2015 Imola World Superbike Press Release Previews

Preview press releases from the teams and the series organizer ahead of this weekend's Imola round of World Superbikes:

Imola A Happy Hunting Ground For Both Sykes And Rea

For KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes the prospect of heading to Imola for the fifth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship this coming weekend brings back memories of recent race success at the Italian parkland venue.

Sykes took his 2013 spec Ninja ZX-10R to a double win at Imola in the same year he won the championship outright while Rea has three Imola race victories in total. His Imola wins last season formed a double that meant he took over the championship lead for a period.

Rea is the convincing championship leader right now, having won six races out of eight starts on his Ninja ZX-10R and finishing second in the other two. His current total of 190 points is only ten from a perfect beginning to his Kawasaki career and his next closest challenger is some 50 points adrift already. Jonathan is tied as the second most successful winning rider in terms of WSB race victories at Imola, thanks to his three previous successes.

For Sykes, well versed in the ways of the previous spec of WSB Ninja ZX-10R, the recent change in the technical regulations has made the 2015 early season more challenging than in most recent years. Showing his typical grit and determination he has still scored two podiums already and bounced back from a crash at Motorland Aragon that was not of his own making.

Tom is fourth in the championship after four rounds. With nine rounds and 18 races still to go, including Imola, he has lots of opportunities to make up points on those ahead of him.

Right now Sykes has 22 career race wins in WSB and Rea took his total to 21 after his recent double win at Assen.

After the completely flat Assen circuit that the KRT riders experienced at the previous round, Imola provides an undulating layout, with chicanes added over the years since its first use as a permanent racetrack in the 1950s.

Imola begins a rhythmical run of four European-based meetings that will occur on alternate weekends - Imola May 10th, Donington May 24th, Portimao June 7th and Misano June 21st.

Jonathan Rea: “I am looking forward to Imola because it is a track I really enjoy; a really technical track. It requires a lot of thought to be put into the lap and there are many areas where you can make up time by using quite different techniques, especially in the Piratella and Acque Minerali sections. I enjoy going to Italy in general and it is good to go somewhere where I went really well last year and in the past. It is the first time in Italy this year and I am just excited to go there. I have not been working with my crew chief Pere Riba for that long but we have a really good understanding of each other. We will be working through a few plans this weekend to make sure are strong for the next few races. It is going to be another tough weekend because Imola always provides some good racing.”

Tom Sykes: “I do not look at Imola any differently from any other circuit just because we have had some success there in the past, but for whatever reason we have had some good results there, even on the previous model of Ninja ZX-10R. I have two main limitations on the bike right now but when we cross those bridges I feel confident that I will be back to myself. And back to where we have been in the past three years, which is challenging and at the sharp end of the timing sheets. I am going to Imola like always, expecting to be fighting. I just want a package that lets me challenge the other guys at the end of the race. We have not had that yet but it is something we have had in the past and I do believe we are knocking on the door now, gradually getting that balance right for me now. I am hoping that this weekend, in front of a really fantastic and enthusiastic Italian crowd, we can hit the nail on the head. That is what I am gunning for.”

Guim Roda, Team Manager KRT: "We arrive at the fifth round in Imola with our two riders going through a strong period and the Ninja ZX-10R is on a very good level to fight for victory this weekend. Rea has demonstrated his style and motivation, and for sure his talent has adapted quite well to the ZX-10R under the new rules and inside a new team. The year will be hard, so we cannot allow any distractions because Ducati and Aprilia are working hard and Suzuki and Honda have still not said their last word. Tom didn’t start the season in a lucky way but from the Australian race, on a track we all know is not his best, he had a direction to go in to adapt to the new engine and bike strategy dictated by the 2015 rules. Even in Motorland, when he crashed trying to pass Leon Haslam, it was because a technical problem. We thought it was his first mistake in three and a half years in a race but no, it was a problem with a part of cooling system that made water go on the rear tyre. We really expect a big and very nice fight at Imola with Tom and Jonathan. We hope we can make our own show a small distance from all the other manufactures, so let’s see.”

