Back to business at Imola
After six events and twelve races, the “Master of Consistency” Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) heads to the second Italian Round of the season with a 28 points advantage over Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and an extraordinary average of 17.75 points per race – despite his only win so far in the first race of the year – and no DNF.
Speaking of consistency, Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) has won 5 of the last 6 races held on the iconic track near Bologna. The 40 year old Spaniard, who is almost back to full fitness, after the shoulder issues that have been hampering his performance since Round 2 at Aragon, will be riding an air restrictor free Ducati 1199 Panigale R, as per FIM regulations about the performance balance between twin and four-cylinder machines (article 188.8.131.52.3.).
Fond memories but no win yet at Imola for Tom Sykes, who scored a surprising first pole position of his career in 2010 onboard the previous model of ZX-10R. With the current Ninja, Sykes has finished twice second last year, after dominating for half the race and eventually surrendered to race winner Checa.
No love lost between Imola and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), who always finished no higher than 4th and, as Sykes and former team mate Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), is back from a mixed feelings Portuguese Round. Melandri never had good results on his home track in WSBK, but he’s looking forward to a strong performance to keep himself in contention for the World Title.
Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) climbed on the podium in 2011, when he crossed the line 3rd in race 2 behind winner Checa and Noriyuki Haga. The Japanese star will make a one-off return to WSBK after 20 months since his last appearance, as he will be riding a Feel Racing BMW S 1000 RR run by Team Grillini Dentalmatic.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) has been the only rider, apart from Checa, to win a race at Imola in the last three Seasons (2001, race 1). The Ulsterman was close to get a well-deserved double win, but an electrical problem forced him to a disappointing retirement, leaving the winning spot to the Spaniard. Rea’s team mate Leon Haslam is continuing his recovery to be as fit as possible for the Italian Round, despite the still injured left tibia.
Standings – provisional (round 6 of 15)*: 1. Guintoli 213; 2. Sykes 185; 3. Laverty 174; 4. Melandri 156; 5. Davies 133; 6. Baz 119; 7. Rea 105; 8. Fabrizio 101; 9. Giugliano 79; 10. Cluzel 72; 11. Camier 62; 12. Neukirchner 53; 13. Checa 50; 14. Badovini 45; 15. Haslam 29; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 253; 2. BMW 211; 3. Kawasaki 209; 4. Honda 112; 5. Suzuki 104; 6. Ducati 82.
* 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, last 12 May) to cancel the drop of position sanction (from third to fourth place in race 2) imposed by the Race Direction on rider Tom Sykes.
World Supersport is back to business at Imola for race number seven of 2013. Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki duo of Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret is on a mission to slow down the impressive momentum of Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha), winner of the last four races and current Championship leader with a 39 point gap on both riders.
The three WSS stars had a key role, although in different wa39 ys, in last year’s race at Imola: the Reigning Champion, who moved off well from second place on the grid, missed the brake point at the last chicane on the opening lap, while he was leading the race, and did not return to the track in the correct way. The 28 year old was penalised by Race Direction first with a ride-through, and then, as he didn’t make his way back to the pit-lane, he was disqualified with a black flag. A disappointing retirement for the Turkish rider, who was taking part in the race despite a multiple injury.
Once Sofuoglu was out of the timing screens, the battle for first place was a matter of tenths of a second between Foret and Lowes: Frenchman was able to achieve the race win, despite the tenacity of young Brit, who did everything he could to fill the small gap with the front. Following the encouraging performance at Portimao, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) is aiming to be in the mix up front again, while team mate Lorenzo Zanetti is looking forward to redeeming the poor results of the last two rounds. Irishman Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) is training hard to improve his stamina in order to keep his pace competitive for the whole race distance, after showing some positive form in the early stages of the previous races.
Standings (round 6 of 14): 1. Lowes 120; 2. Sofuoglu 81; 3. Foret 81; 4. Vd Mark 62; 5. Zanetti 55; 6. Scassa 53; 7. Antonelli 46; 8. Kennedy 44; 9. Rolfo 38; 10. Marino 31; 11. Morais 30; 12. Russo 28; 13. Leonov 26; 14. Coghlan 22; 15. Ivanov 18. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 130; 2. Yamaha 128; 3. Honda 91; 4. MV Agusta 44; 5. Suzuki 12; 6. Triumph 6.
The 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup is proving to be a close racing challenge, as the top-4 is within ten points only. After his second race win of the season at Portimao, defending Champion Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) got back on the lead with just one point over Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Ducati) and seven on Niccolò Canepa – La Marra’s team mate. Thanks to a good consistency in race results, Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) has managed to keep himself in contention for the title.
Leandro Mercado, fifth in the standings, is still looking for his maiden STK1000 race win while 1st place at Monza Lorenzo Savadori is aiming to make up for the crash of the Portuguese race.
Standings (round 4 of 10):1. Barrier 70; 2. La Marra 69; 3. Canepa 63; 4. Guarnoni 60; 5. Mercado 49; 6. Savadori 33; 7. Lanusse 29; 8. Jezek 29; 9. Bussolotti 26; 10. Lussiana 25; 11. Andreozzi 15; 12. Bergman 15; 13. McFadden 13; 14. Magnoni 11; 15. Gildenhuys 10. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 81; 2. BMW 81; 3. Kawasaki 70; 4. Honda 8; 5. Suzuki 5.
The highly spectacular race at Portimao saw a new STK600 race winner, Franco Morbidelli (San Carlo Team Italia), who proved to have the nerves to edge his rivals after a tight 4-way battle. The Italian lies now third in the standings, 23 points behind Championship leader Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Racing Team Yamaha), who was 2nd last time out for a mere 0.062 seconds gap on the finish line. Bastien Chesaux (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team) and Tony Covena (Nito Racing Kawasaki) are still looking for their first victory in the series, although their performances so far in 2013 have allowed both riders to keep their title chances alive.
Standings (round 4 of 10): 1. Duwelz 77; 2. Chesaux 56; 3. Morbidelli 54; 4. Coveña 52; 5. Morrentino 33; 6. Mulhauser 32; 7. Nestorovic 31; 8. Gamarino 31; 9. Salvadori 27; 10. Nocco 25; 11. Tessels 19; 12. Casalotti 19; 13. Tuuli 17; 14. Tatasciore 16; 15. Vitali 15; etc.
European Junior Cup
The Pata European Junior Cup powered by Honda will be back on track this weekend for the fourth race of the season. Michael Canducci (Colors Experience) still leads the way with a two-point margin over Jake Lewis (Jake Lewis Racing) and five over Robin Anne (Anne Formation). The young Frenchman was able to score his first win after an exciting 8-way ultra-close finish on Adrien Pittet (Swisscare).
Standings (round 3 of 8): 1. Canducci 43; 2. Lewis 41; 3. Anne 38; 4. Pittet 29; 5. Bendsneijder 25; 6. Sebestyen 25; 7. Levy 23; 8. Raymond 23; 9. Fernandez 20; 10. Arenas 20; 11. Manfredi 18; 12. Fernandez 17; 13. Rusmiputro 15; 14. Mykhalchyk 13; 15. Flitcroft 12.