IMOLA, Italy – Fans attending the seventh round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship saw an exciting turnaround in events as Tissot-Superpole and double race winner Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) moved on top of the rider standings ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team).
The Frenchman had his first DNF of the season in race one due to a technical problem, before scoring a third place in the second one.
It was a day of mixed emotions also for Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), who completed the podium in the first race before crashing in the next one, and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike), who was able to rise to second in race two following a race one no-score.
“I have had two perfect weekends out of the last three events and for this I am truly happy,” Sykes said. “It is a special weekend for many reasons and also the incident last year with my 2012 team-mate Joan Lascorz. There was not one time on any lap when I have exited turn six and not thought about his accident. I hope that this is a small, small tribute to him.
“I have every single individual member of the Kawasaki staff and teams to thank, and our great technical sponsors. Hopefully now this is a beginning of a challenge but we will see how we go.”
“Really mixed emotions today,” Rea admitted. “I made a mistake on the first lap of race one, but made a lot of ground up and then unfortunately crashed when I was pushing for the podium with a couple of laps to go. In race two I couldn’t go with the two guys ahead, so they gapped me and by half distance, Tom had eked out a lead tenth by tenth.
“I need to work with my crew to make the bike better with a full fuel load and fresh tires, but we can leave Imola with our heads held high and we look forward now to [the next round in] Moscow.”
Sykes dominated race one at Imola to score his ninth career win. The pole-sitter managed to pull away from Giugliano halfway through the race, keeping a strong pace that only the young Italian was able to match, in the first part.Sykes had a controlled approach in the early laps, making his way up from fourth to the lead, then started making the difference as the race progressed. Giugliano did all he could to stay with the winner, eventually finishing a lonely second for his first podium since 2012 at Misano.
Laverty achieved a solid third place ahead of Marco Melandri (BWM Motorrad GoldBet), as the home rider lapped really close to his former team mate, but couldn’t get in contention for the podium.
The two riders saw a recovering Rea get in the mix until the Ulsterman crashed out of turn 19, during the 19th lap, not long after he moved up to fourth place. Rea got the hole-shot at the start, before running wide at turn six and rejoining in 11th position.
Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Aprilia) finished fifth after a good battle with Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) and Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
Sykes led every lap of race two to cross the line as the winner for the 10th time in his WSBK career and, thanks to his fifth first place finish of the year, to equal the number of individual wins he was able to achieve in the last two seasons combined.
After the disappointment of the first race, Rea redeemed himself to end up a lonely second ahead of works Aprilia rider Guintoli.
Fourth place Melandri edged his team mate Davies for fourth place on the last lap, while Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) won the battle for sixth ahead of Camier.
Fabrizio managed to pull away in the end for from a still recuperating Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) and fellow Italian Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) for eighth.
Sunday’s second race saw two potential protagonists out of contention in the early stages, as Giugliano crashed at turn seven during the second lap, while trying to keep Sykes’ pace, and Laverty fell off his bike at turn 18, on lap number six.
Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) was back on the top step of the podium following a superb performance in the World Supersport race at Imola. The defending Champion led the entire race, that was shortened to 14 laps after a technical problem occurred to Valentin Debise (Prorace Honda) and the oil left on track by his CBR600RR brought a red flag situation.
Second place Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) made an outstanding recovery, following a difficult start, to finish ahead of team mate Vladimir Leonov thanks to a successful last-turn overtake. The Russian rider was able to keep the pace of the winner in the early part of the race, showing a renewed confidence after a tough first half of the season.
Pata Honda riders Lorenzo Zanetti and Michael van der Mark finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Luca Scassa (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) won a spectacular fight for sixth position over Andrea Antonelli (Goeleven Kawasaki).
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) won his third Superstock 1000 race of the season at Imola. The defending champion took the lead on lap four and began to dictate the pace, as he tried to pull away from the chasing pack, to eventually cross the finish line 2.7 seconds ahead of Niccolò Canepa
A hard battled fourth race in the calendar for the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda at Imola saw a thrilling victory for Frenchman Guillaume Raymond (Activbike).
Tommaso Lorenzetti (Nuova FCC Corse Yamaha) scored a last-lap victory in Sunday’s Cup of Nations race.
The next round is scheduled for July 21 at Moscow Raceway.
Superbike Race One Results
1.Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 21 Laps/103.656km in 37:52.860 (164.182km/h);
2. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +7.198;
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +9.484;
4. Marco Melandri (BMW) +10.323;
5. Michele Fabrizio (Aprilia) +18.697;
6. Chaz Davies (BMW) +19.531;
7. Leon Camier (Suzuki) +22.412;
8. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) +29.142;
9. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +36.828;
10. Leon Haslam (Honda) +37.507;
11. Carlos Checa (Ducati) +39.239;
12. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) +43.334
Superbike Race Two Results
1.Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 21 Laps/103.656km in 37:51.947 (164.247km/h);
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +5.032;
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +10.201;
4. Marco Melandri (BMW) +13.120;
5. Chaz Davies (BMW) +13.630;
6. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +23.949;
7. Leon Camier (Suzuki) +25.420;
8. Michele Fabrizio (Aprilia) +36.511;
9. Leon Haslam (Honda) +40.184;
10. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) +41.100;
11. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) +42.888;
12. Carlos Checa (Ducati) +52.182;
13. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) +56.352
Superbike Standings – provisional (round 7 of 15)*
1.Tom Sykes 235;
2. Sylvain Guintoli 229;
3. Eugene Laverty 190;
4. Marco Melandri 182;
5. Chaz Davies 154;
6. Loris Baz 136;
7. Jonathan Rea 125;
8. Michele Fabrizio 120;
9. Davide Giugliano 99;
10. Leon Camier 80;
11. Jules Cluzel 77;
12. Max Neukirchner 60;
13. Carlos Checa 59;
14. Ayrton Badovini 59;
15. Leon Haslam 42
* Possible updated results could be defined by the International Disciplinary Court which is dealing with the appeal lodged by Aprilia Racing Team and rider Sylvain Guintoli, following the decision taken by the FIM Stewards in Monza (Italian Round, May 12) to cancel the drop of position sanction (from third to fourth place in race two) imposed by the Race Direction on rider Tom Sykes.