Race Report CIV Supersport Round 3 Imola
We were back for the third round of the Italian championship 2021 season at the iconic Imola circuit. This is a track I very much enjoy as its technical and complicated. The weather was forecast to be extremely hot all weekend and the heat is very dry; it is easy to find yourself dehydrated, luckily, I was conditioned and prepared for the heat.
FRIDAY started off well with one free practice session. As per usual in Imola there is only one practice session then straight into qualifying one. It is important to have a strategy and a plan before each run so that we make the most of the time available. My feeling was quite good, as we made steps with the details of the bike and most of all my riding. Qualifying one was underway and I was sixteenth fastest time and slot myself in that position provisionally.
SATURDAY started off with qualifying two we tried a change in gearing, and I struggled to balance the engine with the corner speed and unfortunately failed to improve my lap time and position. It is something that we are learning this year is to stop making big changes in critical times. It is harder to adapt and go fast with a bike that is different every session rather to a bike that may not be perfect, but you know what to expect. We were in for a fight from twenty first on the grid, I knew that if I could make a good start then I would still have a chance for a good result.
RACE 1 I had made a great start and by sector two on lap one I was in twelfth. After a crazy first few laps, I focused on my pace and minimizing mistakes, due to it being so hot and Imola being a physically and mentally demanding track, hitting breaking markers, saving the tires, and minimizing mistakes is key. I had a great race and managed to finish in 11th which considering from where we started, I was satisfied, but we needed to close the gap to the front if we wanted to fight in the top positions.
SUNDAY For warmup, we used the fifteen minutes to try something with the bike that we were curious to see would work or not. The warmup went well but I needed more laps to understand how to use the different setup to its full potential, anyway we decided to move forward with this change and use it in the race.
RACE 2 fifteen minutes before race two, the weather changed briefly and drizzled enough to the point to change to wet tires last minute before pit exit. We made the warmup lap and then changed back to slicks on the grid as it was slippery but a dry race. I made another great start but as we headed towards the first chicane, I was caught up in the carnage and ended up with nowhere to go but the gravel trap. I dropped back to last and 6 seconds behind the rider ahead, I put my head down to catch the group ahead, I passed a few riders and was on course to catch the guys in front then noticed the engines sound had changed and the water temperature was high. I felt some power loss on the third lap and was forced to nurse the bike home in a disappointing seventeenth. At the end, my pace was good, but racing is not straight forward all the time, and these things can happen. We are off to Misano at the end of the month for round four.
A big thanks to my team, my sponsors, and my supporters for helping me make this possible!