Other top Kawasaki entries at Imola include David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) with the 2014 SBK Evo Champion currently 14th in the championship, one place and 10 points ahead of his fellow Spaniard Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki).

Team Althea Racing heads to Imola for the first of two Italian rounds in the 2015 Superbike World Championship.

Team Althea Racing travels to the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' circuit in Imola, after a season-start that has seen continual growth for the squad. The team will strive to bring home some important results in front of the Italian crowd, which should be strong considering the track’s proximity to the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale.

The team is forced to do without Nico Terol this coming weekend, as he continues to recuperate after his accident at Assen on 19 April which left him with a fractured right radius. The Spaniard, as already announced, will be substituted by Michel Fabrizio, who has previously won at this historic track, in 2009 on board the Ducati. The Roman rider will get on the 2015 Panigale R with the aim of completing two great races and confirming his talent, having already achieved a lot of success during his career.

Michel Fabrizio: “I’m pleased to be able to race at a track at which I’ve won in the past and I’m proud to be a part - even if only for one race – of a team that has already achieved so much success, as well as a world title. Together with the team, that has so much experience and the will to win, I know that I’ll be able to complete two good races, finally having the highest quality materials and bike at my disposal. I only have to concentrate on twisting the throttle. I want to thank Genesio Bevilacqua who has shown how much faith he has in me.”

Matteo Baiocco must meanwhile demonstrate that the constant progress seen up to the Thai round can be confirmed in the upcoming races. During the Assen weekend, in which he started the races a little further back, Matteo was nevertheless able to score some important points for the championship and will strive to show off his full potential at Imola and improve his position in the standings.

Matteo Baiocco: “I’m pleased to race in Italy in front of our fans. We closed the Assen weekend positively, finding the right set-up, though starting a bit further back compromised results, which could have been better. The potential of the team is very high and at the home round I’ll try to do everything that I’ve not managed to do up until now, that is start near the front and give 110% in the races. I hope to see all of the fans there.”

Team Althea also has big ambitions in the hard-fought Superstock 1000 category, where Raffaele De Rosa, having just missed out on a podium at Aragon before finishing second in Assen, will now aim for victory, something that is well within his reach. Luca Salvadori has almost recovered after suffering a crash on the Dutch track, where he nevertheless proved that he is capable of scoring good results despite his young age and the fact that this is his first experience in such a competitive, high-level category. Both riders arrive at Imola in high spirits and with the desire to make all of the fans in attendance, whether ducatisti or not, very proud.

Raffaele De Rosa: “I’m pleased with the work completed during these first two races and the second place finish at Assen. We’re working well as a team and now I want to aim for first place, having just missed out on that in Holland. At Imola, although it’s a track I’ve rarely raced at, we must try to reduce the gap in the standings and I can’t wait to get on the bike at this track, so full of history, and in front of our fans.”

Luca Salvadori: “I was unlucky in Holland because I hurt myself as a result of the crash during qualifying, compromising my race. But now I’m getting back to full fitness and am ready for Imola, where I’ll try hard to obtain results in line with the work we are doing. I hope there is a big crowd there to welcome us because the passion and atmosphere when racing at home always gives us that extra push.”

The ‘Enzo e Dino Ferrari' circuit is suited to both cars and motorcycle racing and is located in the city of Imola, 40km east of Bologna. The circuit and all of its facilities have been completely renovated and improved, thanks to works begun in November 2006 and completed in September 2007. The restructuring work was carried out under the supervision of renowned German architect Hermann Tilke. The circuit has borne the names of Enzo and Dino Ferrari since the founder and his son passed away. Contrary to many other tracks, Imola runs in an anti-clockwise direction. The closest airport is Guglielmo Marconi in Bologna.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team ready to race at home track of Imola

