At the Motul Italian Round on Sunday it was Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider Chaz Davies who took a superb victory in front of the fans at Imola, with the podium also featuring Kawasaki Racing Team pair Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
In a restarted race – after a red flag in the first Race 2 start earlier in the afternoon – Davies produced a superb ride on the Ducati, overtaking provisional leader Sykes midrace and going on to win by just under four seconds from Rea.
Davies’ first double victory of 2017 was a repeat of his Imola result from 2016, the Ducati man having also picked up maximum points at the Italian track last year.
Sykes had led the race but was eventually unable to hold off his teammate Rea for second, as the Northern Irishman ultimately beat the Yorkshirman across the line by +0.603s.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) and home rider Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) were engaged in a close fight for fourth, with Spaniard Fores finally coming out on top in that duel by less than two tenths of a second.
Behind that pair Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) crossed the line in sixth place for more good points, with Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) close by in seventh. It was a solid result for Laverty after a difficult day for him on Saturday, with his big crash in Race 1.
Likewise an excellent performance by Jordi Torres saw the Althea BMW Racing Team man finish in eighth place having got away from the back of the grid, after he missed Superpole and Race 1 on Saturday due to illness.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) completed the top ten, Mercado making amends for his Race 1 DNF.
There was disappointment for Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who crashed out of second place early on having made a superb start, with Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project) also crashing shortly after the Englishman. Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was another crasher and Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was forced to retire due to a technical issue.
The initial staging of the race had earlier ended in a red flag due to track conditions at turn 16, following an issue for Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) which had left oil on track.
The WorldSBK riders will be back in action over the 26th-28th May weekend at the UK’s Donington Park circuit.
In a delayed and shortened WorldSSP race on Sunday afternoon at the Motul Italian Round World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took the win, using all his experience to beat Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), who both joined him on the podium.
Having missed the first two rounds of 2017 due to a training injury and then crashing out on his comeback at Aragon, Sofuoglu built on his Assen victory with a second consecutive triumph in this 11-lap sprint to claw back five points on championship leader Mahias.
Frenchman Mahias remains at the head of the standings following his second place finish, a fourth podium result of the year so far for the Yamaha man. Pole man Jacobsen crossed the line just behind Sofuoglu and Mahias in third, but he was never really able to challenge the leading pair for victory.
The top five also included Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini), with South African rider Morais around seven seconds off the podium and eight tenths of a second in front of Smith.
Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Loris Cresson (SC Racing-RPM84), Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) were all in the top ten.
Indeed in tenth place Zaccone was the leading FIM Europe Supersport Cup finisher, ahead of Hannes Soomer (WILSport Racedays) in 16th and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Jenik – Against Cancer) in 17th.
Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) retired with technical problems, with smoke pouring from his MV Agusta F3 675 machine, whilst there were crashes for the likes of Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) and Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
The WorldSSP race finally took place after WorldSBK Race 2 following an initial race start delay and two interrupted races earlier in the day – due to red flags after incidents had left debris and oil on track. Due to the rescheduling of the race it was shortened from an original 17-lap length to 11 circulations of the Imola track.
An enthralling WorldSSP300 race at the Motul Italian Round was won by Spanish rider Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) as he beat Italy’s Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) on the final lap, with Mykyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING) also on the podium.
At the end of a closely contested 11-lap race Garcia got the better of Coppola over the final corners, to win the third race of the season in this new category. Garcia beat his Italian rival to the line by just +0.177s as the pair dueled on the final lap, with Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) following them across the line.
However Sanchez was sanctioned by Race Direction after the race and was demoted to fourth, promoting Kalinin to third.
Another Italian rider Giuseppe De Gruttola (SK Racing) completed the top five having earlier been in contention for victory.
Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), Luca Bernardi (MotorZenit), Paolo Grassia (3570 Made in CIV), Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) and Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) completed the top ten.
Early championship leader Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) was never really on the pace over the weekend at Imola, starting in 21st place on the grid, and finally finishing in 11th. Deroue was the winner of the first two races at Aragon and Assen and remains at the head of the standings with a 14 point lead over Coppola.
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