2018 Imola World Supersport Race Results: A Farewell To Kenan

The World Supersport seventeen lap race was not marred by the rain as Kenan Sofuoglu lined up for his last weekend of racing. 

After the warm up lap, Sofuoglu pulled into the pits and parked up, waving to the fans. He had decided to sit the race out as he had told his family, promising to his mother, that he wouldn't race today as it was Mother's Day. His third place on the slowly-filling grid was empty as Lucas Mahias in pole position wondered what was going on. 

As soon as the lights went out, Mahias knew exactly what was going on as Jules Cluzel backed his Yamaha into turn one, stealing the lead from Mahias. The two Frenchmen swapped places a couple of times but Cluzel retained the lead. Massimo Roccoli was in third ahead of Rob Hartog, Federico Caricasulo and Raffaele De Rosa. 

After a couple of laps of Cluzel's defensive riding, Mahias found a way past at the tight Tosa corner, took the lead started increasing his pace. De Rosa and Sandro Cortese fought through to latch onto the back of Caricasulo and the fight for the lead. 

As Lucas Mahias cleared off into the lead, it looked like Caricasulo, having passed Cluzel, would be leading the fight for second place but Lucas Mahias lost the front at Rivazza, the turns at the opposite end of the track to Tosa, and ended up in the kitty litter. As the race sped past, Mahias picked up his dirty Yamaha and rejoined in twentieth place, eighteen seconds from the lead.

Jules Cluzel once again watched as a blue Yamaha started breaking away in the lead and once again watched as the leader gave up the lead, overshooting the Acqua Minerali corners and recovering a second behind the leading trio of Cluzel, Cortese and De Rosa. 

Behind the front four, the scrap for fifth place was a line of nine or ten bikes that gently shuffled around until Randy Krummenacher woke up and started threading through the pack, eventually joined by Lucas Mahias who caught the fight up at the pace of a second a lap. As the front four grouped together at the lead, covered by under seven tenths of a second for several laps, Cluzel, De Rosa, Cortese and Caricasulo maintained their places eleven seconds ahead of Niki Tuuli, but as Caricasulo took third from Cortese, Tuuli was joined by formerly-twelfth placed Randy Krummenacher and Ant West for a three-way battle for fifth. Krummenacher, on the last couple of laps, was able to drop the other two only for them to have another championship contender on a mission join them in the shape of Lucas Mahias. 

On the last lap, Federico Caricasulo caught Jules Cluzel and looked for a way past, but after trying too hard at Acqua Minerali, he lost the couple of tenths needed to mount a second challenge and Cluzel won with enough of a lead out of the Variante Bassa chicane to pop a cheeky wheelie over the line. Raffaele De Rosa held off Sandro Cortese for the last spot on the podium and Randy Krummenacher followed thirteen seconds later. The fight for sixth place, a second or so back, however, was less certain. As West, Tuuli and Mahias entered the last chicane, Tuuli pushed West onto the gravel and West made use of the shortcut to retain the lead as Mahias, using only one of his two wheels available, jostled elbows with Tuuli as he wheeled over the finishing line. Tuuli retained seventh place by a thousandth of a second. 

Randy Krummenacher scored three points more than Lucas Mahias and now leads the championship by two points. Sandro Cortese and Jules Cluzel retain their third and fourth places, but close the fight to only six points covering the top four, with Federico Caricasulo only six points further behind. On a weekend where the five-time world champion, and the week-in, week-out man-to-beat, Kenan Sofuglu retired, it's only fitting that his absence gives us an exceedingly tight fight for the title.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 16 J. CLUZEL Yamaha YZF R6  
2 64 F. CARICASULO Yamaha YZF R6 0.363
3 3 R. DE ROSA MV Agusta F3 675 0.906
4 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R6 0.990
5 21 R. KRUMMENACHER Yamaha YZF R6 14.270
6 13 A. WEST Kawasaki ZX-6R 15.844
7 66 N. TUULI Honda CBR600RR 16.199
8 144 L. MAHIAS Yamaha YZF R6 16.200
9 81 L. STAPLEFORD Triumph Daytona 675 18.471
10 78 H. OKUBO Kawasaki ZX-6R 20.206
11 47 R. HARTOG Kawasaki ZX-6R 21.416
12 36 T. GRADINGER Yamaha YZF R6 21.765
13 84 L. CRESSON Yamaha YZF R6 21.880
14 96 A. IRWIN Honda CBR600RR 38.549
15 53 N. MORRENTINO Kawasaki ZX-6R 39.697
16 38 H. SOOMER Honda CBR600RR 40.782
17 56 P. SEBESTYEN Kawasaki ZX-6R 44.704
18 65 M. CANDUCCI Kawasaki ZX-6R 46.636
19 15 A. COPPOLA Yamaha YZF R6 46.884
20 60 L. GABELLINI Yamaha YZF R6 47.993
21 77 W. TESSELS Kawasaki ZX-6R 49.707
22 10 N. CALERO Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'06.231
23 35 S. HILL Triumph Daytona 675 1'11.327
24 111 K. SMITH Honda CBR600RR 1'11.460
RET 52 M. MALONE Kawasaki ZX-6R 9 Laps
RET 22 E. LAHTI Suzuki GSX-R600 5
RET 74 J. VAN SIKKELERUS Honda CBR600RR 13 Laps
RET 55 M. ROCCOLI Yamaha YZF R6 14 Laps
RET 86 A. BADOVINI MV Agusta F3 675 15 Laps
RET 54 K. SOFUOGLU Kawasaki ZX-6R  
RET 34 J. ITURRIOZ Kawasaki ZX-6R  
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Round Number: 
5
2018
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Total votes: 34

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