Arezzo/Borgo Panigale (Italy), Tuesday 5 May 2015 - The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team is ready to compete for the first time this season as a ‘full’ outfit, with Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano, at Round 5 of the 2015 Superbike World Championship, taking place at Imola this weekend.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team is looking forward to racing ‘at home’ this coming weekend, as the World Superbikes head to the Imola circuit in Italy. It will be an important event in that it sees the return of Davide Giugliano, who was forced to miss the first four rounds after an accident during testing at Phillip Island in February left him with two fractured vertebrae. It will therefore be the first time this season that the two factory riders Davies and Giugliano will share the garage. Giugliano, eleven weeks after his accident, has been careful to follow all of the advice and treatment suggested by his doctors and is now looking forward to getting back on his Ducati Panigale R this week. Davies, strong from the positive results obtained at the last two rounds, is ready for what is the home event for both Aruba.it and for Ducati.

During the latest event, which took place at Assen, in The Netherlands, on 19 April, Davies stepped up to the podium twice, concluding both of the day’s races in second place. After the first four rounds of the championship, and thanks to six podium finishes so far, Davies has accumulated 123 points and lies third in the general standings. Ducati is also third in the manufacturer’s championship, with 135 points.

The riders’ best Superbike result scored up until now at Imola has been second place, for Chaz in 2014 and for Davide in 2013. At a track that both riders enjoy, the team is confident that it will be able to complete two good races again this season.

Comments ahead of the event:

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7)

“I’m excited to head to Imola. We had two good races last year, and I was able to finish both in second place, at a point at which we still had things to sort out with the bike. One year on, and with a lot more knowledge and experience of the Panigale, I’m hopeful that we can do well. Imola always feels like the best race of the year in terms of atmosphere, and feeling the support of the fans is something special, especially as a Ducati rider. It definitely adds some pressure but I like that! My goals remain the same as in recent rounds, to be on the podium twice, and then if I can do more, I’ll do more. I think this is a crucial point of the championship, and it’s time to be looking to winning more races and getting some points back – this is at the forefront of my mind.”

Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #34)

“It’s great to be able to come back for Imola, the home track. There’ll be a lot of expectations but the fact that I’ll have a lot of supporters there will give me an extra push. I like the track and we were fast there last year, even though we were unable to score the results we deserved come race day. This year it seems like we’re more competitive but seeing as I’ll be getting on the bike for the first time in three months, I’m going to have to work hard to regain the feeling with my Panigale R. Physically I’m feeling quite good but over the last two months I’ve been unable to train as I normally would, only doing some swimming and rehabilitation. Obviously the level of physical preparation is not as it was when I arrived at Phillip Island, but we’ll know more once I get back on the bike – I can’t wait to (re)start!”

Pata Honda riders ready for Italian challenge

Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark are preparing with their Pata Honda team for this weekend’s (8-10 May) fifth-round World Superbike championship event at Imola in Italy and aiming to continue the forward strides made last time out.

Van der Mark took a brace of third-place rostrum finishes in his home round at Assen in the Netherlands three weeks ago, his maiden visit to the World Superbike podium with the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP in his rookie season.

The 22-year-old Dutch rider, who won last season’s World Supersport championship, had already shown his potential by leading in the opening round in Australia but demonstrated in abundance his individual talent and the undoubted potential of his CBR’s performance package at Assen.

His Pata Honda team-mate, Sylvain Guintoli, has spent the opening rounds adjusting to a machine with very different characteristics to that which took him to the 2015 World Superbike title.

However, the experienced 32-year-old French ace, left Assen in a confident mindset having made a number of positive adjustments to his CBR set-up and his own riding style that allowed him to match lap times of the leading riders in both outings.

Both riders claim a particular fondness for the iconic 4.936km Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, close to the centre of Imola, which is steeped in motorsport history. Both Guintoli and van der Mark have visited the Imola podium in previous races but none has thus far climbed the stop step.

