really happy with that, he ran a great race. He lapped with times almost in line with the top ten guys and is really growing. I’ve realised that he struggled in qualifying and so we’ll work on this already from Donington. I’m very happy, it’s a great result, both for him and the team who have all worked so hard this weekend.”
WorldSSP300: Hard-fought triumph for Garcia in tight race
Stunning WorldSSP300 race produces high action racing
An enthralling WorldSSP300 race at the Motul Italian Round was won by Spanish rider Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) as he beat Italy’s Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) on the final lap, with Mykyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING) also on the podium.
At the end of a closely contested 11-lap race Garcia got the better of Coppola over the final corners, to win the third race of the season in this new category. Garcia beat his Italian rival to the line by just +0.177s as the pair dueled on the final lap, with Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) following them across the line.
However Sanchez was sanctioned by Race Direction after the race and was demoted to fourth, promoting Kalinin to third.
Another Italian rider Giuseppe De Gruttola (SK Racing) completed the top five having earlier been in contention for victory.
Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), Luca Bernardi (MotorZenit), Paolo Grassia (3570 Made in CIV), Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) and Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) completed the top ten.
Early championship leader Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) was never really on the pace over the weekend at Imola, starting in 21st place on the grid, and finally finishing in 11th. Deroue was the winner of the first two races at Aragon and Assen and remains at the head of the standings with a 14 point lead over Coppola.
The WorldSSP300 riders will be in action again next time out at Donington in two weeks’ time over the 26th-28th May weekend.
Race winner - Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing)
"I feel so happy, two races I didn't finish on the podium, today I did it, amazing race. The last lap I pushed 100% after staying behind the group in the closing laps, and I am so happy. I would like to dedicate this to the people who have supported me."
#ItalianWorldSBK: WorldSSP300 Race
1. Marc Garcia (ESP) Yamaha
2. Alfonso Coppola (ITA) Yamaha +0.177
3. Mykyta Kalinin (UKR) Yamaha +1.676