Both riders reach Round 5 in touching distance of making history
It was a bright weekend at Assen for the Kawasaki Racing Team: two wins, a first one-two of the season, a new lead of both the manufacturers and team standings, and an increased gap for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) over all his immediate pursuers. The KRTs now head into Ducati’s homeland, however, with the Panigales hot on their tails.
Imola weekend is always special, but the KRT riders will head into Round 5 of the championship with a little extra motivation, as both are within touching distance of making history. For MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship leader Rea, the Italian Round will be his first attempt at tying Carl Fogarty for the most race wins in WorldSBK history. Rea is two away from Foggy’s record of 59, and is not a stranger to dominating Imola weekends: the Northern Irishman took the Double here in both 2014 and 2015.
Wins have eluded Rea here in recent years however, with four consecutive second places in 2016 and 2017. But Rea is rested and ready to revert the trend: “It’s been good to be at home and recharge the batteries after our recent back to back races, and then a test in Brno. I’m feeling good ahead of the Imola weekend. It’s a track that has a fun and challenging layout. It’s also been a circuit where we have just lacked that last piece of the jigsaw in recent years so it would be great to try to improve on our most recent Imola form. It’s such a picturesque circuit, and steeped in history, that’s it’s impossible not to enjoy riding there - especially in front of the Italian fans for the first time in 2018. We will be targeting race wins, let’s see if we can do it!”.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will have his fourth attempt at beating Troy Corser’s Tissot Superpole record, having been tied with the Australian at 43 poles since Phillip Island. Sykes took pole at Imola in 2010, 2012 and 2013 (where he also recorded a Double, his two wins here).
The Brit comes off his first win of 2018, just the boost he needed to get his season on track: “It’s always a pleasure to go to Imola as it has a good track layout and great fans. I always enjoy myself on Wednesday, thanks to the Italian food and café culture. The easiest way to describe the feeling after my race win at Assen is that normally a win means a celebration, but this time it was a relief. It was also a gentle reminder that I was world champion for a reason. It has given me some self-confidence back. Since then I have been working well and we are starting to get back on the right track. We have had race-winning levels of pace this year but also some bad luck at times. On track at Imola we will work hard with the bike and try to win again.”
Find out how the two riders fare at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo d Dino Ferrari di Imola, with all the best content available on the WorldSBK VideoPass.