Race Report CIV Supersport Round 3 Imola
Just to update you about the second round at Mugello, unfortunately I was not able to start either race. Race one I was hit from behind before the race had started and with the bike was too damaged I was unable to start. On Sunday in the heavy rain I could not feel the rear tyre for some reason and then crashed on the warm-up lap.
So after a long break we had finally arrived at the iconic Imola circuit for the third round of the Italian speed championship.
I’ve been working hard and training consistently in between the rounds, and I was excited to get underway. As winter has rolled around for Australia, it’s been the opposite over here, the weather has been hot and humid, on Friday practice it got up to thirty-seven degrees and I could feel it while on the bike!
Practice one: We had 30 minutes to understand the condition of bike and track. My feeling was good, and we were on the right path, we made some changes throughout the session to find a direction for the qualifying session at the end of the day. One of the biggest problems everyone was experiencing was lack of traction. Because it was hot the track becomes greasy and you must find the best possible way to ride around the problem and use setup to help you. We decided to make some big changes on the bike for qualifying one and my plan was to get behind someone to use as a reference.
Qualifying one: The afternoon had arrived and fortunately the heat had died down, we had 25 minutes to put in a provisional qualifying time. It was an important session but if we didn’t get things right, we did have another session on Saturday morning, but you never know how the conditions might change. We made a big step of improvement in feeling and the time, but I wasn’t happy with P18. I looked at the positives and I knew if we kept working to improve then I could close the gap in the next sessions.
Qualifying two: After making more changes to the bike I was becoming more and more comfortable with the technical layout of Imola. I didn’t have a great feeling in the first ten minutes of the session, so I came in to speak with my crew chief, we decided to make small changes to the suspension and instantly I felt much better. We made another step and I would start P14 on the grid, 1.3 seconds off pole position. This would give me a good opportunity in the race to learn from the riders ahead of me
Race one: I didn’t make a good start and lost six positions by the time I got to the first corner; I knew I had my work cut out for me to gain my positions back. I panicked a bit trying to pass too many riders at once and made another costly mistake, getting crossed up in the braking zone entering the final chicane, lost some control of my bike and had to go straight on and take the long way around. I had lost more positions and by the end of the first lap I was in 20th position. I put my head down and focussed, it was a long race and if I could stay mistake free then I could redeem myself. Eleven laps later I had picked off the riders ahead and crossed the finish line in 14th, although I was disappointed making some mistakes, I was happy with how I bounced back.
After the race, the team and I analysed my race pace and worked out if we could find another improvement in the bike and don’t give away any places in the first part of the race then I could get close to the top ten.
Race two: Sunday, we had a positive warm up and found an improvement in setup and I was determined to make a good start and finish in a good way. Once the race had started I was off to a great start, by the third sector of the track I was up to eight position, but then the race was red flagged due to a crash, we came back to then pits and then had a quick restart procedure. I made another good start and picked off some riders on the first lap, then while braking for one of the tightest corners on the track the group came to a near stop and it caught me by surprise. After nearly hitting the rear tire of another rider I had to take to the grass and the long way around again. This time I lost four positions and the mistake created a large gap to the group ahead. I put my head down and put all my focus in making the strongest, cleanest and fastest laps I could manage, I caught the group ahead and passed them one by one. By this stage there were three laps to go and my tires were giving me many warning signs and I was struggling to find the grip. I tried to ride in more relaxed way and keep the bike on the traction part of the tire, it was working, and I picked up my pace in the last two laps. I managed to make up more than a second on the group ahead, this time the two riders ahead of me made a mistake which allowed me to take advantage and I crossed the line in tenth position.
I was quite happy, this is only the third race I have finished since moving to the Supersport class and this was the best result we have had so far and more importantly my feeling with the bike was the best it has been. I’m training hard to keep this momentum going and I’m happy with the constant improvements we are making.
I’d like to thank my sponsors and supporters for helping me make this possible, it’s amazing to be racing with some of the toughest competition in the world and making steps to achieve my dream!
The next race is at Misano on the 26-28th July.