SBKItalySeptember 25, 2011
World Superbike and World Supersport 2011
Round 11 Imola – Italy

Joy Then Bad Luck for Rea at Glorious Imola

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) rode to a superb victory in race one at Imola in front of 78,000 sun-kissed fans before he had to endure the disappointment of having to retire from a winning position in race two, when his machine’s battery connector broke and started switching his machine off and on. Championship leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) won race two and only missed out on clinching the championship by three points, with two rounds left to run.

Jonathan Rea Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea

Rea’s race one win came at the first time of asking for his Honda CBR1000RR’s new ride-by-wire throttle system, which Rea had used to such great effect from day one at a largely resurfaced and consistently warm and dry Imola. Starting from second place on the grid in each 21-lap race, Rea (who had headed up the timesheets on day one) had to ride hard to hold off the advancing Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) in race one, with Checa nine seconds behind.

This was Jonathan’s second win of the season, which has been beset by frequent and painful injury for a time, and he moved back up to 11th in the overall rankings, despite his race two DNF.

Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) missed out on Superpole qualifying and thus had much hard work to do in the two races, fighting in the pack and finishing race one 17th and an improved 11th in race two. Starting from 20th place on the grid, he took five points in the second leg today and is 16th overall.

Foret Wins From Lowes On Day Of Championship Drama

Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) got himself back into the championship fight at Imola with a gutsy ride through the field that was eventually rewarded with his first win of the year, and a return to second place in the championship.

In front of a large weekend crowd at the classic Imola circuit he was followed home at close quarters by Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda), who was only 0.166 seconds behind after 19 intense laps. Foret took a new lap record of 1m, 52.059s, on lap 11, when he had clear track in front of him. Even more importantly he is now a reduced 35 points behind championship leader Chaz Davies (Yamaha), with a possible 50 points up for grabs at the final two rounds. Davies led the race all the way, but his machine failed on lap 15, when Foret was still in fourth place.

Lowes took the lead when Davies retired, but he could not hold back the remarkable pace of Foret, although he continued to try and pass the French rider even at the final chicane. Lowes is fifth in the championship standings, 11 points from fourth, with two points scoring rounds remaining.

Third place at Imola went to Broc Parkes (Kawasaki), but young Frenchman Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) posted a great result to take fourth, his best career performance so far. It brought him back into the top eight places overall, after holding second for much of the race.

James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) overcame some challenging periods in qualifying to go from 15th on the grid to sixth, although he was unable to fight for the podium place of second he had earned at the previous round in Germany.

Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) was another finding his feet on raceday, coming back from 19th on the grid to an equal best of eighth in the race, his third eighth place this year. He is 13th overall, one place behind the luckless Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) who once more scored no points after such a strong early season run of form.

Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) was a faller on the very last lap, dropping from a podium finish to an eventual 11th, having picked up his bike and restarted. Having lost time in qualifying after a crash early on Friday, Rea was ninth off the grid and is now also ninth in the championship standings.

Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was 12th and one of six Honda riders who filled 11th to 16th places.

Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) and Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Honda) no scored today but Imre Toth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) took the last point on offer, in 15th place.

No fewer than 11 riders failed to finish, including Championship leader Davies, who now has 171 points to Foret’s 136. Two rounds remain, the next at Magny Cours next weekend, with race day on Sunday October 2.

Ruben Xaus Fabien Foret

Ruben Xaus

Fabien Foret

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda)
Race result: 1st / DNF Championship position: 11th

“The pace in the beginning was not as fast as I expected it to be, so I tried to go to the front and made a gap. I was getting good signals and I could see that Nori was coming strong, but with this new system we are using a lot of the tyres so all my energy was put into keeping the bike going forward. We made a big change for the first race. I want to thank all my team family and fans for the support. We’ve come a long way and I’m not going to get wrapped up in the negative of race two. What happened was a failure of a one-Euro battery connector so in my heart I know we had two really good races today. The biggest result was the continued development of the new electronics system, so I can’t thank the team enough for the faith they’ve shown in me to keep pushing with that development.”

Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda)
Race result: 17th / 11th Championship position: 16th

“It’s been a hard weekend for me after two months off the bike and trying to develop the new electronics, which I believe will be very strong, at the test last week and then here. Of course, there have been some difficult moments, seeing Johnny (Rea) getting good results while I have struggled, but I have tried to be professional and keep trying as hard as I can. We changed something for race two to improve the engine braking and the lap times were much better. My race time improved by around 15 seconds in the second race, which doesn’t sound much, but it’s a big improvement. I’m looking forward to making some more progress at Magny-Cours next weekend.”

Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
Race result: 6th Championship position: 3rd

“Finally I got to hear my own national anthem and it has been a long time coming. I want to thank the boys because I had some issues with my settings this weekend, but then we changed the bike for the warm-up and we had a different bike for the race. It took some time to find the feeling on the bike, but it worked out well and I am pretty happy. The championship is still open and I will look forward to the French weekend. Right now I just want to enjoy the win.”

Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda)
Race result: 2nd Championship position: 5th

“It has been a difficult weekend for me because I had a few problems, but the team did a fantastic job last night and the bike improved a lot for this morning. I knew I had to make a good start to stand a chance and I didn’t do it, but then I just got into the battle. Chaz obviously had a bike issue and in fairness he lost out today and I was lucky to get a second place. Fabien rode fantastically to come through and I could not quite stay with him right at the end.”

James Ellison (Bogdanka Honda)
Race result: 6th Championship position: 7th

“We’ll take that although we came here on a high from Germany and you always think that you can take that podium result into the next round, but a different circuit and different tarmac, it throws a lot of things into the equation. The bike did not feel nice to me all weekend although we got it to feel the best it has ever felt in the race there. But starting that far back means you have to work hard to try and get past everybody.”

Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
Race result: 9th Championship position: 12th

“A good race for me and before the start I just wanted to stay near the front. Finally it was OK, I pushed at the start and made some good laps and found my rhythm. I made a mistake and lost some time and I think I missed the podium for that. I am happy to have got back my feeling and speed and I thank my team for the good work they have done. It is good for my mind to get a good result.”

Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda)
Race result: DNF Championship position: 9th

“Not sure why I went down because I was having to override and push 110% in every corner anyway, but on the last lap the two in front had a little bit too much of a gap to close in anyway. I pushed no harder than any other lap. I was trying to get good drive up the hill anyway and let off the brakes, on the side of the tyre, and lost he front. It’s a disappointing way to finish a tough weekend, but I want to take the positives out of it. To come from where we were on Friday to run with the top Hondas, I just feel sorry for the team who have worked really hard this weekend.”

Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda)
Race result: 8th Championship position: 13th

“My race result was a lot better than qualifying, when I was 19th, so I think from now on I will just fly in on Saturdays and forget the practice sessions! It was a great race and big thanks to my crew because we made a big change from warm-up to the race and definitely something was not working yesterday. I think the new tarmac was hard for us to understand, definitely me in the riding too. The bike was much better and I was riding a bit better so we ended up equalling our best result of the year so far.”

Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Honda)
Race result: DNF Championship position: 12th

“This morning we had a short warm up session and we couldn’t point out the problem. I felt I at the start already that something was wrong. I couldn’t get of my start place and halfway the first lap my clutch acted very strange. I couldn’t drive out of the corners and on the straight my bike didn’t want to go forward anymore. I didn’t want risk anything and I came into pit. It’s been a hard weekend and I hope we have result in Magny-Cours next weekend.”

World Superbike and World Supersport 2011
Round 11 Imola – Italy

Superbike Race 1
1 J. REA / GBR / Castrol Honda
2 N. HAGA / JPN / PATA Racing Team Aprilia
3 C. CHECA / ESP / Althea Racing
4 T. SYKES / GBR / Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike
5 E. LAVERTY / IRL / Yamaha World Superbike Team
6 S. GUINTOLI / FRA / Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing
7 J. SMRZ / CZE / Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing
8 M. MELANDRI / ITA / Yamaha World Superbike Team
9 A. BADOVINI / ITA / BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
10 J. LASCORZ / ESP / Kawasaki Racing Team
11 M. AITCHISON / AUS / Team Pedercini
12 T. CORSER / AUS / BMW Motorrad Motorsport
13 F. SANDI / ITA / Althea Racing
14 A. POLITA / ITA / Barni Racing Team S.N.C.
15 L. CAMIER / GBR / Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea
Superbike Race 2
1 C. CHECA / ESP / Althea Racing
2 N. HAGA / JPN / PATA Racing Team Aprilia
3 L. CAMIER / GBR / Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
4 E. LAVERTY / IRL / Yamaha World Superbike Team
5 L. HASLAM / GBR / BMW Motorrad Motorsport
6 M. MELANDRI / ITA / Yamaha World Superbike Team
7 S. GUINTOLI / FRA / Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing
8 J. LASCORZ / ESP / Kawasaki Racing Team
9 M. AITCHISON / AUS / Team Pedercini
10 A. BADOVINI / ITA / BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
11 R. XAUS / ESP / Castrol Honda
12 F. SANDI / ITA / Althea Racing
13 M. BERGER / FRA / Supersonic Racing Team
14 J. FORES / ESP / BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
1 F. FORET / FRA / Hannspree Ten Kate Honda
2 S. LOWES / GBR / Parkalgar Honda
3 B. PARKES / AUS / Kawasaki
4 F. MARINO / FRA / Hannspree Ten Kate Honda
5 D. SALOM / ESP / Kawasaki
6 J. ELLISON / GBR / Bogdanka PTR Honda
7 V. IANNUZZO / ITA / Lorenzini by Leoni
8 M. PRAIA / POR / Parkalgar Honda
9 S. CRUCIANI / ITA / Puccetti R. Kawasaki Italia
10 D. DELL'OMO / ITA / Suriano Racing Team
11 G. REA / GBR / Step Racing Team
12 P. SZKOPEK / POL / Bogdanka PTR Honda
13 P. VOSTA´REK / CZE / Prorace
14 O. JEZEK / CZE / SMS Racing
15 I. TOTH / HUN / Team Hungary Toth
Related Links
· SBK - FIM World Superbike Championship and World Supersport Championship
· Italy

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