Kawasaki Rea-Sykes one-two in WorldSBK Race 1 in Imola; outstanding performance by all the development solutions brought by Pirelli
In the first race of the Italian weekend, the Kawasakis finish ahead of the factory Ducati machines ridden by Melandri and Davies, followed by Forés – first of the private team riders
Defending World Champion Jonathan Rea dominates with his Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK Kawasaki ZX-10RR in Race 1 of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship held this weekend at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit in Imola, Italy.
Despite the odds in favour of the Ducati riders, who had won the last four races here with Chaz Davies, the English rider from the Akashi-based manufacturer made no mistakes on Saturday, first taking pole position and then the win and the race fast lap, thereby demonstrating that he is still the rider to beat in this championship. Finishing behind him was Tom Sykes, followed by factory Ducati riders Marco Melandri, third, and Chaz Davies, fourth, ahead of Spaniard Xavi Forés, fifth over the line and the first of the private team riders.
For Imola, Pirelli brought various development solutions, some of which had already been used in previous rounds and others which were entirely new. The rather high air and asphalt temperature allowed the riders to use the soft solutions on the rear, including the W1050 which was the most used, but the new and larger 200/65 W1002 development solution also showed signs of popularity, introduced by Pirelli for the first time ever in this round.
At the beginning of Race 1, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) started well from pole position, followed by teammate Tom Sykes and Ducati riders Marco Melandri, Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Chaz Davies, the latter slipping back to fifth position in the race after starting from the third spot on the grid.
On the second lap, a crash ended the race early for Jason O’Halloran (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), subbing for Leon Camier who is out with injuries resulting from the incident in Aragón. In the meantime, Chaz Davies was still having trouble, dropping back even farther all the way to ninth.
In the subsequent laps, the riders settled into the positions created in the early laps with Kawasaki riders Rea and Sykes leading ahead of Ducati riders Melandri, Rinaldi, Forés and Davies.
At the mid-race point, Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) relinquished fourth place to Xavi Forés (Barni Racing Team), sliding back to sixth behind Davies. At the end of the eleventh lap, the Ducati riding Welshman moved up to fourth place, just behind teammate Marco Melandri.
At the end of the nineteen race laps, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished first with a 3.7 second advantage over teammate Tom Sykes, second, and almost 7 seconds ahead of the Ducati piloted by Marco Melandri, third. Fourth place went to Chaz Davies who, until today, had won the last four races held in Imola.
WorldSBK Race 1 Standings:
1) J. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2) T. Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
3) M. Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
4) C. Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
5) X. Forés (Barni Racing Team)
6) M. Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
7) M. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team)
8 ) L. Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)
9) L. Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
10) A. Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
11) T. Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
12) E. Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
13) L. Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team)
14) J. Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
15) L. Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura)
16) J. Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
17) Y. Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing)
18) O. Jezek (Guandalini Racing)
19) R. Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki)
RT) V. Leonov (SPB Racing Team)
RT) J. O’Halloran (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
RT) P. Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team)
The Pirelli solutions chosen by the WorldSBK riders for Race 1:
In Race 1, the riders on the front rows made rather similar choices to one another, whereas in the rear guard the selection was more varied.
On the front, the soft V0952 development solution (option B), already used by the riders in 2017 at Aragón, Assen, Imola, Donington, Misano, Laguna Seca, Lausitzring, Portimão, Magny-Cours, Jerez and Losail and this year in the first four rounds, remained the favourite solution, chosen here by 15 out of the 22 riders on the grid. This option uses the same compound as the standard SC1, but has different structural solutions and it is the most used solution on the front by the riders last year and also in the first rounds of this year.
On the rear, 2/3 of the riders opted for the soft W1050 development tyre (option A), introduced by Pirelli at Aragón and also taken to Assen. This is a solution that guarantees absolute top shelf performance with respect to the other solutions, but with a greater level of wear.
The new W1002 SC0 development solution (option B)was also popular, chosen by seven riders. Using the new and larger 200/65 tyre were Marco Melandri, Lorenzo Savadori, Michael Van Der Mark, Alex Lowes, Jordi Torres, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Ondrej Jezek.
Tyres selected on the starting grid of WorldSBK Race 1
Pirelli statistics for WorldSBK Race 1:
• Winner of the PIRELLI BEST LAP Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK),in 1’46.850 at the 2nd lap
• Most used front solution: devolpment SC1 V0952 (15 out of 22 riders)
• Most used rear solution: devolpment SC0 W1050 (15 out of 22 riders)
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 280.7 km/h, achieved by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in the 17th lap
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 6 front and 7 rear
Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 80, including 41 front and 39 rear
• Air temperature: 27° C
• Asphalt temperature: 44° C