Superbikes - Imola WSBK: Sofuoglu takes Supersport win

MAHI Racing’s Kenan Sofuoglu finally got the better of rival Yakhnich Yamaha’s Sam Lowes to claim the World Supersport victory at Imola this afternoon.

Superbikes - Imola WSBK: Sofuoglu takes Supersport win

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Imola WSBK: Sofuoglu takes Supersport win with Lowes in second

The race was initially red-flagged and after a poor re-start, Lowes found himself in tenth place, but throughout the fourteen laps was able to climb his way up the grid to second, after battling team-mate Vladimir Leonov to the second step of the podium.

Sofuoglu dominated from the start and was able to get enough distance from Leonov in the opening laps to take a comfortable win, by three seconds. It was not an easy race for Lowes, as first the Lincolnshire lad had to contend with the reigning champ’s team-mate, Fabien Foret for eighth, and was able to get the better of the Frenchman on the last chicane.

Then Lowes found himself trying to overtake fellow Brit, DMC-Lorenzini rider Kev Coghlan to go into sixth at Variante Bassa. A mistake by Pata Honda’s Michael Van der Mark while he was in third worked in Lowes’ advantage, as the young Dutchman slipped back to fifth. But the Englishman then had to contend with the other Pata Honda out on the track, and was able to battle for third with Lorenzo Zanetti. Lowes finally managed to get the better of the Italian on lap eight, coming out of Rivazza 2 and now the only rider he had in his sights was his Russian team-mate who was three seconds ahead in second.

Lowes clawed his way closer to Leonov, and with three laps to go managed to cut the gap to two seconds, and in doing so clocked a new lap record of 1’51.607, going three tenths of a second faster than the previous best lap record set by Broc Parkes last year.

On the penultimate lap Lowes decided to make a push for the second step of the podium, but had to wait for the final chicane on the last lap to make his move on Leonov to clinch a very tight second place, followed closely by his team-mate who took third overall.

Team-mates Zanetti and Van der Mark rounded off the top five, followed by Italian’s, Kawasaki Intermoto Luca Scassa, and Team Goeleven Andrea Antonelli. Suriano Racing’s Alex Baldolini and PTR Honda’s Sheridan Morais crossed the line in ninth and tenth respectively.

Rivamoto rider Jack Kennedy found himself in a battle with Foret and Morais for the majority of the race, but the Dubliner just missed out on the top ten finish, and crossed the line in thirteenth. Coghlan was having a solid race and was a high as sixth on lap four, but he crashed out while in ninth position with four laps remaining.

The race was red flagged with fourteen laps to go, when Prorace Honda rider, wild card Valentin Debise had an engine blow out at Piratella and oil ended up on the track. The race was not stopped straight away, and moments afterwards Van der Mark went wide, but MCE British Superbike racer Tommy Bridewell, who is racing this weekend for Team Lorini was not so lucky and actually fell at Piratella before the red flag made an appearance.

He was followed by fellow Brit ParkinGO MV’s Christian Iddon, who also succumbed to the oil, but his mechanics were not able to fix his bike on time for the re-start, meaning both riders had abrupt ends to their race weekends. Before the red flag Sofuoglu was leading, with Lowes in second, followed by Russo and Scassa.

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