Friday Free Practice sessions at Imola saw Federico Caricasulo setting the fastest lap. The rider from Ravenna took the lead on his GRT Yamaha by performing a lap in 1’51.190, achieved in the final stages of FP2, and so he was able to beat his team-mate (and current championship leader) Lucas Mahias, who finished second after being first in FP1. Caricasulo wants to rise again after the crash had at Assen and the unlucky race weekend he experienced one year ago at Imola and today’s performance makes him one of the favourites for pole position and win.
Anyway, the main protagonist of the weekend is Kenan Sofuoglu, who will retire from racing after the race, starting on Sunday 13th May at 11:30 local time. The Turkish rider will leave racing after winning 5 World Supersport titles (2007, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016) and his aim for Imola round is to end his 20-year-long career on a high. If we consider that this is his first race weekend after Phillip Island crash, the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider had a more than encouraging start: fifth place with less than 7 tenths off Caricasulo (1’51.877) and first non-Yamaha rider in the classification.
Between Caricasulo and Sofuoglu we find from second to fourth place Lucas Mahias, Sandro Cortese and Jules Cluzel. Raffaele de Rosa, Luke Stapleford, Ayrton Badovini, Hikari Okubo and Randy Krummenacher are the other riders going straight to Superpole 2. Okubo and Krummenacher also had small crashes in the final stages of FP2 and the same happened to Hannes Soomer and Italian Supersport Champion Davide Stirpe (riding at Imola as a wildcard).
Photo Credit: Marco Lanfranchi