WSBK: Round #4 Free Practice Report - Imola

Johnathan Rea race action shot

World Superbike Media Press Release:

As the opening day of on track action at Imola draws to a close, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) heads into tomorrow's final free practice session ahead of Tissot-Superpole as the fastest rider in the combined classification.

A fire in the adjoining park close to the circuit brought out the red flags after only 7 minutes after major improvements already for Eugene Laverty who had jumped to 9th and Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes who had both also improved on their morning time.

When the session resumed virtually all of the riders improved, which was to be expected, with Jonathan Rea leading the standings from Sykes and Melandri but another red flag with 12 minutes of the session remaining meant another short stoppage before the session could finally resume.

Eventually with the stoppage reaching almost 45 minutes, the decision to cancel the on track activity for today was made due to a broken drainage cover at Turn 4.

The top ten riders were therefore classified as Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri, Sylvain Guintoli, Davide Giugliano, Leon Haslam, Loris Baz and the fastest EVO rider Leon Camier.

As it stands Michel Fabrizio is 20th and therefore the final rider to make into Tissot-Superpole. There is of course once final session tomorrow morning for everyone to improve.

Tom Sykes race action shot

Times:

1. Rea (Honda) 1'48.147 average 164.310 kph

2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'48.187

3. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'48.261

4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'48.323

5. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'48.329

6. Davies (Ducati) 1'48.592

7. Haslam (Honda) 1'48.999

8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'49.259

9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'49.600

10. Camier (BMW) 1'49.610

11. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'49.710

12. Goi (Ducati) 1'49.920

13. Canepa (Ducati) 1'50.015

14. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'50.103

15. Badovini (Bimota) 1'50.228

16. Elias (Aprilia) 1'50.370

17. Iddon (Bimota) 1'50.609

18. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'50.926

19. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'51.034

20. Fabrizio (Kawasaki) 1'51.357

21. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'51.544

22. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'51.572

23. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'51.581

24. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'51.707

25. Toth (BMW) 1'52.445

26. May (EBR) 1'54.669

27. Sebestyen (BMW) 1'55.102

NC. Yates (EBR) 1'56.225

** Free Practice 1:**

Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) was the fastest rider in the opening Free Practice session at Imola this morning. Riding in the hottest conditions of the season so far, the Italian ended the session marginally quicker than his nearest rival, Jonathan Rea.

From the start of the session both Aprilia Racing Team riders (Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri) set the pace with reigning Champion Tom Sykes in hot pursuit. As the riders settled into their rhythm the lap times tumbled and several riders challenged for the number one spot, but at the flag it was Giuglinao who ended FP1 on top with a time of 1.48.329 to edge out Rea who improved to second ahead of Guintoli with his final lap.

Behind Giugliano, Rea and Guintoli the top six was completed by Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes. David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) would end up the fastest rider in the EVO category, finishing a respectable 9th overall and only 1.7s from Giugliano and 0.2s faster than wildcard rider Ivan Goi who was the second EVO classified rider. Eugene Laverty struggled throughout the session with set-up, managing only one flying lap to finish 18th.

World Supersport

With blistering temperatures gracing the Imola circuit, the World Supersport riders enjoyed two sunny sessions ahead of the 4th round of the championship on Sunday. The Italian track always provides close racing and judging by the Free Practice times from today, Sunday’s race could be a nail biter.

Kenan Sofuoglu race action shot

World Supersport:

Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) gave the local fans something to smile about, powering his Honda CBR600RR machine to the fastest time this morning but it was former Champion Kenan Sofuoglu that ended the day on top after a significant improvement by the Turkish rider in FP2.

With almost all of the riders improving, Kev Coghlan and Assen winner Michael van der Mark completed the top three ahead of Lorenzo Zanetti and  Jules Cluzel who recovered from a morning technical problem to end the opening day in 5th.

Florian Marino was the only rider in the top 18 who failed to improve in FP2, the Frenchman rounded out the top six.

Riccardo Russo re-joined at turn 7 after falling towards the end of the session.

Alex Baldolini was 14th on his return to the championship with Thai rider Ratthapark Wilairot claiming 18th after the two sessions on his first visit to Imola.

Times:

1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'51.744 average 159.021 kph

2. Coghlan (Yamaha) 1'52.090

3. Zanetti (Honda) 1'52.147

4. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'52.168

5. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 1'52.292

6. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'52.461

7. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1'52.741

8. Kennedy (Honda) 1'52.768

9. Bussolotti (Honda) 1'52.855

10. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1'52.868

11. Russo (Honda) 1'52.929

12. De Rosa (Honda) 1'52.985

13. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1'53.195

14. Baldolini (MV Agusta) 1'53.305

15. Nocco (Kawasaki) 1'53.697

For more information: www.worldsbk.com