This was Fabien’s14th career win, his third for Kawasaki, the second Kawasaki win of 2012 after the Australian victory of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini) meaning Kawasaki is leading the manufacturers’ championship by 14 points.
In the overall championship standings Fabien leads with 45 points, from Sam Lowes, who is 14 points behind. Sofuoglu is now third, on an unchanged 25, while Morais leaves Imola seventh, with 16 points.
Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R once more made great progress in the SBK class, taking two second place finishes at Imola and staying within six points of the championship lead.
Having started from pole after blitzing the previous track best in Superpole qualifying Sykes was to leave Imola with the new lap record on race day as well, a 1’47.552 lap set while trying to keep eventual double race winner Carlos Checa behind him. Tom was not able to perform that feat as 2011 champion Checa turned up the heat but even in the cool conditions on race day, Tom was able to defend his second place, particularly in race two.
Tom has won an SBK race on the Ninja before, last year in Germany, but this can be considered his best weekend so far in many ways, as he took not only two consistent second places in dry conditions, but the best results to date. His total of podiums on the Ninja ZX-10R now is four, three coming in 2012.
In the points standings, Sykes is third on 69 points, only six behind leader Checa.
For Joan Lascorz incidents involving other riders affected his final results but he still finished a strong seventh in race one, gaining places right up until the last lap, and he was ninth in race two. He had to fight through from 22nd on lap one of race one, making his seventh place a remarkable result in many ways.
Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini rider Sheridan Morais was also on course for a podium but fell at the final chicane while third, restarting to finish tenth. Kenan Sofuoglu had to use strong doses of painkillers to get into the grid but his injured left knee still caused him pain and some lack of movement. He too could have potentially won the race had he not run on while leading at the chicane opposite pitlane, be penalised with a ride through, then be disqualified for not coming into pit lane to serve his penalty.
More success came along in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup class, as Loris Baz took his MRS Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R to second in what was eventually a five-lap sprint after an interrupted first attempt. This was the best result for the Ninja ZX-10R in this class. Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was fifth in Superstock, another good result for the big Ninja in near streetbike spec.
Fabien Foret: “This is a good track for me, I love Italy and we have had a great start to the season. The team worked very hard for me and gave me an excellent bike. It has not been the easiest weekend and I was sixth in qualifying, but it ended very well for me, the team and all of us.”
Tom Sykes: “The plan was to get a good start in race one and we had a very clean launch in the Kawasaki. In the first nine laps or so it was just Carlos and I and saw there was a big gap behind us. Carlos rode a great race, hats off to him, and he knew exactly what he was doing. In race two I had a lot of pressure from Leon and Biaggi certainly in the last third of the race so I was forced to dig a little bit deep and it paid off. I heard Leon’s engine there for a few laps but I found I had a little bit of a gap on the last lap so second position was good. Overall I think it has been a very good weekend for myself and Kawasaki. The Ninja ZX-10R has been great again - pole position, and two seconds in the races - so I do not think we could ask for much more.”