Italian Grand Prix (Imola)

A perfect weekend

Finishing first and second of the two races held on the Imola circuit, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea made no bones about their intentions in Italy. The same thing applied in the Supersport category with a new victory for Kenan Sofuoglu who, like Jonathan Rea, increased his lead in the overall standings.

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The Races

To say the two Kawasaki riders dominated the Italian round of the Superbike World Championship would be an understatement. At Imola, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes left their opponents with crumbs to eat. Leading from the start, they finished the first race almost wheel to wheel although it was shortened by half as a result of a fall that required the intervention of the emergency response teams. The second round followed virtually the same scenario, with Tom Sykes clinging on lap after lap in the wake of his teammate before accepting defeat. “It’s difficult to find the words to describe what I feel,” confided Rea at the finish line. “I’ve never been in this kind of situation, and I feel like I’m living on a cloud, even if this is the result of the excellent work we did over the winter with the team.” Second in both of the day’s races, Tom Sykes was also satisfied with his weekend, even if victory has continued to remain outside his grasp since the beginning of the year. “We made further progress,” said the Brit. “Jonathan is riding really well right now, but I feel better and better and the season is not over yet.” In the Supersport category at Imola Kenan Sofuoglu won the thirtieth victory of his career in the discipline after another duel with Jules Cluzel. After qualifying for the front row of the starting grid, Marco Faccani crossed the finish line in fifth position.

The Championship

With his new twin-win, the fourth of the season, Jonathan Rea now has an eighty-seven point lead in the standings. Tom Sykes has moved up to third place, twenty-five points behind Leon Haslam. In Supersport Kenan Sofuoglu now has a thirty-seven point lead over Jacobsen while Marco Faccani has gained two places. He is now ninth overall.

The Background

If he’d known what lay ahead at the start of the year when he first rode the ZX-10R, Jonathan Rea would no doubt have signed earlier with Kawasaki. Since his arrival in the KRT team, the Brit has gone from success to success. Out of the first ten races of the season, the championship leader has already won eight, and finished second in the other two. At Imola, Rea celebrated his one hundred and fiftieth race in the Superbike World Championship with another twin-win. In so doing, he has equalled the number of wins (22) of his teammate Tom Sykes, and has become the seventh rider in the discipline to chalk up eleven podiums in a row. A triumph for a rider who, if he continues at this rate, should hold the world champion crown well before the end of the season.

 

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