Sylvain Guintoli

Assen started as quite a difficult weekend for us but we ended up closer than we have been to the guys at the front. It was another important stepping stone to getting up there, and at least I can see what’s going on now! It was a mixture of changes to the CBR, my own riding style and the Assen circuit suiting the package but it was definitely a boost that we were able to catch the leaders in the first part of both races. It seems like Imola also suits the CBR because Johnny (Rea) had such a strong weekend there last season. It’s very technical and physical, and tough on both riders and bikes, so I’ve been training hard since Assen But it’s a great track with its own personality and it certainly gives us, as riders, an extra adrenalin shot.

Michael van der Mark

I actually got to Italy a few days early so I’ve been relaxing and driving arou nd and enjoyed a visit to San Marino. It was fairly quiet after the busy weekend at Assen, but it was good to meet some fans at the Ten Kate Pitstop Day the following Saturday, even though the weather wasn’t very kind. I’m really looking forward to getting back into action at Imola though. I really like the circuit but I know it will be very different on a Superbike than it was on my CBR600RR from last year. I hope we can make the Fireblade work as well here as Jonathan Rea made it work last season, but we have quite different settings, so it won’t be easy. But we definitely found something really positive at Assen, working together as a team and analyzing the data, so we’ll be looking for more this weekend in Italy.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki head to Acerbis’ home round

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki makes its way to the legendary Italian Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola racetrack this week for the fifth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship sponsored by team partners Acerbis.

Alex Lowes is determined his impressive pace and resilience shown aboard his Yoshimura-powered machine last time out at Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’, added to the developments made with the GSX-R’s new ECU utilising his invaluable race data, will provide the catalyst to reignite his 2015 season at the iconic Autodromo. Randy de Puniet’s last appearance at the Imola circuit came in 1999 as part of the 125GP class, however, the Frenchman is looking forward to reacquainting himself with the technical Emilia-Romagna track on-board his Suzuki GSX-R1000.

The classic 4,936m circuit is located on the south-side of the town of Imola – encompassing the ‘Acque Minerali’ public park – and 45kms from the region’s capital of Bologna. The high-speed, hard-braking layout runs anti-clockwise incorporating elevation changes, short straights and plentiful corners to provide a demanding lap for rider and motorcycle alike.

The Italian adventure begins on Friday 8th May with the first of two qualifying free practice sessions scheduled at 11:15hrs local time (10:15BST). Saturday morning’s final qualifying session secures the top-20 WSBK riders’ entry into the afternoon’s two Superpole sessions which in turn will decide the grid for Sunday’s two 19-lap races.

Alex Lowes:

“After the three week break I’m looking forward to Imola, getting back on the GSX-R and trying to get closer to the front. I like the track as it’s so technical, it can be quite hard to set the bike up there but I enjoy the challenge! The atmosphere of the race event, and Imola itself with its racing history, is cool and the fans are so passionate, so it’s a great place for the Championship to visit.”

Randy de Puniet:

“Imola is almost like a new track, having not ridden there for 16 years, and the last time was on such a small bike so it will be very different. It’s an interesting track as it moves up and downhill so it will be great to ride and after three difficult race events I am really hoping for a good weekend. The team have been working really hard to develop the electronics since Assen and it looks like we have found a solution which is good news for me and for the whole team. I really hope we can come out at Imola and perform the way we all know we are capable. I’m confident because the team are dedicated to pushing the GSX-R’s performance forward and I will give my best over the weekend, work hard and stay focused.”




Imola, 6 May 2015 – The 4936 metres of the “Enzo e Dino Ferrari” Imola circuit will host the first Italian round of the 2015 World Superbike season. For the fifth round of the year the top category for factory derivative bikes will take on one of the most complex and fascinating tracks on the calendar, an “old style” track that brings out the capabilities of both the vehicle and the rider.

