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."