The new electronics that Jonathan Rea’s Castrol Honda is sporting, may have helped him in today’s race 1 at Imola, but it was all the Northern Irishman’s talent and determination that let him keep a faster and reborn Noriyuki Haga at bay for almost half of the race and let him take and emotional win, his second this season (Assen race 1) after so many injuries.
Rea took the lead from Tom Sykes on lap five, but the Castrol Honda rider would almost meet his match when the Samurai of Slide began a hard charge to the front after being bumped back to fifth in a contact with Skyes at the first turn. Haga would set the fastest laps in the race (1′47″960) as he started to reel in Rea and finally caught him on the 14th lap, but Imola is a difficult track to find places to overtake and they would take the race to the finish line one directly behind the other.
Carlos Checa struggled in the open laps and was lying in a distant fourth behind Sykes, but he upped his pace in the second half of the race to stay on Sykes tail. The Kawasaki rider managed to keep the Spaniard behind him riding in defense mode until the final lap when the Althea Ducati rider tucked in and went past the Kawasaki rider.
Eugene Laverty grabbed a lonely fifth after shaking off the attentions of several riders for most the race. Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz took the Effenbert Liberty team to sixth and seventh, leaving Marco Melandri struggling throughout the 21 lap race to take 8th. Ayrton Badovini was the highest finishing BMW rider with his 9th spot (Leon Haslam crashed out while he was riding in 6th) and Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz completed the top ten.
WSBK Imola Race 1 results
01- Jonathan Rea – Castrol Honda – Honda CBR 1000RR – 21 laps in 38’03.396
02- Noriyuki Haga – Pata Racing Team Aprilia – Aprilia RSV4 Factory – + 0.111
03- Carlos Checa – Althea Racing – Ducati 1198 – + 9.449
04- Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team – Kawasaki ZX-10R – + 9.792
05- Eugene Laverty – Yamaha World Superbike Team – Yamaha YZF R1 – + 14.699
06- Sylvain Guintoli – Team Effenbert Liberty Racing – Ducati 1198 – + 16.820
07- Jakub Smrz – Team Effenbert Liberty Racing – Ducati 1198 – + 24.227
08- Marco Melandri – Yamaha World Superbike Team – Yamaha YZF R1 – + 24.935
09- Ayrton Badovini – BMW Motorrad Italia – BMW S1000RR – + 25.224
10- Joan Lascorz – Kawasaki Racing Team – Kawasaki ZX-10R – + 25.487
11- Mark Aitchison – Team Pedercini – Kawasaki ZX-10R – + 26.148
12- Troy Corser – BMW Motorrad Motorsport – BMW S1000RR – + 26.444
13- Federico Sandi – Althea Racing – Ducati 1198 – + 29.761
14- Alex Polita – Barni Racing Team – Ducati 1198 – + 30.083
15- Leon Camier – Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team – Aprilia RSV4 Factory – + 34.862
16- Matteo Baiocco – Barni Racing Team – Ducati 1198 – + 40.331
17- Ruben Xaus – Castrol Honda – Honda CBR 1000RR – + 44.547
18- Roberto Rolfo – Team Pedercini – Kawasaki ZX-10R – + 50.241