Latest World Superbike Results
Tricky conditions in the morning's untimed session let PJ Jacobsen take the honours ahead of Marco Bussolotti, both of whom were a second clear of third place.
In a wet morning's untimed session, Jonathan Rea on the Honda was a second and a quarter quicker than Ayrton Badovini's Evo Bimota and Alex Lowes on a Suzuki. A surprising bunch, but as this is the first properly wet session for the Superbikes, it's as unpredictable as expected. The wet track time will be useful for this afternoon's Superpole session as heavy rain looks unavoidable.
Donington Park is the only British round this year, with Silverstone being removed from the calendar. Traveling Britons necessitated a change from the new schedule, pushing start and finish times to breaking point and grouping all three timed sessions to Friday, deciding Superpole entries at the end of the day.
The third timed session is usually held on a Saturday, but because of timing issues with the Donington round, the last timed session is held on Friday instead. Tom Sykes was quickest in a session that threatened to rain from beginning to end, ending under limited adhesion flags. Chaz Davies and Loris Baz both crashed out on turn one as the grip disappeared.
In spite of the track getting a dusting of rain, Kenan Sofuglu set the fastest lap of the weekend as the session ended, deposing Michael Van Der Mark from the top spot. Kev Coghlan fills out the provisional front row with a time under two tenths off Sofuoglu's quick lap.
Davide Giugliano closed the session with a fast lap, taking top slot from Alex Lowes. Loris Baz was unable to answer it, snatching second fastest at the chequered flag.
Michael Van Der Mark put in the quickest lap ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu on a session red-flagged in the middle due to gravel on the track. Sofuoglu was fastest throughout most of the session, but Van Der Mark stole the top spot at the end.
Loris Baz was quickest at the end of a session mostly dominated by Alex Lowes and Tom Sykes.
Final times at the end of the official WSBK test at Imola:
At the beginning of a weekend, there are eight riders that can be considered serious dry-weather podium contenders and all of those men are in the top eight of the championship.
Nineteen more laps at 23ºC and everyone chose the Pirelli SC0 soft tyre as the warm weather settled down.
Once again, Jonathan Rea on the Honda led two Aprilias into the first turn, but Davide Giugliano took third place behind Sylvain Guintoli off Marco Melandri. Melandri struggled early on in the race, with both Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies passing him by the third lap, and Loris Baz took his scalp on the fifth as Davies, Baz and Melandri drag-raced the length of the straight.
The World Supersport race would be seventeen laps on a windy track at 22ºC.
Jules Cluzel would lead from pole position until Kenan Sofuoglu staked his claim on the victory on the second lap and Lorenzo Zanetti, quick all weekend, got past Cluzel and settled in behind Sofuoglu.
Nineteen laps in the morning's race at 22ºC.
Jonathan Rea got so perfect a start that it looked like a jump-start, but it was confirmed that it was clean, and very quick. Rea was followed into turn one by Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli. Guintoli tried a tricky pass on Melandri, making an early challenge as is his style, but it didn't work and he dropped behind Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes after an off-track excursion. Davies did what Guintoli couldn't and passed Melandri for second place.
Qualifying warmed up as the temperature climbed, with Superpole two taking part under a 29ºC sun and on top of a 51ºC track.
Jonathan Rea surprised everyone, including himself, by pocketing pole position, toppling Sylvain Guintoli from the spot. It's only Rea's fourth career pole position, and the previous three were when the Honda was considered more competitive, in 2010 and 2011, and a regular podium visitor. Rea has been quick all weekend so far, and is one of the riders considered capable of winning a race tomorrow.