Photos: World Superbike
The World Superbike standings got well shaken and tossed in the air at the Italian round at Imola, as Irishman Jonathon Rea and his Ten Kate Honda simply dominated the proceedings all weekend and emerged as the new championship leaders.
Fastest in all practice sessions, taking pole, and winning both races was perfection itself, and to top things off for the Dutch Ten Kate Honda team, Lorenzo Zanetti won his first World Supersport 600 cc race for the team.
That made it three WSB wins in a row for Rea and Ten Kate, after Rea’s dominant victory in the last previous event at the team’s home track at Assen, in the Netherlands. The Irishman said, “It’s been a great weekend for me! 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. To cap it off, it’s also been a perfect weekend for the team with Lorenzo [Zanetti] winning his first World Supersport race so massive congratulations to him. Mikey [van der Mark, the other Ten Kate WSS rider] was on the podium and he’s leading the championship, too. It’s a shame we have a test tomorrow because I think everybody in the team deserves to go and really enjoy the night and savour this moment but it’s back to work tomorrow!”
Rea was simply in his own league; in both races he got the holeshot from pole and simply disappeared, winning both races by more than four seconds and making it look easy in the process. The races for second in both events were more like a cut-throat Moto 3 event, with half a dozen riders chopping at each other for position, with Ducati’s Chaz Davies grabbing second both times (the best result this season for the Panigale), and thirds going to defending champion Tom Sykes of Kawasaki in the first race and Aprilia lead rider Sylvain Guintoli in the second.
The race results ended with Rea and Honda leaping into the series lead, with Sykes close behind and Guintoli third. Davies moved up to fifth, while Kawasaki’s young ace Loris Baz of France consolidated his spot in fourth with a brave pass on his team leader Sykes in the second race for a fourth-place finish.
Double second-place finisher, Welsh racer Chaz Davies, said, “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. 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.
“Race 1 was difficult, Jonathan got away quickly and there was no way to stay with him but we had a good battle behind him. Race 2 turned out to be pretty similar. We chose a fairly standard setting today and … 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.”
The World Supersport race was as dramatic as usual, with a new winner in Lorenzo Zanetti, the second WSS rider in the Ten Kate Honda team. He was followed home by his team-mate Michael van der Mark, and Florian Marino of France on a Kawasaki ZX-6R. Past champ Kenan Sofluoglu, who once again looked like winning, once again retired with a mechanical issue.
The results leave van der Mark and Marino tied for the series lead, with Zanetti well back in third.
World Superbike championship standings after 8 of 26 races
1. Jonathon Rea, U.K., Ten Kate Pata Honda, 139 points
2. Tom Sykes, U.K., Kawasaki Racing Team, 135
3. Sylvain Guintoli, France, Factory Aprilia Racing Team, 123
4. Loris Baz, France, Kawasaki Racing Team, 119
5. Chaz Davies, U.K., Ducati Superbike Team, 87
6. Marco Melandri, Italy, Factory Aprilia Team, 84
7. Davide Giugliano, Italy, Ducati Superbike Team, 69
8. Eugene Laverty, U.K., Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, 62
9. Leon Haslam, U.K., Ten Kate Pata Honda, 58
10. TIE, Alex Lowes, U.K. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki / Toni Elias, Spain, Red Devils Roma Aprilia,50
Next event May 25, Donington, U.K.
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