IMOLA, Italy – The action packed fourth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, which was held in front of 52,841 vocal and enthusiast fans at Imola, saw a total domination by the Pata Honda Team. The Dutch based squad won both World Superbike races on Sunday courtesy of a superb performance by Jonathan Rea, as well as claiming a one-two finish in the World Supersport encounter, with Lorenzo Zanetti scoring his maiden win in the series ahead of Michael van der Mark.
Rea and van der Mark now lead the World Superbike and Supersport standings respectively, both for the first time ever.
“It’s been a great weekend for me,” Rea said. “I couldn’t have imagined doubling up coming here. But I knew we’d be strong because it’s a circuit I really enjoy and one that the bike goes really well at.
“We’ll try to make the bike better in tomorrow’s official test and go to Donington hopefully to keep this ball rolling. I’m really enjoying riding right now and I want to thank everyone who’s put the work in. Not just the track staff here but the guys back at base in Nieuwleusen (Netherlands). It’s also the home round for our sponsors, Pata, so a big thanks to them, too.”
The Ducati Superbike Team was also well represented on the podium in its home round, as Chaz Davies was twice second at the checkered flag.
“These have been the best races of the season and undoubtedly my best race weekend so far, in that we’ve been consistently strong since Friday,” Davies said. “It’s great to be on the podium and is the best way to thank Ducati and all of the guys, both in the team and the factory, for all of their hard work.
“I can almost ride the bike as I would like, we just have a small problem with rear vibration to iron out but tomorrow, during the tests, we will also work on this and I’m sure we’ll be able to improve. I’m very pleased with the double podium of course and it confirms how much work has been done in Ducati over the last months, so I want to dedicate today’s results to Ducati and all the fans.”
Sunday’s two WSBK podiums were completed by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who lie now four and 16 points behind the new leader, in second and third.
From the start of the first race it was pole position setter Rea who immediately took the lead ahead of the Aprilia Racing Team duo of Marco Melandri and Guintoli. Davies moved up to second at the end of lap one and as the laps progressed a number of riders in the leading group would run off track in their efforts to keep up with the flying British duo at the front.
By half distance Rea had moved clear of the chasing pack with a lead of almost two seconds. Behind the leader a four-rider fight involving Davies, Sykes, Guintoli who had worked hard to bridge the gap after an off track excursion at the chicane on lap 2, Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) became more intense with every corner.
Giugliano slid out of contention on the 12th lap, the Italian clearly annoyed as the front end of his Ducati went away from him.
In the EVO battle, Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) came out on top, finishing comfortably ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Luca Scassa (Team Pedercini Kawasaki).
Rea once again made the best start in race two, but unlike race one, Guintoli and Giugliano, who also started from the front row, made equally impressive starts to ensure that they were in contention from the beginning.
The race two pace was a lot higher than the earlier encounter as Rea lapped at almost lap record pace on his first flying lap.
Reigning champion Sykes started slowly but was soon up to fourth after displacing Melandri who in turn had moved ahead of Davies.
As the race progressed and with Rea out in front by over five seconds, Davies and Guintoli together with Sykes and his fellow Kawasaki rider Baz, were involved in an intense battle which raged until the final lap.
At the flag Rea took a double victory ahead of Davies, who clung on to his second podium of the day and Guintoli, who fought hard to finish third. Thanks to the 13th race win and the first double since Assen 2010, Rea elevates himself to the championship lead for the first time ever.
Baz got the better of his team mate Sykes to claim fourth, with Giugliano putting the disappointment of his race one crash behind him with a solid sixth.
Niccolo Canepa had a technical failure in the closing laps as it looked certain that he was heading to the best classified award in the EVO category. His retirement handed that accolade once again to Camier.
After 17 action packed laps Zanetti won for the first time in World Supersport.
Taking the lead on lap two, former champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Team India Kawasaki) was kept under constant pressure for the whole race by Zanetti, who was racing with a new helmet design in memory of the late Ayrton Senna, before the Turk retired with four laps to go leaving Zanetti to take an incredible victory in his home race.
