Saturday – Manzi takes convincing victory with Ten Kate Racing in Race 1 at Imola
Stefano Manzi has won the first World Supersport race at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola on Saturday afternoon. The Italian took the lead on the opening lap and did not lose it until the end of the race, securing his second win with Ten Kate Racing. Jorge Navarro is having a difficult weekend so far and failed to finish in the first race due to a crash.
At a very sunny and warm Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola, the seventh round of the FIM Supersport World Championship started well for Ten Kate Racing with a second time for Stefano Manzi and a twelfth time for Jorge Navarro after the two free practice sessions on Friday. On Saturday morning, the Italian managed to qualify third for this weekend’s two races while the Spaniard finished ninth despite a heavy crash at the end of the Superpole session.
Manzi started the first race of the weekend on Italian soil very strongly and, after a good start, immediately took the lead through two impressive overtakes. He built up a small lead that grew as the race progressed. Due to a red flag the race was ended one lap early but Manzi had everything under control, taking his second win of the year with Ten Kate Racing. With 217 points behind his name, the Italian is currently 46 points behind World Championship leader Nicolò Bulega.
Navarro had a more difficult start to the race and fell back to 13th place. The Spaniard continued to ride in that position until he crashed on the fifth lap. It was a disappointing end to a challenging day at his side of the Ten Kate Racing pit box but on Sunday Navarro and the team will do everything they can to come back strong.
Stefano Manzi – P1:“I had a good start and then made some overtakes in the first two chicanes. I took the lead and after that I was able to lead for every lap of the race. It was quite hard to keep my pace but in the end I managed to do so. With the high temperature it was tough race but I am very happy for myself and the team that we managed to take our second victory. The memories from my last visit here weren’t great so to win now at my home race is fantastic. After the mistake I made in Donington it’s good that we closed the gap in the championship a bit now, we need to remain focused. The team has worked very hard and we need to continue in this way.”
Jorge Navarro – DNF:“It was not an easy day for me. We started well this morning and I had a good feeling, I had the speed to fight for a place in the top five. Unfortunately I had a big crash in one of my fast laps and I was worried because my bike had hit two marshals, fortunately they are okay. The team did a great job of rebuilding the bike and then we went into the race. I didn’t make a good start and lost some positions but then I found my pace. When I tried to overtake I changed my line and that was tricky in these hot conditions. I crashed and could not finish the race, I want to apologise to the team because today was not a good day from my side. We well keep fighting again tomorrow.”
Kervin Bos – Ten Kate Racing team manager:“It was a great win by Stefano, it was textbook stuff. He got away well at the start and rode a rock-solid opening lap. We are extremely happy with the 25 points which are very important for the championship. We can see that Stefano is becoming more consistent and faster: his Fridays are getting better and his qualifying is also improving, his way of racing has been outstanding all year.
For Jorge it was not a good day. He went down hard in the qualifying session and again later in the race, so far this weekend is not going the way it should on his side. We will obviously do everything we can to get him back strong at the start tomorrow and we hope to get some more control over the situation.
We have got the momentum going and we will go on the attack again tomorrow. The championship is still long and we will do our very best to achieve success.”
Sunday – Manzi and Ten Kate Racing dominate with double victory in red hot Imola
Stefano Manzi has also won the second World Supersport race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola on Sunday afternoon. The Italian took over the lead on lap seven and did not relinquish it. He eventually crossed the line first by a margin of over seven seconds, giving Ten Kate Racing a double victory. Jorge Navarro achieved his best result of the season by finishing sixth.
Thanks to a good start and a strong opening lap, Manzi was riding in second place in the early stages of the race. Once the Italian got into his rhythm he managed to reduce his gap to the leader and then take over the lead on lap seven. Manzi was able to ride a very strong pace and managed to build up a big lead, eventually crossing the finish line as a convincing winner. It is his third win for Ten Kate Racing and his first double victory in the World Supersport class. With 242 points Manzi is second in the championship with 41 points behind compatriot Nicolò Bulega.
After a good warm-up session, it was clear that Navarro’s pace was better on Sunday. After a tricky opening phase, in which he was riding in eighth position, the Spaniard managed to ride towards the group in front of him. Thanks to some clever overtaking, the 27-year-old Navarro eventually crossed the finish line in sixth place, his best result so far in the World Supersport class. In the championship he is in tenth place with 87 points, combining that with the points of Manzi results in Ten Kate Racing leading the team championship.
Stefano Manzi – P1: “This has been an amazing weekend. It was important to win again today and it was good to do it with a big gap. I’m very happy to have won twice this weekend in front of the Italian fans. In the first couple of laps I saw I missed a bit of power with a full fuel tank but as the race progressed it felt a lot better. I was able to push more and ride on the limit, it showed that we were very fast today. It has been a fantastic weekend for us and hopefully we can continue to perform like this, then we’ll see what’s possible for the championship.”
Jorge Navarro – P6: “Today was a good day. In the warm-up I was able to ride a good pace and I had a good feeling with the bike. For the race we tried something that improved the acceleration and it seemed to work. It’s important that we finished this race in a good position and I enjoyed being in the fight. We gathered useful information to improve for the next races, I want to thank the team for the work they have done this weekend. It has not been easy but we go home with a good feeling.”
Kervin Bos – Ten Kate Racing team manager: “ It was an extremely hot weekend in Imola with also extremely good performances. Stefano’s race was a textbook example, as soon as he got into the lead he was able to open up a gap. It was a perfect race and we can be very proud of that. The team has been working hard since Friday and step by step we are learning more about how best to get Stefano going.
Jorge got his best result of the year and we are also extremely proud of that. He has to come a long way and they are also working very hard on his side of the box, working until late every night to analyse the data and see how Jorge can get the best out of himself. It seems we have found something with him and he rode a rock-solid race. That still needs to be confirmed in Most, of course, but the feeling is that we are on the right track with him.
We are looking forward to the next race weekend in Most where we hope to come out just as strong again.”
The next round of the FIM Supersport World Championship will be held the weekend of 28-30 July at Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic.