Upsets in Italy
The fourth race of the season at Imola was not Kawasaki’s best. Blame it on a new rear tire and tuning difficulties. After the twin-win by Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes slipped back to second place in the overall classification.
Unused to be qualifying only for second row on the starting grid, Tom Sykes was never in sufficient form to claim victory on the Imola circuit, where he won a superb one-two last year. This year, Jonathan Rea won the day’s two races. The reigning world champion was able to save a spot on the podium in the first race, but he had to settle for fifth place in the second. “We were not up to our usual level,” regretted the Kawasaki rider at the finishing line. “After the free practice sessions, I didn’t think the gap would be as big. We were unable to use the new Pirelli rear tire properly, so we have some lessons to learn from this difficult weekend.” Although starting from a modest seventh position on the grid, Loris Baz did better in the races by taking two fourth places. “I didn’t expect to do as well,” said the French rider. “We improved the handling of the motorcycle during the warm-up, but I was still struggling coming out of the bends. I lost ground each time I accelerated, and it was very difficult to get myself into a position to overtake. The second race went a little better, and if I hadn’t lost time behind Giugliano, I could have made it to the third step of the podium. It was a tough weekend, but we’ll be on more favorable circuits from now on, and the season is just starting.” Despite chatter problems and severe pain in his wrist, David Salom managed to finish in twelfth and thirteenth place. In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu was forced to retire once again due to a technical hitch when he was in the lead.
After losing ground in the Netherlands, this time Tom Sykes lost the lead in the championship. Now in second place, the Kawasaki rider is still only four points behind Rea’s Honda. Loris Baz has moved up to fourth position just twenty points behind the leader. In the Evo category, David Salom has taken first place. Finally, in the Supersport category, Kenan Sofuoglu – who has only scored points in Spain when he won on the Aragon circuit – has slipped back to ninth place overall.
Imola is the circuit of the Costa family. Checcho was the father and creator of the Italian track, and Claudio, his son, founded the legendary mobile clinic after discovering his vocation in 1957, when coming to the aid of Geoff Duke who had crashed on the Romagna track. Twenty years later, Dr. Costa fitted out a Fiat van to monitor and assist riders on the Continental Circus. Having become a mainstay of Grand Prix and World Superbike paddocks, the mobile clinic has changed hands this year. After nearly thirty years of good and loyal service, Claudio Costa has decided to pass the baton to Michele Zasa and Guido Dalla Rosa Prati.
“Sometimes people who occupy positions of responsibility do not always have the opportunity to appoint a successor,” said Dr. Costa. “Or they only do so when they are too old. I will soon be 73 years old and that is why I have decided to appoint someone to continue the work I started in 1977 with my father Checco. I’ll attend fewer Grand Prix races, but I’m sure my successor will do a great job. He speaks several languages and already has extensive experience with the riders.”