Pole position rider Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport) lost any hope of a podium finish after running off track on lap 6 and again on lap 8. The Frenchman was able to rejoin to finish the race in 15th.
Behind Zanetti, Assen winner Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) made it a Honda 1-2 with Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) claiming the last place on the podium.
American PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto PonyExpres) and Roberto Rolfo (Go Eleven Kawasaki) were fourth and fifth.
Ondrej Jezek (Barni Racing Ducati) took the first win of his career after a determined ride to fend off Fabio Massei (EAB Racing Ducati) in the third round of the FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup at Imola.
Lorenzo Savadori (Pedercini Kawasaki) had built up a commanding lead only to be ruled out of contention as his Kawasaki suffered a technical problem. This allowed Jezek to inherit the lead although the Czech rider faced intense pressure from Massei until the end.
Behind the top 2, Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Team) was a lonely third.
Augusto Fernandez (WIL Sport) came out victorious at the end of an exciting battle for the victory in the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda race. The young Spaniard crossed the line a fraction of a second ahead of compatriot Javier Orellana (Europe Food SL), second, and Brit Josh Harland (Josh Harland), third. Fernandez is now the new leader in the standings.
Superbike Race 1 Results
1.Jonathan Rea (Honda) 19 Laps/93.784 km in 34:14.829 (164.307km/h)
2. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +4.511
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +6.492
4. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +8.434
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +9.134
6. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) +14.925
7. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) +19.973
8. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) +21.582
9. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +28.781
10. Leon Haslam (Honda) +31.245
11. Leon Camier (BMW) +40.996
12. David Salom (Kawasaki) +55.372
13. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki) +55.899
14. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) +1:04.402
15. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki) +1:23.074
16. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) +1:23.324
17. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) +1:36.763
18. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) +1:36.942
19. Peter Sebestyen (BMW) +1:43.545
20. Imre Toth (BMW) +1:43.819
RT. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
RT. Michel Fabrizio (Kawasaki)
RT. Aaron Yates (EBR)
RT. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
RT. Ivan Goi (Ducati)
NS. Geoff May (EBR)
Superbike Race 2 Results
1.Jonathan Rea (Honda) 19 Laps/93.784km in 34:14.255 (164.353km/h)
2. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +4.095
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +5.546
4. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +6.285
5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +7.147
6. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) +22.054
7. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +25.811
8. Leon Haslam (Honda) +26.127
9. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) +26.306
10. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) +33.046
11. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) +37.788
12. Leon Camier (BMW) +42.415
13. David Salom (Kawasaki) +52.114
14. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki) +59.001
15. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) +1:04.364
16. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) +1:18.512
17. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki) +1:34.487
18. Geoff May (EBR) +1 Lap
19. Imre Toth (BMW) +1 Lap
RT. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
RT. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki)
RT. Michel Fabrizio (Kawasaki)
RT. Peter Sebestyen (BMW)
RT. Aaron Yates (EBR)
RT. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta)
NS. Ivan Goi (Ducati)
World Superbike Standings (Round 4 of 13)
1.Jonathan Rea 139
2. Tom Sykes 135
3. Sylvain Guintoli 123
4. Loris Baz 119
5. Chaz Davies 87
6. Marco Melandri 84
7. Davide Giugliano 69
8. Eugene Laverty 62
9. Leon Haslam 58
10. Alex Lowes 50
11. Toni Elias 50
12. David Salom 34
13. Niccolo Canepa 28
14. Leon Camier 20
15. Luca Scassa 16
16. Fabien Foret 10
17. Sheridan Morais 10
18. Jeremy Guarnoni 7
19. Kevin Allerton 6
20. Kervin Bos 5
21. Claudio Corti 5
22. Michel Fabrizio 2
23. Alessandro Andreozzi 1
–From World SBK Press Office