Jonathan Rea (KRT) scored two convincing WorldSBK wins at Imola and in a strong performance from the Kawasaki Racing Team in general his team-mate Tom Sykes was second in each contest. Rea has now won eight of the ten races run so far in 2015. Rea’s phenomenal Imola performance means he has scored eight wins from ten starts in the FIM Superbike Championship this year, and he now enjoys a huge championship points advantage of 87 points over his nearest challenger.
For Sykes, two second places were his best results of the season putting him up to third in the championship. He is now only 25 points from second place rider Leon Haslam.
“It has been incredible this weekend and I do not know what to say because this kind of run has never happened to me before. I am just enjoying the moment. The key to the weekend was working hard with Pere and Paolo Friday and Saturday to make sure we had a package we could fight with. I was honestly a little bit worried about the six lap first race because we were not really set up to be so strong in the beginning of the race but we were able to win. In race two I watched the gap behind and Arturo was giving me great signals from pitlane. When the gap got to one second I thought ‘keep going and no mistakes.”
Said Jonathan Rea.
“We made some improvements at this round and I am very happy. Jonathan rode a strong race in race two and we had a big gap to the guys behind. In the end I just had to accept that this was our limit today. Jonathan was really strong in some areas and could take an advantage, then I would take some back, but finally it was his day today. The good thing is we have improved from previous events, and from last year, so I think we are heading in the right direction. Still there are some minor things to change but on the whole we have addressed some of our limitations and in Donington at the next round we will keep working. We improved some small things this weekend but small things at this level make an incredible difference. To take the wins would have been better, but I am happy.”
Said Tom Sykes.
Championship point score after round five at Imola, Italy
1. Jonathan Rea – 240 points (Kawasaki) 2. Leon Haslam – 153 points (Aprilia) 3. Tom Sykes – 128 points (Kawasaki) 4. Chaz Davies – 123 points (Ducati) 5. Jordi Torres – 99 points (Aprilia)
WSBK Race One: Restarted 6 Lap Race Has Huge Crowd On Their Feet From Start To Finish
The opening race at Imola, the Acerbis Italian Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship resulted in victory for championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) after a the race was initially red flagged and restarted because of crash involving David Salom (Team Pedercini).
Prior to the stoppage Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) had the packed grandstands all around the track on their feet, leading from the start before proceeding to take the fight to the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, the trio holding a comfortable ten second lead at the time the race was stopped.
The pace in the restart was electric, as the Kawasaki pairing of Sykes and Rea pushed each other to the limit. A lap record on lap 2 for Rea saw him pass his team mate only for Sykes to respond with an even faster lap to pile on the pressure.
A tense final lap saw Rea cling on to claim his 22nd career win ahead of Sykes with Davide Giugliano who produced a determined ride to claim 3rd and the final podium place on his return to the WorldSBK paddock.
Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) made changes during the short delay, the British rider looked more comfortable finishing 4th ahead of the Pata Honda of reigning World Champion who overhauled 10 riders to jump from 15th on the original starting grid to 5th. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) scored a solid ten points in 6th.
Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) was part of a six rider group that was fighting for 5th, the reigning FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup winner taking 7th ahead of Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing), Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), and Michel Fabrizio who took a solid 10th position on his one-off ride, replacing the injured Nico Terol.
Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Santiago Barragan (Grillini SBK Team), Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini) and Imre Toth (BMW Team Toth) rounded out the point scoring finishers.
Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) was running in 6th in the early stages of the first part of race 1 before a mistake dropped him down the order, the Spanish WorldSBK rookie re-grouped before crashing out unhurt with 11 laps to go. He along with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) were unable to take part in the restart.
WorldSBK Imola – Race 1: 1 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team 2 – Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.482 3 – Davide Giugliano Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team +3.945
Kawasaki 1-2 For The Second Time In As Many Races
Unlike today’s opening race which was shortened to 6 laps, Imola race 2 went the full 19 lap distance with the Kawasaki Racing duo once again in command, claiming their second 1-2 finish of the day with Jonathan Rea once again getting the better of Tom Sykes who finshed 2nd, 4.399s behind the current Championship leader.
For Rea it was his 8th win from 10 starts this year, and his 150th WorldSBK race.
After a second technical fault for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team), the final podium position went to Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), the Spanish WorldSBK rookie
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK) completed an impressive return to racing with 4th after the Italian was once again the top Italian rider.
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) backed up his impressive race one result with a strong 5th position, with Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing) and Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven) finishing 6th and 7th.
8th and 9th positions were lonely rides for Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) and Michel Fabrizio (Althea Racing) both collecting their second top ten finishes of the day with Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) completing the top ten.
Santiago Barragan (Grillini SBK Team), and the BMW Team Toth pairing of Imre Toth and Gabor Rizmayer were the final riders to finish, claiming 11th to 13th positions.
Sylvain Guintoli and his Pata Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark both crashed out before half distance as did Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils). A number of other retirements meant only 13 riders completed the race.
In the championship standings Jonathan Rea heads to his home round at Donington Park with a stretched points advantage after his double race win, the gap to his nearest rival Leon Haslam is 87 points.
WorldSBK Imola – Race 2 1 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team 2 – Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +4.399 3 – Jordi Torres Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils +26.020
World Supersport Race Once Again Decided On The Final Lap – Sofuoglu Takes Flag
The 17 lap World Supersport race held at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari was won by Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) after another intriguing dual between the Turkish rider and one of his closest rivals Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) on the final lap.
The pair smashed the lap record repeatedly as they pulled away from the chasing pack with Sofuoglu eventually taking the win, the 30th of his WSS career and the 3rd in a row in 2015, to extend his championship lead after Cluzel made the smallest mistake to miss out on the victory by 0.883s.
Last year’s race winner Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was unable to live with the pace of the front two, having to be content with 3rd after the Italian overhauled PJ Jacobsen and Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) who were 4th and 5th respectively.
Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand) led Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) over the line, the two locked together for the race duration, taking 6th, 7th ahead of Riccardo Russo (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), his team mate Martin Cardenas and Roberto Rolfo (Lorini Honda) who rounded out the top ten.
Australia’s Aiden Wagner finished 14th, his first European race with the Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress
Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) crashed out of contention on lap 3, he was able to re-join to claim the final point in 15th.
Donington Park in the UK is the stage for round 6 in a fortnight.
Results – 1. Kenan Sofuoglu – Kawasaki 2. Jules Cluzel – MV Agusta 3. Lorenzo Zanetti – MV Agusta
14. Aiden Wagner – Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
Championship point score
1. K. Sofuoglu – 105 points (Kawasaki) 2. P. Jacobsen – 68 points (Kawasaki) 3. J Cluze – 65 points (Mv Agusta)