News 28 Sep 2009

WSBK: Rea maintains fourth for Honda after tough Imola


Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) was unable to capitalize on his third place qualifying position at Imola after crashing and restarting last early in race one and then fighting some issues under braking in race two.

In the first 21-lap race of the day, front row qualifier Rea was running with the leaders before he ran on at the entrance to the Rivazza corners, only just missing his rivals as he took to the grass. He toppled over as he hit the safety fence, but got going again to finish a remarkable seventh – having been absolutely last after his fall.

Top finisher in the first race for Honda was Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) who went from 14th on the grid to fifth place as he passed Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) on the very last chicane and held his position across the line. Haslam had qualified tenth on the grid, just missing the final Superpole session for the top eight riders. He went eighth in race two, after changing his tyre choice.

In race two Rea’s sixth place was the best result for a Honda rider, and kept him fourth in the championship, which moves to Magny-Cours next weekend. Rea now has 263 points, with Noriyuki Haga leading again on 391, largely thanks to a race one win; Ben Spies is on 388 and Michel Fabrizio on 330. Fabrizio won race two, from Haga and WSB wildcard rider, Marco Simoncelli.

Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) fell in the first race, but recovered to post a top ten in race two. Kiyonari fell in race two, losing the front around the Tosa corner.

Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea CBR1000RR) had a front end crash in race one, and then had to pull in during race two, suffering from flu-like symptoms.

All the Superbike riders at Imola only got three session of practice before Superpole, as the track was so slippery on Friday for the first planned session that it was cancelled, and the track had to be cleaned before the action could restart.


Jonathan Rea: “It’s been a disappointing day, as I felt we were in good shape for a win here. At the start of race one, the pace seemed quite slow and as I drew alongside Fabrizio to line him up for a pass he must have hit a curb or something. He sat up suddenly and pushed me wide, and I had to run straight into the gravel. Race two was not so good. I got a bad start and it turned into a bit of a dogfight, with people chopping me off and letting the brakes go again when I’d passed them. I made a few mistakes after that, but something also happened with the brakes, which had a bad vibration and the power was inconsistent. I had my heart set on a win but the results aren’t the end of the world. I’ve been fast here and the package was good.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari: “Race one was very positive for me and it felt really good to be doing quick lap times a the end of the race, as well as at the beginning. Fifth was a good result for me from where I started on the grid, in 14th place. In race two, I think I got a little bit too excited. I could see Ben Spies at the back of the leading group and I pushed a little too hard trying to catch him. If I had finished where I should have finished race two, it would have been a really positive weekend.”

Leon Haslam: “Yes, it was hard work out there today. The set-up was better in race two but we went with the wrong tyre for the second race, my decision because the temperature had gone up. Plus Johnny put me across the grass about four times, and that cost us a lot of time. If we had worked together we could have got up to the back of the group that actually got to the podium. Eighth in race two was not the best of results, but sixth on race one was better. We have had a few issues this weekend, but we have overcome them and we were running as fast as the leaders in the mid-part of one race. All-in-all, we improved over the weekend.”

Carlos Checa: “The crash in race one came after a few problems on that corner, but we used a different front tyre and maybe that was the problem. Race two was better that the first, of course, but I struggled in the chicanes, the set up wasn’t quite right and I just struggled to find a way to go faster. My riding was not fluid and I couldn’t get on the pace. There were some positives from the weekend, however, and we will put these together with the good results from Brno and Nürburgring and take a better feeling to Magny-Cours next weekend.”

Matthieu Lagrive: “In the first race I cannot understand what happened, but I lost my front wheel in a curve and I was forced to end my race on the gravel. In race two starting from the middle of the race I start to feel dizzy and also a strong headache. It was too dangerous to continue race in those conditions. Now I have a
high temperature and I hope Clinica Mobile will be able to help me to recover very quickly to allow me to race in Magny-Cours next Sunday.”