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Imola WorldSSP Race 2 | Manzi makes his a double as rivals wilt in sweltering heat

Gold & Goose
Stefano Manzi, Ten Kate Racing, Yamaha R6, 2023 WorldSSP, Imola, Action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Stefano Manzi notched up a dominant double WorldSSP victory on home soil as he out-lasted title rival Nicolo Bulega in sweltering conditions at Imola.

Though he had to work harder during the first-half of the race compared to a comfortable performance on Saturday that saw him lead from the opening lap all the way to the flag, once Manzi had reeled in and overtaken initial leader Bulega, he sprinted clear to win.

Amid unusually high temperatures for its time-slot, it was championship leader Bulega that looked to have stolen a march on the opposition after getting the hole-shot into Turn 1.


Keen to make up for finishing a distant third in race one, the Aruba.it Ducati rider quickly pushed on, establishing a lead of more than two seconds over Manzi, who couldn't stay with his title rival initially once he'd dispatched of Yari Montella for second.

However, the gap would start to come back down once Manzi got into a rhythm on the Ten Kate Yamaha, hauling him back onto the tail of the Ducati Panigale V2 by lap seven.

Once there, Manzi wasted no time in relieving Bulega of the lead, squeezing up the inside through the second part of the Villeneuve chicane.

From here, Manzi began to circulate in a pace Bulega steadily fell away from, before taking advantage of the extended margin behind him to protect 20 points for second instead.

As such, Manzi was free to escape away to victory, the Italian taking the flag for the third time this season with a +7.1s margin back to Bulega in second place.

A double success for Manzi, coupled to a modest second and third for Bulega, means the margin between the two riders has come down towards the former. Bulega still leads the way, his advantage now 41 points over Manzi.

Behind Bulega, Yari Montella notched up his second WorldSSP podium in as many rounds with a steady run to third place. The Barni Ducati rider had some fortune to thank though Federico Caricasulo and Bahattin Sofuoglu both crashed out of third in separate accidents at the same corner two laps apart.

Caricasulo was the first to fall, literally, the Italian dropping his Althea Ducati at the Variante Bassa to complete a damaging double DNF from two races he started on pole, while Sofuoglu, having only just scurried up the inside of Montella coming into the chicane, low-sided into retirement shortly afterwards.

Indeed, in a race of high attrition that saw almost as many retirements as there were race finishers, Adrian Huertas bounced back from being caught up in Niki Tuuli's crash on the final lap of Race 1 to secure a fine fourth as the best of the Kawasakis, while Raffaele de Rosa prevailed in a tight four-way battle for fifth.


Jorge Navarro followed him home for sixth to equal his best result of the season, while Valentin Debise picked up seventh on the last lap from Marcel Schroetter who, having already lost time by running off at the Variante Alta, was then punished for a wild move on Navarro for sixth that sent him wide and down to eighth at the flag.

2017 WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias brought home solid points in ninth place after getting the better of YART Yamaha's Tom Edwards, who secured his best result of the season in tenth.

Only one of the four Brits would make it to the flag as John McPhee scored a solitary point for 15th, while Tom Booth-Amos, Tarran Mackenzie and Harry Truelove failed to reach the flag.


2023 Italian WorldSSP | Imola | Race 2 Results | Rd. 7 of 12]
1Stefano ManziITATen Kate RacingYamaha R617 Laps
2Nicolo BulegaITAAruba Racing WorldSSPDucati Panigale V2+7.188
3Yari MontellaITABarni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V2+9.804
4Adrian HuertasESPMTM RacingKawasaki ZX-6R+15.370
5Raffaele de RosaITAOrelac Racing VerdnaturaDucati Panigale V2+17.370
6Jorge NavarroESPTen Kate RacingYamaha R6+17.636
7Valentin DebiseFRAGMT94Yamaha R6+18.088
8Marcel SchroetterGERMV Agusta Reparto CorseMV Agusta F3 800 RR+18.387
9Lucas MahiasFRAPuccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-6R+35.110
10Tom EdwardsAUSYARTYamaha R6+36.576
11Andy VerdoiaTHAYamaha Thailand RacingYamaha R6+40.049
12Filippo FulginiITAEvan Bros. TeamYamaha R6+40.254
13Max KoflerGERD34G RacingDucati Panigale V2+43.139
14Alvaro DiazESPArco YARTYamaha R6+46.829
15John McPheeGBRVince64 by PuccettiKawasaki ZX-6R+51.140
16Luke PowerAUSMotozoo RacingKawasaki ZX-6R+58.038
17Adam NorrodinMALPetronas MIE RacingHonda CBR600RR+1m 13.041
DNFMaiki AbeJPNVFT RacingYamaha R6
DNFHarry TrueloveGBRPTR RacingTriumph STR 765 RS
DNFLuca OttavianiITAExtreme Racing ServiceMV Agusta F3 800 RR
DNFTarran MackenzieGBRPetronas MIE RacingHonda CBR600RR
DNFTom Booth-AmosGBRMotozoo RacingKawasaki ZX-6R
DNFStefano ValtuliniITAProDina RacingKawasaki ZX-6R
DNFFederico CaricasuloITAAlthea RacingDucati Panigale V2
DNFBahattin SofuogluTURMV Agusta Reparto CorseMV Agusta F3 800 RR
DNFEmanuele PuscedduITAJ Angel by EdafosYamaha R6
DNFFederico FuligniITAOrelac Racing VerdnaturaDucati Panigale V2
DNFGlenn van StraalenNEDEAB RacingYamaha R6
DNFAnupab SarmoonTHAYamaha Thailand RacingYamaha R6
DNFNicholas SpinelliITAVFT RacingYamaha R6
WNiki TuuliFINPTR RacingTriumph STR 765 RS
WYuta OkayaJPNProDina RacingKawasaki ZX-6R
WApiwath WongthananonTHAYamaha Thailand RacingYamaha R6
WOliver BaylissAUSD34G RacingDucati Panigale V2

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