Team Aprilia Racing – Red Devils and the reigning World Champion RSV4 bikes will arrive at their home race with Leon Haslam second in the overall standings. The British rider loves the track along the banks of the Santerno, always chock full of fans, and he is ready to take on the weekend knowing he can count on the hard work the Team has been doing during the last few weeks of down time. The results of this early phase of the season have definitely been encouraging but the new RSV4 RF still has room for improvement.

Leon Haslam: “I really can’t wait to get things going again at Imola. Even though it’s not an easy track, it is one I always enjoy. The atmosphere of the Italian fans and the history of the track always give me goose bumps. I also know the team has been working hard in the weeks off so it’s exciting to get back on track”.

Rookie Jordi Torres is taking on the Imola circuit for the first time and it is certainly not the easiest track to learn. In any case Jordi has demonstrated an ability to quickly adapt to the new category and his work method could very well allow him to find speed and confidence straight away. For him there is a particularly wide margin for improvement in his first Superbike season. The main goal is to close the gap behind the lead pack and to keep pace with the best so he can begin to stay within reach of the podium.

Jordi Torres: “Imola is also a new track for me. I have prepared as much as possible with video games and films, although it isn't easy to figure out the nature of such a complex circuit. I'll be riding onto the track with a great desire to do well and to stay close to the best riders, even if not knowing the track makes everything more difficult. We'll keep working on fine tuning my RSV4 in braking and from an electronics point of view in order to try to push the bike and tyres to the limit.”

Pedercini Racing Team ready for redemption on home track at Imola

The fifth round of the World Superbike Championship will be held this weekend in the famous circuit of Imola, become the Pedercini Racing Team's home track, after Monza left the Superbike calendar.

Volta Mantovana headquarter is located 170 Km far from the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, that’s why Imola can be considered the shortest trip of the season.

For the first time since the start of the season, Pedercini Racing Team will line up its official squad, with those who will be the riders from here to the end of the season: Evo Superbike World Champion, David Salom, flanked by the new buy, the young french talent, Christophe Ponsson.

After a season’s start, marked out by the terrible crash in Phillip Island, David Salom is called to confirm the good results obtained at MotorLand Aragón, so that Pedercini Racing Team's fans will be able to forget the unlucky weekend of Assen. On the track of Imola, the spanish rider has recorded the best results in Supersport, as the remarkable fifth place achieved in 2011 riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R. David Salom can count as usual on professionalism and experience of all Pedercini Racing Team's staff to find, from the first free practice session on Friday, that ideal setup, crucial to face the challenging weekend.

Alongside Salom, will race the new buy Christophe Ponsson. The young French talent has already shown its potential in the first part of the season. By joining Pedercini Racing Team he can rely upon the long experience of the people who work there and have an important reference point in David Salom. Chris can also count on the invaluable advices of the former World Supersport Champion, Fabien Foret. The best result of Chris in Imola is the eleventh place obtained in 2013 in Superstock 1000 with a Kawasaki ZX-10R.

David Salom - #44 Pedercini Racing Team

Imola is a very technical track with turns and hard brakings bring out rider's skills. A perfect interpretation requires a perfect setup and this will be our goal since the first free practice session of friday morning. I have good memories here in Supersport, but I'd like to refresh them with my ZX-10R Superbike. I'm in optimal physical condition, we can only rely on a favourable weather. I want to give my welcome to Chris Ponsson. Pedercini Racing Team is ideal to grow and mature experience in a professional environment, without losing the human dimension that is of great help for any rider.

Christophe Ponsson - #23 Pedercini Racing Team

It is never easy to join a new Team when the season started, but I am very happy with this opportunity. I'm sure I will be welcomed in the Pedercini Racing Team. They're a large family, with considerable experience in Superbike and I look forward to working with motivated people. Imola is a track with great traditions that I really like, with some points that can give real satisfactions to a rider. I hope in a weekend in steady progression. I'd like to thank Lucio, his family and all the people involved in this new project.

The MRS Yamaha Team Prepares for Action at Imola

After a three-week break, the MRS Yamaha Team is back on its way to the fifth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola this weekend.

