2013 Imola World Superbike | Preview

Ducati's Carlos Checa

2013 World Superbike Championship

The 2013 World Superbike Championship heads to Italy this weekend for round seven of 15 at Imola’s Dino Ferrari Circuit.

With its 3.067-mile circuit containing 22 turns, Imola is the second Italian course (first was Monza) to challenge the 25-rider grid in the 2013 World Superbike Championship.

Holding the reigns in 2013 WSBK after six rounds (12 races) is Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli, who earned the nickname of “Master of Consistency” due to his finishes so far this season.

Guintoli, who has finished on the podium in eight of 12 races, is coming off two second-place finishes at Portimao. He currently has a 28-point advantage over the rider who took five Superpole so far this season, Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes. Guintoli has averaged 17.5 points per race, though he only won the opening race of the year at Phillip Island.

Speaking of consistency, Ducati Alstare’s Carlos Checa has won five of the last six races held on the iconic track near Bologna. The 40-year-old Spaniard, who is almost back to full fitness after the shoulder issues that have been hampering his performance since Round 2 at Aragon, will be riding an air restrictor free Ducati 1199 Panigale R, as per FIM regulations about the performance balance between twin and four-cylinder machines (article

Fond memories but no win yet at Imola for Sykes, who scored a surprising first pole position of his career in 2010 onboard the previous model of ZX-10R. With the current Ninja, Sykes has finished twice second last year, after dominating for half the race and eventually surrendered to race winner Checa.

No love lost between Imola and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), who always finished no higher than fourth and, as Sykes and former team mate Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), is back from a mixed feelings Portuguese Round. Melandri never had good results on his home track in WSBK, but he’s looking forward to a strong performance to keep himself in contention for the World Title.

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) climbed on the podium in 2011, when he crossed the line 3rd in race 2 behind winner Checa and Noriyuki Haga. The Japanese star will make a one-off return to WSBK after 20 months since his last appearance, as he will be riding a Feel Racing BMW S 1000 RR run by Team Grillini Dentalmatic.

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) has been the only rider, apart from Checa, to win a race at Imola in the last three Seasons (2011, race 1). The Ulsterman was close to get a well-deserved double win, but an electrical problem forced him to a disappointing retirement, leaving the winning spot to the Spaniard. Rea’s team mate Leon Haslam is continuing his recovery to be as fit as possible for the Italian Round, despite the still injured left leg.

Imola World Superbike on TV

beIN Sport will broadcast Imola World Superbike live from 5:30 to 10:30 a.m. EDT.

2013 World Superbike Championship Point Standings (after six of 12 rounds):
1. Sylvain Guintoli, Aprilia: 213
2. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki: 185
3. Eugene Laverty, Aprilia: 174
4. Marco Melandri, BMW: 156
5. Chaz Davies, BMW: 133
6. Loris Baz, Kawasaki: 119
7. Jonathan Rea, Honda: 105
8. Michel Fabrizio, Aprilia: 101
9. Davide Giugliano, Aprilia: 79
10. Jules Cluzel, Suzuki: 72
11. Leon Camier, Suzuki: 62
12. Max Neukirchner, Ducati: 53
13. Carlos Checa, Ducati: 50
14. Ayrton Badovini, Ducati: 45
15. Leon Haslam, Honda: 29
16. Federico Sandi, Kawasaki: 23
17. Ivan Clementi, BMW: 18
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo, BMW: 13
19. Niccolò Canepa, Ducati: 11
20. Alexander Lundh, Kawasaki: 10
21. Fabrizio Lai, Kawasaki: 8
22. Glen Allerton, BMW: 6
23. Jamie Stauffer, Honda: 4
24. Kosuke Akiyoshi, Honda: 2
25. Mark Aitchison, Ducati: 2