Sunday’s WorldSBK action has drawn to a close at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola, the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team riders battling extreme heat and track temperatures to conclude both of the day’s races, in contrast to many of their rivals who failed to reach the finish line.
The two riders lined up at 11am local time for the day’s ten-lap Superpole race. Through the opening stages, Granado was lying twenty-first followed by Tamburini, twenty-second, through the first turns. Both worked hard to establish a consistent rhythm but there was only so much that the riders could do in the space of ten laps. Roberto closed this short sprint in twenty-first place followed by team-mate Eric, twenty-fourth across the line.
On a track that had reached a temperature of 60°C, the second Superbike race got underway in the early afternoon but was shortened by four laps, to fifteen, owing to the extreme heat. Both Tamburini and Granado set out determined to improve on their race 1 performance and they did so. Thanks to a consistent rhythm through the opening stages, the pair lay eighteenth and nineteenth respectively by lap seven. The duo was able to keep contact with its immediate rivals and, most importantly given the unusually hot conditions, reach the finish line, concluding the final race of the weekend eighteenth (Roberto) and nineteenth (Eric).
The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team now has just over a week in which to prepare for the eighth WorldSBK round, set to take place at the Most Circuit in the Czech Republic on 28-30 July.
Roberto Tamburini P18
“It was a little hotter today but despite this we were able to improve both our pace, finishing fifteen seconds closer to the front, which is no small thing. So we’re happy about that. We know there’s work to do, but we did our best and I was able to fight with Eric right at the end. It’s been a bit of a challenging weekend, as we know, but it’s also been a great experience – I always enjoy competing in the world championship. I want to thank the entire PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team for the opportunity, and I leave Imola pleased with what we were able to do in race 2.”
Eric Granado P19
“This was another new track so I spent time on Friday and Saturday learning it properly, but although I was a little more used to the layout today, to be honest we had some trouble finding the right lines and the best setup and I was lacking feeling especially through the slow turns. Having said that, I felt that we took a step compared to Donington. So not a negative weekend but an intense one in which we’ve worked very hard to understand the bike setting. Now the team and I will get to work preparing for Most, where we hope to make further progress, which is our goal race after race.”