Having been one of the frontrunners at the previous race in Assen, Kev Coghlan looks forward to continuing his hunt for glory during the third round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. The Scotsman had a good start to the race in Assen but was forced to repeat his efforts after the race was red flagged. He looked set for a top-four finish at the restart, but just missed out by two-tenths of a second and finished sixth, earning him nine valuable points.

Thanks to this result and a strong third place in Aragón, Coghlan currently holds fourth position in the standings with 26 points, just one point behind Ondrej Jezek in third place.

Teammate Florian Marino also looks forward to riding at the technical and fast track of Imola. He had a difficult outing at the previous race in Assen, where he suffered arm pump and wasn't able to ride the way he wanted. However, not one to throw in the towel early, the French youngster kept focus and still managed to equal his seventh place finish in Aragón, increasing his points total to 18.

Marino is currently seventh in the championship rankings and is excited to be back on full form, so he can ride the YZF-R1M to its full potential.

Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola, was added to the World Superstock1000 calendar in 2001 for that year's season finale. Since then, the circuit has undergone major redevelopment and was off the calendar for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The now 4.936 km long circuit has an interesting lay-out of 13 left corners and 9 right corners, with fast and technical sections that are loved by both riders and race fans.

Kev Coghlan

Championship: 4th, 26 points

"After the first two weeks we've had a little break to see how thing have gone and get ready for this weekend and I'm looking forward to it. The first two races went ok. It could have been a bit better in Assen but still not so bad and now we're going to Imola which is a track I really like. I always went quite fast there. I crashed in the Supersport race last year, but I've always had a really good pace so it's a track I look forward to riding and especially now with the new bike as well. Every time we ride we understand it a bit more and get a bit faster so we should have a good weekend."

Florian Marino

Championship: 7th, 18 points

"I am really looking forward to Imola. It's quite an interesting track, really technical with some fast parts as well. As with every Italian round, the competition will be high, because all the riders want to do well, especially the Italians. I've been there a lot of times and we really want to compete at the front. The past weeks went good, I did my physical program and had time think about the two first rounds that haven't really been successful for me. I think I have learned from my mistakes and I feel good and ready. We will try to do well and I hope that we can fight even harder this race weekend."

Smith seeks next podium at Imola

After visiting the podium in the two previous rounds, Pata Honda rider Kyle Smith is looking for a third consecutive visit to the rostrum at this weekend’s World Supersport championship fifth round race at Imola in Italy.

The 23-year-old British rider, who has been based in Spain since the age of six, took his Pata Honda CBR600RR to third place in the last round at Assen in the Netherlands, adding to his first podium of the season at Aragon in Spain two weeks earlier.

World Supersport rookie Smith sits in joint third place in the 2015 championship standings as he adjusts to the sophisticated and powerful Pata Honda CBR600RR package that won last season’s series in the hands of Michael van der Mark.

But although he professes to liking the 4.936km Autodromo Internazionale Enze e Dino Ferrari, set in the heart of Imola just 45km from Bologna in northern Italy, Smith has crashed out of his two previous races there.

Kyle Smith

I really like Imola and I think that, like Assen, the track will suit the CBR, which is hopefully a great starting point for the weekend. I’m quite happy with the season so far and it was great to be on the podium in the last two races, but I want more. I’m here to win races and so that’s what we’re aiming to do at every round now. If everything goes as I’d like this weekend, I won’t be making the mistakes that allowed the front two guys to get away in the last couple of races. But I’m battling with some very fast and very experienced riders and if you make just a tiny mistake it can have big consequences. So I’ll work hard with the team from Friday to make the bike as ready as possible for Sunday because that’s the day that counts.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

We’re really looking forward to this weekend with Kyle on the CBR600RR at Imola. After his performances and podiums at Aragon and Assen, we think we can continue in the same way and be a regular podium contender from now on. That’s where we are at this relatively early stage in the season because Kyle has made such good progress. He’s maturing really quickly and showed this at Assen where he was very fast and able to close on Sofuoglu and Cluzel during the race. It’s a good position to be in.

