World Superbike: Imola Race Report
The Imola race weekend was one that we will remember for a long time, both for the intensity of the racing and for the epilogue. We could start from the uncertain weather conditions, that added a thrilling sensation on the first wet superpole of the year. The man who made the pole was a very big surprise, both for the rider and his machine. Tom Sykes was the fastest rider on the track and gave his Kawasaki the very first pole position of the year and the first one since 2007. This could already be enough to get a satisfying week end but of course it was only the beginning: race day was coming.
In the Superstock series there is something that is not very common to see: the same race winner from the beginning of the season until now, going to the last race of Magny Cours with a high chance to make 100% wins in 2010. This is something that even Jorge Lorenzo would envy but when you’re talking about a very talented rider on a super fast machine really everything can be done.
As you might have guessed, Ayrton Badovini took the ninth win of the season on his BMW Motorrad Italia totalizing 225 points on the 250 available.
The gap to second place holder Lorenzo Zanetti was under 1″ and it highlighted the very good job done by the SS Lazio Ducati rider. The last spot on the podium was taken by Maxime Berger, assuring his second position in the championship.
World Superbike – Race 1
A very intense race was ahead of us and the Warm Up showed a very consistent pace from Ducati duo Carlos Checa and Lorenzo Lanzi. Pole sitter Tom Sykes made a superb start and was able to lead the pack for the first part of the race, in fact Carlos Checa was showing his will to stay up front but before the Spaniard could make a move it was the turn of Lorenzo Lanzi who was able to take first position at the final chicane, the Variante Bassa, with an utter explosion from the crowd.
Checa’s pace on his Althea Racing Ducati was giving him the chance to get his second win of the season, followed by a great Lorenzo Lanzi on the DFX Ducati who maintained the second position and Noriyuki Haga’s Ducati Xerox in third, giving the Ducati fans a complete podium. Leon Haslam finished in fifth place after a brave attemp to overtake Carlos Checa for the first position on the Rivazza corner, which ended up with him on the gravel and then back on the track, while Max Biaggi had the worst race of the season finishing in eleventh place.
We love this category and today’s race was another one that fans would have been proud to have witnessed. Championship rivals Kenan Sofuolgu and Eugene Laverty made such a great performance that all the fans were not even breathing during the race. Thrilling manouvres were made throughout the Imola track and the Honda duo, Sofuoglu with the Hannspree machine and Laverty with the Parkalgar one, made a giant gap from their opponents. Everyone was waiting the for the last lap for the final reasult but no one could foresee what was going to happen. While the unlucky Chaz Davies was having a fuel pump/sensor problem on his Triumph just a couple of hundreds meters from the chequered flag, as he directly explained on Twitter later in the day
(thanks Chaz for using the media channels!), the leading duo took each other out of the track giving the victory to Sofuoglu’s team mate, Michele Pirro.
They were able though to get back on track and finish on the podium, so the championship will be decided next week at Magny Cours.
World Superbike – Race 2
Concentration was the word in Leon Haslam’s mind; the title wasn’t gone yet since Max Biaggi was now 52 points ahead of him. The English rider just had to do one thing: win the race and bring it to the final round in France. The Roman Emperor knew that he needed a completely different race now, the #91 rider is a true fighter and you cannot take your time and think about the championship with him: you just need to go for the lead. The #66 Kawasaki rider made another great start and Tom Sykes was able to lead the pack once again. Leon Haslam was riding aggressively and tried to get in the lead at the last corner but he wasn’t able to maintain the line and went into the gravel, losing some time and positions. But the end of his race day unfortunately was not that far away since his Suzuki machine blew up destroying his chances for the title.
Max Biaggi was running up front with the leading group, making some mistakes but trying to attack on every occasion. While Carlos Checa was going to win his first double of the season, ahead of Nori Haga and Cal Crutchlow, the #3 Aprilia was taking no risks after beeing informed of Haslam’s retirement and with a fifth position an Italian rider won the WSBK Championship for the very first time. The crowd was all for Max at the end of Race 2, since on home soil the Roman Emperor took them all:
Italian rider, Italian bike, Italian tyres and Italian main sponsor.