The fifth round of the Superbike World Championship, held at the Imola circuit this weekend, was hit by bad weather this afternoon, which led to the cancellation of all track activities. After the rain began to fall more intensely, Race Direction decided to send the riders out for a lap in the Safety Car and then get them to line up on the grid for an evaluation of the track conditions. After consultations with the riders, the right decision was taken to cancel the second race which had initially been scheduled for 14:00 CET.
In the morning, the ten-lap Superpole sprint race took place on a dry track, and this saw a double podium for both Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders, Chaz Davies and Álvaro Bautista, who finished second and third at the flag behind Rea. While championship leader Bautista struggled to keep the pace of the Kawasaki man, Davies immediately powered into the lead from pole position, but a mistake at the Variante Bassa at the end of the opening lap dropped him down to third. Chaz then managed to pass his team-mate, setting fastest lap and the new circuit record on the way, but he was unable to close the gap separating him from Rea.
Following the Imola results, Bautista still has a firm grip on the leadership board with 263 points, 43 more than Rea, while Davies lies in sixth with 85 points. The next race in this year’s Superbike World Championship – the Spanish Round – will be held in four weeks’ time at Jerez de la Frontera from 7 to 9 June.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 2nd / –
“It’s a bit of a shame we never got the chance to do race 2 here at Imola but unfortunately in the wet this track has quite a few limits. Imola is not a normal circuit, and with these ups and downs you get a lot of standing water especially in the corners and these conditions meant that they had to cancel today’s race. It was the right decision, but I’m sorry for all the fans who stayed here in the rain all afternoon just to see us race. The positive thing is that we managed to do the sprint race, and judging by the result, it was a pity not to have been able to do the full-length second race. After a tough start to the season, I’m starting to see the light and my feeling with the Panigale V4 R is improving all the time. I go home from Imola knowing that I’ve made a lot of progress in view of the next races.”
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #19) – 3rd / –
“Unfortunately the bad weather affected the second race, and it was raining really hard. The track conditions were dangerous, with a lot of water in some parts and streams crossing the track. It was too risky for the riders and it was the right decision to cancel the race. We feel really bad about that because we know that there are a lot of Superbike fans here, but rider safety is the most important aspect. Having the support of all the Ducatisti is incredible and even though I didn’t win a race, it was one of the best weekends in my entire career because I really felt their support. For this reason, I feel a bit sorry for them, but I think they will understand the situation.”