Giugliano got a great start from pole position in the first race, heading the pack through the opening turns as Rea and Sykes and Ducati’s Chaz Davies gave chase. Giugliano put a few bike lengths between himself and the rest of the field during the early going, but soon Rea, Sykes and Davies had closed up. Aprilia’s Leon Haslam did his best to stay connected to the lead group in fifth, but was unable to match the pace of the front-runners.
Positions shifted among the top four as Sykes pushed ahead of Rea for second-place with a quick, aggressive pass. A few laps later Davies got ahead of Rea as well for third-place. Davies would only hold podium position for a short period however, as a mechanical issue arose just a few turns later which forced him to stand the bike up and ultimately exit the race.
Giugliano maintained his position out front, but with 11 laps remaining Sykes was able to pass the Ducati for the lead. Giugliano’s dominance appeared to be waning during the second half of the race while Rea’s pace was getting stronger. Then, elsewhere on the track, Team Pedercini Kawasaki pilot David Salom suffered an off which forced officials to red-flag the race. Salom suffered damage to his left radius and was carried off track on a stretcher. Riders headed back to the garages as track marshals made sure the circuit was clear of debris.
The race was restarted with six laps remaining. Sykes focused on regaining the lead he had before the race was stopped and flew off the line to the front. Rea followed with Giugliano trailing in third. Haslam slotted into fourth while Pata Honda’s Sylvain Guintoli grabbed fifth. The restart was particularly good for Guintoli, who had battled back from 15th on the grid at the start to inside the top-10 by the red-flag. He would hold to fifth to the checkers.
On the second lap after the restart, Sykes had a slight wobble which allowed Rea to pounce. From there Rea would hold position to the checkers. Sykes pushed hard to regain position, setting a new lap record during the latter stages even, but it wasn’t enough to keep Rea from the top-step.
Haslam would cross the line in fourth ahead of Guintoli while BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini claimed sixth. BARNI Racing’s Leandro Mercado finished seventh followed by Althea Racing’s Matteo Baiocco in eighth and Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark in ninth.
World Superbike Imola Race 1 Results 2015
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki)
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
3. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
4. Leon Haslam (Aprilia)
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Honda)
6. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
7. Leandro Mercado (Ducati)
8. Matteo Baiocco (Ducati)
9. Michael van der Mark (Honda)
10. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)
11. Roman Ramos (Kawasaki)
12. Alex Lowes (Suzuki)
13. Santiago Barragan (Kawasaki)
14. Christophe Ponsson (Kawasaki)
15. Imre Toth (BMW)
16. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW)
Rea and Sykes shot off the line in Race 2, taking the top two positions in the initial turns. Giugliano was third followed by Davies in fourth and Haslam in fifth. Further back, Guintoli was unable to complete the first lap as he crashed out of competition in Turn 11. It would be the first of a number of crashes/retirements from the race which saw only 13 riders make it to the checkers.
Rea and Sykes kept close and put a bit of space between themselves and the Ducati duo. Davies got ahead of Giugliano for third in the initial stages and then running order remained steady with Rea, Sykes, Davies and Giugliano through four. Behind, Torres and Van der Mark were making headway, getting to fifth and sixth, respectively, ahead of Haslam. With 11 laps remaining, Haslam made a move to regain position on the Honda rider and the pass sent Van der Mark wide, resulting in an off-track excursion and crash for VDM. A few turns later Haslam would suffer a big high side on Turn 3 which would end his day as well.
Rea continued to lead and started stretching away from Sykes, growing his advantage to more than four seconds during the second half of the race.
“It has been incredible this weekend and I do not know what to say because this kind of run has never happened to me before,” said Rea. “I am just enjoying the moment. The key to the weekend was working hard with Pere and Paolo Friday and Saturday to make sure we had a package we could fight with. I was honestly a little bit worried about the six lap first race because we were not really set up to be so strong in the beginning of the race but we were able to win. In race two I watched the gap behind and Arturo was giving me great signals from pit lane. When the gap got to one second I thought ‘keep going and no mistakes’.”
Davies held in third while Giugliano was caught and passed by Torres for fourth with eight laps remaining. Three laps later, Davies would get hit with more mechanical issues, forcing him to pull off track and out of the race. Torres moved to third after Davies pulled out and held there to the checkers.
Giugliano finished in fourth followed by Badovini in fifth. Baiocco took sixth followed by Team Go Eleven’s Roman Ramos in seventh. Mercado finished in eighth with Fabrizio trailing in ninth and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes in 10th.
With Rea’s two top points contenders suffering terrible days at Imola, the Kawasaki ace’s advantage in the championship tally now sits at 87 points. Haslam holds to second-place overall followed by Sykes in third and Davies in fourth.
World Superbike Imola Race 2 Resuilts 2015
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki)
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
3. Jordi Torres (Aprilia)
4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
5. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
6. Matteo Baiocco (Ducati)
7. Roman Ramos (Kawasaki)
8. Leandro Mercado (Ducati)
9. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)
10. Alex Lowes (Suzuki)
11. Santiago Barragan (Kawasaki)
12. Imre Toth (BMW)
13. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW)
World Superbike Championship Points 2015
1. Jonathan Rea, 240
2. Leon Haslam, 153
3. Tom Sykes, 128
4. Chaz Davies, 123
5. Jordi Torres, 99
6. Sylvain Guintoli, 76
7. Michael van der Mark, 67
8. Matteo Baiocco, 66
9. Leandro Mercado, 62
10. Alex Lowes, 51