The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team returns to Italy for the second time this year and gets ready to race at the historic Imola circuit with riders Eric Granado and Roberto Tamburini.
The Italian is called in to replace injured Hafizh Syahrin after the latter suffered a crash last week (July 5), on the first of two test days at Suzuka, which has unfortunately left him with a displaced C6 spinous process fracture with no neurological symptoms. The Malaysian rider has subsequently been declared unfit for the upcoming WorldSBK round.
During the latest round at Donington Park, Syahrin and Granado experienced some ups and downs but overall felt that they made some small steps in the right direction in terms of their bike set-up. The Malaysian also reached the points in race 2, while the Brazilian continued to build confidence and collect data that will come in useful as the squad prepares for the latest challenge.
Now for Imola, which will be a new experience for Granado due to the fact the track has not featured on the SBK calendar since 2019. He will therefore need to get up to speed on Friday, using the free practices to familiarise himself with this ‘new’ circuit. Replacement rider Tamburini, on another hand, knows the track well, the Imola circuit not far from his native city of Rimini.
Born on 15 January 1991, Tamburini is a familiar face in the WorldSBK paddock, having competed in the Stock1000, Supersport and Superbike classes over the years. The former Italian Supersport champion also raced in the 125 World Championship back in 2006 and 2007. Last season saw him on the Superbike grid aboard the Motoxracing team’s Yamaha.
The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola was inaugurated in 1953 and was a regular host of the World Superbikes between 2001 and 2019. It has staged events at different times of the year, but this season’s July date will likely bring high temperatures over the race weekend as well as, hopefully, a large audience, the Italian fans always very enthusiastic.
“I don’t know what to except from Imola to be honest as it’s another new one for me. But it should be interesting and I’m very much looking forward to discovering another new circuit. In the run-up, all I can do is focus on preparing physically and mentally so that I’m in good shape when we get there which will increase our chances of having a good weekend.”
“I’m very happy to have got the call from the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team to race at Imola, although of course I wish Hafizh all the best and a speedy recovery. I’m actually competing in the Endurance World Championship this year so I’m returning to World Superbike after one year with the goal of getting to know the team and quickly adapting to the bike. It would be nice to see progress over the weekend, so I hope to be able to improve with each session and have fun. It will be a challenge, because I will be riding the Honda for the first time, but I already know the Imola track and like it, which is good, so I will try to do my best without pressure. Thanks to Midori Moriwaki, HRC and the entire team for this opportunity.”
Name: Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola
Length: 4.936 km
Corners: 13 left-hand, 9 right-hand
SBK RECORDS: Best lap – Davies (Ducati) 1’45.727 (2019). Superpole – Davies (Ducati) 1’45.180 (2019).
2019 SBK RESULTS:
Race 1 – 1. Rea (Kawasaki); 2. Bautista (Ducati); 3. Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki)
Superpole race – 1. Rea (Kawasaki); 2. Davies (Ducati); 3. Bautista (Ducati)
Race 2 – cancelled