Results and summary of the World Supersport race at Imola:
Michele Pirro was the surprise winner of a riveting World Supersport race at Imola, the Ten Kate Honda rider profiting from a crash that had been waiting to happen all race long between title rivals Eugene Laverty and Kenan Sofuoglu.
With Sofuoglu leading Laverty by 12 points going into the penultimate World Supersport race, and both men on the front row, a tight race looked likely, but nobody suspected just how close it would be. The Hannspree Ten Kate rider and the Parkalgar Honda man cleared off from the front as soon as the lights dimmed, the two men swapping places for three laps until Sofuoglu seized the initiative. The Turk opened the smallest of gaps, but his advantage was to last no more than a lap and a half, and Laverty was back with Sofuoglu by the end of lap 4.
From that point on, the race got ever more intense. Sofuoglu allowed Laverty through on lap 7, to see what the young Irishman had. Laverty ran smooth and fast whilst conserving his tires, but Sofuoglu had the measure of Laverty's pace. When Sofuoglu took the lead, though, it was Laverty's turn to follow comfortably, never really troubled by the pace of the Turk.
The tension rose as the laps ticked off, the ferocity of battle increasing in inverse proportion to the length of the race remaining. The race turned from Mexican standoff into full-scale nuclear war on lap 13, with Laverty taking the lead from Sofuoglu. The lead swapped four times on the next lap, and twice more the lap after, Sofuoglu emerging in front, but hardly on top. With three to go, the Ten Kate man decided it was do-or-die, and Sofuoglu started to push his Honda to the very limit of his capabilities, taking over a second off his previous lap time in an attempt to finally dispense with Laverty.
The Irishman was having none of it, and Laverty was poking his nose alongside Sofuoglu at every conceivable opportunity, and quite a few which were quite beyond conception. Laverty had a serious attempt going into the first corner, but Sofuoglu edged the Parkalgar Honda out to cling on. It would come down to the final lap, and both men knew it. If Sofuoglu finished ahead of Laverty, he would take a very comfortable lead into the final round at Magny-Cours, while if Laverty could be Sofuoglu, he would close the gap down to something much more manageable.
Laverty had a serious stab at a pass through Turn 1, but there was not the room to get past, and the Irishman lost a bike length. He chased Sofuoglu down through the rest of the lap, poking his wheel wherever there was just a sliver of daylight, but could never get fully past the Turk to take the lead. Laverty's final chance was in the last chicane, and the Irishman flung his Parkalgar Honda up the inside of Sofuoglu's Ten Kate CBR600RR in a last-gasp attempt. It was never really going to work, and Laverty lost the front on the inside of the kerbing on the first half of the turn, wiping out and taking Sofuoglu with him.
The nature of the Imola track, however, meant that both men and their bikes slid across the track and into the gravel on the outside of the circuit, just 20 meters from the finish line. The first rider to remount and cross the line would win the points, and both Laverty and Sofuoglu scrambled to their machines and tried to get back on track. In the end, it was Sofuoglu who was fastest to get back underway, but by this time his teammate Michele Pirro had caught and past both men, taking victory - and an important extra point - from Sofuoglu, Laverty scrambling across the line behind the Turk to take 3rd spot.
The bizarre - if inevitable - finish to the race leaves Sofuoglu with an advantage of 16 points going into the final World Supersport round at Imola, and one hand firmly on the 2010 crown. Laverty has to finish 3rd or better in France, and Sofuoglu has to suffer some kind of problem if the Turk is not to wrap up the title at the final round.
|1||51||M. Pirro||ITA||Honda CBR600RR|
|2||54||K. Sofuoglu||TUR||Honda CBR600RR||2.888|
|3||50||E. Laverty||IRL||Honda CBR600RR||4.569|
|4||23||B. Parkes||AUS||Kawasaki ZX-6R||4.865|
|5||37||K. Fujiwara||JPN||Kawasaki ZX-6R||5.718|
|6||55||M. Roccoli||ITA||Honda CBR600RR||6.102|
|7||18||M. Aitchison||AUS||Honda CBR600RR||9.977|
|8||53||C. Migliorati||ITA||Kawasaki ZX-6R||18.563|
|9||44||R. Tamburini||ITA||Yamaha YZF R6||19.987|
|10||45||G. Vizziello||ITA||Honda CBR600RR||28.436|
|11||14||M. Lagrive||FRA||Triumph Daytona 675||28.508|
|12||31||V. Iannuzzo||ITA||Triumph Daytona 675||42.347|
|13||85||A. Palumbo||ITA||Kawasaki ZX-6R||1'05.502|
|14||131||G. Barone||ITA||Yamaha YZF R6||1'05.930|
|15||5||A. Lundh||SWE||Honda CBR600RR||1 Lap|
|RET||7||C. Davies||GBR||Triumph Daytona 675||1 Lap|
|RET||10||I. Toth||HUN||Honda CBR600RR||6 Laps|
|RET||127||R. Harms||DEN||Honda CBR600RR||9 Laps|
|RET||4||G. Rea||GBR||Honda CBR600RR||16 Laps|
|RET||25||D. Salom||ESP||Triumph Daytona 675||17 Laps|
|RET||99||F. Foret||FRA||Kawasaki ZX-6R|
|RET||117||M. Praia||POR||Honda CBR600RR|
|RET||34||R. Quarmby||RSA||Honda CBR600RR|