2014 Imola World Superbike Preview

2014 Imola World Superbike Preview
Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes

2014 Imola World SBK

With three rounds complete in the 2014 World Superbike Championship, the points battle up top is tight. This is due to four different riders winning in six races.

Two riders have double victories – Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli (race 2, Phillip Island; Race 1, Assen) and Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes (race 1 and 2 at Aragon).

But due to additional podium finishes, Sykes leads the series as it heads to the historic Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari of Imola for round four of 13.

This was be the 12th time that Imola has hosted the World SBK Championship. The only update to the circuit just southeast of Bologna was the addition in 2009 of a slow-speed chicane named “Nuova Variante Bassa” just before the finish line.

Sykes enters Imola SBK with 108 points. But besides the point lead, the reigning World Superbike Champion has additional incentive considering his past performances at Imola.

Last year at Imola, the Ninja ZX-10R pilot took one of three double finishes. He doubled after taking the pole position at Imola, where he also qualified on pole in 2010, which was his maiden Superpole win, and 2012.

Guintoli is second in the standings, 12 points behind Sykes and three ahead of Sykes teammate, Loris Baz. Both French riders have never won at Imola, but this can’t be said of the man fourth in the standings, 19 points behind Sykes – Pata Honda Racing’s Jonathan Rea.

The Ulsterman won race one at Imola in 2011, and has a single victory this season – race 2 at Assen two weeks ago.

These four are tight in the points up top, but the fifth-place rider is a further 20 points behind Rea – Aprilia Racing Team’s Marco Melandri. The Italian – 39 points behind Sykes – took two podiums this season, but continues to seek his maiden 2014 SBK victory aboard the Aprilia RSV4.

Rounding out the top 10 in points are the Ducati Superbike Team duo of David Giugliano (59 points) and Chaz Davies (47), the other winner so far, Aprilia Racing Team’s Eugene Laverty (46), Pata Honda Racing’s Leon Haslam (44) and Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes (36).

Laverty suffered a double DNF at Assen, which dropped him drastically back in points.

In the EVO class, the top rider so far this season is Althea Racing Team Ducati’s Niccolo Canepa. He will have some fights, though, from Kawasaki Racing Team’s David Salom, who will ride with an injured hand, BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team’s Leon Camier, who is riding for the injured Sylvain Barrier.

There will also be one wildcard racer at Imola World Superbike – current Italian Superbike champion Ivan Goi, who will pilot a Barni Racing Team’s EVO-spec 1199 Panigale R.

Team Hero EBR with Americans Geoff May and Aaron Yates will race with an upgraded 1190RX, with Bimota Alstare and MV Agusta looking for solid results as the action resumes.

2014 Imola World Superbike on TV:

beIN will provide  television coverage of Imola World Superbike. Superpole will be broadcast from 10 – 11 p.m. ET Saturday, May 10, and race coverage begins at 6 a.m. Sunday, May 11. Race 1 will be delayed, but race 2 will be live.

2014 World Superbike Point Standings (after 4 of 13 rounds):

1.     T. SYKES     KAWASAKI     108

2.     S. GUINTOLI     APRILIA     96

3.     L. BAZ     KAWASAKI     93

4.     J. REA     HONDA     89

5.     M. MELANDRI     APRILIA     69

6.     D. GIUGLIANO     DUCATI     59

7.     C. DAVIES     DUCATI     47

8.     E. LAVERTY     SUZUKI     46

9.     L. HASLAM     HONDA     44

10.     A. LOWES     SUZUKI     36

11.     T. ELIAS     APRILIA     34

12.     N. CANEPA     DUCATI     28

13.     D. SALOM     KAWASAKI     27

14.     L. SCASSA     KAWASAKI     11

15.     L. CAMIER     BMW     11

16.     S. MORAIS     KAWASAKI     10

17.     F. FORET     KAWASAKI     9

18.     G. ALLERTON     BMW     6

19.     K. BOS     HONDA     5

20.     C. CORTI     MV AGUSTA     5

21.     J. GUARNONI     KAWASAKI     5

22.     M. FABRIZIO     KAWASAKI     2