Series Imola test summary

Rea grabs top slot in two-day WSB test at Imola, Neukirchner injured again Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) put in a quick lap right at the end of the two-day official Superbike test to take the top slot at a sweltering Imola track in ...

Rea grabs top slot in two-day WSB test at Imola, Neukirchner injured again

Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) put in a quick lap right at the end of the two-day official Superbike test to take the top slot at a sweltering Imola track in preparation for the round here on September 27. The Northern Ireland youngster set a time of 1 minute 48.670 seconds around the 4.936 km circuit to edge out Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox), who had been quickest until then, from the top slot by two-tenths of a second. Texan Ben Spies finished third overall, the Yamaha World Superbike man not improving on his time from yesterday. Points leader and the only other WSB race winner this year Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) did not take part in the test as he is recovering for the next round at Brno.

"It's really motivational coming to a new circuit and finding your feet" declared Rea. "Our approach was a bit different than normal in that we forgot about setting up the bike and getting me up to speed first. Now we've had a lot of time on the bike the package is very strong and finally I'm happy after we went round in circles a bit at Donington. The team has put a massive effort into it, so a big thanks to them for everything. I put my fastest time in on a qualifier, but we've been consistently fast on both days, in the top 5, and I did a long-run and the tyre was pretty good so hopefully they can bring that for the race. Where we are right now is good so I'm really happy."

Max Neukirchner, back on his Alstare Suzuki for the first time since the Monza incident, high-sided at the Tamburello ninety minutes into the morning session. He was stretchered to the medical centre but a further X-ray scan at Imola hospital revealed a D12 dorsal vertebra fracture in his lower back as well as three minor cracks in the right L1, L2 and L3 lumbar vertebrae. Neukirchner will return to Germany and must remain at total rest in a plaster cast for 30 days.

Fourth place went to Ducati DFX Corse's Lorenzo Lanzi, who was perfectly at home around his local circuit, while Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike) also made progress in today's morning session to move up to fifth. John Hopkins (Stiggy Racing Honda) ran well this morning to finish sixth, but was then advised to sit out the afternoon session as his recent injuries are still not fully healed. Ruben Xaus (BMW Motorrad) made considerable progress over the two days, moving his S1000 RR up the timesheets to finish seventh overall, but team-mate Troy Corser could only manage seventeenth. Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda), Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) and Shinya Nakano (Aprilia Racing) completed the top 10, the Italian factory outfit preferring to concentrate on a major parts evaluation session rather than go for outright times.

Kenan Sofuoglu made it double Dutch delight for the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team today as he pulled off a surprise result in the Supersport test. The Turk's time of 1 minute 51.552 seconds was quick enough to knock Cal Crutchlow off the top slot after a day and a half of domination by the Yamaha World Supersport man. Ireland's Eugene Laverty was just a fraction down on the third placed Parkalgar Honda machine, while Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport) was the only man to lap in the 1'52" bracket in fourth. The rest, led by Garry McCoy (ParkinGo Triumph) and Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in fifth and sixth, were some way off the pace.

-credit: wsbk

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Series World Superbike
Drivers Garry McCoy , Andrew Pitt , Shinya Nakano , John Hopkins , Noriyuki Haga , Ruben Xaus , Ben Spies , Troy Corser , Fabien Foret , Kenan Sofuoglu , Shane Byrne , Eugene Laverty , Michel Fabrizio , Tom Sykes , Leon Haslam , Lorenzo Lanzi , Max Neukirchner , Jonathan Rea , Cal Crutchlow