Pata Honda’s Lorenzo Zanetti took his first World Supersport race victory at Imola, beating teammate Michael van der Mark by two seconds at the checkers. Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres’ Florian Marino rounded out the podium.
Zanetti started from second on the grid behind pole-sitter Jules Cluzel of MV Agusta RC-Yakhnich. Cluzel maintained the front through the opening lap with MAHI Team Racing India’s Kenan Sofuoglu and Zanetti trailing in second and third, respectively. Positions shuffled through subsequent laps and mid-race Cluzel ran off into the gravel, dropping well behind in the ranks and allowing Sofuoglu to take the lead. Cluzel later cited excessive rear tire wear as contributing to his difficulties.
Prior to Sunday’s race Sofuoglu’s motorcycle was determined to be 200-grams underweight, which resulted in a penalty that dropped him from the first to second-row. His troubles continued during the race thanks to a technical issue, which forced the 2012 Supersport champion to retire while in the lead.
“Yesterday we had a problem after qualifying because my bike was 200 grams underweight, so I had to start from the second row,” explained Sofuoglu. “Anyway, I had just one goal today in the race, take the lead and go away from the rest. We did a very good job with that and took a good lead. I was relaxed with that and I was not pushing. Finally, after about Lap 14 the bike did not go forward anymore and I heard later it was a clutch issue. I am so sad because we have always got the possibility to win the race but something happens and we are out.”
Zanetti took over the front once Sofuoglu dropped out and from there held to the checkers.
“It’s been an amazing weekend and it’s fantastic to win at my home race,” said Zanetti. “I don’t have many words, but I want to thank everybody for all their work. I thought from Friday that I might be able to win, but I was under a lot of pressure for the race because it was my home race, and the sponsors’ home race! I was able to stay with Kenan [Sofuoglu] but after he pulled in I won the race and I want to dedicate the victory to Andrea Antonelli. This is for him.”
Marino’s teammate, American rider PJ Jacobsen, scored his best result to-date in World Supersport, finishing fourth at Imola. Team Go Eleven’s Roberto Rolfo finished fifth ahead of VFT Racing’s Fabio Menghi in sixth and Team Lorini’s Marco Bussolotti in seventh.
Van der Mark and Marino now share the championship points lead at 65, followed by Zanetti in third 16 points back.
World Supersport Imola Results 2014
1. Lorenzo Zanetti (Honda)
2. Michael van der Mark (Honda)
3. Florian Marino (Kawasaki)
4. Patrick Jacobsen (Kawasaki)
5. Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki)
6. Fabio Menghi (Yamaha)
7. Marco Bussolotti (Honda)
8. Riccardo Russo (Honda)
9. Kevin Wahr (Yamaha)
10. Alessandro Nocco (Kawasaki)
11. Jack Kennedy (Honda)
12. Raffaele De Rosa (Honda)
13. Christian Gamarino (Kawasaki)
14. Tony Covena (Kawasaki)
15. Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta)
16. Frasier Rogers (Honda)
17. Nacho Calero (Honda)
World Supersport Championship Points 2014
1. Michael van der Mark, 65
2. Florian Marino, 65
3. Lorenzo Zanetti, 49
4. Kev Coughlan, 44
5. Jules Cluzel, 42
6. Raffaele De Rosa, 38
7. Roberto Rolfo, 30
8. Roberto Tamburini, 29
9. Kenan Sofuoglu, 25
10. Kevin Wahr, 23