WSBK: Double win for Rea as Giugliano returns to form at Imola
Imola (Italy), 10 May 2015 – The fifth round of the World Superbike Season ended today with victory in both races in the top category going to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team). The Brit is on an impressive winning streak: out of the ten races held he has won eight and placed second in the other two.
After a three round absence due to a bad crash during the opening race of the season in Australia, Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) came back keen to make up for lost time, winning the Superpole on Saturday ahead of the two Kawasaki riders, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.
There was an extremely fast pace in Race 1, the new race lap record of 1’46.707 was made by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) , improving the previous record (also set by Sykes in 2013) by more than half a second.
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) got off the line well ahead of Tom Sykes, temporarily overtaken by team mate Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who moved into second place only to lose it a few turns later.
During the eighth lap the other Ducati rider, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team), was forced to withdraw due to an electrical problem with his bike. Things got really exciting in the ninth lap when Tom Sykes managed to overtake Giugliano to move into the lead. During the same lap Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) crashed out and in the tenth lap Jonathan Rea also managed to get by Davide Giugliano, chasing down team mate Tom Sykes.
Just as the two Kawasakis ridden by Sykes and Rea were leading the race, a bad crash, fortunately without any grave consequences, took David Salom (Team Pedercini) out of the race and forced the marshals to red flag the race and bring all the riders back into the pits.
The race restarted according to the rules for 6 laps which was the 2/3 distance left in the race when the red flag came out. The restart had the riders on the grid in the order they were when the race was red flagged, so Sykes was on the pole ahead of Rea, Giugliano and Haslam. In the third lap of the restart Jonathan Rea overtook Tom Sykes to move into the lead.
The two Kawasakis increased the gap ahead of Davide Giugliano (in third place) and crossed the wire first. Jonathan Rea took the top step of the podium followed by team mate Tome Sykes and Ducati rider Davide Giugliano who finished with an excellent third place.
Jonathan Rea #65 – Kawasaki Racing Team-Race 1 1st – Race 2 1st-
“It has been incredible this weekend and I do not know what to say because this kind of run has never happened to me before. The key to the weekend was working hard with Pere and Paolo Friday and Saturday to make sure we had a package we could fight with. I was honestly a little bit worried about the six lap first race because we were not really set up to be so strong in the beginning of the race. In race two I watched the gap behind and Arturo was giving me great signals from pitlane. When the gap got to one second I thought ‘keep going and no mistakes’.
Race 2 confirmed the outcome of Race 1 with the Akashi-based manufacturer demonstrating clear superiority over the competition on the Imola track. In the third lap Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) overtook team mate Davide Giugliano, already overtaken at the start by the two Kawasakis ridden by Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who led the race.
Tom Sykes #66 – Kawasaki Racing Team-Race 1 2nd – Race 2 2nd-
“We made some improvements at this round and I am very happy. Jonathan rode a strong race in race two and we had a big gap to the guys behind. In the end I just had to accept that this was our limit today. The good thing is we have improved from previous events so I think we are heading in the right direction. Still there are some minor things to change but on the whole we have addressed some of our limitations and in Donington at the next round we will keep working. We improved some small things but small things at this level make an incredible difference. To take the wins would have been better, but I am happy.”
From the sixth lap the two Kawasakis, just like in Race 1, increased the race pace and pulled away from their pursuers. In the ninth lap Michael VD Mark crashed due to contact with Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and in the following lap the Spaniard began a duel with Davide Giugliano for fourth place. During the twelfth lap Torres managed to overtake the Italian and then in the fifteenth Chaz Davies, in third place at the moment, was forced to retire once again, leaving third place to Torres.
The race ended once again with victory for Jonathan Rea on his Kawasaki and his team mate crossing the wire behind him again with the bottom step going to Jordi Torres on his Aprilia.
Davide Giugliano #34 – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK-Race 1 3rd – Race 2 4th-
“I’m really pleased with the podium, which on a personal level is like a win for me. After the first ‘heat’ I was already tired and the second part of the race was extremely difficult, I couldn’t have done any more. I was undecided as to whether to do race 2 at all as the first race really wore me out, but thanks to the Clinica Mobile’s help and the support of all the fans here, I was actually able to complete race 2, in fourth place. It’s been an important weekend for us, and has helped us see that we can fight for the top positions at every round.”
Between Superbike Race 1 and Race 2 the FIM Supersport World Championship race was held, 17 laps long with Jules Cluzel on his MV Agusta starting from pole position ahead of the two Kawasakis ridden by Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing). Cluzel and Sofuoglu got off the line fast with Faccani losing third place to American Patrick Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres). During the third lap Cluzel and Sofuoglu pulled away from the rest of the pack, putting almost a second and a half between them and their closest rivals. Toward the end of the seventh lap the Turkish rider launched an attack on the Frenchman and overtook but Cluzel wasn’t about to give up and on the straight stretch just before beginning the eighth lap he took back the lead. In the meantime his team mate, Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) overtook Jacobsen to move into third place. Sofuoglu did not relent and during the ninth lap he managed to overtake Cluzel’s MV Agusta to move back into the lead. Like at Assen, the finale came down to a dual between the Turkish rider and the Frenchman.
Kenan Sofuoglu took home the win but Jules Cluzel, second across the wire, deservedly broke the lap record with 1’51.101 in the penultimate lap, improving the one set by Sam Lowes in 2013 by half a second. Behind them was the other MV Agusta ridden by Lorenzo Zanetti. At the moment the Turkish rider leads the overall Championship standings with 105 points, whereas Jules Cluzel lead the Pirelli Best Lap Awards standings with three fast race laps out of a total of five races held thus far.
The third race of the season in the Superstock 1000 category was won by Lorenzo Savadori (Nuova M2 Racing) ahead of Roberto Tamburini (Team MotoxRacing) and Ondrej Jezek (Triple-M by Barni). The Superstock 600 FIM European Championship race, held on Saturday afternoon, had Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Federico Caricasulo (Pata Honda Junior Team) as undisputed protagonists, engaging in an exciting duel, overtaking one another time and again down to the final lap.
During the last lap and just a few turns from the chequered flag the Turkish rider made a move on the Italian who took a slide at the same time, going off track and definitively handing over the win to the Kawasaki standard bearer who finished ahead of Roberto Mercandelli (Roberto Mercandelli Team) on his Yamaha and Andrea Tucci on the San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki. With this win the Turkish rider, making his début in the European 600 championship, puts together an exceptional double brace, winning the first 4 races on the calendar and confirming that he is definitely the man to beat in the current season.