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Imola Friday 2016


  |   News Racing

It was a challenging opening day of action for the Honda WorldSBK Team at Imola’s ‘Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ today, where the fifth round of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship is currently underway. At the end of Friday’s two one-hour long free practice sessions, Michael van der Mark ended up 14th while Nicky Hayden, who did his first laps of the Italian track on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, was 16th at the chequered flag of FP2. Therefore, unlike every other race so far this year, both riders will have to take part into Superpole 1 tomorrow.

Van der Mark and his crew worked hard to find a base set-up for the Dutchman’s Fireblade machine on the Italian track, which was partially resurfaced over the winter in two areas: from the uphill section leading to to ‘Acque Minerali’ (turns 10 and 11) to the ‘Variante Alta’ (turn 14) and between the two ‘Rivazza’ corners (turns 18 and 19) to the pit lane entrance. With today’s data to analyse, the team will plan further changes to the settings of the bike, which will be evaluated during tomorrow morning’s 15-minute FP3 – scheduled at 8:45.

Michael van der Mark (14th / 1.49.166): “I would lie if I say I’m happy with how things have gone today. It looks like we have yet to find the key to be quick on this track and this has certainly put us on the back foot somewhat, because so far this year we have always been competitive right from the off. I have a feeling we have been skirting around the problems today, but I’m confident that the guys will find a way to make the bike work as well as it did before.”