The first day of World Superbike action has drawn to a close at Imola’s ‘Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari’, with Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl 12th and 13th, respectively, in the combined times of today’s two free practice sessions around the spectacular 4.9 km Italian racetrack. Both riders will therefore take part in tomorrow’s Superpole 1, with the goal to advance to the final qualifying session and battle for a spot on the first four rows of the grid for race 1.
Hayden had an encouraging start to the day, as the 35-year-old American spent most of the first hour of action in eighth place only to drop down to 10th in the final minutes, when he also crashed unhurt at turn 2. The former World Champion had more of a difficult time in the afternoon, as he was unable to improve on the 1’48.541secs lap-time set in FP1 on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine, which turned out to have suffered some damage after the morning’s tumble.
Having never ridden at Imola prior to today, Stefan Bradl had to get familiar with the twisty layout of the track before starting to work on the bike set-up with his crew. The 27-year-old German rider was able to improve by eight and a half tenths of a second between one session and the other and ended the day 0.225secs behind his team mate in 13th place.
The action for the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship will resume tomorrow for the 25-minute FP3 session scheduled to begin at 08:45am local time (GMT +2).