WorldSBK riders introduce the Acerbis Italian Round

The official press conference heightens expectations ahead of on-track action.

The event opening Press Conference for the Acerbis Italian Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship took place earlier today within the Paddock Show Arena in the paddock of the historical Dino e Enzo Ferrari circuit in Imola.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) , Michael van der Mark, (PATA Honda World Superbike), Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) and the returning Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) were questioned about the weekend ahead and the thoughts on the challenging, undulating 4.9km circuit.

Top-2 in the championship Rea and Haslam were asked from a fan in the crowd if they expected their start to the season to be so strong. Rea’s immediate reply was “Yes”, followed by a wry smile. “I knew from racing against the Kawasakis in the past that we would be strong, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be as strong as this. I want to make the most of it because one day I might wake up and not be on the podium.”

Haslam responded by saying “right from the first test we have been fast and I’ve had a smile on my face ever since. It would be important to finish ahead of Jonathan; I’ve only managed to do it once this season so far. Imola has had highs and lows for me in the past, losing the championship to Max (Biaggi) and a double podium in 2012. It’s a track that still gives me goose bumps when I ride it.”

Van der Mark joked that the biggest difference between the Supersport machine that he rode last year and his current CBR1000RR would be the speed, while local rider Ayrton Badovini was obviously excited ahead of his home race.

Last but not least was World Superbike returnee Davide Giugliano, who was introduced on stage to rapturous applause. “It’s emotional to be making my return here in Imola. It has been a tough road back but I’m ready and hope to do well for myself and the team.”

On-track action for round 5 will start tomorrow with the first free practice sessions for all classes.

Shin chan joins WorldSBK in Europe

The animated series partners the Championship for the 2015 season.

The eni FIM Superbike World Championship welcomes Japanese animated series Shin chan as new addition for the European rounds of 2015.

The series, based on the original 1992 manga by famous Japanese writer and illustrator Yoshito Usui, follows the adventures of a five-year-old and his funny and irreverent life companions.

Given its spicy humour and the colourful language used, Shin chan is mainly directed towards adults and teenagers and therefore the series would become a success among the WorldSBK fans.

With the goal to expand its popularity in the Old Continent, Shin chan will be present at every European event in a variety of ways, increasing the already high number of activities taking place during the racing weekends, while entertaining the fans with the character’s irresistible and contagious humour.

A Shin chan character will appear in the crowd and around the paddock, while the official stand for the animated series will feature an area dedicated to younger fans. Furthermore, Shin chan billboards will be displayed alongside the track.

Marc Saurina, WSBK Commercial and Marketing Director: “We are pleased to welcome Shin chan for the European rounds of the WorldSBK season. The last two decades have seen a huge growth in popularity of many animated series especially created for ‘children’ of every age. We are confident that the eni FIM Superbike World Championship will give Shin chan the visibility needed to further increase its popularity in Europe.”

Meritxell Gratacós, Luk Internacional Licensing and Marketing Director: “We are very happy to become part of WorldSBK family and we are sure that Shin chan image will bring to WorldSBK energy and fun.”

Pata Group to boost the WorldSBK paddock

The Italian snack company takes its sponsorship in the series to a new level.

Pata Group is the new sponsor of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship. The leading Italian snack company strengthen its presence within the championship through a direct partnership with the series, which adds up to the already successful sponsorship effort with teams and categories.

Pata Group entered the WorldSBK paddock in 2010 and three years later became the main sponsor for the factory supported Honda squad in the World Superbike and Supersport classes - named the Pata Honda team – and the one-make entry level series European Junior Cup. Furthermore, from 2015 the company is also supporting the Pata Honda Junior Team in the STK600 category.

The Pata logo will be present on the event backdrop, on dedicated billboards alongside the track as well as on the promotional and informative material of every round.

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