2012 World Superbike The 2012 World Superbike Championship continues this weekend at Imola, a track that pleased Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea last season.
Rea took the race-1 win at the Italian circuit last year, though he suffered a DNF in race 2. Regardless, it was one of Rea’s best performances aboard the Honda World Superbike CBR1000RR, which was equipped with a series-sanctioned Ride-by-Wire for the first time.At the season opener in Phillip Island, Rea scored seventh and fourth, narrowly missing out on a podium finish in race two. But Rea will be looking to grab the podium at Imola, the first of three Italian races on the 14-round World Superbike Championship (Monza, Misano).Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike CBR1000RR) says: "I can’t tell you how excited I am at the prospect of riding my bike again this weekend," said Jonathan in the build up to round two. "It seems like a lifetime since the opening round in Phillip Island so I’m raring to go again at Imola. I love racing in Italy – the food, the culture, everything about it is special – and Imola has some pretty special memories for me, especially winning last year after a long injury lay-off. "That was the first time we rolled out on the ride-by-wire system last year and we’ve done a lot of work on it since then, so it’ll be really interesting to benchmark where we are against our performance last season. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of research since Phillip Island and I’m looking forward to putting what I’ve learned into practice this weekend."A for Rea’s teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, the former MotoGP rider will have the task of learning Imola, the first of seven new circuits that the 30-year-old Japanese ace must learn in his debut SBK season. After a steady build-up to qualifying in Australia, Aoyama showed his true racing spirit by taking two solid top-ten finishes after starting from 16th place on the Phillip Island grid.Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike CBR1000RR) says: "Of course, Imola is a new circuit for me but I am looking forward to riding there very much. I have looked at a lot of videos from Formula 1 and World Superbike races and I can see a lot of very fast corners. "It looks like a great track to ride on and with all its history it will be a very special weekend for me. I learned a lot about the championship in the first round at Phillip Island and I know now that the gap from the front is not so great and a small improvement can give you a big jump forward. I still have a lot to learn with the bike and the tyres, but the team was working very well at Phillip Island and we made some good progress. I hope to continue that at Imola this weekend."